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Enhancing Lives through the Miracle of Childbirth

Aug 07, 2015 12:33PM ● By Flint Zerangue, Sr.

Enhancing Lives through the Miracle of Childbirth

By:  Shawntell Lewis-Harrell, Woman’s Foundation

The alluring, vibrant Newborn Exhibit at Women’s & Children’s Hospital - One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, New Fish! – is the most diverse, family-oriented display in the Lafayette area.  This collaborative endeavor consists of The Acadiana Arts Council, Lafayette Parish School System and the Workforce Investment Board, ArtWorks! Originally in 2004, relatives and friends have an opportunity to commemorate the birth of children utilizing unique, customized ceramic fish tile.  The aquatic-themed visual delight not only enhances the 

 nursery area - located on the second floor - but provides an atmosphere of priceless memories for generations to come.

“When we bring my niece to visit her tile, the expression on her face is priceless,” says 28-year-old Angelique Freyou of New Iberia.  “When my daughter was born in May, I purchased a tile because I wanted her to experience the same joy and enthusiasm.  In fact, we’re purchasing another for my nephew and all three will be placed together.  I think this is great for the kids.”

This tradition of impacting lives in Acadiana through the miracle of childbirth expands outside hospital walls and into the community.  Benefiting Woman’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of women and their families, the proceeds fund educational programming for youth and parents.  Programs include the Let’s Talk Puberty Series, Safe Sitter and Tweens/Teens with Life Choices (TLC), as well as, weight management programs entitled Kids on the Geaux and Kids in the Kneaux.  Each program aides the Foundation in achieving its mission by equipping participants with wholesome decision-making and leadership skills, self-esteem builders and an array of curriculums developed to garner successful, productive citizens.

Linda Alesi, a veteran board member and tireless supporter of Woman’s Foundation, is the artistic genius who brings life to such a precious monument of hope.  Her passion is matchless.  Her resolve is steady and her dedication is unfathomable.  She, alone, is responsible for hand-crafting over 1100 ceramic fish tiles that adorn exhibit walls.

“I absolutely love it!  And, I’ve seen how meaningful the display is for those who have purchased tiles,” explains the Lafayette native, who volunteered for the assignment.  “I visited the hospital and saw a young boy having his picture taken with his tile after his mom delivered twins.  He was elated…and knew exactly where his tile was located.  This creates ownership for the child and it’s beautiful.”

The captivating mural boasts endless options of designs, colors, shapes and tattoos to choose from.   “No two fish are alike just as no two people are alike,” concludes Alesi.  “So, it shows diversity, beauty of the fish and of people in general.  Here, schools of fish become families of fish.  Becoming a parent and raising a child is the most important thing you will ever do in life regardless of your career.” 

The inspiration for the project originated from a similar exhibit at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge.   Soon, families may have the option to purchase two ceramic tiles – one to display in the hospital and a personal one.

For additional information contact:  Woman’s Foundation, Inc. 337-988-1816 /or visit