Client Spotlight: Breadcrumbs to Cheesecake

In Client Spotlight, Richard Creative by admin

Breadcrumbs to CheesecakeBooks are a favorite project of mine. There is something so satisfying about taking someone’s writing and spending the time and dedication necessary to format it beautifully for offset printing. Not every graphic design job requires hours poured into one single project, but with books there is no alternative. The massive quantity of words, images, captions, reference material is a great place to get lost as a designer. For the text-pages of this project I was honored to be able to help fine tune their team’s incredibly thorough research and insight into something that would be easy to read and easy to publish. Local history buffs will enjoy the detail included, and those interested in a career in the medical field will appreciate all the hard work that went into building the Willis Knighton health system as it stands today. Read more about this gem below… The Forum published an excellent summary last week. You can find it on page 12 in printed issues.

Forum News, 11-11-2013 → Page 12
New book outlines success, history of Willis-Knighton.

When arriving at Willis-Knighton Health System in 1965, James K. Elrod was a 27-yearold former Air Force officer with a master’s degree from Washington University School of Medicine and a residency in hospital administration. Upon his arrival, he realized Willis-Knighton was sinking in what he calls “undeclared bankruptcy,” but the young administrator was determined to right the ship. Today, he remains at the helm of Willis-Knighton, having navigated the health system to unprecedented growth, bringing it financial stability and national recognition.

As only the second chief executive in Willis-Knighton’s almost 90-year history, Elrod has a broad view of the hospital’s past. Several years ago, as employees and physicians were being lost to retirement and death, he began to realize that many of the stories about the health system and its growth were in jeopardy of being lost. Thus, he was inspired to embark on a journey to research and write the Willis-Knighton story for future generations. That work, what he describes as a “true labor of love,” is the newly-published book, “Breadcrumbs to Cheesecake.”

The title of the book plays on the belief that charity and service to our fellowman yields success. Part healthcare and business guide, part memoir and part local history, “Breadcrumbs to Cheesecake” is more than a story of bricks and mortar. The book chronicles an inspiring journey of 90 years of unending toil, human compassion and industry leadership. It is the story of the people, vision and dreams that transformed a struggling inner-city sanitarium into the largest medical center in the state of Louisiana. Interlaced with personal anecdotes and philosophical observations garnered by Elrod, the book warmly reflects the family atmosphere that continues to this day.

Beginning with his arrival at the hospital, which opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1924, he takes a look at the early history of Tri-State Sanitarium, “an upstart hospital at the end of the trolley line.” Much of that original hospital was still intact when Elrod arrived in 1965. But that was to change once he was able to lead it to a more solid financial footing and expand healthcare services throughout the community.

The book is filled with information about how he and his team made changes that would push the hospital to greater prominence, transforming it to a regional medical center. Included in the book are what Elrod terms “25 game-changing strategies.” Among these were decisions to establish the state’s first satellite hospital and develop a robust physician network. He points to the creation of a “tithe the bottom line” philosophy of philanthropy, sustaining what he calls a “family feel” for relationships with employees and physicians, and diversification into senior residential initiatives at The Oaks of Louisiana as important strategies for continued success. The text is complemented by more than 90 photos and illustrations that enhance its readability.

Published by R&R Publishing, the book retails for $17.95. Proceeds from the sale of the books will go to the WK Employee Benevolent Fund, which aids employees in times of personal need, crisis and tragedy. Elrod purchased a copy for every Willis- Knighton employee and physician with 15 or more years of service, as a tribute to their participation in the journey to success.

The book is available on and at the gift shops at Willis- Knighton South, WK Bossier Health Center and the Marketplace at The Oaks of Louisiana.