July/August 2012 • Community Voices Orchestrating Change • Issue 6 Volume 4
INSIDE • Reflections on St. Roch: Past, present, and future • The importance of living locally • Rethinkers’ Superheroes • Transforming the City’s Health Department • How to live more healthfully
D O O H R O B T H H G G I I NE POTL S
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Neighborhoods Partnership Network’s (NPN) mission is to improve our quality of life by engaging New Orleanians in neighborhood revitalization and civic process.
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Letter From The Executive Director Photo by: Odd but Complete
n 1986 I was a sixth grader in Ms. Anna Edelman’s class. Ms. Anna was famous for challenging her sixth graders to think critically, utilizing current events of the world around us. During the spring, our class was privileged to have a guest speaker from South Africa who spoke about the horrific, legal segregation of apartheid. As a youth, I was fascinated with the similarities of South Africa’s apartheid and America’s civil rights movement. That spring afternoon, I made the decision to exercise my right to vote and full use of my American citizenship once I turned eighteen. Twenty-five years later, post-Apartheid, I was chosen to join a group of 19 mid-level executives to travel to Cape Town, South Africa. While there, we visited all of the popular sites: Robin Island, Table Mountain, the District Six Museums, and the various Townships. The townships: Upon sight were troubling to me that a “government” allowed its citizens to live in a free society without the proper services, such as sewage, electricity, roads, and clean water. The next day during our session, one of the fellows (not unlike myself) asked the following question, “now that there is political power, how have citizens benefited?” The resounding answer from one of the three panelists, “A hungry man is not free.” I left the conversation in disbelief that I can be of the majority and still not have the resources to provide for myself, my family or my community. Last year, the “Occupy” movement spread through many major cities throughout the world. New Orleans even had its own “Occupy” movement. Residents began to address the inequality of wealth distribution, greed, corruption and the excessive influence of corporations on government. How does one have political power and no economic power? The truth is that the conversation about the right to vote never interrupts or engages in the right to economic equality. Therefore, what we are learning is that economic power tends to result in political power even in democratic societies. The belief that the power of the vote alone results in sustainable and progressive communities is no longer enough. The option to opt-out of “public” is solely based on the bottom-line. The cost of healthcare, housing and education has gone up, and the wealth gap is widening more than ever. Like most systems in American society -- for that matter, global society -economics is a system that has failed our highest ideas as human beings, that builds community, advances health, creates beauty, provides sustainability, and encourages humanity. It has fallen short of the very essence of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” To say the least, it is easy for the very wealthy to influence the political process; they have millions to spend on TV ads, lobbying and campaign contributions. We can’t outspend powerful interests, but we CAN fight for and rebuild our neighborhoods with collective strength. Imagine viable, local economies with reasonably tight and strong neighborhoods that recognize and share in the economic well-being of the neighborhood. NPN is committed to building strong neighborhoods throughout the city. Building a strong neighborhood requires one to be part of that neighborhood. As the old saying goes, the journey of 10,000 men starts with the first step. So, I am committed to take the first step to bridge that gap by extending an open invitation to everyone who would like to be a part of the network -- and get connected.
NPN provides an inclusive and collaborative city-wide framework to empower neighborhood groups in New Orleans.
Find Out More at NPNnola.com
NPN Board Members Victor Gordon, Board Chair, Pontilly Neighborhood Association Angela Daliet, Treasurer, Parkview Neighborhood Association Benjamin Diggins, Melia Subdivision Katherine Prevost, Upper Ninth Ward Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association Leslie Ellison, Tunisburg Square Civic Homeowners Improvement Association Sylvia McKenzie, Rosedale Subdivision Tilman Hardy, Secretary, Leonidas/Pensiontown Neighborhood Association Wendy Laker, Mid-City Neighborhood Organization Darryl Durham, St.Anna’s Church Rashida Ferdinand, Sankofa CDC Sylvia Scineaux-Richard, ENONAC Third Party Submission Issues Physical submissions on paper, CD, etc. cannot be returned unless an arrangement is made. Submissions may be edited and may be published or otherwise reused in any medium. By submitting any notes, information or material, or otherwise providing any material for publication in the newspaper, you are representing that you are the owner of the material, or are making your submission with the consent of the owner of the material, all information you provide is true, accurate, current and complete. Non-Liability Disclaimers The Trumpet may contain facts, views, opinions, statements and recommendations of third party individuals and organizations. The Trumpet does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information in the publication and use of or reliance on such advice, opinion, statement or other information is at your own risk. Copyright Copyright 2012 Neighborhoods Partnership Network. All Rights Reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of any of the contents of this service without the express written consent of Neighborhoods Partnership Network is expressly prohibited.
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N E I G H B O R H O O D S
P A R T N E R S H I P
4 NPN’s “Coffee of My Dime” Meetings 6 Why the St. Roch Market is Important 8 The School Leaders 10 St. Roch Memories 14 A Safe Place to Play 19 It’s All Happening on St. Claude 21 Sankofa CDC 25 Alternative Economy at NOLA TimeBank 27 NO-ROACH Asthma Prevention Project
Global Green USA selling LEED Platinum homes in the Holy Cross Neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward
N E T W O R K
Sankof CDC: Taking Action for Community Health
NEIGHBOR OOD SPOTLIGH HT
On the cover: Youth at St. Roch Community Church
The Trumpet Editorial Board
The Trumpet Editorial Staff
Jim Belfon, Gulf South Photography Project
Tara Foster, Editor
Scott Bicking, Art Director
Nora McGunnigle, Local History Editor
Barbara Blackwell, Gentilly Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association Christy Chapman Vincent Fedeli, Global Green
Mark Hambrick, Policy & Advocacy Editor Patricia A. Davis & Greg Lawson, Associate Neighborhoods Editors
Rashida Ferdinand, Sankofa CDC Jessica Goins, Spears Consulting Heidi Hickman Elton Jones, New Orleans Rising Linedda McIver, AARP Ray Nichols, Maple Area Residents Inc. Brian Opert, Talk Show Host, WGSO 990AM Cathy Puett, Hands On New Orleans Valerie Robinson, Old Algiers Main Street Corporation Melinda Shelton
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4902 Canal Street • #301 New Orleans, LA 70119 504.940.2207 • FX 504.940.2208 email@example.com www.npnnola.com 3
NPN’s “Coffee on My Dime” Meetings by Greg Lawson, Neighborhood Liaison and Mark Hambrick, Director of Programs, NPN
As many of our readers are aware, NPN works with the many vibrant neighborhoods of New Orleans and promotes collaborative neighborhood engagement to improve civic processes and community relations for the citizens of this great city. Among the many programs we offer, Coffee on My Dime is one that seeks solely to improve communications amongst neighbors for those very goals.
his year, NPN began outreach work with individual communities to facilitate conversations and help residents understand how they are being affected by acute conditions particular to their area, and what kinds of strategies they can utilize to address their concerns. The objective of the Coffee on My Dime meetings are to bring residents together and speak to members of city government, various nonprofits, and elected officials to better understand how they can improve their quality of life. This effort coincides with the release of this very magazine, The Trumpet, which highlights the selected neighborhood or community with stories by and about its residents, notifies readers of upcoming events and promotes new and existing organizations and their initiatives. We at NPN also work on outreach and communications to community leaders about the meetings so they can offer their reflections on what they are hearing in their community. But Coffee on My Dime is by no means limited to those individuals. We encourage all citizens who are concerned about our fair city to attend not only these events, but to routinely engage our office, each other, and decision-makers about effective change. We also utilize the Healthy NOLA website (www. healthynola.org), developed in partnership with Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI), which provides a scan of the particular neighborhood and illustrates community assets, health concerns and other trends that citizens want to know about. The engagement process continues with the exploration of capacity building that specifically focuses on issues those residents are concerned about, rather than applying a cookie cutter approach. The subsequent meetings are designed to help develop a strategic plan that focuses on those identified issues, develop an implementation process for the plan, and determine which organizations, stakeholders, and decision-makers can support that implementation. Below are two examples of current and future work NPN is supporting in the neighborhoods of Village de L’Est in New Orleans East and St. Roch, respectively.
broken street lights, and potholes; Public Safety, including lack of police engagement; and Economic Development, such as the Omega Refinery Plant decision. Following an intense discussion, residents developed several action steps, including the development of committees to further address and resolve these community issues. On June 6, 26 residents gathered for the 2nd Coffee on My Dime meeting at MQVN CDC. New Orleans Police Department 7th District Commander Michael Harrison addressed Public Safety issues and ways to improve engagement between residents and police officers, as well as scheduled a neighborhood Crime Walk to provide an opportunity for officers to meet residents and business owners. Following the Public Safety discussion, the following update was given:
Small Successes: After a neighborhood home was burglarized several times, community members joined together to safeguard the home of the victim.
Village de L’Est The Village de l’Est neighborhood is quite unique, with a diverse population of African Americans, Vietnamese Americans, and a growing population of Latinos. The uniqueness of the neighborhood contributes to many of the successes from work done by the Village de l’Est Improvement Association, Villages of the East Coalition (VEC), Vietnam Initiatives in Economic Training (VIET), and Mary Queen Vietnam Community Development Corporation (MQVN CDC), who all have worked tirelessly to rebuild the neighborhood following Hurricane Katrina and combat the more recent challenges. NPN’s first Coffee on My Dime for the Village de l’Est neighborhood was held on April 12, 2012 at VIET’s community center as an initial assessment of the neighborhood’s strengths and challenges, with approximately 25 residents, community leaders, and non-profit leaders in attendance. The community identified the following issues for the neighborhood: Quality Education; Infrastructure, such as blighted properties,
a. Streets, Lights & Park: A system was developed to track blight and broken street lights to be reported to 311. b. Michoud Clean Team presented a timeline for upcoming community clean-up projects, with the first project to be beautification at Michoud Boulevard & Chef Mentuer Highway. c. Community School: Students of Sarah T. Reed High School presented the Reed Renaissance Report, a blueprint to improve the school’s performance. d. Economic Development: No feedback was given from Councilmember Johnson’s office.
With all the impressive strides to improve the quality of life for Village de l’Est, residents have faced several issues in moving the neighborhood forward. The upcoming Coffee on My Dime for the neighborhood will continue to assist residents in moving forward by identifying resources and collaboration that will build the capacity of neighborhood leaders. Small Successes: After a neighborhood home was burglarized several times, community members joined together to safeguard the home of the victim.
St. Roch The historic St. Roch neighborhood is a vibrant community that is resilient and ready to overcome their unique set of challenges. Many of the neighborhood’s successes are through collaboration with several of the neighborhood’s organizations, such as the Faubourg St. Roch Association (FSR) and the Faubourg St. Roch Project (FSRP). These collaborations have led to successes in community revitalization projects to restore neighborhood parks and the creation of an Art Walk on St. Roch Avenue. According to Reggie Lawson, President of FSR, “the strength of the neighborhood is its people and their resolve to create a quality of life to be emulated and duplicated in other communities.” With all of their successes in moving the neighborhood forward, there are still several setbacks that halt progress. Reggie Lawson believes that the major challenge of the neighborhood is the fact that they have been dismissed in the planning and redevelopment of the City. NPN is excited to join the residents and community organizations in working collectively to improve their quality of life. Following our Trumpet Release Party, NPN will host several Coffee on My Dime meetings to further assist residents in the shaping and rebuilding of St. Roch.
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Locavore experience, and exposure to the impressive array of produce, meat and dairy that can be found from local farms and artisans is an important tool to spread the word about how fun and affordable living la vida local can be. The official challenge website, nolalocavore.org, lists the farmer’s markets that take place in and around the city by day of the week, and a newsletter with recipes using in-season local produce is delivered to any interested folks who sign up. The support network for the Locavore then ranges from the entire community of producers and consumers, to the challenge participants, to the individual’s neighborhood. NOLA Locavores started in response to the devastation of the seafood industry after Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill in the Gulf. The lead organizers, Dr. Leslie Brown and Lee Stafford, set out to make the issue of local, sustainable food visible and important to New Orleans’ citizens. Stafford’s involvement with various organizations in Central City, including the OCH Art Market (founded in November 2010), makes the fact that NOLA Locavores is Central City-based even more beneficial on the neighborhood level. In fact, the Central City area is within easy walking distance from three participating restaurants: Avenue Café, The Irish House and Slice Pizzeria, and the neighborhood is evenly spaced between Fat Hen Grocery, Mat and Naddie’s and Ye Olde College Inn and Central Business District hubs Lüke and Domenica, among Besh’s others. Oretha C. Haley Boulevard especially, within Central City, is becoming a new culinary corridor. The expansion of Café Reconcile is well underway, and fresh food retailer Jack and Jake’s will soon be setting up shop in the Myrtle Banks building. Plus, Parkway Partners at 1137 Baronne Street is only blocks away and oversees the largest inventory for community gardens of any other organization in the city. NOLA Locavores address major issues of environment and health that affect the entire world, as well as the New Orleans area, but ultimately, it takes the individual’s dedication and willingness to experiment in order to make an impact. Our neighborhoods, and all the curious eaters in them, could use a little bit of local in their lives, and the Eat Local Challenge is a truly enjoyable way to do it.
Eat Local Challenge by Nina Luckman
In a city known for its love of all things food and drink, the NOLA Locavores have given New Orleans something to get excited about. It’s called the Eat Local Challenge, and is taking place all over the city proper and at local farms within 200 miles.
ating locally is a growing consumer trend, and its attractiveness only continues to increase as American citizens everywhere are starting to question just what effects where their food comes from has on the environment, their bodies and their communities. In the case of the NOLA Locavores, the Eat Local Challenge can mean the difference between well-informed, healthy New Orleans neighborhoods and continued ignorance about the impact a bag of chips from the corner store really carries. The New Orleans Eat Local Challenge runs for the full thirty days of June with the mission of getting participants to embrace “eating only foods grown, caught or raised within a 200 mile radius of New Orleans to raise awareness of the nutritional, economic, environmental and cultural benefits of eating locally sourced food.” Eat Local Challenge 2012 is the second annual occurrence of the event, and this year, a number of local restaurants are pitching in and rising to the occasion by creating dishes, and in some cases entire prix fixe menus, for the hungry Locavore. Participating restaurants range from John Besh’s acclaimed August and Domenica to neighborhood spots like Slice Pizzeria and High Hat Café. Farmer’s markets are also a huge part of the
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2-CENT LISTEN Fest Blossoms in Year Two by Nayita Wilson
is a collaborative effort of creative, frustrated, and comedic twenty-somethings. They all posses the innate ability to convey humor and urgency toward issues that plague not only New Orleans, but America in general. 2-Cent is a PBS documentary, an SNL skit and an In Living Color spoof all rolled into one. This series displays a wealth of information and gives a first-hand look at the issues Katrina exposed. Sidesplitting laughter will overwhelm you even though relatively serious issues are tackled on the show, such as race, poverty, and sex. Equipped with social consciousness, music as the backdrop, and the cold, hard facts, they have gained a loyal following and won coveted awards, including an FYI 2008 NAACP award and FYI Silverdocs: AFI Discovery Channel Documentary Film Festival Award for documentary filmmaking excellence. Mostly web-based, the show wrapped up last season on air in New Orleans with ABC proving that they are making big strides and praise-worthy “edutainment.” More than 1,200 people attended 2-Cent Entertainment’s second annual LISTEN FEST—a community event that raises literacy awareness and provides thousands of books to local youth. With major support from Scholastics, Scholastics Read and Rise program and the University of Phoenix, more than 7,000 books were distributed this year, in comparison to the 4,000 that were given out at last year’s LISTEN FEST. For the past two years, 2-Cent has brought the community an outdoor festival with a purpose. LISTEN! is an event put on for and by young people using literacy and art to address issues facing the community. It’s this
generation’s opportunity to use their talents in literary arts, music, visual arts, and film to inspire change. We feel an urgent need to focus on the violence and the education crisis. “This is an opportunity for youth to come together in a collective voice,” said Brandan Odums, Founder of 2-Cent. In addition to the book giveaway, LISTEN FEST provided many interactive activities. Kids had the opportunity to build and create their own storybooks, appearances were made by Dora the Explorer and Clifford the Big Red Dog, the University of Phoenix held parenting classes that focused on reading, and many local music artists performed. 2-Cent President Kevin Griffin said the team is pleased with the results and is talking with sponsors about making the event mobile. “We are working on doing a LISTEN FEST Tour to different cities and different markets. It has always been a plan to conduct a tour. When the University of Phoenix saw it, they were interested in making investments elsewhere,” Griffin said.
Other important partners who made the event a reality include Clear Channel, Community Book Store, Richard’s Disposal, Play Station, Liberty Bank, New Orleans Hornets and Center Staging. For more information about LISTEN FEST or 2-Cent, visit www.2-cent.com.
Why the St. Roch Market is Important by Alvin R. Albe, Jr.
was born and raised in the St. Roch area, and my grandfather was a butcher in the St. Roch Market. The market was always the doorway to the community and the center of activity. I have many fond memories of shopping for fresh seafood and poultry, and teasing the hens caged out front. I left New Orleans 30 years ago, and now I am back. During my visits to New Orleans, I watched with great sadness as the market and the neighborhood fell into neglect. Katrina delivered what seemed like the final blow. These days it seems like we read a daily article on the St. Roch area focusing on the obvious issues of crime, poverty and blight. Very little is mentioned about the positives and the slow-but-steady progress that is being made one home at a time as families move back into St. Roch. I believe this progress can be accelerated if the right catalyst was in place. It seems to me the redevelopment of the St. Roch market is that catalyst. A thriving center
of commerce serving the needs of the community will certainly encourage other businesses to locate in St. Roch. New businesses build pride in the community, create jobs, and provide alternatives to blighted properties. The city of New Orleans owns the St. Roch Market, and efforts are currently underway to refurbish the market. The city will soon begin a selection process to choose an operator for the market. It’s unclear how much interest there will be and what type of business will ultimately be housed in the renovated structure. I intend to submit a plan to operate the market as a fresh seafood market, returning it to its original roots. I would also propose to operate a small restaurant in the rear, as there are few dining alternatives in St. Roch. If I am not selected as operator, then so be it. It just means someone else had a better idea. Even though I lose, the neighborhood wins. That’s the end game for me.
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The School Leaders These superheroes were created by Rethink New Orleans Schools’ prethinker group (students ages 8 - 11) by Mallory Falk, Communications Director, Rethink New Orleans Schools
Meet the School Leaders. They may look like ordinary students, but when there’s a problem in their school, they transform into superheroes! Later this summer, the School Leaders will be featured in their very own youth-produced video game. “My hero is School Protector. He has soap that squirts out of his hands to clean dirty school bathrooms. He also has claws to scrape gum from under the desks.” – Justice “My superhero is Food Dude. He turns junk food into healthy food, and uses his lemonade laser eyes to give kids energy. He fights against Evil French Fry Guy so kids don’t get sick from junk food. To come up with my superhero, I took food and dude, put them together, and there you have it.” – Shiloh “My superhero is the Shuffle. His can summon monsters that guard and protect the school. Shuffle shoots cards out of his hands and the cards turn into safety monsters that stop crime.” – Jamil
“My superhero is Nice Lady. She shoots nice rays out of her eyes that make mean teachers nice. To create my superhero, I thought about what I didn’t like at my school and chose one thing the superhero would fix.” – Grace “My superhero is Changeroo. When she shoots rays out of her fingers, water fountains appear in all the classrooms so kids stay hydrated.” – Kassidy “My superhero is Rishane Hayabus. He uses jujitsu to break up fights. When the first two hands are about to hit, he puts the students in different places. If they still want to fight, he puts his hand on their head and they forget about the conflict. I came up with my superhero by using my imagination.” – David
“My superhero is Triple Headed Wolfeagle. He can see the past, present and future and uses his power to stop school violence from happening. Triple Headed Wolfeagle can make a bubble around people who are fighting, change their thought of mind, and make them become friends. He can travel back in time and stop beef between people, and he can change situations in the future.” – Ron “My superhero is Mr. No Bullying. He shoots rays out of his eyes that make people lose their train of thought so they stop bullying. After he saves the school, it looks safe and smells like Febreeze. I came up with my superhero by thinking about the problems in my school.” – Jeremiah
Community Outreach and the Transformation of the New Orleans Health Department by Dr. Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, Commissioner of Health, City of New Orleans
n recent years, the New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) faced major challenges to providing public health services to New Orleanians. Programs operated in isolation without sharing resources or information, and there was a possibility of disbanding the health department altogether. I assumed the role of Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans in January 2011 with a vision to transform NOHD into a 21st century model, regarded as one of the best health departments in the nation, working with the community to address our most critical health needs. We quickly learned and were alarmed by the fact that sixty percent of NOHD’s budget was devoted to funding struggling primary care clinics, taking away from our ability to make all of New Orleans a safer, healthier place to live, learn, work, and play. With pressing challenges in violence, behavioral health, and chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, focusing on public health is a necessity here. In the summer of 2011, we worked with local providers as well as city and state staff to transition our clinic patients to quality, affordable primary care sites. With 98 percent of our former clinic patients (3,278) receiving primary care services from local partners, NOHD is now able to focus on protecting and promoting the health of all New Orleanians through community-oriented initiatives. With support from Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the City Council, NOHD has secured the funds necessary to create new programs focused on
the issues that affect our community at large: Healthy lifestyles, violence prevention, behavioral health, emergency preparedness, community health improvement, and public policy. We are also taking steps to improve our organization using rigorous quality improvement techniques. With a commitment to rethinking local public health, the department has made notable advancement. The Women, Infants, and Children program increased participation by 13% in 2011, and the Health Care for the Homeless program successfully corrected many deficiencies to better serve those most in need. We have also significantly increased our community outreach efforts. NOHD has established itself as a convener, working with diverse partners for improved health outcomes. NOHD leads community stakeholders on initiatives to eliminate childhood obesity, improve the behavioral health system, and enhance the local public health system through collaboration and engagement. I remain committed to protecting and promoting the health of New Orleanians, and continuing to transform the NOHD so that we may more effectively tackle our community’s public health challenges.
To learn more about the Health Department and our work, please visit http://www.nola.gov/RESIDENTS/ Health-Department/. THE TRUMPET | JULY/AUGUST | 2012
The Commitment of NPN’s Neighborhood Liaisons to New Orleans’ Neighborhoods by Patricia A. Davis, Neighborhood Liaison, NPN
eighborhoods Partnership Network’s (NPN) Neighborhood Liaisons are the links between the neighborhoods of Orleans Parish and the resources needed to help make each neighborhood a great place to live. The Neighborhood Liaisons respond to neighborhoods’ requests for direction towards such resources, which can help to remove barriers and address resident needs. Neighborhood Liaisons help to address concerns and requests around neighborhood association development, blight, public safety, crime, transportation, education, criminal justice, health and civic education by connecting neighborhoods to resources, organizations, and elected officials. For example, concerns of any of the 73 neighborhoods can be referred to NPN’s executive director, Timolynn Sams. Timolynn will then respond to meet with the residents and provide a history of NPN. Through this personal interaction, the Neighborhood Liaisons assess the information received from the neighborhood. It is encouraged for a particular neighborhood to become a member of NPN and, when necessary, form a neighborhood association. Once this relationship is established, the neighborhood liaison meets with the neighborhood address the issues at hand. To further assist the neighborhood with its concerns, the Neighborhood Liaisons introduce NPN’s Capacity College, whereby residents can engage in a classroom atmosphere to address their issues through civic education. In addition, the Neighborhood Liaisons send out announcements by email, flyers and phone on important NPN meetings such as the Advocacy Task Force meeting, which addresses education and blight, among other issues. Members are also encouraged to serve on NPN committees. Other meetings and events held by city government, such as City Council meetings, are attended by Neighborhood Liaisons so that updates can be related back to the neighborhoods with which they are working. We encourage NPN members
to have an active voice in their community by becoming well-informed of what occurs in city government. Another important task of the neighborhood liaison is to support NPN members and potential members to convene at the Trumpet Release Parties, which provide neighbor-to-neighbor opportunities through networking at a social occasion. Prior to the Trumpet Release Party, NPN members are encouraged by Neighborhood Liaisons to write articles of interest for the Trumpet. NPN members, as well as non-members, can also voice their opinions through surveys administered by the Neighborhood Liaisons. Residents have the opportunity to complete surveys in person or on-line. The Neighborhood/Health Liaison provides health information to two NPN selected African American neighborhoods in partnership with LPHI and Concordia on the risk factors of a chronic disease: Type II Diabetes. This Liaison works very closely with these two neighborhoods through the Center of Disease Control’s (CDC) Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Communities Organized to Respond and Evaluate (CORE) Healthy New Orleans Neighborhoods (HNNO) cooperative agreement, which provides funding to educate residents on the risk factors of this chronic disease. “REACH communities continue to demonstrate that health equity can be achieved by improving the health status of those most affected by health inequities. Communities receive training, technical assistance, and support from CDC to better understand how social determinants of health—the economic and social conditions in the places where people live—can affect their health and longevity”. The Healthy NOLA Neighborhood (HNON) website is another source of information provided to residents by the Neighborhood Liaisons. This website, developed by NPN’s partner LPHI with the assistance of an NPN Neighborhood Liaison, provides vital information to residents on their neighborhood. Through continued communication and outreach, the Neighborhood Liaisons develop a trusted relationship with NPN’s members. The Neighborhood Liaisons are the ears for the community.
Accountability by Greg Lawson, Neighborhood Liaison, NPN When the people become involved in their government, government becomes more accountable, and our society is stronger, more compassionate, and better prepared for the challenges of the future.–Arnold Schwarzenegger Accountability is a concept in ethics and governance with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or position, and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences. According to the US Department of State, government or political accountability means that public officials - elected and unelected - have an obligation to explain their decisions and actions to citizens. Government accountability is achieved through the use of a variety of mechanisms -political, legal, and administrative - designed to prevent corruption and ensure that public officials remain answerable and accessible to the people they serve. In the absence of such mechanisms, corruption may thrive. By providing citizens with the skills and resources to affect civic decision-making, as well as providing reliable public information, strengthens public engagement and ensures a more transparent and accountable system of governance. As a citizen, I believe transparency promotes accountability and provides information to citizens about what their government is doing, but with a lack of community engagement, many citizens are left disempowered to hold
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public officials accountability. With so few people voting in local elections, and even fewer turning out to watch council meetings, questions are raised about how accountable authorities really are. Local government is a vital part of community life, and it serves best when its relationship to the people is open and responsive. Leadership accountability is critical in rebuilding stronger and more informed communities, but in order to hold leaders accountable, citizens must first be informed and included in the decision-making process. Informed people can act collaboratively and deliberately with government to create healthier and more inclusive communities. Public engagement enhances the government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. So, collaborating with citizens actively engages residents in the work of their government. NPN has partnered with the New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance (NOCOG), a local coalition that seeks more open, responsive, and accountable governance by promoting community engagement in civic discussions and decisions; increasing access to public data and information; supporting media and communications that inform and equip stakeholders; and seeking beneficial public policy and structural development.
For more information on NOCOG please visit www.nocog.org References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accountable_government#Political_accountability http://www.atg.wa.gov/GovernmentAccountability.aspx http://www.nocog.org/New_Orleans_Coalition_On_Open_Governance/About.html
St. Roch Memories by Alisha Johnson
Even before I learned of St. Roch’s rich history – a curiosity spurred by Katrina evacuation, exile and return – I knew that it was a special place. St. Roch provided me a sense of place, protection and perspective. Conveniently situated between my 7th Ward and 9th Ward relatives, just off of the French Quarter, and separated from Gentilly by a canal and an overpass, St. Roch was a launch pad for family and community events readily-accessible by foot, bike and bus. Alisha Johnson, 2nd girl from right on the steps
y earliest St. Roch memories include regular errands to Zimmerman’s on Law and Music, and infrequent but momentous walks to Melba’s Ice Cream parlor on Franklin Avenue, in the mid- to late-1970s. These trips stimulated a distinct sense of wonderment in my preadolescent brain. Who is this man who never seems to run out of Now-and-Laters and Pixie Stix, when I show up to buy rice and sugar? Where do these people sharing my love of this cold, savory treat go after we leave Melba’s? Could the world be bigger than just me and my family? Next door to us, Mr. and Mrs. Gaines were like grandparents to my siblings and me, reinforcing my parents’ rules but spoiling us in their special way. Whether doing homework after school in “Big Daddy’s” home office, or watching the evening news with “Pretty Pete” the parakeet, the Gaines usually had windmill cookies and homemade root beer to wash them down, for those of us who were not on punishment. And how they knew who of the Johnson Girls had been punished from watching TV and having snacks always baffled me, yet I now realize it’s an illustration of the collaborative community that raised me. One day Mr. Gaines sat me down for a serious talk about why I was failing math. “Is it that you are thinking about boys?” he asked, and before I could form my answer, he had already broken into a discourse on the value of “books” over “boys,” and the utmost importance of education. Beyond affirmation of my 5th grade problems with fractions and decimals, I knew I was loved, and this made me want to study harder. In fact, St. Roch brings to mind many role models who impressed me, long before I learned that Jelly Roll Morton was once a resident. The Gaines’ son had his own electrical business, and the white, open-bed truck sporting a lightning bolt logo is as indelibly printed in my mind as the purple K&B truck my own HVAC-master and extraordinaire of a Daddy, Rufus Johnson (not the bail bondsman), drove in the early 1980s. Meanwhile, the Martins down the street had a prominent lawyer for a daughter, a fact that I would now argue was highly underemphasized in the 2500 block of Painters Street. But that was St. Roch: Understated, maybe even intentionally, but always exemplifying an expectation of integrity, regardless of who was watching or receiving credit. And for what it is worth, I grew up watching intently and subconsciously crediting my community for its profound impact on my life.
I took notice of the St. Juniors across the street, whose older children visited their parents regularly and always took the time to wave at us little kids playing in the yard. The quiet but friendly elderly white couple who seemed to walk past our house every day with their disabled daughter challenged my thoughts about what family meant. Mr. Brown and his son would round the corner at Law Street daily, purposefully striding in front of our yard on the way to the Franklin Avenue bus stop at Dorgenois, which by the way, stands across from what is now the site of the friendliest little megachurch home of the first African-American President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Then, however, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church was comparatively small, white, and community-based, a neighborhood kid meeting spot during Vacation Bible School and the place where Mama began her spiritual journey, built on our Catholic roots. I was christened right up the street at Our Lady Star of the Sea (OLSS) and attended Kindergarten through 3rd grade there. Notably, St. Roch’s central location inspired many a power walk to beat the bell at neighborhood schools like OLSS, John A. Shaw, Gentilly Terrace and John McDonogh 39, where my siblings and I attended. A few weeks ago, more than 30 years later, I retraced my regular walk from Painters and N. Dorgenois Streets to OLSS. As age and Katrina would dictate, some restored and newly-built homes peak in this jack-o-lantern affected neighborhood, where abandoned and boarded-up homes no longer exude the energy I felt on our walks to Mr. Manuel’s store on Music and N. Rocheblave Streets, where we bought Ring Pops, cold cuts, and hog’s head and liver cheeses. Nevertheless, a Music Street home donned with its statue of the Virgin Mary immediately invoked one of the most comforting images in my Catholic history. “Our Lady, Star of the Sea,” with the serpent’s head pinned under her foot, infused me with confidence each time I gazed intently on her image during my formative years in elementary school. The Virgin gave me courage to face the little boys Mama warned might try to sneak a cheap feel in the St. Roch Playground pool. The Holy Mother also inspired my first Communion, and of course, every good little Catholic girl at OLSS knew how to fold our sweaters into a swaddling Baby Jesus to carry around the school playground. Approaching the school, as if for the first time, I remembered my first recess period in Kindergarten, the struggle of nap times, telling on the boy who would punch me in the back out of his secret love, and being grossed
But that was St. Roch: Understated, maybe even intentionally, but always exemplifying an expectation of integrity, regardless of who was watching or receiving credit.
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(St. Roch Memories continued) out by the boy who would lick his lips instead of asking for a Kleenex. I remembered writing punish lines for endless chattering and whipping out jacks at the most inopportune times. I recalled getting paddled by Mr. “O” (for Osenovich) when caught running through the basement, as distinctly as I relived the feeling of my mother’s pleasure when I did my first public Scripture reading as a first grader. Mama and I had practiced words for weeks leading up to Mass: Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Nebuchadnezzar, psaltery, and lyre. Standing outside of the tall, locked fence at 1927 St. Roch Street, the 18 steps that led to the main entrance of the school seemed as numerous as those of the State Capitol when I attended there. The school, closed long ago, and the shiny golden doors of the Church, once featured prominently in Katrina-soaked family photos of my Kindergarten promotion and 1st Communion, and of christenings of three of us Johnson Girls. Heading North on Prieur back towards my family home, I reached up and touched the street sign at Music, standing flat-footed. How excited I was for Mama and I to wade past this exact sign with “bad feet” (barefooted) one afternoon after school, following a flash flood. Heading East on N. Miro, I remembered walking this path with my friend Harold, who lived several blocks down from me on Painters. Less than a block away from his house was Crump and Sons, where my dad would sometimes buy his favorite snack: pigs’ lips and feet. Nearing the end of my self-guided tour of St. Roch, only two blocks from our family home where my 24-year-old brother and his family now live, I had to acknowledge the memory of that morning in 1993, when I got assaulted and robbed at the corner of Painters and Rocheblave. I was two months back home from college and walking to catch the Galvez bus for work at the United Way Building. The perpetrators had been sitting
on the steps of an abandoned house ironically diagonal to the home where my younger siblings would walk in the late 1990s to buy hucka-bucks (when they weren’t on the other side of Franklin Avenue buying pickles and nachos from Ms. Alice). Shortly thereafter, two decades after Mama had stopped letting us walk to Mr. Manuel’s on Music because the neighborhood was “getting dangerous,” she and my baby sister were also assaulted at gunpoint in front of our house. Strangely, it feels good to still wince at experiences so bane and grotesque in the place where neighborhood children gathered for jump rope, (metal) skating, hopscotch and varieties of “Hide-and-Seek” around and under our house. It lets me know that I still believe that our community and City are so much more than the sum of their bad parts. St. Roch is an 8-year-old chewing on a reed of sweet straw from Mr. Gaines’ adjacent sugar cane garden, and taking for granted his urban farming of mirlitons, tomatoes and figs, long before backyard gardening was the new “green” and “green” was the new “chic.” St. Roch is green playspace at the restored and improved McCue Park, an invigorating community square at the Healing Center, and the hopeful return of seafood, turkey necks and ham hocks to the St. Roch Market on St. Claude. St. Roch is the loving community that enfolds my brother, his wife and two sons similar to how my parents’ six kids were sustained. And St. Roch is the St. Juniors’s children still coming by to visit their mother on Sundays and waving to us from across the street. Alisha is a Gentilly resident who lives just on the other side of the Franklin Avenue overpass, in Edgewood Park, only a hop, skip and a jump from St. Roch.
The Importance of Collaboration and Strong Partnerships by Kristin Gisleson Palmer, New Orleans City Councilmember, District “C”
he energy and excitement around the ongoing revitalization of the St. Roch neighborhood is undeniable, largely due to the leadership of neighborhood and non-profit organizations. Publicprivate partnerships, including those between local and federal government departments, like the New Orleans Police Department, the United States Attorney, the Department of Justice and the St. Roch Project, the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association and the St. Roch Community Church, have been incredibly important. As many of you know, in my early twenties, I volunteered to rebuild homes for many individuals and families throughout New Orleans. Later, as Executive Director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO), I led an effort helping to renovate homes for low-income and elderly families in neighborhoods across the city, including St. Roch. I also spearheaded the creation of the RTNO Salvage Store, located on Marais Street, to address the need of saving reusable materials for both functional purposes and architectural preservation. Our team recognized that the work was only possible through the collaboration and support of the people in the community, and with the support of neighborhood associations, residents and businesses in the area. Now, as Councilmember for District “C” I see, from a different point of view, how important collaboration and strong partnerships across
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various sectors are for successful community development. Serving as Councilmember for the past two years, we work to ensure that there is considerably more attention from city government focused on community and economic development within our neighborhoods. I have worked with the St. Roch neighborhood in developing plans for affordable home ownership opportunities using the Road Home properties in the area and have been a strong advocate for the soft second mortgage program for first-time homebuyers. I have also worked to ensure there are more resources directed towards supporting existing businesses, and strategically working to attract new businesses and employment opportunities to our neighborhoods. Since Katrina, the city has been making strides to reform its permitting process to ease the burdens of opening a business. We must continue to take care of our current businesses, especially our women, minority and military veteran owned businesses. Lastly, the New Orleans Main Street communities are great community development entities that have really taken off post-Katrina. Many of these communities in District “C”, especially North Rampart Main Street, St. Claude Main Street and Broad Street Main Street, have been very active in facilitating community discussions, developing partnerships, and providing support to businesses and local non-profit organizations. Though we have made great strides, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done. However, I strongly believe that if we continue working together in partnership with one another, we will continue to see a better future for St. Roch and our other neighborhoods across the city.
An Area All its Own St. Roch by Christy “CeCe” Chapman
must say that I really enjoyed the time I spent in the St. Roch area. This small neighborhood has bright, bold colored houses that seem customized especially for this very unique area. St. Roch has a look of its own and local businesses of its own. Stretching from S. Rampart St. to Florida Avenue, I had the opportunity to visit with residents as well as business owners of the area. Having its own Sampson Park brings enjoyment to the children and families of the St. Roch community. This park’s play area, basketball court, picnic tables and football field is a sure fun highlight. One known mark that hasn’t yet came back is the St. Roch Seafood Market, a market that made this area popular with the diverse seafood being sold. The people are so unified that it even has its own church called St. Roch Community Church. The two business owners that I had the chance to catch up with were Cesar of Cesar’s Collision Center and John of the St. Roch Tavern, which both are committed to making this area everything it is and will continue to be. As I walked into Cesar’s Collision Center, owner Cesar was very proud of the area as he said, “this area has some great people; I feel that my business has added positivity to the area, a spotlight.” He also takes pride in the fact that he has been able to fight crime because of his surveillance cameras. “Being a part of this community feels good,” said Cesar.
Owner of the St. Roch Tavern, John, loved to talk about this cozy spot that’s atmosphere holds a 1980’s-style cigarette machine, old classic piano, jukebox, Crystal hot sauce, and the bar dog Buddy. This bar makes all neighborhood patriots feel at home and gives their neighborhood added value. John spoke about how the Tavern originally opened as Caranek’s Bar in the 1930’s stating, “I can only speak for myself, to me, I enjoy providing an all-inclusive place for neighbors, exneighbors, tourists, and friends to meet. I took over in November 2006. We have been operating for about 80 years. Also, we have the best bar staff in the area, maybe in town. We have continuity, once you lose that, it’s gone forever.” Also being a St. Roch resident for 10 years, John feels the neighborhood is always different, but always the same. “It’s the non-homogeneous and genuinely friendly qualities of the neighbors that makes this area different. We’ve seen great improvements in repair and rebuilding of homes throughout the St. Roch neighborhood, especially the St. Roch corridor. I am proud of St. Roch,” he said. This is an area that is surely being built to last.
Arson Attack on Women’s Health Organization in New Orleans by Jordan Flaherty
Women With a Vision (WWAV), a New Orleans advocacy and service organization that provides health care and other support for poor women of color, was the victim of a breakin and arson on Thursday, May 24. A small organization that has won a national reputation for their work, WWAV was founded in 1991 by a collective of Black women as a response to a lack of HIV prevention resources for those women who were the most at risk: poor women, sex workers, women with substance abuse issues, and transgender women.
WAV has made national news for leading the fight against Louisiana’s Crime Against Nature Statute, which targeted poor women of color, transgender women, and anyone forced to trade sex for food or a place to sleep at night. The law forced women to register as sex offenders in a state database and placed a “sex offender” label on their drivers’ license, among other requirements. With the grassroots leadership of WWAV, a national coalition that also included Center for Constitutional Rights, Loyola Law School, and police misconduct attorney Andrea Ritchie was able to get the law off the books and has won a series of further victories in the process of removing the sex offender registration requirements for those convicted in the past. The attack seemed political in its nature, directly targeting the crucial information, files, and materials needed for WWAV’s work. According to an email report from Bill Quigley, a social justice attorney and friend of the organization, “Major fire damage was done to a room which contained education and outreach materials. The arsonist seemed to have deliberately targeted this room. Destroyed were: three plastic and silicone breast models which were used to help people learn how to do self-examinations for breast cancer; a plastic pelvic model of a vagina; a two feet by one and a half foot plastic model of a woman’s reproductive system; boxes of male and female condoms; flip charts demonstrating the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV; several wooden penises which were used for condom demonstration; and boxes of educational materials. The fires in that room seem to have been
set with some accelerant and scorched the walls, ceiling fan and ceiling and destroyed everything in the room....The offices were ransacked leaving drawers pulled out and papers and files on the floor. A TV and a laptop were taken but many valuables were left including computer monitors, office equipment, even some beer left over from a reception held earlier in the week. Several small fires were started inside the offices, in the bathroom, the hallway and in a sitting room.” News of the attack sent shockwaves across social justice communities around the US, and offers of help and donations have been coming in, but much more is needed. The fires have put the organization out of business at that location. They are seeking emergency temporary new quarters, as well as donations of clothing, supplies, and more. The organization has released a letter that lays out many of their needs. In a video released on Friday, May 25, WWAV executive director Deon Haywood showed the damage and discussed the effects, concluding, “We are fighters, we are warriors here at Women With a Vision, and we continue our work.”
For the official statement from WWAV, please visit: http://wwav-no.org/arson-destroys-women-with-a-vision-office. Jordan Flaherty is a journalist based in New Orleans, a producer for Al Jazeera, and the author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance From Katrina to the Jena Six. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dukes of Debris Easter 2008 (above) — photo by Andrea Garland Fringe Parade 2008 (right) — photo by Devin Meyers
Goodchildren Social Aid & Pleasure Club by Kathy Connolly, Club Captain
ack in 2007, the St. Claude neighborhoods were really struggling. The river side of St. Claude was kind of okay, but businesses and artists were having a terrible time. The lake side of St. Claude was devastated by flooding and ensuing delays in the return of the residents. Organizations and individuals were working indefatigably to ease the way for everyone coming back, making sure that any planned recovery included preservation of all that makes New Orleans unique, especially arts, culture, markets, walkability, close-knit neighborhoods, mom-and-pop commerce and local schools. New Orleans’ most beloved cultural traditions arise from poverty and oppression, and the decidedly European and African traditions of celebration. Music and dance, parades and second lines, Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras Indians, costuming and masking, jazz funerals. When people are working day and night to put a city back together, they need to take time to reconnect and celebrate. I began working with Main Street, the Renaissance Project and neighborhood and arts groups to see how we could begin healing some of the wounds – pre- and post-Katrina. St. Claude had become a dividing line, between black and white, haves and have-nots, those fighting for improvement and those fighting for survival. I hoped St. Claude could return to its function as a main thoroughfare uniting communities. Easier said than done. I worked the usual activist routes. While those were important and satisfying, we were missing the celebration aspect. And in researching St. Claude, I discovered that parades used to roll there, but had not since Okeanos moved Uptown in the 1970’s. Could a parade be the answer? Having no parade organizing experience, I was blithely untroubled by the details and obstacles involved. The original idea was to roll during Carnival
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– ha! (But it does explain the name Goodchildren Carnival Club). One of our earliest supporters, John Hartsock of the HiHo Lounge, suggested Easter. Resurrection. Rebirth. For St. Claude. Goodchildren (Bons Enfants) was the name Bernard de Marigny had given to the street, so in the spirit of returning to glory, we adopted it. We researched St. Claudes, but it turns out designating something as “Saint” was a way of honoring someone for their accomplishments. Accordingly, St. Claude is named after Claude Treme. Getting parade permits in those days of disruption was a challenge. It took weeks! But because we were so full of faith and sincerity, we pulled it off – and rolled on Easter Sunday 2008. We lined up some fabulous paraders: the Opposite Machine (brainchild of Dr. Paul and the late lamented Helen Hill), the Frederick Douglass Marching Band (all 30 of them!) and fleshed out some ideas of our own, like the Dukes of Debris (we were going to be the first parade that cleaned up after ourselves!). Easter morning, permit and insurance covered, we started to gather. First, the Frederick Douglass Band pulled out due to the bandleader’s illness. The kids came out, all ready and willing, but couldn’t get into the school for their instruments. Panic was setting in, but pal Robyn Blanpied reminded us of a song from our Good Friday Jesus Christ Superstar Karaoke event -“Everything’s all right, yes...” Our intrepid musicians, Clifford McPeek on pocket trumpet and Michael Joseph on baritone, provided our sole musical leadership – all the way down St. Claude from Poland to Elysian Fields. From this, grew the impetus to form our own band. Now the Goodchildren Band, still under the leadership of its original members, has grown, learned boatloads of songs, and holds regular practices. We were fortunate to enlist the Pair-a-Dice Tumblers as the core of the new band. We are always open to new members who can play and march. Following that first parade, we received a Bywater Neighborhood Award from the Marianites of Holy Cross at their annual post-Katrina ceremony. Then -- an incredible invitation from the fledgling Fringe Festival to produce a parade for them. Turns out Dennis Monn, our first Easter Bunny, was also the co-organizer of that first Fringe Festival! As an “experienced” parading group, we got busy fundraising and planning for the November parade. We actually did have the Douglass Band, along with our own band, and the Drumcart and Moose’s Drums. What a turnaround, and what a spectacle it was! Fringe performers, artists, and residents all got their Fringe on. We also had what would (in various incarnations) become perennial participants – Bearded Oysters with fabulous bikes, the Guardian Angels, the buskers from Kamp Katrina, Krewe do Craft, Noomoon Tribe, and more. From these humble but auspicious beginnings, we evolved into an organization whose mission is simple: to help revitalize St. Claude Avenue and the surrounding neighborhoods through celebration and cultural preservation. We recycle/reuse: beads, throws, our signature decorated dolls; we are bullish on handmade throws. We still clean up after ourselves. Our traditions have grown, too – salute stop at St. Margaret’s, the Good Friday event, great raffles, doll parties, after-party at St. Roch neutral ground and Tavern. We’re committed to sustainability, and we participate in local events, like the Mirliton Festival, Fringe, SCADNOLA, local markets and art events. Our King and Queen for Life are Al “Carnival Time” Johnson and Miss Tee Eva; past honorees have included David & Roselyn, Mr. Quintron and Ms. Pussycat, Pat Jolly, John O’Neal, St. Louis Slim, Ms. Pearl, and Playgirl’s Man of the Year. We partner with local businesses and associations, including Bywater Neighborhood Association, Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association, Faubourg St. Roch Project, NO Fringe, the sisters of Holy Angels, NOLA Pyrate Week, St. Roch Tavern, HiHo Lounge, Saturn Bar, Marie’s, Yellow Moon, Old IronWorks/Piety St. Market, Mardi Gras Zone, New Orleans Food Co-op, Mr. T’s, Royal Furniture, Sweet Olive B&B, and more. We grow and develop, and we’ll enhance our social aid component. For we have become the Goodchildren Social Aid & Pleasure Club, and we mean to uphold the tradition. Grassroots love all the way.
More info can be found on our website: www.goodchildrencarnivalclub.org, and by emailing email@example.com. 13
Photo credit: Naomi King
A Safe Place to Play:
St. Roch Reclaims its Parks and Green Spaces Post-Katrina by Naomi King, Communications and Training Coordinator, Prevention Research Center at Tulane University Every summer morning, the northern end of St. Roch Avenue’s neutral ground transforms into a playground. Kids who otherwise wouldn’t talk to each other play pick-up football and sit under the shade of trees. One recent morning, about 15 children from St. Roch played with a group of North Carolina students. The rotation of visitors in town for mission trips have become a reliable summer tradition over the past several years and provide supervised playtime. It’s pockets of activity like this that show the vibrancy of St. Roch and, at the same time, reminds residents that more needs to done so that children have safe places to play and so the neighborhood can rebuild and flourish. A lot has changed in the Saint Roch neighborhood since Hurricane Katrina hit almost seven years ago. But the recovery is slow, according to many residents. Both kids and adults say the fear of crime, especially at night, still keeps them inside and away from their neighborhood’s streets and public spaces. The neutral ground is not an ideal place for playing games – there’s limited space and balls often roll into traffic. The missionaries who visit St.
Roch through a Christian group called MissionLab in the summer say they’re looking to move to the neighborhood’s large park, but for now the neutral ground is a way to bring children outside and still close to their homes. For kids like 13-year Roy Cross, it’s a great fit because he doesn’t like to spend as much time at the Sampson/St. Roch Park just four blocks away. “I go to the park sometimes,” Cross said, but while also mentioning that he’s seen people threaten to hurt each other at the park. “I leave cause I don’t feel safe.” Though drug dealing and violence are still pervasive, community-wide events and the neighborhood’s sports teams are transforming Sampson/St. Roch Park to be safer. Parents and coaches fill the park almost every evening to watch over practices and recruit children from the neighborhood to join the teams. The results are noticeable to residents. “We had to show we wasn’t scared,” said Coach Bernard Dyre, who supervises teams at the park. “The park is for the kids, and we weren’t going to leave. We had to break the cycle.” Dyre, coaching staff, and the local booster club have worked tirelessly to expand recreation programing at the park and have added several new sports – like volleyball and softball – to the St. Roch Crusaders, the club that’s part of the New Orleans Recreation Department, or NORD, league. The coaches also brought a private travel sports club, the New Orleans Monarchs, to the St. Roch Park about three years ago, making it their home field for practices. Ten-year-old Mikira Kirton, who plays softball and basketball for the St. Roch Crusaders, said she comes to the park every day “because it’s nice and I like to practice.”
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In addition to sports, parents and the sports clubs also teach kids about life through activities like team banquets and community events, said Bernadette McKinley, vice president of the St. Roch Booster Club. As the park’s concession stand manager, McKinley said she also envisions the club helping kids by offering healthier food choices with fresh fruits and smoothies. “I believe it takes a village to raise a child,” McKinley said. “We all have to step up, and we all have a certain role to play.” Just south of the park is another recreation space for residents. In 2007, city government built a paved walking path along six blocks of St Roch Avenue, a project that originated with community input. City government plans to add benches and artwork to make it an “Art Walk.” So far, the walking path has proven to be an improvement for St. Roch in many ways. Staff at the Prevention Research Center at Tulane University worked with the community before and after the path was built. The Tulane PRC found that residents were 12% more active outside after the path’s construction. The increase included activity around the path, as well as other parts of the neighborhood. “What we saw was a significant increase in outdoor activity compared to two other neighborhoods that did not have a walking path,” said Jeanette Gustat, a researcher with the Tulane PRC, a public health organization that released the walkway findings this spring. For St. Roch resident Maggie Wilson, the walking path is a regular part of her family’s activities. “I love it. It’s a real nice. You meet all kids of different people,” said Wilson, whose 9-year-old son rides his skateboard and scooter along the walking path. But not all walkways and sections of St. Roch have been given the same
attention. The St. Roch Park pool has been closed since Katrina. And go just north of the park to the other end of St. Roch Avenue and there’s no walking path. There’s band-aid street repairs and new sidewalks in sections not regularly used, residents said. But determined to see improvements, neighbors share the work of cutting the grass in empty, abandoned lots. Lucien Peters, a longtime St. Roch Avenue resident, points to empty property overgrown with weeds and grass that can be found on almost every block. Within one block of his home are two empty, flood-damaged homes – one somewhat boarded up and the other totally exposed – that Peters fears will end up being the scenes of heinous crimes. Like many properties damaged by the storm, Peters says the reason most lots are in such poor conditions is due to legal issues between family members over ownership. Rebuilding homes and eliminating blight are major priorities for St. Roch, said Reggie Lawson, a local realtor and neighborhood activist. There are fewer homeowners than before Katrina, a drop from 25 to 15 percent, Lawson said. The goal has always been 50 percent homeownership, he added. Instead of waiting for government to come through with development and revitalization, Lawson said the St. Roch neighborhood is focusing its efforts on seeking private dollars to invest in the community. The investment is being sought not just for housing, Lawson said, but for a variety of development, such as small businesses and grocery stores. “We’re trying to get private dollars to create quality of life and a viable community to attract people to the neighborhood. We have an ideal location,” Lawson said, referring to St. Roch’s proximity to the highway system and downtown. “Absolutely. It’s the place to be.”
The Miracles of St. Roch by Nora McGunnigle, Director of Operations, NPN
he St. Roch neighborhood was originally laid out with Good Children (later St. Claude Avenue), Franklin Walk, and Washington Walk as its main thoroughfares. The names of the street Washington Walk and the neighborhood Faubourg Franklin were both changed in the 1870s to St. Roch Avenue and the St. Roch neighborhood, respectively, to honor the St. Roch Shrine, Chapel and Cemetery founded by Father Peter Leonard Thevis in 1875. The current neighborhood boundaries extend from St. Claude Avenue to the Interstate; Elysian Fields Avenue zigzagging to Florida Boulevard; and over to Almonaster/Peoples Avenue. Lakeside of St. Roch is the Gentilly Terrace neighborhood and Dillard University. Towards the river, St. Roch shares a boundary with the Marigny, while heading west lies the Seventh Ward neighborhood, and to the east, the St. Claude neighborhood. St. Roch was once part of the large plantation owned by Lorenzo Sigur, later passed on to Bernard Marigny. Bernard Marigny subdivided the land to create both the Faubourg Marigny and the area known as Faubourg Franklin by 1834. Faubourg Franklin was developed out of the general lakeward expansion and the arrival of the Ponchartrain Railroad. In the 1830’s, Faubourg Franklin was under the ownership of Cousin d’Estrehan. It was around this time that Dr. C. A. Luzenburg built the Franklin Infirmary in 18341835, after being denied a location in the Marigny. After the Civil War, the Infirmary continued operations as the Haynes’ House of Health. St. Roch’s major landmarks, the St. Roch Chapel and Campo Santo Cemetery, were founded by Father Thevis who prayed for the safety of his parishioners by turning to St. Roch, promising to build a chapel in his honor if none of the congregation succumbed to the yellow fever ravaging New Orleans during this time. No one in his parish died from the epidemic in 1867 or 1868, which was considered to be a true miracle of the time. Father Thevis subsequently worked tirelessly to erect his shrine to St. Roch. The cemetery was dedicated in 1875 and the chapel was dedicated on August 16, 1876. The St. Roch Chapel was a pilgrimage site for those seeking St. Roch’s blessing and protection against disease, especially during the yellow fever epidemic in 1878.
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NEIGHBOR OOD SPOTLIGH HT
By 1878, development toward the lake had only reached just beyond Claiborne Avenue. However, sewer and water services extended into St. Roch by 1900. In 1927, the City Planning Commission recognized the neighborhood as mostly settled and considered it totally developed in 1927. Known as a “low-key, serene, residential” neighborhood, it had been racially mixed throughout its development and home to baseball players, blacksmith shops, farms, and dairies. Many private schools for African American children were founded in St. Roch. The construction of I-10 in the late 1960s, combined with the middleclass flight to the suburbs, contributed to considerable decline in the lakeside area of the neighborhood and its property values, a similar fate suffered by other (primarily African American) nearby neighborhoods such as the Seventh Ward and Treme. However, there is still a passionate and vibrant resident base that has worked hard to keep St. Roch institutions alive, like Independence Square, the St. Roch Market, and the St. Roch neutral ground. Independence Square, founded in 1910 and adjacent to the St. Roch Cemetery, has also been known as St. Roch Playground, St. Roch Park, and the Harold Sampson, Jr. St. Roch Playground throughout the many years of its use. It is the third oldest park in the city of New Orleans, and an important space in the neighborhood for children to play and the community to interact. The St. Roch Market, once a thriving produce and fish market built in 1875 and in continuous operation for over 100 years, was damaged in Katrina and has yet to reopen. The Faubourg St. Roch Project has combined efforts with other community organizations to move forward with rebuilding and reopening the market. They are currently seeking funding and soliciting proposals for rehabilitation. The park and the market anchor the main thoroughfare of St. Roch Avenue, which means its neutral ground is a significant gathering and meeting space. The community has worked tirelessly since the storm to improve its walkability and enhance its natural beauty. You don’t need the miracles of St. Roch when you have a fiercely committed community like this one!
Photo credits: Naomi King, Mandy Pumilia, Devin Meyers, Angela Daliet, Ben McLeish 16
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NEIGHBOR OOD SPOTLIGH HT
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Meet St. Roch E very month, the Faubourg St. Roch Project interviews residents for their newsletter’s “Meet the Neighbors” section. Highlighting the diversity of connections that the neighborhood holds for its residents, these interviews serve to unite St. Roch residents with the history of their neighborhood and look forward to the future. These snippets illustrate some of the reasons New Orleanians choose to call St. Roch home. Following the devastation of their home by Hurricane Katrina in Gentilly, Tammy Moret and her daughter Lily decided to return to St. Roch. They recently moved into their newly renovated home on Spain Street, which was originally built in 1920. During her childhood, Tammy’s best friend lived across the street from the home. Tammy remembers playing ball in the street and having to ask the permission from the elderly couple that owned her now home to retrieve the ball from their yard. Tammy and Lily hope to see more home ownership, community building, art events, and more artist types moving in to help build an even more eclectic and diverse community. Dustan and Amanda Helm-Louque recently purchased a home on St. Roch Avenue, after falling in love with all that St. Roch and the downriver neighborhoods have to offer. The couple found perfection in what they see as a budding artisan community where people bring what makes them special to the neighborhood creating a place to do all the things one enjoys. Amanda quickly found connections to her roots in St. Roch after she and Dustan posted a photograph of their new home and her family began to relate stories to her. Both her grandfather and grandmother once lived in St. Roch, and her great grandmother and great uncle are both pictured in a post war photograph of residents marching on the St. Roch Avenue neutral ground at the end of WWII. Cindy Hernandez is a lifelong resident of St. Roch. Her grandparents, Victor and Adela Lantan purchased the family home on Spain Street in the 1960’s after immigrating to the United States from Guatemala. This home has been a gathering place for her family over the last fifty years, and provided a home to as many as sixteen of her extended family in the days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Today, 1338 Spain is home to Cindy, her husband George, son Gabriel and her brother Tony. Cindy has fond memories of growing up in St. Roch: Playing in front of
by Mandy Pumilia, Executive Director of the Faubourg St. Roch Project and Tom Warin
her house with the neighborhood children and going to various parks until the first signs of crime began surfacing in 1989. Cindy’s grandparents were active members of the community and refused to move as they saw a rise in crime and drug trafficking, insisting that St. Roch would come back together and become a safer neighborhood. Cindy believes in St. Roch and her grandparents’ legacy of always wanting this home to be there for their family. She hopes that her son can one day enjoy the community in the way she did as a child and all the rich history that this neighborhood holds. The Colliers moved to New Orleans in 2003. They purchased their first home in 2005, just eleven days before Hurricane Katrina in the St. Claude neighborhood on Lesseps St. In 2007 after attending church uptown, Aaron and Kristen Collier realized there was a need to have a church in their neighborhood, so a group of St. Roch residents started meeting at the Collier’s house and at other residents’ homes in St. Roch. Once they had regular attendance they invited another (now) resident of St. Roch, J.B. Watkins to join them as their pastor, and brought him on board to the newly formed St. Roch Community Church. In May 2011, the Colliers opened the artist collective Staple Goods, which houses four studios upstairs, two studios downstairs, the exhibition space and a two bedroom residence all located inside the former corner grocery. One of the goals of Staple Goods is to provide a place for kids to visit and folks that wouldn’t normally interact with the arts to see artists at work and the art they make as well as opening up life as an artist as a possibility. As a veteran of neighborhood politics, Reggie Lawson more often than not ends up as the face of the St. Roch neighborhood. Having been raised in a single-parent household in public housing, Reggie found the perfect location for himself and his mom in the St. Roch community in 1993. Once living in the St. Roch Neighborhood, Reggie saw an immediate need for a neighborhood association due to the dearth of homeownership, and in 1995, Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association (FSRIA) was founded. Reggie’s leadership and the members of the FSRIA have accomplished quite a lot over the years. The group meets monthly on the second Thursday at True Vine Baptist Church, 2008 Marigny St., and welcomes anyone and everyone to attend and get involved.
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St. Roch Community Church by Ben McLeish, Diaconal Ministries Director, St. Roch Community Church
Since launching our community church 5 years ago, much of our work has centered around the words of the prophet Jeremiah: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you...Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Beyond the typical spiritual care a church offers, we have been conscientious about serving all areas of our neighborhood and the felt needs of our neighbors. This has happened in the following ways: Education. Our summer camp is a 6-week experience for children aged 5 to 14 and includes an academic component, a spiritual component, arts, athletics, field trips and plain old fun. We also will be re-launching our afterschool program in the fall of 2012 that will serve the academic needs of youth in our neighborhood. Additionally, we provide a small pre-school on Wednesday mornings, which also serves as a great time for moms to learn more about parenting and mutually encourage one another. Leadership Development. Summer camp also serves as a great tool to raise up the next generation of leadership as our camp is run by young adults from our neighborhood. Throughout the summer, they gain invaluable leadership and life skills that will help them be successful in life. The spiritual formation of these leaders is a key part of their summers as interns. Financial Literacy. We facilitate Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a 13-session workshop for participants on topics related to individual financial fitness. In addition to one-on-one case management, participants learn how to navigate personal financial challenges and implement financial principles taught in the workshop sessions. We have hosted this class four times over the last three years, serving over 40 individuals. Jobs Training. Our Jobs for Life training class teaches timeless biblical principles concerning work and the ways those principles are applied in the marketplace. Through this training, men and women develop character and become connected to a community of support to help them obtain far more
than just a job. They experience life, a life filled with confidence, self-control, coaching, learning, and faith. Renovations. Through our community development corporation, St. Roch CDC, we have renovated 11 housing units and commercial spaces. Additionally, we have provided assistance with small repair projects to over 30 homeowners in the neighborhood. In 2011, we finished the conversion of an abandoned corner store into the Staple Goods Art Gallery & Collective consisting of an art gallery, 6 artist studio spaces, and a two-bedroom apartment. In 2012, we completed a ministry house behind the church that houses four young, African-American men who practice intentional Christian community with one another and use their house as a tool to reach out to the youth and young adults of our neighborhood. Artist-in-Residency. The residency exists in order to nurture early- to midcareer artists by providing the time, space, and fellowship needed for an excellent practice. Meeting the basic needs of an artist frees him/her to have the capacity to invest significantly in the work of their hands. The end result of a residency, we believe, is the enrichment of the artist and his/her work for the purpose of honoring God, the source of creative efforts, and neighbor, who interacts with what is made. Community Organizing. We are working with property owners, neighbors, and government agencies to properly address issues of blight, crime, failing schools and more. For some initiatives this means leading the charge, but for most, we simply help bring momentum to current efforts. We have helped with restoration to our neighborhood park, are help helping to launch a neighborhood charter school, and hosted numerous community meetings to help problem-solve many pressing issues.
To learn more about our efforts, please visit us at 1738 St. Roch Avenue or on the web at www.strochcc.org
It’s All Happening on St. Claude by Michael T. Martin, Manager, St. Claude Main Street & Jonathan Rhodes, Board President, St. Claude Main Street As St. Claude Avenue moves toward a rebirth, signified by the pending re-opening of the St. Roch Market, the development strategy for the historic, commercial corridor is paramount in importance. St. Claude Main Street (SCMS), a local community and economic development organization focused on St. Claude Avenue from Elysian Fields to Poland Avenue, aims to help guide that development in a responsible and progressive way. As an organization, SCMS is based firmly in progressive city planning best practices: Harvesting social, political, and economic capital; livability; walkability; transit choice; and bottom-up community and economic development strategies. SCMS has an opportunity to engage stakeholders on St. Claude Avenue, and in adjacent neighborhoods, to assure that decisions affecting development are a fit with the character and demographics of the neighborhood. This is achieved through the cultivation of relationships with community partners (such as Bywater Neighborhood Association, Bywater CDC, New St. Claude Association of Neighbors, Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association, St. Roch Project, Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association, and the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association) and working together to find out the community’s vision for St. Claude Avenue, present and future. While the above is our philosophy, SCMS is currently working on three major programming initiatives.
We recently received a grant from ArtPlace, a national foundation that gives grants to fuel creative placemaking projects. Creative placemaking refers to the collaboration between community organizations, artists, arts organizations, residents, and the municipality to develop arts-based programs that help neighborhoods become stronger and more vibrant. Our grant has four main components, three of which are geared directly toward the arts: To build capacity with the St. Claude arts community, to develop programs that integrate the St. Claude arts community with the larger St. Claude-area communities, and to unify and promote the St. Claude arts community. The fourth component is a project that will result in the construction of multiple mini-parks located at strategic locations along St. Claude Avenue. The programming for the first three components will be heavily-influenced by community input that will be gauged
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through various methods, including community meetings, an arts advisory board, and in tandem with our community and programming partners.
St. Claude Business Association
St. Claude Avenue’s recent growth prompted us to undertake organizing a business association. While we are aware of the past efforts to organize businesses on the corridor, we have begun the process again in order to be as inclusive as possible. SCMS has gathered the businesses owners on the corridor to begin the conversation and support merchants in identifying the key challenges facing St. Claude and help identify merchants who might want to lead the association. Ultimately, SCMS wants to step back and allow the merchants of the corridor to own the association, however, at the moment we are assisting in laying the infrastructure for merchants to have a common voice regarding commerce on St. Claude Avenue. If you are a business owner on St. Claude, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be involved.
Night Market on St. Claude
The Night Market on St. Claude is a market for local vendors (food, goods, and otherwise) to sell their wares to the St. Claude-area community. SCMS works with community partners to operate the Night Market and to recruit vendors. We have operated two Night Markets since November 2011 and plan to do more in the second-half of 2012. With the Night Market, we hope to provide a space for local artisans and food vendors to sell their goods back to the community, helping keep our dollars hyper-local; to highlight vacant property on St. Claude and re-imagine local commerce; and to unify the corridor during the Second Saturday art walk. If you are interested in vending at the Night Market please email email@example.com As the organization that is advocating for St. Claude Avenue, we view our position as a facilitator and partner to the St. Claude-area merchants and communities. Our aim is to support the commercial and cultural rebirth of the corridor and we are committed to doing that responsibly and progressively. St. Claude Avenue represents a unique opportunity, in that it can be a commercial corridor that is derived through direct communication with the people who use the amenities every day. We’re moving forward as an organization and it’s all happening on St. Claude; if you want to be involved get in touch and lets chat.
A Playground We Call Home by Angela Daliet
The way to develop a neighborhood and its youth is through the playground. Like every other neighborhood in New Orleans, St. Roch has its issues, but my family’s experience with St. Roch Playground has been safe, healthy, positive, and special.
y kids have been participating in New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) programs since my oldest turned five in 2001. Over the years, our seven children have participated in programs at almost every NORD site in the city. Though their participation keeps our family overly busy, we are committed to their success, so everyone participates in something. And by success, I do not actually mean winning games or playing professionally. Idle time for kids, especially those in urban areas with high poverty like New Orleans, can be detrimental for them…and us. There are a lot of bad things kids often get in to when they are bored and disengaged. My son, Austen, started playing baseball in St. Roch after a conversation with one of their coaches at a basketball game in early 2011. Coach Roc complimented Austen’s sportsmanship during the game, and said he looked forward to competing against him during the upcoming baseball season. Austen explained that the park for which he played basketball did not have a baseball team for him. Coach Roc then invited him to play baseball in St.
Roch. And the rest, as they say, is history. Now our youngest four children, Austen, Devin, Aiden, and Landon, play at least one sport at St. Roch Playground, which runs programming year round. Of course, it is usually up to each child’s guardian to ensure that they have positive extracurricular activities so they do not have much idle time to pick up bad habits. However, we have a lot of busy parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and neighbors raising our city’s young people who very often do not understand how important it is for children to participate in extracurricular activities, do not know how to access such programs, or do not have the means to ensure their kids have these opportunities. On top of this, there are not enough affordable, accessible extracurricular programs for youth in New Orleans. This affects all of us. It is important for our neighborhoods and city to have recreational opportunities because kids with bad habits can turn into a resident’s worst nightmare for their community: Pervasive drug-use, extensive obesity, elevated blight, high crime rates, prevalent homelessness, and widespread violence. Good sports programs, like what we have at St. Roch Playground, improve children’s cognitive, social and physical health, create better citizens, and positively impact the surrounding community. With substandard facilities, modest equipment, and minuscule funding, St. Roch Playground and its kids are thriving because of the volunteers who consistently and enthusiastically spend their evenings and weekends connecting and developing children through sports all year long. Every single day, I watch the volunteer coaches at St. Roch Playground, who are mostly African American men, serve as meaningful role models to disadvantaged youth from across the city. They spend their limited time, energy, and resources building these young people’s life skills, shaping the youths’ leadership abilities, and fostering supportive relationships between their peers and with the adults. And usually, it looks like they are just playing baseball, softball, basketball, or football. Many coaches do not have children playing at the park, yet they still show up every day. Often, they arrive with one or several players who did not have rides. Some of the coaches’ sons, with their playing days long over, are also out there mentoring youth alongside their dads. Hopefully, St. Roch is not the only playground where this magic connection between men and children is happening, but it is a special one. Of course, it is not just the coaches ensuring these kids succeed. There are neighbors, parents, and relatives supporting children in St. Roch Playground’s programs, but there is something amazingly distinctive about these coaches who are not in it for fame or fortune, and usually not even for their own children. They are here for you and me. Though these honorable men do not do it for the recognition, I want to personally give a shout out to them from all of us in St. Roch and across the city. Thank you for spending your time, energy, and resources to be a positive role model and provide invaluable opportunities for so many boys and girls. This is to all the coaches at St. Roch, but especially Bernard “B”, Chad, Claude, Damon, Dorian, Dre, Dre Jr., Durrell, James, Jessie, Johnny, Jude, Lester, Major, Melvin “PeeWee”, Nathaniel “Fat”, Allen “Roc”, and Saul. Please stop by St. Roch Playground to support the programs, cheer on the players, or simply thank our coaches.
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Sankofa Community Development Corporation:
Taking Action for Community Health by Rashida Ferdinand and Alexis Castro, Sankofa CDC
hose who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.” –Frederick Douglass Civic engagement, youth education, job opportunities, and access to quality of life resources are critical to the progressive development of a community. A June 2012 report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Place Matters for Health in Orleans Parish: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All, outlines the relationship between the availability of fresh produce and nutritious foods to one’s maintenance of a healthy diet. It states that people who live in communities with more fast food outlets and less options for healthy foods are more likely to have higher rates of obesity and diet-related illnesses. There is a disproportionate rate of citizens of the City who have diet-related illnesses and chronic diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, New Orleans has a lack of adequate fresh food outlets in its most vulnerable communities. An April 2012 article of the Zester Daily states that the number of people served per grocery store in New Orleans is 15,700, almost twice the national ratio of 8,600. The Sankofa Community Development Corporation (CDC) addresses these disparities and works to serve residents of the area through equitable access to healthy food. Sankofa CDC Founder and Executive Director Rashida Ferdinand and her team organize the weekly Sankofa Farmers Market, the Sankofa Health, Education, Agriculture, and Leadership (HEAL) Project, and the Sankofa Gardens in the Lower and Upper Ninth Ward areas. These programs promote diets rich in fruits and vegetables, increase access to fresh produce, and provide education about cardiovascular risk factors. The Sankofa Farmers Market operates every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3819 St. Claude Avenue, in the front yard of ARISE Academy Elementary Charter School at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary. It offers an assortment of local produce, healthy cooking demonstrations, and nutrition information. The Sankofa Farmers Market recently moved to its new location at
ARISE Academy in order to expand its partnership with the school community and promote health and wellness to children and families who live in the area. Through the Market, Sankofa CDC continues its work to support efforts to build healthier, more conscious communities and create a space that reflects the unique culture of New Orleans. The Market is the only open-air fresh food outlet in the Ninth Ward/Bywater area which serves vulnerable populations who live in communities designated as food deserts. It is located within a five mile radius of the Lower Ninth Ward, Seventh Ward, St. Roch, Faubourg Marigny, Desire, Treme, and Gentilly neighborhoods. Sankofa Outreach and Market Coordinator, Alexis Castro meets with community residents who live in these areas at neighborhood meetings, social service agencies, health clinics, churches, and schools to discuss the Sankofa CDC programs. Castro shares information about the assortment of fresh food offered at the Market, the various benefits of maintaining a healthy diet, and preventive health and wellness resources. The Sankofa HEAL Project works with high school-aged youth to teach them the benefits of growing and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, while positioning them to be leaders within their community. The youth work at the market and gardens as paid interns to develop job and leadership skills. They harvest and maintain the plants within the gardens they build, which transform vacant and blighted land into sustainable agricultural spaces. The students work at the Market to sell the herbs and vegetables from the gardens, conduct healthy food preparation demonstrations, and assist with market activities. The HEAL Project students are presently working with Sankofa Garden Education Manager, Brennan Dougherty within a summer course to create an educational garden space in the Ninth Ward and study the foundations of nutrition and agriculture. With Dougherty, they are growing an assortment of fresh herbs and vegetables. They are also traveling to different neighborhoods and cultural districts to better understand themselves and the histories of their community. Additionally, the youth are meeting with community elders to learn about their lives and share experiences, visiting business people of various generations to understand diverse perspectives and goals of entrepreneurship, and creating artwork to articulate their voices and educate others about what they learn.
Business Development in the St. Roch Community By Mark Hambrick
he community of St Roch is rich with different cultures, passions and traditions. It blends African American charm with a number of other different races, complexions and creeds. It combines a strong local flavor with global constituencies that have been a new development in the post-Katrina world. You can experience the energy of New Orleans in this, sometimes quiet, area, close to Bywater. And it continues to live, breathe, grow and prosper after numerous hurricanes, one being near the top of the list as worst in our nation’s history. Its people and heritage have been battered by Katrina’s high winds and rough waters. It has been an example of a community that’s suffered through one of the worst economic situations since the Great Depression.
St. Roch While community residents and business owners agree that St. Roch has made strides in the years since Katrina, they argue that there is much work to be done. Vendors at Urban Express on St Roch Avenue, for example, say their business is mostly seasonal and often depends on the school calendar as to whether or not they do relatively well. There was a general consensus amongst those interviewed that a lot of additional work could be done to improve opportunities for the community, yet they weren’t struggling as much as in past years. Staff at La Diva, a specialty store which caters to the needs of the community in a very localized manner and is also located on St. Roch, spoke of a thriving business. They offer clothing for women and convenience for everyone. There is no need to
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travel to Chalmette or the French Quarter because they provide many of the same items for local residents.
Business Development While there has been considerable growth regarding new businesses and job creation in the city as a whole, the ‘mom and pop’ establishments and corner stores have not been so lucky. This is also due, in part, to reluctance by community members to have certain stores in their neighborhoods. The aforementioned corner stores were cited by residents routinely as havens for drug and alcohol abuse. They feel like the stores are very much a part of the problem with their community loosing additional economic opportunities as investors shy away from that type of environment. Community engagement is critical to continued business redevelopment. A number of local activists have made it a point to be involved not only in St. Roch, but the neighboring communities that include the 7th Ward, Marigny and St. Claude. It is felt that investments in social capital will only enhance the conditions of the entire area, and it can’t be done in silos. As it stands, residents are very optimistic about new business that does not include corner stores, yet recognize that they must be instrumental in and vigilant about preventing that type of expansion. However, this is a small business community that will continually face that challenge while trying to bring in local merchants to make contributions to kids, families and the St. Roch culture in general.
The Power of People by Denise Bottcher, Communications Director, AARP Louisiana
After 30 years in a career she loved, Gloria found herself unemployed and facing the biggest uphill battle of her life--rebuilding her home and life after Katrina. Gloria DeCouir Roberts and her husband have lived in New Orleans all of their lives. Gentilly was home. But August 29th, 2005 changed all that. Like so many along the Gulf Coast, Gloria and her husband evacuated to another state, commuting every week for three years to salvage what they could and rebuild their New Orleans home. “To live in an environment where people were taking care of you instead of you taking care of your family was very, very difficult,” said Gloria. An independent, self-reliant woman, Gloria had always been able to provide for her family and the community. Now out of work, she soon realized that she needed to step up her community role in a big way. “I was not as active in the community as I am now. I am president of the neighborhood association where I can help people connect with other people who are going through the same difficulties. We have a stronger voice as a group,” said Gloria. A long-time AARP member, Gloria was thrilled to know that another group – the AARP Utilities Watchdog Team – was working to keep home energy rates affordable. “I have an advocate. Not only me as an individual, but also to people in the community. Someone who can be a voice for us. Someone who can advocate on things that are in our best interest.” Groceries, utilities, health care, insurance, mortgages. These types of expenses can take their toll on a family budget as Gloria knows. Are you concerned about the costs of your utilities going up? If you answered “yes”, you’re not alone. Over half of all AARP members in Louisiana are concerned about the rising costs of heating and cooling their homes, according to the latest AARP survey in Louisiana. Louisiana’s residential consumers spend an average of $123.96 per month on their electricity, experiencing the highest bills in August and September. Here are five inexpensive ways to lower your energy bills:
1. Seal wall openings. About 15 percent of air leakage in the average home occurs through wall openings. Spray insulating foam sealant around holes for outdoor faucets and wiring, and install foam gaskets around indoor electric outlets and light switches. 2. Weatherize windows and doors. A few inexpensive tubes of waterbased acrylic caulk can seal tiny leaks around windows and doors. For another $40 to $70, apply weather stripping to door frames. 3. Update your thermostat. Do you like your house to cool at night but warm when you wake up? A programmable thermostat – one that you set to adjust temperatures automatically – can cut 20 percent from heating and cooling bills, according to Consumer Reports. 4. Seal and wrap ductwork. As much as 30 percent of the air from the furnace or air conditioners escapes through ductwork, which expands and shrinks as temperatures change. If ducts are accessible – as in the attic and at the furnace connection—seal joints with a waterproof, flexible sealant and wrap ductwork with HVAC insulation. 5. Dress the hearth. For summer savings, inflatable fireplace draftstoppers (starting at $50) prevent cooled air from escaping in older homes with leaky metal dampers. Get more utility saving tips and help AARP fight unfair utility rate hikes at www.aarp.org/utilities. Since 2007, AARP Louisiana has been fighting to stop unfair utility bill increases so you can keep more of the money you’ve earned. To Gloria, that’s important as she and her family work to rebuild. AARP believes in the power of people. Make your voice heard. Join the AARP Louisiana Utility Watchdog Team! By becoming a member of the Utility Watchdog team, you will be kept up-to-date on proposals that could raise your home energy costs. You can join AARP staff to visit your Public Service Commissioner when important issues arise. And from the comfort of your own home, you can contact elected officials to voice your opinion on issues that matter the most to you.
Let’s work together to keep our home energy affordable! Contact Denise Bottcher at firstname.lastname@example.org
NPN’s Spring 2012 Membership Meeting by Nora McGunnigle
n Wednesday, May 23, Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN) held its semi-annual Membership Meeting. Our Membership Meetings are held every spring and every fall. The theme of this recent meeting was “Community Health and Wellness.” NPN’s Membership Committee wanted to incorporate as broad a picture as possible about what health and wellness looks like, so the program consisted of a panel discussion moderated by Amerigroup’s Director of Health, Dr. Kevin Stephens, with keynote speaker Charlotte M. Parent, Deputy Director of Health with the City of New Orleans. Our other panelists were: Jarvain Bingmon, Assistant Executive Director of Trinity Christian Community, representing Carrollton Hollygrove CDC; Linedda McIver, Associate State Director-Multicultural Outreach of AARP Louisiana; Matthew Rufo, Program Director of KidsWalk Coalition, under the auspices of Tulane’s Prevention Research Center; and Dr. Katherine H. Smith, Medical Director, Metropolitan Human Services District. In order to expose our members to as many Community Health and Wellness resources as possible, we also set up a “mini-expo” which featured representatives from such organizations as: NOLA TimeBank, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, The McFarland Institute, EXCELth, Inc., PACE Greater New Orleans, Amerigroup, American Cancer Society’s COFFEE Mate Program, New Orleans Council on Aging, Tulane PRC, and American Red Cross’ Smoke Detector program.
45 NPN members showed up at the Cummings Wilson AME in New Orleans East, and enjoyed healthy food catered by Whole Foods, a rousing panel discussion, and energetic sharing of information and resources. Prizes were given to the organizations who brought the most attendees. The winners were the New Orleans East Community Development Corporation (NOECDC) and Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). NOECDC won a year-long spotlight in the 2013 Trumpet Magazine, and Tulane PRC won a selection of healthy office snacks. Catering, prizes, and speaker gifts were made possible with the sponsorship of Amerigroup, and NPN thanks them for their support and generosity. Our next Membership Meeting will be held in October, with an exact date and location to be determined. We will be exploring the theme of Education in New Orleans, which has many important and relevant aspects that apply to all neighborhoods and communities. For more information, make sure that you are subscribed to our Trumpet Tidbits, our weekly electronic newsletter that is sent out every Tuesday. For our members, we welcome your involvement in our Membership Committee. Membership Committee Planning Meetings are scheduled every third Monday of the month, with upcoming meetings scheduled on July 16, August 20, and September 17, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the NPN offices. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
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THE TRUMPET | JULY/AUGUST | 2012
We Each Do a Little, We All Do a Lot:
The Importance of Independent Businesses, Community-Connecting Corridors, and Conscientious Consumerism by the Stay Local! Content Team
Sign outside Discoveries Furniture and Finds on N. Rampart Street
n the face of corporate tendencies to dominate, consolidate, and homogenize the marketplace, the ability to foster and maintain community connections has grown increasingly difficult. Independent businesses must overcome myriad challenges to connect with consumers inundated with marketing noise from mega-retailers. Yet there is growing awareness that supporting our local communities (and economies) through the place-based businesses that serve them has become increasingly important. The role of the independent business owner is vital to our neighborhoods’—and our city’s—connectivity, creativity, and camaraderie. What accounts for thriving businesses and successful business corridors? What encourages local consumer participation? And how do we, as consumers and as a collective whole, participate in the success of our beloved local restaurant, retailer, designer or dentist?
New Orleans residents have supported and celebrated various renaissances throughout the city—Bayou Road, Oak Street, Freret Street, Harrison Avenue, and St. Claude Avenue are just a few examples of such corridors that have benefited from strong leadership and pioneer businesses that committed themselves to creating walkable corridors encouraging exploration. The Oak Street Poboy Fest and Freret Street Fest serve as economic tools that drive thousands of new eyes to their respective corridor each year, introducing patrons to their mix of retail and service options. Similarly, downtown areas like St. Claude and St. Roch ceaselessly add to the eclectic mix of art, culture, food and drink that we revere in our city. With its intimate theatre spaces, local watering holes, food co-ops, yoga studios, book stores, DIY bike shops, open-to-the-community classes and Second Saturday art market along St. Claude, these neighborhood-connecting corridors promote community interaction, participation, and positive evolution. Corridor revitalization is most successful when buoyed by independent business owners who are heavily invested in the economic success of the area. “A rising tide lifts all boats,” says Michelle Ingram, owner of Zeus’ Place pet boarding business on Freret, and one of the business owners behind the immensely popular monthly Freret Market and annual Freret Fest. “In today’s society, there are so many social and economic reasons to look outside of what you normally do in your day-to-day routine at work. From meeting your neighbors to meeting fellow business owners, reaching beyond your comfort zone helps you grow your business in ways you never expect!” When small businesses thrive, they enhance community connectivity. As consumers, we must remember that our consistent and continuing patronage sustains our local businesses and the friends, families, and neighbors that own them. Studies have shown how dollars spent locally strengthens the community as independent businesses reinvest up to 3 times as much back into the local economy than chain retailers. Championing the importance of supporting independent business and its unequivocal contributions to the vigor of New Orleans, independent business alliance Stay Local! makes it their mission to educate citizens about the economic, environmental and cultural benefits of patronizing locallyowned businesses. As part of the national “Independents Day” celebration held every July to celebrate the role indie businesses play in their communities, Stay Local! recently partnered with Bike Easy and The North Rampart Main Street Association to host New Orleans’ first Cash Mob along North Rampart Street on July 5th. A grassroots effort aimed at inspiring civic engagement while bringing attention to specific local businesses and corridors, a Cash Mob invites citizens to gather in one place at one time, “mob” a preselected store, make a purchase to show support, and have fun. In true New Orleans style, the Stay Local! sponsored Cash Mob culminated in celebration. While Independence Day happens only once a year, Stay Local! strives to honor and promote the contributions of our Independents throughout the year.
“The Heart of Hearts” By Charles Anderson. Graphite on paper, 28”x22” 24
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Volunteerism meets the Alternative Economy at NOLA TimeBank by Gretchen Zalkind
Neighbors Helping Neighbors Helping Neighbors
A Nation-Wide Trend Started by Dr. Edgar Cahn
Brooke helped David paint his hallway. Dan hung a ceiling fan for Bellavia. Ricky mowed the lawn at Elnoris’ house. Elnoris cooked a dessert cake for the group meeting. Deanna read to Marcela’s 3 year old daughter. Marcela helped Victor plant a tree in his yard. All of these folks were relative strangers until they signed up for membership in the NOLA TimeBank, through which all of these helpful services occurred. It’s all facilitated by a different sort of currency: Hour credits. Members of the NOLA TimeBank provide services for each other. Need a ride to the airport? No worries, several people are available to provide transportation. Maybe you need help in your garden or respite care for an older relative? The NOLA TimeBank has these services available and more, including:
There are over 270 TimeBanks across the United States that, like the NOLA TimeBank, use the model created by Dr. Edgar Cahn, founder of TimeBanks, USA. Dr. Cahn recently visited New Orleans from the headquarters in Washington, DC and met with NOLA TimeBank members. Dr. Cahn, author of the book, “No More Throw Away People,” is a civil rights attorney and law professor. In addition to founding TimeBanks USA, Dr. Cahn is the founder of the Youth Court of DC, a young offender diversion program. During Dr. Cahn’s visit to New Orleans, he shared how the TimeBank model has facilitated programs as diverse as home weatherization in Portland ME, homecoming assistance to former inmates in Madison WI, and CareBanks that help seniors and others with care giving assistance. Dr. Cahn describes coming up with the TimeBank model: “Twenty-five years ago, we started the first experiments with a different kind of money that provided a new way to link untapped community capacity to unmet needs. Because the market fails to value or reward many types of critical work— the work of raising healthy children, building strong families, revitalizing neighborhoods, preserving the environment, advancing social justice and democracy—we felt there should be other ways than market price to place a value on people’s time. There had to be a way to honor, record, and reward that kind of work.”
Transportation to the airport, to the doctor Walking Buddies House Cleaning Henna Tattoos Face Painting Event Planning Wedding Officiant
SAT Tutor Theater Make-Up Garden Design Dispute Resolution Baking and Cooking Cat or Dog Sitting Resume Writing
TimeBankers earn “Hour Credits” for each hour spent providing a service to one another in the community. TimeBank members use a website to track Hour Credits in individual “bank accounts.” The website lists requests for assistance and offers of help. The receiving member pays Hour Credits to the helper member. It doesn’t matter if the hour is spent doing yard work, providing design services, or driving to the store; an hour always equals an hour.
Community Organizations Partner to Pay Volunteers in Hours Since its start last October, membership in the NOLA TimeBank has been growing steadily and currently numbers over 150 people from across New Orleans. Organizations including NPN and the Freret Neighborhood Center (FNC) have joined the NOLA TimeBank so that their volunteers can earn Hour Credits for their volunteer work. The FNC hosts workshops for the NOLA TimeBank where folks can get coaching on the web-based software and use the computers at the FNC Computer Lab. New members of the NOLA TimeBank get “paid” their first Hour Credits by volunteering for a partner organization, like NPN, or by attending a NOLA TimeBank workshop, or by providing a service to another NOLA TimeBank member. Membership is free. Members are encouraged to attend monthly get-togethers where they can meet one another and facilitate service exchanges in person.
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Banking on Community The NOLA TimeBank has logged almost 300 hours of service exchanges since last October, but the friendships and sense of community resulting from these exchanges are impossible to measure. Vaiden, a NOLA TimeBanker who provides respite care, says “I really enjoy spending time with Deanna and having an intergenerational friendship that I wouldn’t have had without the NOLA TimeBank.” Vaiden earns Hour Credits from Gretchen by spending time walking in the park with Deanna, Gretchen’s mom who has memory loss.
The NOLA TimeBank welcomes new members! Folks interested in joining can do so on-line at www.NOLATimeBank.org and should attend an upcoming workshop. Workshops are held at the FNC, 4605 Freret St. on Saturday July 14, from noon - 2:00 p.m. and Saturday August 11, from 10:00 a.m. - noon. There will also be a workshop at the Alvar Street Library, 913 Alvar St., on Thursday, July 18 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. These workshops are open to all New Orleans residents - new members, potential members, and existing NOLA TimeBank members. Get more information at www.NOLATimeBank.org or call 504-484-9058.
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The NO-ROACH Asthma Prevention Project Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, affecting over 7 million children in the United States. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed and treated so children can live normal, healthy lives.
he NO-ROACH (New Orleans Roach Elimination and Asthma in Children) Project is a twelve month asthma prevention project currently underway in New Orleans and surrounding areas. Dr. Felicia Rabito, a local researcher from Tulane University’s School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine has found that asthmatic children who are exposed to cockroaches are four times more likely to be hospitalized as compared to other children with asthma who do not have cockroaches in the home. Due to these findings, Dr. Rabito has started the NO-ROACH PROJECT to find new ways to reduce asthma attacks through cockroach control in the home.
Photo by Kevin Blakes
The NO-ROACH PROJECT team is enrolling 100 children between the ages of 5-17, and their families, to participate in this free asthma prevention project. The child must live in the greater New Orleans area, have doctor diagnosed asthma, have no plans to move in the next 12 months, and have seen at least 1 cockroach in the home in the past month. Cockroaches will be exterminated from the home and environmental sampling will also be done in the home. Lung function tests and blood allergy tests will be performed for free on participating children. There is monetary compensation for qualified participants. After the 12 months, the NO-ROACH team will determine whether cockroach elimination in the home reduces children’s asthma attacks and hospital visits. “Why do children in the inner city have worse asthma, even when they are taking their medicines, even when they have access to health care? Why are their asthma outcomes worse?” These are questions the NO-ROACH PROJECT hopes to answer.
If you would like to participate in the NO-ROACH PROJECT or to learn more, please call (504) 988-6266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Can Maintain a Healthy Weight?
by Daphne P. Ferdinand, PhD, RN
verweight and obesity is a growing problem facing all of us in the United States. More than two-thirds of adults are either obese or overweight. Over the past 30 years, obesity rates doubled among children aged 2–5 years and adolescents 12-19 years. What is even more amazing is that obesity tripled in children 6–11 years! If we continue this trend, it is expected that 50% of Americans will be obese by 2030. Obesity is a serious health condition that increases your risk for developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, certain cancers, sleep apnea, gallstones, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. It requires a call to action for all members of the community to get involved and make a difference in the health of our families and communities. How do you know if you are obese? Obesity is defined by measuring the body mass index or BMI calculated from your height and weight. Adults with a healthy body weight have a BMI less than 25. Those who are overweight or have too much weight for your height would have a BMI in the range of 25-29.9. Adults who are obese have a BMI of 30 or higher. BMI in children and teens, 2-20 years is also measured using height and weight, but compared along growth charts until they reach adulthood. The next time you visit your health care provider, ask to measure your BMI to determine your category of body weight. Know your numbers. How can you learn more about obesity and overweight? Well, We Can! can help. We Can! stands for Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition and teaches parents and caregivers to help their children ages 8-13 years to maintain a healthy weight. The goal of the program is to increase knowledge about choosing and preparing healthy, nutritious foods,
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increasing physical activity, and reducing screen or TV time. The curriculum was developed by leading experts at the National Institutes of Health who conducted research in nutrition, weight, and physical activity. Parents attend six one-hour interactive sessions covering topics about what to feed families to manage “Energy In”(calories from food); finding fun in physical activity or “Energy Out” (calories burned); portion sizes and control; decreasing screen time to become more fit; healthy cooking demonstrations; and how to sustain a healthy weight for life. Participants receive door prizes when they consistently attend all six classes, and it’s FREE! Children are welcome to attend classes with their parents. However, we do have a separate curriculum to address various age groups.
The Healthy Heart Community Prevention Project is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization which serves as a community site to implement the We Can! program. Let us know if you want us to bring this wonderful program to your community. Call Daphne P. Ferdinand, PhD, RN at (504) 534-8231 or email daphnep@ healthyheartcpp.org. Remember “Healthy Families Lead to Healthy Communities.” 27
The Job Hunt by J.W. Goodey
inding a job is a job and it has been my job for several months now. I am looking for work in the public sector (city, parish, or state government) and this story describes one experience of my job hunt. I have now taken four civil service exams, three with the state and one with the city of New Orleans. I took my first exam, the 9333 Professional Entry Test, in Baton Rouge. The day before, I found a position that required a passing score on the 9333 exam. This position closed two days after the test. Waking at 6:30am to get to the Agricultural Building (the testing site) in Baton Rouge by 8:30am, I found myself sitting in what has now become a familiar environment. Forty or so people sit facing the same direction with test booklets, answer sheets, photo identification, Social Security cards, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING else on our desks. Violations of policies and procedure, we are told, could result in a five-year disqualification from taking these tests. Everything is very stern. Two and a half hours are put on the clock and we applicants open our booklets and test our knowledge. I find the first half of the test to be very easy. The test becomes challenging at its mid-point for two reasons: the introduction of a form of long division I have not done by hand since early high school and the woman one desk behind and one desk to the left of me. I noticed this woman while in the waiting room. I cannot say that she stood
out from the rest of us because of the make-up of those people taking the test is completely random. Age ranged from very early twenties to very late fifties, dress ranged from sandals and cargo shorts to dress shirts and loafers (for the males mostly – the range was similar for women but substitute flats for loafers), and there was no discernible bias towards one race or another. This woman, let’s call her Georgia, had straight, thin, dirty blonde hair. She wore a type of work boot and denim jeans with the loop on the back of the leg that holds a hammer. She wore a heavy metal band t-shirt, the type with lightening and skeletons emblazed everywhere. As I began to sweat over my long division I hear a muffled yell “F*CK!”. I didn’t know at first who would loudly whisper an explicative in a state civil service test – especially with the severe consequences of rule breaking. Georgia spent the next hour and a half loudly whispering several different four letter words while no one around asked her to stop. You, my dear reader, could be thinking that I made a bigoted judgment against someone who has an uncontrollable tick. In fact, an uncontrollable tick crossed my mind as a reason for these outbursts. I considered it a possibility until the first person finished her test and rose to turn in her answer sheet. “How the F*CK could she be done so soon!?” quietly followed her out of the door.
Global Green USA selling LEED Platinum homes in the Holy Cross Neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward by Lindsey Meyer
t has been almost seven years since Global Green USA came to New Orleans to help the city rebuild sustainably following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. We are pleased to be making great progress on a green building plan that is near and dear to us: the Holy Cross Project in the Lower 9th Ward. As part of our commitment to help the city recover and rebuild, we set out to create a sustainable village comprised of homes and a community center in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower 9th Ward. We are thrilled to announce that four of our LEED Platinum single-family homes are now on the market. These homes are the result of a sustainable design competition led by Global Green CEO Matt Petersen and Brad Pitt in 2006. The competition called for net-zero energy, affordable housing and community center development designs, and received over 125 entries from around the world. The outpouring of support for the competition helped us begin to make the Holy Cross Project a reality. “The Holy Cross design competition did an incredible job of jump-starting our collective vision of becoming a truly sustainable and resilient city after Hurricane Katrina,” says Beth Galante, Director of New Orleans and Gulf Coast Initiatives. The homes on the market -- located on Andry Street by the river in the Holy Cross neighborhood -- have been called “21st Century Shotgun Houses” for their nod to the city’s traditional housing stock with a modern redesign that emphasizes efficiency, resilience, and functionality. They are 80% more energyefficient than standard-built houses and will save homeowners thousands on energy bills. Two are single-story homes with two bedrooms and one bath ($110,000); the other two are two-story homes with two bedrooms and two baths ($130,000). We are welcoming all offers, but reserving the right to require buyers to be at 80-100% average median income and to grant preference to past or present residents of the Lower 9th Ward and/or teachers, community organizers, first responders or nonprofit employees in New Orleans. One of the five LEED Platinum homes has been used by Global Green as a visitor center since 2008. The visitor center offers visitors the opportunity to explore leading-edge green building features on display and in practice such as: solar panels; ENERGY STAR lights, fans, and appliances; water-efficient plumbing fixtures; superior indoor air quality; and durable building materials that
are environmentally friendly and highly storm-resistant. We have welcomed more than 25,000 visitors, and the home is still a popular stop for both residents and tourists in New Orleans. Next up for the Holy Cross Project: Tackle phase II of the project, which includes rain gardens, public space, and a Community Development and Climate Action Center (CDCAC). We hope to to break ground in July on the CDCAC that will house Global Green’s future offices, as well as a visitor center, ATM, corner store/fresh food vendor, community meeting space, and passive survivability features (for first responders in case of future storms). “The new LEED Platinum Community Development Center will take our vision of rebuilding New Orleans green to the next level by providing the Lower Ninth Ward -- and the entire city -- with a world-class meeting space and green educational center,” says Galante. “We are proud to work closely with so many outstanding community groups, businesses and government leaders to create a resilient coastal city that will serve as a model to the world.” The CDCAC is designed to serve dual and complementary purposes as an international “Center of Excellence” for mitigating climate change in coastal communities while addressing the needs and preferences of local residents and visitors by providing space and essential services. Global Green released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the fresh food vendor to be located in the CDCAC and to offer fresh produce and healthy prepared foods. Global Green will accept submissions until an appropriate vendor has been identified (please contact Michelle at Global Green for more information at 504.525.2121 or e-mail email@example.com). When sufficient funding is in place, there are also plans to build a multifamily building with 18 affordable apartments. Upon completion of all three phases of the Holy Cross Project, this internationally renowned, model village will house 23 families in LEED Platinum residences, and act as a catalyst for sustainability at the local, state, and national level.
If interested in purchasing one of the homes, please contact Urban Vision Real Estate Agent Marna David at 504.715.9910 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. THE TRUMPET | JULY/AUGUST | 2012
CeCe Gets ” a d e e Z “ h t wi The opportunity to interview this woman who possesses so many talents was a joy and pleasure all in one. I must it’s the first interview that moved me to shed a tear. Zeeda is taking the Christian rap game to a whole other level. Very sincere, ambitious, beautiful inside and out. CeCe: How did you get the name “Zeeda?” Zeeda: A Teenage friend gave it to me jokingly, and it stuck! I am in the process of a legal name change, through my birthplace of San Francisco, CA, so soon I will be re-introducing myself to the nation as Zeeda Michelle Veal. CeCe: What area did you grow up? Zeeda: I was born in San Francisco, CA and I was raised in the New Orleans Fischer Projects, which is now gone. CeCe: Tell us everything that Zeeda does? Zeeda: I am a mother of six, with two G-babies. Let me explain the G-baby deal. My kids have kids, and I am not a grandma, I am a GLAM-MA so that makes them the G-babies! I have been married to my best friend for 12 years, and we’ve been together 16 years. My husband is an inspirational speaker and artist. I am also a licensed minister over my youth group at Bound 4 Glory Ministries church in Houston, TX, where the Pastors are Manuel & Tanika Mukes. I am also the church administrator. I am a licensed Zumba Instructor and will be receiving my Bachelors in 2013 in personal training. My passion is my music and motivational speaking, and I have been blessed to travel into the schools of Midland, TX with former Harlem Globetrotter Melvin Adams, who has been very influential in this area of my life. CeCe: How do you hold all of this together? Zeeda: Prayer!!! God is the center of EVERYTHING I DO! When it seems it’s all going to fall apart, I hit my knees, and he brings it all together. CeCe: How did you get into Zumba? Zeeda: I was taking classes at my local gym, and it was just a lot of fast movement to Latin music to me. As a curvy African American woman, I needed more. So I put a creative edge to the choreography to Zumba music for fit women with curves, and added a little flavor to it to target trouble areas of the body, such as the belly, arms, butt, etc. I was captivated by the music and movement, and I was hooked! CeCe: What was the force behind you becoming an empowerment speaker? Zeeda: I have been at the bottom of the barrel with no clue of rising above it, but I did! So I wanted people to know that there is hope, and that they can beat all odds even if life did deal them a bad hand! The possibilities are unlimited if you just keep pushing! CeCe: What was the hardest thing you faced in life? Zeeda: I’ve had quite a few, but I would say the hardest was being in an abusive relationship and being four months pregnant and incarcerated for a period of time. Those two go hand in hand. The abusive relationship drove me to a suicide attempt, and being incarcerated was rough, but it was a breaking point! I had time to reflect in prison, and that ultimately saved my life and the life of my handsome son!
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CeCe: What was one of the first accomplishments in your music career? Zeeda: I was voted one of the Top 10 female emcees in Murder Dog magazine. I was also featured on Master P’s “Down South Hustler” compilation, BUT I would say my biggest accomplishment was when I made the decision to stop rapping murder, drugs and guns and I started rapping life, hope and change through Christ. CeCe: What struggles did you face being a female hip-hop artist? Zeeda: The struggles I faced, and still do, as an inspirational artist is that we are in a male dominant culture as it relates to hip-hop. On the street side of it, if the women weren’t half naked and degrading themselves, they couldn’t get on. So I made sure that my skills were at the top of the game, and as a female, I let my skills speak for me, not my boobs or behind. I also made sure that my lyrics went harder than the guys. On the flip, doing it now as an inspirational artist, it’s like the guys are very respectful. They carry my bags for shows and treat me like a lady, and then when they hear my lyrics they like, “Girl, you go hard!!!” and the respect level is raised all the more! CeCe: When did you decide to cross over to Christian rap? Zeeda: After my release from prison, and after the abuse, I started attending church. It was a small church off Jackson called Outreach of Truth, where I was really taught about Christ. God used Prophet Dwayne Johnson to speak into my life. They had an event that all the women were going to travel to called Woman Thou are Loosed “Run to the Water,” hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes, and that changed my life back in 2001. After a few years passed, God led me to Greater Antioch, which is now the City of Love, pastored by Bishop Love and Pastor Fran Love, and they nurtured and developed my gift of rap through the word OF God. CeCe: How did you know Christian rap was for you? Zeeda: I didn’t at first, because I thought it was lame and corny from what I heard. One day, I was attempting to write my first song called “Jesus Got Zeeda Like That,” and I began to get frustrated. My husband came and said, “go ‘head, spit it”, and I started rapping. He was like alright, this is good and said, “now, rap it like you would rap if you were still doing this for the street...that same boldness, in-yo-face, gutter vibe you gave the world, transfer it into the Kingdom!” When our former label Smoke One Records transitioned to Bound 4 Glory records, that’s when I knew, it was God’s timing and perfect will for me! CeCe: Do you remember when you realized you were secure as the woman that you are? Zeeda: Yes. My husband and I had a conversation that changed my life. It went like this: “You’ve been my wife and these kids’ mom for a long time; what is it that you want for you now!” The kids are in school, you’ve been a housewife for 16 years, now what?!” I had been doing motivational speaking for a while with my music, so that was like second nature, but I dropped out in 9th grade because I got pregnant and never went back to school.
By Christy “CeCe” Chapman, the author of the book, 20 Thoughts Every Woman Should Have. She is a New Orleans native who is “twenty something years of age.” Follow her on Twitter at @CeCetheAuthor.
So, I said to him, “I want my high school diploma!” I went back to school two years ago and got it! I walked the stage in cap and gown, with my husband and kids taking pictures and cheering me on! Conquering that goal sparked a blaze, and I knew who I was and what I wanted out of life and nothing could stop me from getting it! CeCe: How was the relocation to Houston, TX from New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina? Zeeda: It was, as I believe for everyone, a very scary transition, but I knew in order to get something I never had, I had to do something I’ve never done! Since we made the move, the opportunities have been unlimited! I love Texas, is it home? No. Do I miss home? Yes! Will I move back? I don’t think so. I wear my Saints shirt and Saints symbol on my truck!! It was a negative disaster, but it had positive benefits! CeCe: How was being from New Orleans and attending the HHH Awards? Zeeda: Oh wow!! HHH awards our first year here embraced us! They gave us our own segment in the show, with the hurricane clips showing on the big screen, and all the rappers from the N.O. were on the big stage representing! CeCe: What is your motivation being this “Renaissance Woman”? Zeeda: My God, my Family and those that are striving to be better! CeCe: What sports events have you participated in? Zeeda: Now, none. I’m leaning toward cycling; I love cycling and a marathon has been tapping at my heart. Whether I’ll answer the tap, we shall see... CeCe: How does it feel knowing that you give young girls and woman all over the world hope? Zeeda: AWESOME! If I can prevent a girl or women from waiting on her Prince Charming, and pursue education, or walk away from that venomous relationship, or just to be all they can be! I’m fulfilled and HAPPY! CeCe: Do you have any current projects in the making, and how can people book you for your music or motivational speaking? Zeeda: I’m currently writing and completing my new CD and book, which will be a combo project packaged together. The CD is entitled “Ruckuz” because I’ve been quiet too long and I’m about to make some positive noise! The book, “From Pain 2 Power,” simply means out of the ashes and ruins of pain, something Powerful arose! I can be contacted at email@example.com or (504) 710-1662. CeCe: What do you want your fans to remember about you? Zeeda: I want them to remember I represent something greater than me: Jesus! I want them to remember that I gave, and will give, 100%, no matter the size of the audience! Because if there’s five or five million, if I’ve touched on with my story, I’ve done my job. CeCe: Give us your favorite quote? Zeeda: “Life is what you make it. You can allow it to keep you in a choke hold or you could grab it like a bull and force it into submission.”
Algiers Point Association Every 1st Thursday of the month @ 7pm Holy Name of Mary School Cafeteria Broadmoor Improvement Association 3rd Monday of every other month @ 7pm Andrew H. Wilson Charter School Cafeteria 3617 General Pershing St. New Orleans, LA 70125 http://www.broadmoorimprovement. com Bunny Friends Neighborhood Association Every second Saturday of the month Mt. Carmel Baptist Church 3721 N Claiborne Ave Bywater Neighborhood Association Every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7p.m. Holy Angels Cafeteria 3500 St. Claude Ave. Carrollton Riverbend Neighborhood Association Every 2nd Thursday of the month Parish Hall of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Corner of Carrollton and Zimple Carrollton United Every second Monday at 5:00p.m. every other month St. John Missionary Baptist Church, corner of Leonidas and Hickory Central City Partnership Every last Friday of the month @ 1p.m. Allie Mae Williams Center 2020 Jackson Ave. http://www.centralcitypartnership.org
Central City Renaissance Alliance (CCRA) 1809 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. http://www.myccra.org Chapel of the Holy Comforter Every 4th Thursday of the month @ 6:30p.m. 2200 Lakeshore Drive Claiborne-University Neighborhood Association Quarterly Meetings, time and date TBA Jewish Community Center 5342 St. Charles Ave Downtown Neighborhood Improvement Association (DNIA) Every 3rd Monday of the month @ 7p.m. Musicians’ Union Hall 2401 Esplanade Ave (entrance through parking lot on Bayou Road and Rocheblave Street) DeSaix Neighborhood Association Every 2nd Saturday of the month @10a.m. Langhston Hughes Academy 3519 Trafalgar Street http://danadesaix.org East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Committee (ENONAC) Every 2rd Tuesday of each month @ 6 p.m. St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church http://www.enonac.org Faubourg Delachaise Neighborhood Association Quarterly meetings, time/date/ location TBA http://fdna-nola.org
Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association Board Meeting: Every 2nd Monday 7p.m. Holy Rosary Cafeteria 1638 Moss Street General Membership: 3rd Wednesday, every other month 6:30pm Black Gold Room at the Fairgrounds http://www.fsjna.org Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association Every 2nd Thursday of the month @ 6:00p.m. True Vine Baptist Church 2008 Marigny St. Filmore Gardens Neighborhood Association (meet the 4th Thursday of each month) Rouse’s Food Market (Leon C. Simon & Franklin Avenue) 6:30p.m. to 8:00p.m. (No meetings in Nov. and Dec.) Garden District Association 1 annual meeting per year, time/date/ location TBA Gentilly Civic Improvement Association (GCIA) General Membership- Every 3rd Saturday of the month 10am Board Meeting - Every 3rd Wednesday of the month 6:30p.m. Edgewater Baptist Church 5900 Paris Ave. Gentilly Heights East Neighborhood Association Every 3rd Monday of the month @ 6p.m. Dillard University Dent Hall – Room 104 Gentilly Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association Every 3rd Monday of the month @ 6:30p.m . VOA – 2929 St. Anthony Ave. (meetings on hold until further notice)
Gentilly Terrace and Gardens Improvement Association Every 2nd Wednesday of the month @ 7pm Gentilly Terrace School 4720 Painters St. http://www.gentillyterrace.org Hoffman Triangle Neighborhood Association Every 2nd Tuesday of the month @ 5:30p.m. Pleasant Zion Missionary Baptist Church 3327 Toledano Street Hollygrove Neighbors Association Saturdays at 12:00 (noon) St. Peter AME Church 3424 Eagle St. (Eage St. and Edinburgh St.) www.neighborhoodlink.com (type in 70118 and click on “Hollygrove Neighbors”) blog us at http://www. hollygroveneighbors.blogspot.com/ Holy Cross Neighborhood Association Every 2nd and 4th Thursday @ 5:30 Center for Sustainability, Greater Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church 5130 Chartres, Lizardi and Chartres http://www.helpholycross.org Irish Channel Neighborhood Association 2nd Thursday of the month at 7p.m. Irish Channel Christian Fellowship 819 First St. http://www.irishchannel.org Lake Bullard Homeowners Association See website for meeting schedule Cornerstone United Methodist Church 5276 Bullard Ave. http://www.lakebullard.org Lake Catherine Civic Association Every 2nd Tuesday of the month @ 7p.m.
Get Connected to the New Orleans Neighborhood Network. Post News & Events for Your Organization at NPNnola.com 30
THE TRUMPET | JULY/AUGUST | 2012
Lake Willow Neighborhood Every 2nd Saturday of the month @ 10a.m. St. Maria Goretti Church Lower Ninth Ward Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association (NENA) Every 2nd Saturday @ 12 noon NENA – 1120 Lamanche St. http://www.9thwardnena.org Melia Subdivision Every 2rd Saturday of the month @ 5p.m. Anchoren in Christ Church 4334 Stemway Drive Mid-City Neighborhood Organization General Meeting – Second Monday of every month@ 6:30p.m. Grace Episcopal Church 3700 Canal Street http://www.mcno.org Milneburg Neighborhood Association Chapel of the Holy Comforter 2200 Lakeshore Dr. 6:30 p.m. Monthly meetings are every 4th Thursday of the month
Oak Park Civic Association Every 3rd or last Tuesday of the month Paris Oaks/Bayou Vista Neighborhood Association Last Saturday of every month @ 4p.m. Third District Police Station 4650 Paris Avenue Pensiontown of Carrollton Neighborhood Association Every 1st Saturday of the month @ 2p.m. Leonidas House Community Center (under renovation) 1407 Leonidas St. Temporarily housed at St. Paul AME Church 8540 Cohn St. (corner of Leonidas and Cohn) Pontilly Association Pontilly Disaster Collaborative – Every 3rd Wednesday of the month General Meeting – every 2nd Saturday of the month http://www.pontilly.com
Ask City Hall
Rosedale Subdivision Last Friday of every month @5:30 Greater Bright Morning Star Baptist Church 4253 Dale Street Seabrook Neighborhood Association Monthly meetings are every second Monday Gentilly Terrace School 4720 Painters Street Tall Timbers Owners Association Semi-annual meetings: Second Wednesday of October & April 7p.m. Board meetings: Second Wednesday of every other month 7p.m Tunisburg Square Homeowners Civic Association, Inc. Every 2nd Monday of the month @ 6:30p.m. http://tunisburg.org West Barrington Association 1st Tuesday of every month @ 6p.m. Holiday Inn Express 70219 Bullard Avenue
Send your neighborhood meeting details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Neighborhood Partnership Network 4902 Canal Street • #301 New Orleans, LA 70119 504.940.2207 • FX 504.940.2208 TheTrumpet@npnnola.com
THE TRUMPET | JULY/AUGUST | 2012
District A Susan G. Guidry City Hall, Room 2W80 1300 Perdido Street New Orleans, LA 70112 Phone: (504) 658-1010 Fax: (504) 658-1016 Email: email@example.com District B Diana Bajoie City Hall, Room 2W10 1300 Perdido Street New Orleans, LA 70112 Phone: (504) 658-1020 Fax: (504) 658-1025 District C Kristin Gisleson Palmer City Hall, Room 2W70 1300 Perdido Street Phone: (504) 658-1030 Fax: (504) 658-1037 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org District D Cynthia Hedge-Morrell City Hall, Room 2W20 1300 Perdido Street Phone: (504) 658-1040 Fax: (504) 658-1048 E-mail: email@example.com District E Jon D. Johnson City Hall, Room 2W60 1300 Perdido Street Phone: (504) 658-1050 Fax: (504) 658-1058 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Council Member-At-Large Stacy Head City Hall, Room 2W10 1300 Perdido Street Phone: (504) 658 -1020 Fax: (504) 658-1025 Email: email@example.com Council Member-At-Large Jacquelyn Clarkson City Hall, Room 2W50 1300 Perdido Street New Orleans, LA 70112 Phone: (504) 658-1070 Fax: (504) 658-1077
NEIGHBOR OOD SPOTLIGH HT