Our guests are Ari Dolegowski and Jenée Naquin, husband and wife, as well as adventurers who have lived in Lafayette since 2020. The couple moved from New York City with their son, Noam, to be closer to Jenee’s family members who live in Eunice.
Jenee is a brand stylist and digital content creator with vast experience in bringing luxury brands to life through digital marketing. A native of Eunice, she graduated from Loyola in New Orleans and then moved to NYC to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She worked in corporate design, has experienced living in a handbag factory in China in order to learn the ins and outs of the accessory manufacturing process, and was part of the team that built Jessica Simpson’s iconic handbag line. After 13 years in fashion design, Jenee founded her branding company, JSQ Creative Agency, in 2017.
Ari is a Bio-Performance Therapist, offering transformative massage sessions with a tailored approach rooted in Physical Therapy and Eastern medicine through AriD Therapy & Training. He had the good fortune to apprentice as an assistant to a doctor of physical therapy and a Chinese medical practitioner. He attended traditional Chinese medical schools and studied massage therapy for a month in Thailand. A fellow who has walked an incredibly interesting life journey, Ari played pro soccer in Chile, Tel Aviv and the U. S. Along the way, he studied at Yeshiva University in Jerusalem. Ari taught high school Physical Education in New York City before settling on his career as a bio-performance/massage therapist.
Ari and Jenée met and married in NYC after their early career international travels. While they both had strong ties to New York, they had decided it was time to move in order to pursue a different lifestyle than offered by the Big Apple. Pre-Covid, they had traveled to several places looking for a Utopian site. The onset of COVID and its shutdown of city life brought things to a head, as Jenée recalled, “If you were on the 15th floor of a highrise, like us, riding an elevator was a challenge. New York became intense and nervous. Much of the population moved out and a troubled, homeless population remained….all of a sudden taking a walk to the Park to get outdoors wasn’t fun.” Ari and Jenée took out a whiteboard and listed all the things they wanted in a good place to live. Louisiana fit the bill, and particularly Lafayette, as it was close to Jenée’s family.
Ari was a bit nervous about the big move to Lafayette, in part because of mosquitoes, but also because of our very small Jewish community. “Thank goodness for the Temple Shalom in Lafayette!” About a year after the family settled in Lafayette, Ari turned to Jenée and shared how happy he was to be be here. Interestingly, Jenée also came to realize how important Judaism had become in her life. In NYC, there was vibrant Jewish community and they were surrounded by many other Jews, even sending their son to a Jewish school. She had fallen in love with the Jewish faith and lovely traditions. “It took me coming back to Cajun Country to realize that I was a Jew!” While she had initially resisted converting her faith from Catholic to Jewish while living in New York, Jenée began studying Judaism and has now converted and is an active member of Temple Shalom.
Jenée and Ari’s young son, Noam, whose nickname is “Kiki,” is also showing signs of being a creative entrepreneur. Learning how to juice satsumas and other fruits by his grandfather, Noam has made the local news several times due to the popularity of his fresh squeezed juice, marketed under the brand name Kiki’s Juice Box. “Noam is a born entertainer and this endeavor has been one of my favorite branding projects,” Jenée says. With the help of his mother, Noam has an active Instagram page which highlights his wares and he is learning how to successfully market his juice.
For photographic samples of Jenée creative work, visit https://www.jeneesaisquoi.com/ and for her professional services, https://jsqcreativeagency.com/. To schedule an appointment with Ari, visit AriD Therapy & Training or https://www.facebook.com/aridtherapy.