Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bayou Bridges Restoration Project Planning Session - TODAY @ 1:00 pm

Saturday, January 29th at the historic Pitot House (1440 Moss St.)
1:00pm socializing
1:30pm meeting

From Faubourg St. John & the Bayou Bridges Restoration Project

A few months ago the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association (FSJNA) formed a committee to focus on repairing and restoring the Dumaine St. and Magnolia (Cabrini) bridges. The committee has made great progress, including securing support and funding from the Regional Planning Commission for a Feasibility Study regarding the Magnolia Bridge.

We are optimistic that we will be able to secure significant funding for this project, but the fact remains that we will still need to raise quite a bit of money on our own. Towards that end we would like to have established a solid fundraising strategy by the time the Feasibility Study is complete, and to get started on that we are convening a planning session:

Saturday, January 29th at the historic Pitot House (1440 Moss St.
1:00pm socializing; 1:30pm meeting)

This will be a targeted, focused planning session, and we ask that if you or your organization would like to take an active role in fundraising for our bridge restoration project. Please come out next Saturday and help us create a successful development plan!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tulane Mobile Health Unit Coming to Broadmoor Monday

Taking Community Health On the Road

Broadmoor Clinic
Every Monday

2021 S. Dupre
(Gloria Dei Lutheran Church parking lot)
We accept Medicaid and Medicare,
though no insurance required for services.
Walk-In Appointments
1. Medication Counseling
2. Adult immunizations
3. Smoking cessation counseling
4. Nutrition education
5. Health screening including:

Blood pressure
Body composition analysis (BMI & Body fat %)

For more information, call 504.994.0054

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Drink - N - Surf Fashion, Art, and Web Launch Party

Ms. Placed, a New Orleans based line of jewelry and accessories will host a website launch event including a fashion show and reception on February 12, 2011 at 10pm at the Country Club located at 634 Louisa St. in the Bywater New Orleans. This event is free and open to the public.

In an effort to empower their fellow young women living in post-Katrina New Orleans, Ms. Placed founders Allie Siegel and Elli Diaz have created a raw, edgy, and punk-inspired line of jewelry and hair accessories. Using recycled materials such as dominoes, vintage legos, and poker chips boasting original New-Orleans inspired designs, Ms. Placed is thrilled to present their first line at the February 12 launch event.

During the time following Katrina, the displaced Siegel and Diaz turned to creating Ms. Placed as an outlet for the pain and frustration they faced as victims of the hurricane. After years of honing their talents and careful craftsmanship, what has resulted is an undeniably unique and quirky line that represents the new side of New Orleans style.

Through Ms. Placed, Siegel and Diaz hope to create a new niche for handmade gifts outside of what the ever-popular mall stores have to offer. Ms. Placed reflects the individual styles of Siegel and Diaz- what Siegel describes as "dark and sexy, feminine but raw". With undercurrents of rockabilly style and pinup girl grace, Ms. Placed is on the verge of expanding into a brand synonymous with the unique strength and style of New Orleans

For more information on Ms. Placed, visit or contact Allie Siegel at For media inquiries, please contact P. Maxwell Ochester at or (206) 709 9212.

The Country Club in New Orleans is the premier location for multi-media events. It’s versatility as a dinning establishment, local hang-out, swim club, and art venue has been enjoyed by New Orleanians and visitors for over 35 years.

For this event, The Country Club will also be featuring photography by Todd Taylor ( )and Robert Gouner
( ), as well as the hip hop stylings of DJ Nate White. We'll have films playing in our champagne room, laptops for logging on and checking out the new Ms. Placed website, and $2.50 well cocktails, domestic beers and champagne.

For the official invite on Facebook please see!/event.php?eid=159347797446605

Councilmember Head District B Update

Most of my constituents are primarily interested in having city government's performance improve. They want to focus on the basics: infrastructure, crime control, nuisance enforcement, and blight reduction. I believe these efforts, which focus on the basics, will have secondary benefits - in addition to improving residents' quality of life - such as business development and growth, and increased property values.

To this end, I am continuing to help the administration move blighted properties to sheriff sales, improve the performance of the Sewerage and Water Board, fund Public Works, and report nuisance bars to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board for prosecution.

I recently chaired a Public Works Committee meeting and obtained testimony from the Director of Public Works that the administration will enforce basic parking laws, including towing abandoned vehicles and dangerously parked vehicles (e.g. vehicles blocking others' driveways). You can directly request towing of these vehicles by calling (504) 658-8100.

I also received testimony about the status of streetscape projects in District "B". They are as follows:

- South Claiborne Streetscape: Construction to begin April

2011 (Napoleon Ave. to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.)

- Broadmoor Streetscape: Construction to begin March

2011 (General Pershing St. to Broad St. to S. Miro St.)

- Oretha Castle Haley Streetscape: Bid and Award phase

in April 2011 (Felicity St. to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.)

- Freret Streetscape: Construction to begin April 2011

(Napoleon Ave. to Jefferson Ave.)

- Tulane and Jefferson Davis Streetscape: Construction to begin

in May 2011 (Baudin St., Clark St., D'Hemecourt St.)

NBA News

The Hornets are on a nine game winning streak! Please come out

and support the New Orleans Hornets. Attendance at home

games is critical to keeping the Hornets in New Orleans as the

NBA uses attendance records in their decision to relocate or

keep the Hornets in New Orleans.


- Taylor playground is undergoing a renovation, and community

participation is planned for Thursday, January 27 beginning at 11

a.m. to help clean up and paint the exterior of the building (click

here for map). For further information, please contact Brooke

Smith at or (504) 658-4943.

- Norwood Thompson Park will be receiving a number of

renovations to its bathroom, basketball courts, seating and

murals. Entergy and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation

are sponsoring the effort to improve the park.

Crime Walk

There will be a crime walk sponsored by the Milan Focus

Group & Freret Neighborhood Center on Wednesday, January

26 beginning at 5 p.m. at the Atkinson-Stern Tennis Center

located at 4025 S. Saratoga St. (click here for map). Second

District Police Commander Captain Albert and Councilmember

Head will be in attendance. For further information, please

contact Mary Ellen Alexander by home phone at (504) 897-9747 or

office phone at (504) 896-9857.

Community Events

The Central City Partnership meets the last Friday of every

month at 1 p.m. at 2020 Jackson Ave., in the Allie Mae

Williams Auditorium (click here for map). The public is welcome to

attend and participate. Also, the public is invited to volunteer to

participate in the Youth Think Tank, which seeks the perspectives

of youth affected by violence in the Central City area. For further

information, please contact Evelyn Green at (504) 258-4328


Energy Smart Program

Entergy New Orleans will partner with qualified customers who

wish to participate in the Smartview Energy Management test

program on how to track your electricity usage, lower costs, etc.

Entergy New Orleans will provide customers with easy-to-use

tools, training and information at no additional cost. Participants

will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis and

registration is limited. Qualified participants must be Entergy New

Orleans residential electric customers with an active account

since January 1, 2010, and meet specific household income


For more information, call Entergy New Orleans toll free at 1-

855-33-SMART (1-855-337-6278), visit the Entergy New

Orleans Customer Care Center at 3400 Canal St. (click here for

map), or visit Customers can

also contact or visit these partnering organizations to learn more

about the program:

- Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans - 2200 Lafitte

St.; (504) 827-9963

- New Orleans Council On Aging - 2475 Canal St., Ste. 400; (504)


- Green Light New Orleans - 8203 Jeannette Street; (504)


- Kingsley House - 1600 Constance St.; (504) 523-6221

- Neighborhood Development Foundation - 1429 Rampart St.;

(504) 488-0155

- Total Community Action Inc. - 1420 S. Jefferson Davis Pkwy.;

(504) 827-0337

Helpful Numbers to Report Quality of Life Issues

- 2nd Police District

(504) 658-6020

Sgt. Ernie Joseph (

Officer Edgar Staehle (

Officer Wilford Eddington (

- 6th Police District

(504) 658-6060

Sgt. Yolanda Jenkins (

Officer John Favaloro (

Officer Joseph Joia (

- 8th Police District

(504) 658-6080

Sgt. Janet Williams (

Officer Roger Jones (

NOLA City Council
The New Orleans City Council is the legislative branch of New Orleans city government. The Council considers and enacts all local laws that govern the City of New Orleans. The Council also approves the operating and capital budgets for the City, as recommended by the mayor, and continually monitors revenues and expenditures for local government operations. The City Council is also the regulatory body for public utilities. It also reviews and has final say on many land use and zoning matters, as well as considers major economic development projects for the City. As a Board of Review for Orleans Parish, the Council examines appeals of property tax assessments for real estate taxes, and certifies tax rolls to the Louisiana Tax Commission. Other responsibilities of the Council include overseeing the operation of the public access television in Orleans Parish.

The City Council is comprised of five districts and two councilmembers-at-large. Council President and Councilmember-at-Large Arnie Fielkow; Council Vice President and Councilmember-at-Large Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson; District "A" Councilmember Susan G. Guidry; District "B" Councilmember Stacy Head; District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer; District "D" Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell; and District "E" Councilmember Jon D. Johnson.

Prospect New Orleans Throwdown.1.5

Prospect 1.5 Logo

Prospect New Orleans was founded in 2008 by Curator Dan Cameron, and is still the largest biennial of international contemporary art in the United States. Last fall, a series of exhibitions, public programs, and artist residencies were launched throughout the city of New Orleans' galleries as Prospect.1.5. As Prospect.1.5 now comes to an end, Prospect New Orleans aims to celebrate their successes during an after party appropriately titled, Throwdown.1.5.

The after party is on Saturday, February 5, 2011 from 8pm - 11pm at Secondline Stages, located at 800 Richard Street. The evening will feature food, drinks, music, & a silent auction of works by local artists. To purchase tickets, please click here. Prospect.2, will open October 22, 2011, and will be on view through Sunday, January 29, 2012.

For more information about Prospect New Orleans or the Throwdown.1.5 after-party, please visit or send an email to

tam and fan

A new exhibit opens this weekend at The McKenna Museum of African American Art. Artists Jamar Pierre and Gregoryuan Mghee-Hunter have come together to celebrate their works of Mardi Gras culture in the exhibition, "Tambourine and Fan", which represents the 'real' culture of New Orleans. The opening reception is this Saturday, January 29, 2011 from 6 - 9 pm at The McKenna Museum of African American Art, located at 2003 Carondelet Street.

jamar pierre

Artist, Jamar Pierre has worked with The Tambourine and Fan Organization during the past 15 years, creating murals and banners that were displayed throughout the Treme area. Unfortunately, when Hurricane Katrina hit, many of Pierre's works were destroyed. This show will help enable Pierre to recreate these massive, colorful banners under the Claiborne Avenue overpass, as well as the murals at Hunter's Field (St. Bernard and Claiborne Avenue.) The exhibit will remain open until March 12, 2011. For more information about the opening reception or the exhibit, please visit,, or email

Contemporary Arts Center's SweetArts celebrate cultural arts community

An Update on...

arts + gardens + no logo

As the holidays have officially come to an end, New Orleans finds itself warming up to a new season filled with cultural events ranging from Carnival festivities to a rich menu of art events. This year, the Contemporary Arts Center's SweetArts will celebrate individuals and organizations that embody the heart and soul of the New Orleans' cultural arts community. The Honorees' Receptions will be held on Saturday, February 12th from 7:30 to 9pm, at the home of Senator and Mrs. Joel T. Chaisson II (on Camp Street.) The SweetArts Bash will be held at the CAC at 900 Camp Street from 9 to midnight. Tickets for both events can be purchased by clicking here.

Sweetarts 1

This years honorees are:

  • John Barnes, visual artist and educator
  • Ben Jaffe, Creative Director, Preservation Hall
  • New Orleans Arts District, represented by Denise Berthiaume and Jean Bragg
  • New Orleans Fringe Theater Festival, represented by Phil Cramer, Kristen Evans, Damon Rosenzweig and Emilie Whelan
  • Aimeé Farnet Siegel, arts patron
  • Derrick Tabb, Founder, Roots of Music
For more information about SweetArts 2011, please click here or email Lindsay Ross at

Want to Win $50,000 and Help Solve New Orleans Water Management Issues?

gno + idea village

The Idea Village and the Greater New Orleans Foundation have teamed up to create the 2011 Water Venture Development Challenge. One of the greatest challenges we face in Southeastern Louisiana stems from water-related issues. Together, they are seeking out new entrepreneurs to help develop better water management solutions. According to Tim Williamson, Co-Founder and CEO of the Idea Village, "The goal of Water Challenge is to ignite a community to support entrepreneurs developing innovative solutions to living with water. Together with Greater New Orleans Foundation, we are looking to be a catalyst to encourage our community to create lasting, scalable solutions by turning one of the region's greatest threats into one of our greatest assets.

So, do you think you have what it takes to capitalize on New Orleans' rich water assets? Then apply today by clicking here. Applications are due by midnight on February 21, 2011 and a winner will be announced on March 21, 2011. For more information about the Water Challenge, please visit, or email Grasshopper Mendoza.

District E RSD Building Assignment Meeting Rescheduled

The meeting scheduled for tonight at Schaumburg School to discuss school building assignments has been rescheduled to Tuesday, February 1st. The rescheduled meeting will be at 6 PM at Schaumburg School, 9501 Grant Street in New Orleans East.

Workshop Sponsored by Senator Cynthia Willard-Lewis


February 5, 2011

10:30 am to 2:30pm

Upperroom Bible Church,

8600 Lake Forest Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70127 – (504) 246-9060



Workshop Objective: To create opportunities to engage the New Orleans business community and build relationships between the federal government, contractors, vendors and the community in which they work.

Speakers and Breakout Session Participants include:

Senator Cynthia Willard-Lewis, Louisiana State Senate, District 2

Councilmember Jon D. Johnson, New Orleans City Council District E

COL Robert Sinkler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office

Creek Services LLC

Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Group


(subject to change)

9:00 – 10:25 Participant Check-In, Exhibitors Set Up

10:30 – 10:40 Welcome and Introductions

10:40 – 11:00 Opening Remarks Senator Cynthia Willard-Lewis

11:00 – 11:15 Remarks from Councilmember Jon Johnson, New Orleans City Council, District E

11:15 – 11:30 Hurricane Protection Office Remarks, COL Robert Sinkler

An overview of the current status of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Greater New Orleans Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System and Civil Works missions, focusing on issues of significance within the contractor community.

11:30 – 12:00 Future Opportunities, Louisiana Coastal Restoration, Mr. Troy Constance, New Orleans District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

An overview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans for Coastal Restoration with emphasis on the Corps' role in Louisiana's Coastal Restoration efforts and its coordination with the ongoing state efforts, describing what projects are currently authorized and/or funded, and address the timeline and path forward for the various federal projects.

12:00 – 12:30 Small Business Success Story, Ms Teresa Hightower, Owner and Manager, Creek Services, LLC

12:30 – 1:30 Breakout Session 1a., Small Business 101, Mr. Ned Foley, Deputy for Small Business Programs, New Orleans District, US Army Corps of Engineers

Are you ready to do business with the Federal Government? Ned Foley, from the Corps will be presenting a Government Workshop Business Awareness Session.

1230 – 1:30 Breakout Session 1b., Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Group, Discussion on How to Apply for Sub-Contracts , Rachel Kazibutowski, Corporate Small Business Liaison Office and Debbie Cook, IHNC Project Subcontracts Formation Lead

Learn what it takes to make successful bids for subcontracting opportunities.

1:30 – 2:30 Breakout Session 2a., Small Business 101, Mr. Ned Foley, Deputy for Small Business Programs, New Orleans District, US Army Corps of Engineers

1:30 – 2:30 Breakout Session 2b., Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Group, Discussion on How to Apply for Sub-Contracts, Rachel Kazibutowski, Corporate Small Business Liaison Office and Debbie Cook, IHNC Project Subcontracts Formation Lead

12:30 – 2:30 Visit Exhibitions and Networking opportunity

2:30 Workshop Concludes

Only 4 more days left to Vote for the Lower 9th Ward Village on Pepsi Refresh

Our friend Mack has been nominated through the Pepsi Refresh Everything competition to potentially receive $250,000 for renovations to the Lower 9th Ward Village Community Center. Now he needs our help! Please vote daily for the Village.

All who have been touched by Mack or their experiences at the Village are needed now. Please show your support and solidarity by voting daily for the Village at the following link:

RSD Public Meeting for District E Tonight! 6 pm @ H.C. Schaumburg School

Do you live in District E? Are you concerned about RSD public education options, charter program building assignments or plans for the construction and demolition of school buildings?

Attend tonight's RSD Public Meeting for Council District E for an update on what is happening and voice your opinions.

Thursday, January 27
6:00 pm
H.C. Schaumburg School
9501 Grant St., New Orleans

For more information see:
RSD January Meetings


Rebuilding New Orleans Schools

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mayor Landrieu announces new operator for New Orleans East hospital

Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced Wednesday that the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System will be the operator for the planned community hospital in eastern New Orleans.

Andy Kopplin, chief administrative officer of the city of New Orleans, confirmed plans for a public-private partnership. The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System will run a new hospital in the Methodist Hospital building now owned by taxpayers.

Laurentine Leonide Ernst, longtime Holy Cross Neighborhood Association member, funeral services Thursday

Laurentine Leonide Ernst passed into heaven's gates on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at East Jefferson General Hospital at the age of 91 due to heart failure.

She was the beloved wife of the late Chester Peter Ernst. She was preceded in death by her father Joseph Edward Jacob and mother Lillian Emelda Jacob; brother Irwin H. Jacob and sisters Lillian Juliet Hale, Ethel Beatrice Bonck and half sister of Edward Jacob and Leo Jacob.

She is survived by sisters Lorraine Florence Young and Gloria June Davis and numerous nieces and nephews. Laurentine was a life long resident of the Lower Ninth Ward and Holy Cross District until Hurricane Katrina displaced her to Kenner. She was honored for her work in beautification of St. Claude Avenue neutral ground and the preservation of architectural integrity of historic neighborhoods.

A piano teacher and family genealogist who wrote and published "Ma Famille Les Jacob," Ernst's copyright resides in the Library of Congress. She was also named Humane Ambassador 1999 for her work with neglected animals.

She will be sorely missed by family and friends. Friends of Holy Cross Neighborhood, Atrium and Westminister Towers are invited to visitation from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday January 27, 2011 at Jacob Schoen Funeral Home on Canal Street.

A service will be held at noon in the chapel. The interment will be held at St. Vincent de Paul, No.2 cemetery on Louisa Street. Condolences may be expressed online at

National foundation creates effort to prevent diabetes in America's communities

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation is developing Together on Diabetes: Communities Uniting to Meet America’s Diabetes Challenge, which is a $100 million initiative, funded by the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation.

The APhA Foundation’s new effort, Project IMPACT: Diabetes, IMPROVING AMERICA’S COMMUNITIES TOGETHER, will fully integrate pharmacists into the health care team in an effort to address some of the challenges faced by participants living with diabetes. Letters of support have already been received from a preliminary group of partner organizations including the American Pharmacists Association, the Centerfor Health Value Innovation, Giant Food Stores, HHS Office of Women’s Health, the National Diabetes Education Program, U.S. Health Resource Services Administration Pharmacy Services Support Centerand Walgreens.

APhA will host a webinar on Feb. 9 to explain the project and the application process and the criteria for selecting cities for the program. Participants may include leaders from Rural Health Centers (RHC), Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), patient advocacy organizations, for example, since they have a disproportionate share population that includes both Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The program will target areas in Louisiana,which is the state with the highest prevalence for diabetes.

You can contact and send your contact information regarding participation in the webinar. The information must be submitted no later than Feb. 2.

Mayor’s group made jail decision based on bad info from Sheriff

By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman appears to have misled the public about the ownership of a key property that is part of his planned jail complex.

Gusman told a jail working group convened by Mayor Mitch Landrieu that the city owned the property. But his office has owned it since 1992, according to public records.

The distinction is important because the sheriff’s ownership of the land places him in a more powerful negotiating position with city officials over the new jail. The block is in a strategically important position.

Already, the sheriff has begun work on a new $50 million kitchen-warehouse facility on his own land and without needing city approval. That’s because it replaces a kitchen-warehouse that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. And the block in question used to be home to the Templeman I and Templeman II jail buildings.

It is not clear whether Gusman intentionally misled the working group, or if he simply did not know that he owned the block in question because records about ownership of several blocks in the new jail complex are so confused.

Both Gusman and the Landrieu administration declined repeated requests for interviews on this issue. In the past, Gusman has been coy, asking what was wrong with a little green space.

Impatient to get started on the new jail complex, Gusman has already built a kitchen-warehouse facility and 400 temporary beds on nearby blocks that he also owns, without needing or seeking city permission.

The block in question, bounded by South Dupre and South Gayoso streets, Interstate 10 and Perdido Street, sits between Gusman’s new kitchen-warehouse facility now under construction, and the site of a planned 1,438-bed jail facility.

The City Council on Feb. 3 will consider a zoning ordinance that gives Gusman permission to build between South Jefferson Davis Parkway and South Broad Street. The ordinance is specific in granting permission to build the 1,438-bed facility and says if Gusman wants to build on the block in question, he needs to come back for further council approval.

The City Council held up the ordinance until the working group had a chance to make a final recommendation on the total number of beds in the entire jail complex.

Instead, the working group recommended that the council approve the permit for the 1,438-bed facility, and is continuing to meet to decide many issues – including what Gusman might build on the disputed block.

But the jail group made its recommendations based on the assumption that the city owned the disputed block, and it is now unclear what power the city has over Gusman to control use of that block once the conditional use permit is granted.

Gusman’s presentation to the city showed the disputed block in blue, suggesting it is owned by the city, while Gusman said he owns blocks colored red, through the Orleans Parish Law Enforcement District.

Ownership of three square blocks, including the block in question, has been confused since former Sheriff Charles Foti struck a deal with Mayor Sidney Bathelemy to buy them for $2 million, in 1992.

The city assessor’s office has not updated its records to reflect the sale. They indicate that the city owns the three square blocks, called square 624a, bounded by South Lopez and South Dupre streets between Perdido Street and Interstate 10.

Assessor’s records, which have not been updated, show that the city owns all of lot 624a.

Nevertheless, conveyance information shows that the sheriff’s office bought square 624a in 1992.

Assessor Erroll Williams did not respond to a request for comment on the confusion, but conveyance records are the city’s official documents of ownership and trump the assessor’s records.

Including his ownership of square 624a, Gusman owns the entire seven-block swath of land from South Jefferson Davis Parkway down to South Broad Street between Perdido Street and I-10.

Conveyance information shows that the sheriff bought lot 624a in 1992

The ordinance to be voted on by council on Feb. 3 says Gusman will need to go through the city planning commission if he wants to build on the block:

In order for the applicant to add additional properties and to add the Templeman I and II facility, the applicant shall be required to amend this Conditional Use ordinance through the City Planning Commission, with Council approval, in accordance with the full Conditional Use process.

Thursday, January 20, 2011's Contractor Rating System helps people share info about contractors

Since people throughout the New Orleans area need to use Road Home money soon, there are more concerns about finding honest contractors.'s Contractor Rating System is a good way to see what others have to say about contractors and the work they do as well as report dishonest ones.

For more information go to or

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NPN hosts town hall forum on Orleans Parish Prison expansion

By Aretha Frison, Trumpet Editor

Over 40 people attended Wednesday's night town hall meeting regarding the Orleans Parish Prison expansion, including public officials and community leaders. Many of the attendees were not aware that the jail manages state inmates, how many beds Sheriff Marlin Gusman wants in the jail expansion and how the jail expansion affect their neighborhoods and communities.

Many people are in this negative experience (jail) because of a lack of jobs and that is a large response to the crime,” said Senator Cynthia Willard-Lewis during the meeting.

Quick Facts

Who is in our Jail?

Right now, there are approximately 3,500 people in Orleans Parish Prison right now, which amounts to more than 9 people in jail for every 1,000 residents. The national average is less than 3 people in jail for every 1,000 residents.

"If you look at the data, you will see that black men in the system stay twice as long as white men and that is not being very just, " said Lucas Diaz, executive director of Puentes. Our working group has learned a lot and notice that there is a huge disconnect between the criminal justice activists and the public. We need for the public to talk about these complex issues. And for us to have a just government, we need the public’s input."

Of that 3,500, 800 or almost 25 percent are state prisoners who should be housed in state facilities. And, of the remaining 2,700 city prisoners, 80 percent have been charged with a minor or nonviolent offense.

"We have to keep in mind that the jail is about people and we need to build something that is rightly and morally proper for the people," said State Representative Austin Badon. "And we need to work with our families so they don’t have to be involved in the criminal justice system. I am about making sure that our people are responsible and out of the penal system. If we educate our children using a holistic approach, then we won’t have to worry about expanding our prison system."

You can contact Aretha Frison at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Interfaith understanding promoted during MLK weekend

By Trumpet Blog Staff

In an effort to enable interfaith discussion and understanding, the congregations of the Touro Synagogue and Masjidur Raheem will come together during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend for the 4th Weekend of Peace.

The weekend's events will also include a community service event for the needy on January 15 co-hosted by both congregations. Volunteers will serve a hot meal, distribute canned goods and clothing and offer primary health screenings, including dental screenings. Entertainment for both children and adults, including participation from the New Orleans Hornets as well as music by the Hot 8 Brass Band, will also be available.

The first Weekend of Peace took place in 2005, when Touro Synagogue and Masjidur Raheem began developing and nurturing a relationship to facilitate interfaith understanding. This initial effort was led by Touro Synagogue congregant and then New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President, now Councilman-at-Large Arnie Fielkow, with the support of clergy Rabbi David Goldstein of Touro Synagogue and Imam Rafeeq Nu'man of Masjidur Raheem. The event was recreated in 2007 and 2008.

In mid-2010, both congregations, at the request of Fielkow, decided to rekindle and expand the relationship. Chairpersons for the 2011 Weekend of Peace include synagogue congregants Lisa Herman and Larry Orlansky, along with masjid congregants Musheer Abdul-Jabbaar and Safiyullah Yusuf, and clergy Imam Rafeeq Nu'man and Rabbi Alexis Berk. On November 15, 2010, Touro hosted "Living Our Faith," an evening of dinner and dialogue for members of both congregations led by the Rabbi and the Imam. The dinner gave members of the masjid and the synagogue an opportunity to talk informally and learn more about each other and each other's religions. The clergy-led dialogue allowed participants to explore questions about faith from the perspective of members of both religions.

Members of the masjid and the synagogue plan to schedule further activities together during 2011, including joint worship and discussion groups.

"When two congregations come together to plan an event like this, there is solidarity in knowing that although we worship differently, we share the common goal of promoting peace. Whether you greet friends with the Hebrew word 'Shalom' or with the Arabic words 'As-Salaam Alaikum', both phrases impart peace," said event co-organizer Lisa Herman, member of Touro Synagogue.

"The Weekend of Peace has been successful over the years, and I look forward to expanding the relationship between our congregations. Knowledge is the key to peace, and as we learn more about each other's faiths, we have greater respect of faiths that are not our own," said Imam Rafeeq Nu'man.

"New Orleans has always been home to numerous religions and races. Thus it is only fitting that we host a weekend of religious friendship and tolerance during the weekend that celebrates Dr. King. This is an event that I strongly support, and I look forward to seeing it continue for years to come," Fielkow said.

Remembering MLK: Upcoming Community Events

Interfaith Volunteer Event

Date: January 15, 2011

Time: 1PM – 4PM

Place: Jomo-Kenyatta Park, 1115 N. Claiborne Avenue

Interfaith Martin Luther King, Jr. Day March

On January 17, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, congregants from both faiths will march from the steps of City Hall to the Bust of Dr. King on Claiborne Avenue under one banner, proclaiming "Many Religions, One Community". All are welcome to join.

Time: 9 a.m.

Place: Meet at steps of City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street and proceed to the bust of Dr. King on Claiborne Avenue.