Editor’s summer memories inspire lake photo shoot

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 1, 2003

LAKE ST. JOHN, La. &045; Lake St. John has hit the big time now.

This week, a nine-person crew from New York-based magazine &uot;Budget Living&uot; are using the lake as a backdrop for shooting an eight- to 10-page fashion layout for the magazine’s June-July edition.

The idea for shooting at Lake St. John hit Sarah Gray Miller, the magazine’s editor and a Natchez native, earlier this year as she mulled over locations for a shoot displaying the latest in fashionable, yet affordable, summerwear.

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California? Too expensive for a magazine on a budget. Beaches in Florida? It’s been done (including one article already planned for the June-July issue).

New York? For swimwear? Please. Also, the bureaucracy and endless shooting permits can make shooting in any big city problematic, Miller said.

So she settled on the places where many of her fun summer memories were made &045; the piers and lakehouses of Lake St. John.

From the rustic piers and screened-in porches to the old 1950s-style boats, &uot;you can’t manufacture that,&uot; Miller said.

It’s doubly appropriate, Fashion Director Natalie Warady said, given the look of the fashions the models are wearing for the shoot &045; ’70s-inspired, bold-colored short shorts and striped tops among them.

On Tuesday, the crew shot at the Godfrey, Shields and Eyrich families’ lakehouses as well as the Thompsons’ lakefront pier. Today, they will use the Fudickar and Harmon houses as their backdrops.

Miller also selected the Hoggatts’ lakehouse as the site of a photo shoot for a summer 2004 issue.

&uot;They just gave us the keys and told us to have at it,&uot; Producer Lansdale Franklin said of all the homeowners.

&uot;Actually, everyone’s been so great,&uot; Miller said, noting that locals have done everything from bring the crew lunch to show them around the area. &uot;And we want them to know we really appreciate it.&uot;

Not a problem, said Ed Godfrey, who owns one of the lakehouses with his wife, Laura. First of all, the Godfreys are friends of Miller’s parents, Ron and Mimi Miller of Natchez.

&uot;I’d go anything for them,&uot; Ed Godfrey said. &uot;Plus, it’s a good magazine, and it’s good publicity the whole area, including Natchez.&uot;

While in town, the crew was treated to a showing of the musical program &uot;Southern Road to Freedom&uot; &045; where some crew members were called from their seats to sing with the choir &045; and toured the Lewis Family Museum.

Such local events and places will be featured in the June-July issue, giving the magazine’s readers ideas of additional things to do if they decide to venture down South to check out the lake life for themselves.

The June-July issue of &uot;Budget Living&uot; should hit stands in late May to early June.