Nola Family June 2022

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nola family Parent Fearlessly

June 2022

5 Essential Life Skills Mental Health Effects of COVID How Fatherhood Has Changed



nola family CONTENTS


JUNE 2022

Business Operations LAURIE ACOSTA Director of Operations


Administrative Coordinator

Editorial AMANDA MILLER Managing Editor

EMILY DREZ Assistant Editor



Editorial Assistants

Olivia A. is 10 years old and attends St. Rita Catholic Harahan.

Art/Production MELODY TAUZIN Senior Graphic Designer


Photo by Twirl Photography

Graphic Designers


Multimedia Assistant



Director of Business Development

16 How the


Fatherhood Role Has Changed

6 From the



12 Teaching Life Skills

14 Parents with PTSD

15 Long-Term


8 From the



18 Spotlight


9 Parenting

19 Dad About


10 Dear Frankie

20 Out & About


12 Wiggle Room

Mental Health Effects of COVID on Children


22 Gear to Get

Director of Marketing Marketing Assistant

Community Development TERI HODGES

Director of Community Partnerships

ROXANE VOORHIES Community Outreach

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NOLA FAMILY is published monthly by FAMILY RESOURCE GROUP INC. and distributed free of charge. Subscriptions accepted. Only authorized distributors may deliver and pick up the magazine. We reserve the right to edit, reject, or comment editorially on all materials contributed. We cannot be responsible for the return of any unsolicited material. NOLA FAMILY Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission prohibited.



June 2022 Issue 133



from the publisher


School is out, and now, the fun begins. Well, maybe it’s not so much fun for me, as I feel like I just became a glorified Uber driver for my kids. However, it’s officially the start of summer camps, pool parties, sleepovers, beach trips, and any other vacations happening over the next few months. I know my children have been counting down the days until we get to the beach. We made it through a busy May full of teacher gifts, class gifts, final room mom duties, final soccer games, parties, and dance recitals. For my family, the day of the recital is what determines the day we leave for the beach each year. We probably go to the beach four times a year. The beach trips are often just a weekend here and there during the school year, and of course, a trip during our summer vacation. This year, though, I have been inspired to find another venue to take my family to at the end of July before school starts again to give them a new experience. Having this time together is so important, and I feel lucky that we are able to be together. These experiences allow us to disconnect from daily struggles and reconnect as a family. Luckily, my husband and I have also been able to take many parentcations by extending our work conference trips a day or two early and after. This has allowed us to re-energize and reconnect, which I think is so important for you to have a healthy marriage. We are 19 years strong! This summer, my family and I are looking forward to another summer of fun together. Whether you decide to stay home this summer, or send your kids to any of the amazing local or overnight summer camps, I hope you enjoy this time with your kiddos.

Associate Publisher 6




from the bookshelf

GREAT READS FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH Imagine your way toward better mental health with these immersive reads highlighting allyship, self-care, and healing.

Young Readers

by Claire Legrand Everwood is Finlay’s haven from her depression, anxiety, and family drama. But when her imaginary hideaway turns out to be a real place with problems of its own, Finlay learns that she can’t save the kingdom without first saving herself.

Whatifs by Emily Kilgore Cora’s “whatifs” take all the fun out of her day and replace it with worry, until a friend helps her reimagine her wonderings. This fun intro to cognitive therapy concludes with an author’s note about her own childhood anxiety.

Young Adult

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld When all the other animals tell Taylor how he should feel and what he should do after his tower falls, the rabbit listens. A heart-warming reminder of the power of empathy and open ears.

When Sadness is at Your Door by Eva Eland When sadness arrives like an unexpected guest that won’t leave you alone, this gentle guide suggests creative ways to make the visit more pleasant for everyone.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia A secret web-comic superstar and her real-life anxiety collide in this fantastical rom-com about fandom, friendship, and family. Filled with fabulous art and valuable lessons, this book is a great way for teens to explore the many ways we find and lose ourselves online.

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram This sequel to the must-read Darius the Great is Not Okay proves that everything you thought Middle Grade you wanted isn’t always enough. Home from Fighting Words Iran with his first boyfriend, dream job, and by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley a spot on the soccer team, Darius still deals Della and Suki have just entered foster care, with depression, cross-culture relationships, but the unfamiliar home and new school worry bullying, body image, consent, and boundaries Della less than the strange way her sister is with plenty of tea, Star Trek, and charm. acting. As Suki’s hidden trauma drives her to Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling a devastating act, Della must find the words by Wai Chim to fight for herself, her sister, and her friends. Anna Chiu has no words to talk about her Written by a survivor with input from child mother’s wild moods–not to her father, school psychologists, Fighting Words honestly and engagingly explores foster care, trauma, sexual counselor, or even herself. But when her father’s new delivery boy honestly shares his assault, suicide, and playground harassment own hospitalization, Anna begins to see her with humor and hope, and is best suited for situation in a new light. ages 10+. Isaiah Dunn is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist Isaiah harnesses the power of creativity and community to find his voice while dealing with grief, housing instability, and parental addiction. Some Kind of Happiness


The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember by Fred Rogers Some days we all need a kind reminder that our feelings are okay, and that every part of us is liked.

Meg Davis Shipp works in Youth Services at New Orleans Public Library. Recommending amazing books for kids and teens is the best part of her job.



parenting corner

Supporting the Mental Health of Parents “Parenting stress” is a term that is used by psychologists to describe a feeling parents have when they feel that they are unable to meet the demands of parenting. This is a subjective concept because what parenting looks like for one person may be different for another. At some points along the parenting journey, all parents have this feeling. Sometimes, it can be a frequent and overwhelming experience. When this happens, parents’ behaviors can change to meet the demands of parenting, but not always in a positive way. Parenting stress can lead to a negative mood, decreased emotional well-being, decreased life satisfaction, and negative relationships with spouses and children. This does not just impact parents, it can also impact children in the present and future. Children can feel stressed, act out at home or school, regress, or become clingy. Long-term parenting stress on children can lead to trouble with peers and future relationships as well as increased risk for mental health and substance use issues. These outcomes show the importance of parents having a support system. Giving support to a parent and their family may not be that simple. Everyone’s preference–and type of help needed–is different, so asking what you can do to support them is a great starting point. This allows the parent to feel in control and have a sense of independence about what they need. There are times when a parent does not know what they need. So, how can you still support them? Offer to take something off their plate. For instance, ask if they would like you to provide dinner for them and their family or to watch their

child(ren) for an evening so they can do some self-care. This can help the parent with ideas about what they could use help with. The ultimate decision is up to them. If they say no, then simply let them know that you are there when they are ready. Finally, normalize seeking mental health treatment. The stigma around mental health can be very negative for some communities. That stigma can prevent people from seeking the help that they need. Let the parent know that getting help does not make them “crazy.” Rather, it makes them a responsible adult because they are asking for help when they need it. Don’t stop there. Help the parent find mental health services. Calling the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or their insurance company with them to find a provider can be helpful. Additionally, going with them to the appointment and/or being a listening ear when they are in treatment can be ways to support a parent and get the help they need. Seeking care is one thing, but having the support of others during treatment is priceless. Research shows that people who have social support are more likely to actively participate, be compliant, and complete treatment. Being a parent is a tough but rewarding job. When parenting gets to be overwhelming and begins affecting a parent’s mental health, it can also impact the child(ren). This means that parental mental health needs to take priority. Asking them what they need, offering to take something off their plate, and normalizing mental health treatment can all work together to support a parent’s mental health. Monet Somerville is a Parent Educator at The Parenting Center. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Developmental Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. She is also a licensed Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner. NOLAFAMILY.COM | JUNE 2022


dear frankie

Being Yourself in Relationships Dear Frankie,

I grew up in a quiet family. Neither of my parents felt anyone in the family needed to share their every thought and feeling. We didn’t wag our tails a lot, bark much, or dance around when one of us came home. Being reserved was never a problem for me until now. Recently, my boyfriend has been complaining that I never share my feelings, and he is starting to wonder if I really love him. He pointed out that couples often write loving thoughts about one another on Facebook. I can’t imagine sharing such personal feelings in public, let alone on social media. He did admit I was a good listener. I love my boyfriend, but I’m shy. I don’t think I can become an extrovert at this late stage in my life. I’m worried this is going to be a deal-breaker. Concerned,


Dear Flossie,

No, you can’t change your personality, nor should you, just like a leopard can’t change his spots. Before you throw in the towel, ask your boyfriend to suggest ways you might show him how much you care. He might say, writing a love note, smiling and wagging your tail when he comes to visit, or telling him what you like about him, such as you love it when he acts goofy. These might be doable even for someone shy. I agree with you about Facebook. Is nothing sacred? You might remind him that one of the greatest gifts you can give another person is listening and providing them with your undivided attention. If that’s not enough for him, it might be time to rethink the relationship. Best,


Frankie is a rescue and a service dog for Geneva Woodruff. Together, they have traveled far and wide. Along the way, Frankie befriended dogs from all walks of life. She thought it would be remiss not to share the many lessons of life she learned from them.





Teaching Life Skills

By Emily Drez


ne of the most important responsibilities a parent has is to prepare the next generation for the world ahead of it. No matter how young your child is, there are plenty of little skills they can learn to do that will make a big difference in their lives once they become young adults. Here is a list of life skills that will prepare your child for his or her future: How to think Teaching your child how to think for themselves at a young age will help develop the critical thinking skills they need once they start doing things on their own, such as driving, working, and living in their own place. You can start by letting your child do things by themselves around the house that they do not normally do; have them cook a meal or choose what they want to wear in the mornings. Whatever you do, try not to intervene! Instead, ask them about their thought process behind what they do so you can offer tips and tricks. How to use their manners You can go a long way with a simple “please,” “thank you,” and “yes ma’am.” A gesture as small as politeness will have a positive impact on the people around you. Proper manners are crucial in the classroom, at your job, or anywhere else in public, so when your child develops a habit to be polite to others, they will gain respect anywhere they go. Encourage them to use their manners even when it may be hard to remain polite to a rude person. How to cook Let your child help you cook dinner while you teach them how to use the stove, oven, and microwave. They don’t have to become a gourmet chef, but, as long as they know the basics, like how to cook grilled cheese and boil pasta noodles, they’ll feel more confident in their future cooking endeavors. How to budget



Financial literacy starts with a basic understanding of how money works. Give your child a small allowance to spend on whatever they want. For example, you might give them $10 to spend each time you go to the grocery. At first, they might spend every penny on something big, but they will eventually learn to be more selective when they want to buy more things for ten dollars. This will teach them about tax, too, as they will learn they have to spend a little less than $10 in order to pay for their item(s) plus tax. You can also teach them how to save their money by telling them that if they save the $10 you just gave them, they’ll have $20 to spend next time they go shopping, or even $30 the time after that. How to do laundry Teach them how to separate fabrics and colors, how to use stain remover and fabric softener, and how to measure the detergent in the cap. Remind them to check the tags in their clothes to make sure they are washing the clothes correctly, and let them know which items of clothing should not be put in the dryer. Not only will your child know how to help you with laundry, but he or she will also carry this skill to college where they may need to do their own laundry. If your child has special needs, these skills might be a little more difficult to teach to them. The best way to navigate these lessons is to teach them gradually, as giving your special needs child too much information at once can be overwhelming for them. For example, don’t teach them how to dry their clothes until they master using the washing machine. You can also take them to the grocery store with you and let them find a few items from your list. One helpful method is doing a chore partially for them and letting them finish the rest, then gradually doing less of the chore for them as they learn to do it on their own. However you go about teaching your child these essential life skills, they will be prepared for the real world and the steps they take to get there.



Parents with PTSD:

The Unexpected After Effect of the NICU

By Sarah Lyons


never thought I would experience having a child in the NICU, but five years ago when we found out we were having triplets, I was told that my pregnancy was considered high risk and the babies would most likely be born early and would spend time in the NICU.

I spent time doing research, toured the NICU, and talked to other moms. While this early preparation was valuable, nothing could truly prepare me for the experience. Seeing your child hooked up to wires, monitors, and oxygen is heartbreaking. There are often alarms going off as your child struggles to breathe, and you spend time sitting next to their bed worrying. The environment is stressful and isolating. Our triplets spent 14, 16, and 44 days in the NICU. One needed open heart surgery and came home on a feeding tube and oxygen. Once they were home, we went into survival mode as we continued to care for our three older kids, as well as three newborns with low immunity. It was an exhausting and challenging time unlike anything else we have ever experienced. Over time, we found our new normal and got into a routine. I noticed new anxieties that I had never experienced before. I was afraid to take the kids out, fearing we would catch a virus that would compromise their health. Logistically, it was hard to take three infants anywhere, especially one that needed a feeding pump and portable oxygen tank. I started to have panic attacks, bad dreams, and found myself worrying more than ever. That winter, our daughter was hospitalized for five viruses and was admitted to the ICU once again. When they prepared to transport her, my heart started beating very rapidly, I began to sweat, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I shared my feelings with the hospital social worker, and they were able to support me and talk me through my panic attack. My daughter recovered and was sent home where she grew and thrived over the next few months. As the anniversaries of painful memories, including the difficult high-risk pregnancy, hospital bed rest, missed moments with my other children, NICU time, and my daughter’s surgery to fix her heart defect came upon us, I started to feel more and more stressed. Recalling the difficult conversations I had with doctors about the true risk my children were in at birth and during the NICU time, I realized I was not in a good place mentally. I found myself panicking, worrying, and feeling general stress elevated considerably beyond my normal levels. I had a tightness in my chest, and I frequently snapped at my husband and kids. I knew it was time to ask for help. I didn’t feel like myself. With the encouragement of my doctor and my husband, I sought out a counselor that helped me work through my emotions about the experiences I had walked through over the last year. My counselor



treated me for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I began to feel like my old self again. Previous to my experience in the NICU, when I thought about PTSD, I thought of veterans who had experienced war. While this is a serious problem that deserves attention, it should also be taught that PTSD comes after a variety of life experiences. Parents who experience their child in the NICU and those who have severely ill children often experience PTSD. According to a recent New York Times article, “Duke University interviewed parents six months after their baby’s due date and scored them on three post-traumatic stress symptoms: avoidance, hyperarousal, and flashbacks or nightmares. Of the 30 parents, 29 had two or three symptoms, and 16 had all three.” Parents who walk through the NICU experience have several traumas in short succession. First they have an early, often unexpected, birth. Then they see their newborn child endure risky medical procedures, and there are alarms sounding indicating their child is in distress. Often, NICU babies have repeated episodes that are life-threatening that parents must witness. There are conversations with doctors about the risk their child is in on a daily basis as well as observing the fragile state of the babies around them in tightly-spaced rooms. Parents will face these traumas almost every time they see their child during the time they are in the NICU which can be days, weeks, or months. Due to these conditions, the NICU could be likened to a warzone. Parents with PTSD due to the NICU experience may struggle with depression, anger, anxiety, nightmares, avoidance of certain situations, panic when they hear an alarm going off, or even distance themselves from their child. While some parents may notice these symptoms right away, it is possible that it may take months to show up, sometimes when the family feels like things have returned to normal and they are out of “survival mode.” If you feel like you are experiencing PTSD, reach out to the NICU for resources for parents. Most hospitals have social workers prepared to work with parents and refer them to support groups and counseling services. The March of Dimes is also a great resource for parental support for NICU families. Untreated PTSD can cause lingering effects on both the parent and child, so it is best to reach out as soon as possible. Five years after their birth, I still have moments where I worry about germs, but I have to remind myself that they are bigger, stronger, and their bodies are more equipped to handle and fight off illness. My three, four, and five pound babies are now strong, average-sized kids. Thanks to the counseling I received when those moments happened, I am able to remind myself that the NICU is in our past, and the kids have a bright future.

Long-Term Mental Health Effects of COVID on Children


e are facing a silent epidemic of grief in children, or what I refer to here as “psychological long COVID.” Across the nation, over 175,000 children experienced the death of at least one parent or caregiver to COVID, including more than 3,000 youth in Louisiana. Following the death of a loved one, most children are resilient and will naturally experience “good grief,” which involves finding healthy ways of connecting to the person who died and making meaning of their death in age-appropriate ways. However, many children who have experienced deaths due to COVID, especially those exposed to prior traumas or losses, are more likely to develop psychological long COVID, involving a host of grief-related psychological or behavioral problems. In fact, research indicates that the sudden death of a loved one is the strongest predictor of poor school outcomes, above and beyond any other form of trauma, including physical abuse or sexual abuse. Bereaved youth are also more likely to experience posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and risk-taking behaviors. Although we do not yet have enough data to know how long psychological long COVID may last, studies show that traumatic losses in childhood can lead to a wide range of problems in adulthood, including relationship difficulties, substance abuse, prolonged grief disorder, depression, and suicide risk. This speaks to the need to identify “at-risk” bereaved youth as quickly as possible and provide early, evidence-based interventions. Children typically grapple with three primary challenges after a loved one dies. First, they may miss the person and long to have them back. Second, they may feel lost without the person or uncertain of how they will get through life without them. Third, they may be very preoccupied with the way the person died. Fortunately, there are a number of things that adults can do to help. They can help children find healthy ways to feel

connected to the person who died by allowing children to keep tangible items that the person once owned or engaging in activities that the person enjoyed. Adults can talk openly about the person–saying their name frequently and sharing fond memories. They can help identify positive traits that the children have in common with the person and discuss how to carry on the person’s legacy by harnessing those traits and behaviors. Children’s concerns about the circumstances of the death often stem from unanswered questions. Did they suffer? Were they afraid? Adults can help by allowing children to ask any questions they may have and providing simple, straightforward answers. While most bereaved children will benefit from adult support alone, certain “red flags” may indicate the need for assessment and possible therapy. These include behavior changes that cause significant impairment in daily functioning. In younger children, this may involve difficulties eating or sleeping or separation anxiety, such as refusing to leave a caregiver’s side. For older children or adolescents, this may involve constant tearfulness, extreme social withdrawal, or excessive risk-taking behaviors. Other red flags include signs of posttraumatic stress such as nightmares, avoiding reminders of the person who died, hypervigilance, or appearing numb. Finally, any expression of a wish to die would require immediate attention from a trained clinician. Although discussions of long COVID have focused almost exclusively on the physical health impact of the virus, it is time that we pay attention to the equally detrimental psychological long COVID that bereaved children across the country are experiencing. Collectively, we have the ability, and societal responsibility, to identify and support our nation’s grieving children, and in doing so, ensure the long-term well-being of our most vulnerable youth. Julie Kaplow, Ph.D., ABPP, Executive Director of The Trauma and Grief Center at The Hackett Center for Mental Health, Houston and the Children’s Hospital New Orleans Trauma and Grief Center NOLAFAMILY.COM | JUNE 2022


How the Fatherhood Role Has Changed By Anthony Bui


eing a father has never been easy, and it should not be something that is taken lightly either. It is a privilege, honor, and great responsibility, and when I look at my own dad, I can’t help but think about the line of men in my family and how the fatherhood role has changed over the years evolving into what it is today. From my grandpa, to my father, and finally to my cousins who have recently entered into fatherhood, the way that they raise their children, and the role that they play in their lives, has drastically changed. Looking outside my own family, I notice the same changes for those stepping into fatherhood. Fathers Are More Active One local dad, Brandon Foreman, expresses, “I think fatherhood has taken a much more active role. In the past, fathers were looked at as more of the providers, and the mother was the rock of the family. Today, with everyone’s crazy schedules and work life balance, it takes the whole family to keep things moving.” With the rise of dual-income households and more women entering the workforce, life begins to move at a faster pace for these families. There are two work schedules to consider and two sources of income, and coupling that with the already hectic life that comes with raising children, “fathers are having to step up and be more than just a provider for the family. They must take a much more active role in helping and mentoring the children,” shares Foreman. This means being there physically for the child, providing for the family, and being there for them emotionally and mentally as well. Father Are Emotionally Involved To successfully help and mentor children, a father needs a relationship that extends beyond just casual conversation. Yes, your child’s physical health, grades, and progress on chores are important, but so is their mental health, dreams, concerns, questions, and ambitions. Fathers used to be portrayed as these rugged characters whose sole responsibility revolved around being the breadwinner of the family. Now, fathers are spending more time with their children physically, mentally, and emotionally. Fathers Parent Differently Because of this increased interaction, fathers have also changed when it comes to their methods of parenting. The role of a strict enforcer has evolved into more of a parenting style that differs from fathers of the past.



Dr. Sanjay Juneja, a local father, expresses, “I think in times past, kids were raised more by instruction than collaboration. Meaning, it was more of a patriarchal approach, kids aren’t supposed to do this, boys don’t do that; if you want to be a winner, you have to do this. There wasn’t much room for questioning or consideration of how a kid may have felt about something introspectively, nor the encouragement to voice it.” Fathers now, oftentimes raised through instruction rather than collaboration like Dr. Sanjay states, understand that it is an outdated method for fathering your children. Yes, there is a time and place to be strict and instructive, but that should not be the go-to response. Dr. Sanjay believes, “We should dive deeper into their personalities and the uniqueness of our children, and based on our observation, develop a plan accordingly. I feel that parenting isn’t about approaching things from the perspective of that’s what winners do, but rather, you become successful when you parent in a way that’s unique to your children and their personalities.” This goes back to being present physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is not just about having a physical presence. Children today will grow up to envy their fathers if all they cared about was having this strong, physical appearance that demands respect and full submission without question or thought. Children are a blessing. They are unique individuals with their own personalities, quirks, and fears. They should not receive fatherly love in a cookie cutter fashion of the past. Dr. Sanjay shares, “If we continue to take the approach of raising a child based on their individual needs and aggregate of unique personality traits and characteristics, it would lead us into a happier generation in the future with hopefully less division and more kindness in our dealings with one another.” The cars we drive have changed drastically over the years. The devices we use to communicate with each other have as well. If the cars we drive and our means of communication can change and evolve for the better, the fatherhood role can as well. Growing up, my dad was great. He raised me well and taught me many things that I will hope to pass down to my own children someday. There is no denying the impact that he had on my life and the love that he had for me (I am his favorite child after all). But, he wasn’t perfect, and no father can ever expect to parent perfectly. Let’s learn from the fathers of the past and happily embrace how the fatherhood role has changed over the years evolving into what it is today.




Green Light New Orleans By Anthony Bui Andreas Hoffmann founded Green Light New Orleans in 2006. As a traveling musician, he understood the carbon footprint that flying can leave behind and wanted to find a way to combat this. When Hurricane Katrina hit, he wanted to help rebuild the city in a sustainable way, and that led to the birth of this great organization. Their mission is to provide sustainable solutions to individual homes and encourage collective action to create a more resilient community. They do this through a variety of different ways, tackling different issues that they see. Two of the main issues that they have placed an emphasis on are energy and water. Energy usage is a huge problem that can be lessened with a simple solution. CFL light bulbs provide immediate energy reduction that can be clearly seen when looking at one’s energy bill. At Green Light, they look to provide these energy efficient light bulbs to anyone that wants to pick them up. The goal of this program is “to have a positive environmental impact by increasing the use of energy efficient light bulbs, helping residents reduce their utility bills, and reducing the carbon footprint of the community.” Hoffman noticed the change years ago when he made the switch and wanted to share it with others. He started with neighbors and friends, and now it has blossomed into one of the largest energy efficiency programs in New Orleans. To reduce subsidence and flooding in New Orleans, Green Light has instituted a rain barrel program. Jillian Welsh, the volunteer coordinator at Green Light, expresses just how much she loves this program. It is currently their biggest program, and in a city that receives so much rain a year, it is a great way of relieving the strain on the flood pumps, which use a lot of energy in order to divert water. These rain barrels come at a cost share so that everyone, despite their varying financial situations, can have access to their



very own rain barrel. Not only do these rain barrels help combat flooding, they also help to make people more mindful of stormwater issues. Since she has started at Green Light, Welsh has felt much more connected to the city of New Orleans. This city has gone through so much and has shown a great deal of resilience everytime. Being able to give back to this community, whether that be by installing a rain barrel or giving away lightbulbs, and bringing a smile to people’s faces is all she wants to do. They can’t do it alone, though. For those in the community, there are several ways to help out. Community members can become a monthly donor, or they can volunteer to spend time with Green Light. When donors make a monetary donation to Green Light, they get the satisfaction of knowing that they are playing a critical role in the success of the organization as well as the betterment of the community. There are also internships for positions like volunteer coordinator and rain barrel installer. For more information, interested individuals can email Welsh at The community can also give back by getting a lightbulb or purchasing a rain barrel themselves. Welsh shares, “We are all connected even if your neighborhood doesn’t flood, the water enters in and has an effect on everyone.” At the end of the day, it is a team effort. No one person can change the world by themselves. Welsh states that at Green Light, “We believe that one small action repeated over and over again can lead to the greater good. If everyone does their part, we can make a big difference.” Green Light New Orleans is doing their part.


dad about town




Brian Richards is a firefighter for the Jefferson Parish Fire Department. He has been serving his community in the fire service for 15 years. He has a passion for helping those in need, and it’s shown through his commitment to the service. Brian is also passionate about being an excellent father to his son and mini-me, Braxton, who is nine years old, and husband of 11 years to his wife, Kelly. The family also has a 15-year-old Yorkie named Prada.



Being a firefighter is such a rewarding profession. I love being able to help my community, whether it be putting out fires or providing medical services. My profession also gives me a great work/ life balance, and allows me to spend time with family.

When it comes to planning date night, Kelly and I try to have dates as frequently as possible. Going on dates is a great way to have much needed one-on-one time together. We really enjoy day dates like sitting outside and having cocktails at Bayou Beer Garden and little hidden gems like Wetlands Sake.


Every year for the past 15 years, our family vacations in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. The beach is definitely our happy place. We love waking up to the sound of the waves crashing, laying out by the Gulf, and traveling to Destin to try new restaurants.



One of our favorite family activities during the Spring/ Summer is taking the boat out on the lake and going to Pontchartrain Beach. Afterwards, we enjoy docking at The Blue Crab, drinking a Blue Crab Collins, and listening to the live bands.

We love playing board games and watching movies. It’s a good way to turn off the phones and socialize together. We also love sitting in our backyard, listening to music, and swimming in our pool. Also, we enjoy going for a bike ride around the neighborhood in the evenings and on weekends.



out & about


Online at noon. Join for a live-seated mindfulness meditation inspired by a work of Southern art. This online meditation program is led by Ogden Museum Educator and yoga and meditation instructor, Mikhayla Harrell. All experience levels are welcome. Registration required.


Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Reserve Visitor Center at 10 a.m. Join a ranger for a guided walk on a boardwalk trail through the Louisiana swamps and marshes of the Barataria Preserve.


Chalmette Battlefield at 2:45 p.m. Learn about the Battle of New Orleans at the place where it happened.


National World War 2 Museum. Travel to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans to explore, remember, and reflect on World War II through exclusive access to the Museum’s campus.

THE NEW ORLEANS ORCHID SOCIETY: SHOW & SALE Lakeside Shopping Center through June 5.


New Orleans through June 5. Overlook Film Festival celebrates all things horror in America’s most haunted city.


Virtual at 7 p.m.

New Orleans Art Museum at 6 p.m. The museum is open late night for an evening packed with musical performances, gallery tours, and special pop-ups.



FINE PRINT BOOK CLUB: THE PROPHETS French Quarter visitor center of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve at 9:30 a.m. Join Rangers to learn about the rich cultural history that makes New Orleans the special place that it is.


Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center at 10 a.m. Join a ranger for a stroll through downtown Thibodaux and hear the stories of its past.


East Jefferson YMCA at 8 a.m. The Y offers Parent’s Day Out for members and non-members for children ages six weeks to four years.


Culinary Kids at 5:30 p.m. Students cook, assemble, and enjoy a different recipe at each class, and dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Ages 10 through adult.


Southern Food & Beverage Museum at 11 a.m. Leave the city behind and explore another beloved cuisine of Louisiana.



Ogden Museum at 10 a.m. College students can explore the world’s largest collection of Southern art free of charge.


Southern Food & Beverage Museum at 11 a.m. The Creole Cooking Class explores the iconic dishes of New Orleans.


Culinary Kids at 6 p.m. Drop off the kids for a threehour, movie themed dinner, dessert, and pajama party. Ages 5-12.


Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center at 10 a.m. Cruise into Louisiana’s past on a boat tour of Bayou Lafourche with a National Park Service ranger.

4 Saturday ACADIAN CULTURAL CENTER DULCIMER JAM Acadian Cultural Center at 10 a.m. Join the Cajun Dulcimer Society and its core group, the Lagniappe Dulcimer Society from Baton Rouge, for dulcimer music: Cajun, country, Celtic, folk, and hymns.


Mix It Up Art Studio at 11 a.m. Bring the kids in for a morning filled with fantastic fun creating their own painting and projects. All art supplies included.


DoubleTree at 6 p.m. America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner theatre show is now playing. Solve a hilarious mystery while you feast on a fantastic dinner.


Historic downtown Gretna from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Enjoy fresh local produce and crafts. Rain or shine, under the covered Gretna Market Building.


Besthoff Sculpture Garden at 9 a.m. Classes are $5 or free for NOMA members and East Jefferson Wellness Center members.


Besthoff Sculpture Garden on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. Classes are $5 or free for NOMA members and East Jefferson Wellness Center members.


The New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute. Times Vary. Throughout the extended six-day event, NOWFE will present a dozen wine and food labs and unique, hands-on


Webinar with Nola Family Magazine at 9 p.m. Free virtual ParentEd Talk by Dr. Dimitri Christakis of Seattle Children’s Hospital.


BB’s Stage Door Canteen at 11:45 a.m. The Victory Belles are a delightful vocal trio performing the music of the 1940s, serenading audiences at The National WWII Museum and across the globe.


National World War 2 Museum. The American Spirit Awards celebrates individuals and organizations whose work reflects the values and spirit of those who served our country during the World War II years.


New Orleans at noon. Run the Creole Tomato Festival Run race in New Orleans.


House of Blues at 9 p.m. Jesse McCartney with Jamie Miller and Casey Baer.


Saenger Theatre at 8 p.m.

11 Saturday ARTS MARKET

Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn of City Park at 10 a.m. The Arts Market New Orleans presented by the Arts Council is a free, monthly, open-air marketplace of artwork made by New Orleans and Gulf Coast artists.


French Market District. The French Market’s annual Creole Tomato Festival celebrates the bounty of southeast Louisiana with live music and Creole tomato dishes.


Hyatt Regency New Orleans at 6 p.m. An evening of inspiring stories from local heart heroes, delicious food, cocktails, and dancing with music by The Essentials.


Audubon Aquarium. Party for the Planet presented by Entergy: World Oceans Day is a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. A healthy ocean supports wildlife, our economy, and our way of life.


Hyatt Regency New Orleans at 5 p.m. Meet and chat with top wedding professionals from florists and photographers to venues and dress designers. Door prizes will be drawn throughout the evening.

15 Wednesday SCHOOL GIRLS

Marquette Theatre. This buoyant and biting comedy explores the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe.

16 Thursday CROWDER

Champions Square at 7:30 p.m. Pre-show Q&A with Crowder and Friends (We The Kingdom, Anne Wilson, and Patrick Mayberry).


Orpheum Theater at 8 p.m. The poet stops in New Orleans as part of her international tour.

17 Friday

21 Tuesday HAMILTON

Saenger Theatre at 7:30 p.m. through July 10. Features a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway. Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.


Joy Theater at 7 p.m.


Jefferson Performing Arts Society at 7:30 p.m. Enjoy an evening of stand-up comedy from the nation’s largest comedy network.


Downtown New Orleans through June 27. The festival offers young singers the opportunity to THE WALRUS: work with native New Orleans conductor Cheryl A NEW ORLEANS BEATLES TRIBUTE Dupont, guest artist and composer Bob Chilcott, Zony Mash Beer Project at 7 p.m. New Orleans and sing with other choirs in one of America’s favorite Beatles tribute band live. historic cities.


BB’s Stage Door Canteen at 7 p.m. Tribute show honoring some of the best WWII songbirds: Betty Hutton, Doris Day, Dinah Shore, and more.


Williams Research Center 2 p.m. In collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in Washington, DC, and the Consulate of Sweden in New Orleans, THNOC will present a recital featuring the repertoire of Jenny Lind, the Swedish opera singer who was an international star in the 19th century.


Southern Art & Beverage Museum at 10 a.m. Dads and kids cook together in this special Father’s Day brunch class.


Longue Vue at 1 p.m. Family members of all ages will enjoy this hands-on interactive class, using flowers and botanicals from their gardens. All materials and instructions are provided, and light refreshments served.


Jefferson Performing Arts Studio Eastbank through June 24. A one-week session designed to give even the youngest aspiring actors the opportunity to learn the art of performing. The week concludes with a friends and family showcase.


Historic Downtown Covington at 6 p.m. This free family event features classic car enthusiasts displaying their “pride and joy” over four blocks in Covington’s historic St. John District. Check out local shops and restaurants, and live and DJ music in many of the downtown entertainment venues.

THE RIVER RIDGE BROMELIAD SOCIETY: SHOW & SALE Veterans Skylight through June 26.


Online at noon. The NOMA Book Club meets monthly to discuss fiction and nonfiction books related to art in NOMA’s collection and exhibitions.

25 Saturday COLOR BUZZ RUN

New Orleans at 8 p.m. This 5K night color run will leave you colorful so start out in white and leave multi-colored.


New Orleans at 10 a.m. Free Career Fair and Networking Event Employers, Community Resources, and more. Interview with industry leading companies seeking talented, experienced, and motivated professionals.


See Kevin Hart kick off ESSENCEFest weekend. NOLAFAMILY.COM | JUNE 2022


Summer’s Here

gear to get

1 2

1 Watermelon Slicer

Make perfect pops of watermelon with this easy-touse stainless steel watermelon slicer., $6.47

2 Stainless Steel S’mores Maker


Make s’mores indoors. Includes a place to hold graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, and comes with two roasting forks., $22.48

3 4

KUNIFU BBQ Grill Scraper

Made of stainless steel, this scraper is designed for a variety of grills, and it’s dishwasher safe., $13.99

4 5

Bug Bite Thing Suction Tool

Alleviate stinging, itching, and swelling caused by bites and stings with this tool., $9.99

5 Magical Misting Cauldron

Experience real magic by mixing a potion and making your very own pet., $59.99