Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trumpet Release Party & Capacity College Graduation

May/June Trumpet Magazine
Winter/Spring Capacity College Graduation
Visit our website for event info
Theme: Community Service and Neighborhood Wellness
Neighborhood Spotlight: Lakeview
Release Party: May 4 @ 5:30 p.m. – 8p.m.
Harrison Cove, 801 Harrison Ave.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

JOB1, NORDC and Partner Agencies Revamp Programming Including New Focus on Teens

Deadline April 30

By Trumpet Staff

The deadline is April 30 for the city’s summer recreation and job opportunities for New Orleans youth that is offered by JOB1, and the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission.

“Creating meaningful summer opportunities for all of our kids is a top priority for our administration,” said Mayor Landrieu recently. “Our best tool in improving our economy and reducing crime is by investing in activities for our youth which is why we doubled funding for recreation in 2011 and have completely revamped the summer jobs program. We now have opportunities for youth ages 4-21 with a new focus on teens. We must ensure that our youth will have world-class recreation, work, and educational opportunities that are worthy of their great promise – now and for all future generations. That’s why this improvement in summer programming is so important.”

JOB1 Summer NOLA Experience

The revamped JOB1 Summer NOLA Experience aims to provide quality summer opportunities to 2,000 teenage youth, (ages 14-21), to cultivate a career-ready workforce by providing meaningful skill-building support, career exploration and access to entry level jobs in high-demand industries. Landrieu increased funding from previous summer jobs programs from $1 million in 2010 serving 1,000 youth to $2.7 million in 2011. All programs range from 6-7 weeks.

As such, these programs are intended to have long-lasting and long-term impact on each participant. Youth participants will gain experience that helps them refine and advance their career goals while also earning a paycheck.

Through deliberate program design, cross-sector collaborations and strategic incentives, the Summer NOLA Experience will host four distinct program opportunities: Traditional Summer Jobs, Signature Programs, Intern NOLA and Work and Learn program. Each program is targeted to meet an observed need in the community.

The Traditional Summer Jobs program will serve 16 to 21 year-olds who, with some initial training, require minimal oversight and direction. This program has been strategically modified to broaden the types of placements we are able to offer youth.

Approximately 1,000 participants can expect to be engaged in a youth-friendly environment and receive hands-on work experience that is reflective of the job-site placement. Job duty options include clerical, child care, maintenance, customer service, landscaping, sales, culture and tourism, hospitality, banking, parks and recreation, as well as jobs at Audubon Zoo and Aquarium.

The Signature Program is a compilation of unique summer experiences. Each Signature Program will serve a large subset of participants though one entity. Every program is designed in collaboration with the partnering organization in order to maximize the effectiveness of placements.

Signature Programs will offer flagship training for participants and unique branding opportunities for the City and our partners in the areas of architecture, science, biomedical careers, computer programming, and community service.

The Intern NOLA program retains local talent and engages the private business sector by offering high-quality internship opportunities to local residents ages 18-21.

Internship positions will focus on research and short-term projects that provide impact to the host organization. Participants in this program will be selected to participate based on their responses to a supplemental application. Participants can expect to receive a high-quality intern experience in a local business, firm, or public office. Intern sectors include business, city government, education, finance, health care, human services, and philanthropy.

The Work and Learn program serves our youngest youth, ages 14-15 years old, through incentivized learning, project-based learning, and service learning opportunities. Work and Learn is important because most of our 14-15 year old participants still require a lot of oversight and direct instruction in order to complete work-place tasks.

Additionally, many are performing below grade level academically and would benefit greatly from academic support. Most participants in the Work and Learn program will receive grade-level specific instruction half of their day and spend the remaining time doing career exploration, job-readiness and project-based learning. Activities include but are not limited to culinary arts, visual arts, media arts, cosmetology, theater, and community service.

Additionally, the city is launching a seminar series that will afford every participant 2-3 opportunities over the course of the summer to participate in seminars tailored to the needs of our youth.

New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, (NORDC)

The primary goals of the public-private partnership include creating a sustainable, permanent governance structure; providing governance that includes key stakeholders from the private sector, schools, and city government; and, creating a structure to allow the recreation department to leverage city resources with private funds, grants, and other funding opportunities.

In December, Landrieu announced that the city entered into an agreement with the American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana Chapter to fund a year-round swimming lesson and lifeguard training program, under the direction of NORDC, to include:

  • Fall and Spring swimming lessons in collaboration with the University of New Orleans, Tulane University Reilly Center, Lake Pontchartrain Lake Basin Foundation, and Ashley Marie Kelly Foundation;

  • Lifeguard training for NORDC’s aquatics staff.

  • The city will open 12 pools this summer on June 6, up from 8 pools last year.

  • Approximately 6600 youth will be served by swimming lessons and programming in 2011, compared to approximately 500 in 2010.

  • New pool openings will include A.L. Davis in Central City, Sam Bonart in the Lower 9th Ward, Joe Brown Indoor Pool in New Orleans East, and Taylor in Hoffman Triangle.

Additionally, NORDC will offer 31 kiddie (ages 4-12) camps which will serve at least 4,625 kids across the city through partnerships with schools, non-profits and faith-based organizations.

In 2010, 1663 kids were served through kiddie camps at four city locations. There will be 7 teen camps, (ages 13-17) which will serve 1000 teens across the city.

There were no teen camps last year. In partnership with JOB1, teen camps will offer local teenagers career exploration seminars to allow for exposure to a variety of job fields. Additionally, teens will earn a stipend of $75 per week.

Sign up for teen camps and jobs are underway Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at two locations: 3400 Tulane Ave. and 3520 General De Gaulle, Suite 1030. Partnerships between NORDC teen camps and JOB1 allow there to be a streamlined registration process for youth ages 13-21, along with the city's Kiddie camp, which started this month.

“Today marks another step in ensuring that New Orleans youth are provided with quality, well-designed opportunities each summer,” said Landrieu. “We have the leadership, vital new programming, and public investment in place to make a real impact in every neighborhood in our city.”


Cut The Pork: How Washington's Deficit Affecting New Orleans Non-Profits

By J. Samuel Cook, Trumpet Contributor

When I became director of a local non-profit in June 2010, I assumed the position with reckless aplomb.

Overly confident in my ability to cut the organization into prosperity, and recognizing the tough economic times non-profit organizations were facing, I set an ambitious goal by trimming the organization’s roughly $150,000 annual operations budget down to less than $90,000, excluding salaries and benefits. Within days of beginning, I made tough cuts to areas such as printing, postage, vendor services and professional development, scaling back the operations budget by thousands. The loss of a staff member, though ordinarily a painful experience, provided further budget savings by not hiring a replacement. The organization had streamlined its operations, cut waste, trimmed the fat, learned to do more with less, or any other idiom used in the private sector to indicate cuts in operations.

And then, an unnerving e-mail arrived that was forwarded from a project manager: an outstanding, one-year-old vendor’s bill totaling nearly $1,000 demanded remuneration.

I was floored.

It wasn’t exactly that anyone had been irresponsible; rather, a simple computing error had resulted in non-payment of the vendor’s bill.

Then, after a heavy rain, I came in to work on a Monday to find that the roof had collapsed. Another $1,000 for repairs.

Then, all four computers in the center’s resource lab then crashed, racking up another $160 bill.

Then, a toilet malfunction resulted in a nearly $500 sewage and water bill.

Suddenly, my “cut, cut, cut” rhetoric hit the reality of an organization that, already on a shoestring budget, had been able to afford little general upkeep in its nearly three-year existence.

As an executive, it’s important to look at real-world business experience as Washington prepares to tackle its $14 trillion debt, (amount of money borrowed and currently owed) and its deficit, (the shortfall between income and expenditures) of more than $1.5 trillion—and why applying a business model to the nation’s fiscal issues won’t work.

Let’s be clear: It’s important to note that the nation’s debt and deficit are cumulative. They are not the result of profligate spending on the part of President Obama since taking office in January 2009. Congress has run a deficit each year since 1969, prompting the Treasury Department to borrow money to meet appropriations demands. And despite heated partisan rhetoric, this has been true of both Republican and Democrat presidents. And so, the nation’s $14 trillion debt is the result of 42-years worth of borrowing to meet the nation’s demands.

Just as the nearly $1,000 vendor’s bill that came across my desk had to be paid, despite the fact that it was for an expenditure that I’d not personally authorized, the president inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit before signing a single law, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

It is true that former President George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus. How then, did he leave office with a massive deficit? It comes down to a couple of factors: First, how the government operates and, secondly, how government expenditures are financed.

As much as voters, who are disgruntled by the economy’s sluggish recovery indicate they’d like to elect a president with executive experience, the government does not operate in the same way a business does. There are similarities between the private sector and the government, but there are stark differences as well. Businesses exist to turn a profit, and only provide products or services when doing so is profitable.

Government, on the other hand, fundamentally exists to promote human welfare. In order to remain solvent, a business must sell a product or service. It must sell enough of that product or service that its income exceeds it expenses. By selling those products or services, a private business is then able to meet its financial obligations. If one product doesn’t work, a business can change its product offerings. It can expand its market or reach out to new consumers. It can merge with more, (or less) lucrative companies, and there is a wide array of money-making options for private sector businesses.

For the government, “revenue” is taxes. In order to meet its obligations, whether it be Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, the government collects taxes based upon one’s income, (a progressive tax). Those taxes then fund government projects such as bridges and roads, the United States military, Veterans benefits and education.

While President Bush inherited a $236 billion surplus, several initiatives under his leadership, including Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind, were either poorly funded or not funded at all. The largest drivers of the Bush-era deficit, however, were dual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which cost taxpayers roughly $10 billion a month.

It is important to note here that, historically, the United States has raised taxes during times of international conflict in order to pay for the costs of war dating back to the Civil War era. Not only did President Bush not raise taxes in order to finance Middle-East conflicts, he also lowered taxes twice during his administration through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, and Job and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.

As a result of reduced revenue and increased costs, the exorbitant cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan not only eliminated any budget surplus Bush inherited, but ultimately resulted in a deficit.

Even taking into account the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Era, the blame is not his alone. Each president and each Congress since Richard Nixon has directly contributed to the nation’s $14 trillion debt.

And in order to fix this 42-year-old debt, it will take a comprehensive approach to both the nation’s spending and revenue problems that involves both revenue increases and cutting unnecessary spending. While the compromised $38 billion in spending cuts brokered by President Obama was a promising sign, it is unconscionable that Congress should only make cuts to education programs and jobs training.

This is particularly offensive when the Defense budget in 2010 exceeded $700 billion, but the Department of Education Budget in that same year was less than $100 billion.

If we’re truly going to put America back on the path to prosperity, it’s going to require a whole lot more honesty and a whole lot less demagoguery from our elected officials regarding real solutions to solving the debt crisis. The United States could cut all discretionary spending from its budget, and would only have cut about 14 percent of its spending. Increasing revenue isn’t an end-all, be-all either. But taxes for all income levels are at their lowest level since the 1950s despite increased appropriations commitments.

And for all the fear-mongering about reckless social welfare spending, a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranks dead last in spending on social welfare programs, spending a mere 7.2 percent of its gross domestic product on its social contract with its people, (as an example of the dissonance between social welfare spending and national debt is Canada, which spends 26 percent of its GDP on social welfare programs ,and has substantially less debt than the U.S.).

It’s clear, then, that a comprehensive approach that examines areas of waste, fraud and abuse in government spending and increases revenue to meet the demands of a 21-century economy and to maintain American exceptionalism at a time when the United States trails other developed nations in education, ranks fourth in the world for economic competitiveness, and has an infrastructure which is rapidly crumbling.

The U.S. once led the world in education, economy and infrastructure, and we can again—but we cannot and will not do so by neglecting necessary investments to ensure international competitiveness or by whittling away at the social safety nets which have ensured a quality standard of living for our seniors, our disabled and our disinherited.

It’s a delicate balancing act, but we are a nation that has a long history of rising to meet the challenges of the day.

This time, the threat is not from a malevolent-opposing nation or foreign-born terrorists.

Rather, we must meet the challenge of defining who we wish to be as a nation and the social contract we wish to have with all Americans.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

City Redistricting Meetings Only Opportunity to Voice Opinions

At the city's District D meeting in Gentilly on April 19, the councilmembers said they are not going to develop any alternatives for the proposed districts until after the community redistricting meetings are held.

After they develop these alternatives, the councilmembers said the only public meetings will be with the City Council Committee, which is responsible for the redistricting efforts. But, the committee will not host any more community meetings, so the community redistricting meetings will be the only opportunity for residents to share their opinions with councilmembers.

This is the schedule for the City Council district redistricting meetings. All of the meetings are from 6 p.m. to 7:30pm.

You can visit the City Council calendar for more information on these meetings:

District ‘D’ Redistricting Meeting

Wednesday, April 20

St. Maria Goretti Church – 7300 Crowder Blvd.

District ‘B’ Redistricting Meeting

Thursday, April 21

Grace Episcopal Church – 3700 Canal St.

District ‘C’ Redistricting Meeting

Monday, April 25

Holy Angels Church – 3500 St. Claude Ave.

District ‘B’ Redistricting Meeting

Tuesday, April 26

Sacred Heart Nims Arts Center – 3901 St. Charles Ave.

District ‘A’ Redistricting Meeting

Monday, May 9

Myra Clare Rogers Chapel – 1229 Broadway St.

District ‘C’ Redistricting Meeting

Tuesday, May 10

Delgado Community College – 2600 General Meyer Ave.

District ‘A’ Redistricting Meeting

Thursday, May 12

First Baptist Church – 5290 Canal Blvd.

District ‘E’ Redistricting Meeting

Tuesday, May 17

St. Maria Goretti Church – 7300 Crowder Blvd.

District ‘E’ Redistricting Meeting

Thursday, May 19

All Souls Episcopal Church – 5500 St. Claude Ave.

For more updates, visit or The Trumpet Blog at

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How you too can help contribute to the oil spill victims

1. Donate an item for the Community Center to sell on eBay to raise awareness and funding to help oil spill victims. Gift certificates for your products or services make great sales items and help spread good publicity about your business! Please phone our Executive Director Iray Nabatoff to discuss an item donation at 504.281.2512.

2. Make a donation by cash, check or credit card using the red donation button at We offer a range of support levels for any budget, or you can donate whatever amount works for you!

Bronze Level: $25 provides enough rice to feed 30 families nutritious grains for a week at our food pantry.
Silver Level: $100 buys enough nonperishable dried beans to supply 150 families with protein for 1 week.
Gold Level: $250 pays for 200 lbs of chicken thighs so that low-income families are able to eat a healthy diet.
Platinum Level: $1200 pays for the Center's utility bills for 1 month so that we can continue to help families in need.

Live Music Fundraiser to Benefit the Community Center

Event Date: April 20, 2011

Location: The Maison, 508 Frenchmen Street

Cost: There is no fee for this event.

Time: 8PM

Description: The Community Center of St. Bernard will celebrate its Fifth Anniversary with a live music fundraiser. is "5 Years of Caring" benefit will start at 8 PM and will feature performances by the New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings and the Mike Hood Band. David and Roselyn will also be on hand to emcee and keep the music playing!

The event will benefit the nonprofit Community Center of St Bernard. Since its founding in 2006, the Community Center has developed into a major resource provider for residents in St Bernard Parish and the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans who are struggling to recover from the devastation of hurricane Katrina and more recently, the Gulf Oil Spill. Serving more than 5,300 clients every year, the Community Center of St. Bernard is a "one-stop shop" for wide range of essential services including a public computer lab, food pantry, clothing bank, financial literacy training, and computer classes. The Center also serves as a host site for additional social service organizations such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, the Red Cross, St Anna's Medical Mission, and more.

The "5 Years of Caring" celebration will help raise awareness about the Center's mission as well as provide an opportunity for music lovers to enjoy a great night of free performances. Door prizes will be offered throughout the evening, and the Center will also have a variety of items for sale including this beautiful commemorative postcard, which you can also order online now at They also have some great bumper stickers so that you can show your NOLA pride in style, starting from $3 at

Also available for purchase will be a commemorative "5 Years of Caring" CD featuring 6 music tracks generously donated by acclaimed New Orleans musicians Mike Hood, Bonerama, Smoky Greenwell & the Blues Gnus, Margie Perez, New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings, and Dominick Grillo & the Frenchmen Street All Stars. As a bonus, the CD also includes an award-winning documentary video about the Community Center which took 2nd place at the 2011 Pelican d'Or Film Festival. The CD is available online at as well for $14.99 plus $3.00 shipping.

For more information about the "5 Years of Caring" fundraiser, including how make a donation or become a sponsoring partner, please contact the Community Center of St. Bernard at 504.281.2512

Celebrating 5 Years of Caring at the Community Center of St Bernard!

2011 is off to a great start here at the Community Center. We've certainly been busy, putting in a new garden, painting and decorating the waiting room, trying out some new programs like homework help and exercise classes, and getting ready for our 5th Anniversary Celebration. Here are some of the ways we've been helping local families during the past 3 months:

  • The Mustard Seed Food Pantry has given out 75,599 lbs of food to 2,301 low-income individuals
  • Over 220 senior citizens have received free food boxes through the Food for Seniors program every month.
  • Office staff have passed out 3,093 flyers, brochures and pamphlets to help clients find the help they need. We've also made 1,057 referrals.
  • 52 people have signed up for our free computer classes
  • The Mustard Seed Clothing Bank has been accessed 3,700 times
  • So far 1,213 free books have been given out in our reading area
  • And our media lab (internet computers, public phones, fax & copying services) has been used 914 times

And this list wouldn't be complete without a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers and AmeriCorps team members who've put in an incredible 2,173 hours so far this year to make all this possible. With your help, 2011 is shaping up to be an exciting year, and we're looking forward to doing even more in the months ahead!

“Preserving, Protecting, & Promoting Natural and Sustainable Cultures at Home and Abroad!”

Event Date: Friday, April 22, 2011

Mckenna Museum of African American Art - 2003 Carondelet St., New Orleans, LA. 70130.

Cost: A $50.00 application fee is required

Time: 6pm-8pm

Description: Eco-Lifestyles, L3C is happy to launch the 1st Bi-Annual Bush Man Competition 2011 on Earth Day. A 6 pm press conference followed by a 7 pm film showing of 'The Gods Must Be Crazy' (a South African film classic) will take place at the Mckenna Museum of African American Art. The public is invited. Movie cost $5.00.

As an indigenously-owned, environmentally & socially responsible New Orleans based business, Eco-Lifestyles, L3C feels that it is imperative they honor & promote the positive attributes of natural Eco-friendly men, an endangered species. They have chosen to do this in the form of a multi dimensional Eco-competition that is intended for, but not limited to Black males whose natural ethnic identity is too often negatively stereotyped and ostracized.

Young men, 21-35 years of age are encouraged to come out and enter the competition as a contestant. A $50.00 application fee is required. Following the launch, there will be a series of qualifying Eco-social, cultural, and sports related events leading up to the final pageantry event on October 16, 2011 (save the date).

Press Contact: Merle Ramsey-Boissiere or Bobby Toomer| 504-214-6022

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tomorrow: Gulf Coast Leadership Summit

Starting tomorrow, the summit will be observing the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill by gathering together hundreds of Gulf Coast leaders and residents to empower a healthy and economically vibrant U.S. Gulf Coast. See our powerful program below.

Will you be part of the solution?

Can't make the summit?

Follow the live blogging and tweeting during the event.

Follow @gulfcoastsummit and bookmark the summit blog:

Gulf Coast Leadership Summit

*Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #gulfsummit

University Medical Center Breaks Ground Today Amid Critical Analysis of the Project

(News from the Times-Picayune received today via NewCity Partnership )

As ground is broken today for new medical complex, new analysis criticizes project's scope

Published: Monday, April 18, 2011, 8:00 AM

Bill Barrow, The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune

Some of Gov. Bobby Jindal's top lieutenants and a host of other dignitaries will don hard hats and drive ceremonial shovels into dirt today for an academic medical complex designed to put the New Orleans medical corridors in the same orbit as Houston and Birmingham, Ala.


David Grunfeld, The Times-PicayuneGov.

Bobby Jindal has announced that site preparation and early construction should begin even as the UMC board navigates how to finance the rest of the project beyond the $700 million-plus cash the state has committed.

Yet as they celebrate the long-awaited replacement for Charity Hospital, a new financial analysis of the planned University Medical Center offers a highly skeptical assessment of the 424-bed, $1.2 billion construction plan that state authorities and Louisiana State University System administrators have pushed for years.

"UMC, as currently envisioned, is materially larger than is supportable" in the existing New Orleans health care market, "an environment that promises to intensify in the future," according to the analysis from Kaufman, Hall & Associates, an Illinois firm that provides consulting services on health care financing.

The report comes on the heels of Jindal's announcement that site preparation and early construction should commence even as the UMC board navigates how to finance the rest of the project beyond the $700 million-plus cash the state has committed.

Kaufman Hall does not offer an absolute recommendation for a bed count or financing strategy, but the authors frame as likely a scenario that would warrant 332 beds, including both psychiatric and acute care. And even given those assumptions, Kaufman Hall projects a need for annual state general fund subsidies ranging from $72.5 million in 2015, the projected opening year, to as high as $108.4 million in 2019 and $100.7 million in 2020. The idea of direct state support for a teaching hospital is not at issue, but the amount is of particular interest given the long-term uncertainty of the state's finances.

Report commissioned by UMC board

Read the reports

· New business plan analysis commissioned by University Medical Center Corp. governing board from Kaufman, Hall & Associates

· 2010 study commissioned by Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals from Verité Healthcare Consulting, LLC

The 83-page document is the latest in a long line of analyses contemplating the ideal size and scope for the hospital. But Kaufman Hall, selected by the University Medical Center governing board in December, is the first consultant not hired directly by either the state, which is responsible for construction, or LSU, which runs the existing charity hospital system, including Interim LSU Public Hospital.

The report also is the first to extend its detailed projections to 2020, well beyond the scheduled implementation of the federal health-care overhaul. Members of the UMC board appointed by entities other than LSU backed the hiring of Kaufman Hall with considerable emphasis.

During Gov. Kathleen Blanco's administration, the state and LSU projected a 484-bed hospital. A Jindal-commissioned review lowered that projection to 424 beds. A second Jindal study by Verite Healthcare Consulting ratified that conclusion but raised the state general fund subsidy forecasts. LSU administrators say that the larger scale is necessary to pool doctors, research teams and other resources on one campus to develop the kinds of programs that distinguish an elite academic hospital, while also generating income.

Still 'bullish on the hospital'

The report does not question whether a new teaching hospital should be built, and Louisiana Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said, "I remain bullish on the hospital" even as he weighs all projections. Nonetheless, the findings are sure to recalibrate the discussion of exactly what the hospital should look like and how it should operate.

UMC Board Chairman Robert "Bobby" Yarborough said Friday the board will continue its business analysis independent of the Jindal administration's push to begin construction with the two-thirds equity committed to the project. He said Kaufman Hall analysts will attend the board's May 5 meeting "to pour over every page." Yarborough said he also expects the board will invite the authors of earlier projections to explain their work again.

Kaufman analysts have taken a more conservative view than previous consultants on several variables. Among the factors, Kaufman Hall projects a slower population growth in the surrounding region, meaning fewer patients for all hospitals to compete for, and posits that LSU physicians can steer 650 to 680 new insured patients -- commercial or Medicare -- rather than the 2,200 the university has projected. It also makes conservative assumptions about other federal revenue streams and the percentage of new Medicaid patients UMC would attract once the program expands under the new federal health-care law.

Greenstein, whom Jindal has designated as the administration's point man on the project, emphasized an argument that has spanned the terms of two governors: UMC is not intended as a Charity Hospital replacement but as a "new entity with its own business prerogatives," meaning an institution meant to be a "destination for patients throughout the region" regardless of their insurance status. He conceded the Kaufman point that attracting more commercially insured patients "would require a cultural change."

Kaufman Hall noted that Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes, the primary service area for the hospital, already have 2.83 beds per 1,000 residents, higher than the 2.7 national average. A 424-bed UMC, closing Interim LSU Hospital and opening a planned 40-bed hospital in Chalmette would bring that ratio to about 3 beds per 1,000 residents. The calculations don't include an 80-bed facility envisioned for the old Methodist Hospital in eastern New Orleans.


'I don't think it is big enough'

The analysis is at odds with what Jerry Jones, the state facilities chief, told the board at its inaugural meeting in August: "People ask are we building too big a hospital but, frankly, my personal feeling on that is I don't think it is big enough."

It was that confidence that state officials have used to justify buying and expropriating 34-plus acres in Mid-City, several city blocks more than what is needed for the complex as designed.

Yarborough said Friday: "There is a lot of disparity there. ... None of this is black-and-white. It's based on so many assumptions and variables that change, what becomes law, what doesn't. It will be a challenging process going forward, and we'll try to get it as right as possible and have this academic medical center at its best."

The question is how that affects the construction calendar. The University Medical Center Corp. was created in 2010 as a state-affiliated entity with the fiduciary responsibility for the hospital, including any debts, and management authority once the hospital opens. Yet Jones' office started planning the hospital -- with influence from LSU and a bevy of consultants -- long before the UMC board was seated.

Architects have completed designs. The state has hired the construction firm that will manage the project. Jones told the board earlier this month that the construction manager would by the early summer provide the state with a final estimate on construction based on the existing plans.

All of that could proceed, Jones said, even as J.P Morgan Chase advisers and other consultants hired previously by LSU continued to pursue federal government insurance for a potential bond sale. Under the ideal for UMC, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would back the bonds, making the rate considerably lower and reducing annual payments to investors. The other option, which the Jindal administration announced when it called for an immediate construction launch, calls for the state to spend what it has on patient towers, diagnostic facilities and one parking deck, while contracting with a third party that would build an ambulatory care center, energy plant and second parking deck, leasing those facilities back to UMC.

Yarborough said he did not know whether the board's pace on a business plan and financing would affect Jones' schedule. He reiterated the board's ultimate authority in the matter, saying he sees no scenario under which the state forces construction of a hospital at odds with the board's preferences.

Jindal's place in the dynamic is unclear.

In January, Jindal predicted that "the hospital will be built" and that it would win the coveted HUD mortgage insurance. Yet by last week, with U.S. Sen. David Vitter continuing to hammer the plan as "unsustainable," Jindal's top appointee, Paul Rainwater -- also Jones' direct boss -- backed away from any bravado about bed count and noted the expected delivery of the Kaufman Hall report.

Yarborough and his colleagues, Rainwater said, would make the final call.

Bill Barrow can be reached at or 504.826.3452.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"5 Years of Caring" Live Music Fundraiser for the Community Center of St Bernard

Event Date: April 20, 2011

Location: The Maison, 508 Frenchmen Street

Cost: There is no fee for the event

Time: 8 PM

Description: The Community Center of St. Bernard will celebrate its Fifth Anniversary with a live music fundraiser. This "5 Years of Caring" benefit will start at 8 PM and will feature performances by the New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings and the Mike Hood Band. David and Roselyn will also be on hand to emcee and keep the music playing!

There is no cover for the event, which will benefit the nonprofit Community Center of St Bernard. Since its founding in 2006, the Community Center has developed into a major resource provider for residents in St Bernard Parish and the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans who are struggling to recover from the devastation of hurricane Katrina and more recently, the Gulf Oil Spill. Serving more than 5,300 clients every year, the Community Center of St. Bernard is a "one-stop shop" for wide range of essential services including a public computer lab, food pantry, clothing bank, financial literacy training, and computer classes. The Center also serves as a host site for additional social service organizations such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, the Red Cross, St Anna's Medical Mission, and more.

The "5 Years of Caring" celebration will help raise awareness about the Center's mission as well as provide an opportunity for music lovers to enjoy a great night of free performances.
Door prizes will be offered throughout the evening, and the Center will also have a variety of items for sale including postcards and bumper stickers.

Also available for purchase will be a commemorative "5 Years of Caring" CD featuring 6 music tracks generously donated by acclaimed New Orleans musicians Mike Hood, Bonerama, Smoky Greenwell & the Blues Gnus, Margie Perez, New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings, and Dominick Grillo & the Frenchmen Street All Stars.

As a bonus, the CD also includes an award-winning documentary video about the Community Center which took 2nd place at the 2011 Pelican d'Or Film Festival.
The CD can also be
ordered online at

For more information about the "5 Years of Caring" fundraiser, including how make a donation or become a sponsoring partner, please contact the Community Center of St. Bernard at 504.281.2512 or via e-mail :


Event Date: Friday, April 15, 2011

Location: The Earth Lab in the Audubon Zoo

Cost: There is no cost for this event

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Description: The Department of Genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans will celebrate National DNA Day Friday April 15, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon with hands-on experiments at the Earth Lab in the Audubon Zoo. While you’re at the Zoo, also check out the opening celebration for Cool Zoo, a new wet and wild splash park, at 10:30 a.m.

National DNA Day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the discovery of the double helix of DNA in 1953. It is a unique day when students, teachers and the public can learn more about genetics. LSUHSC geneticists will be on hand at the zoo to teach students, teachers and the general public how to isolate, make and color DNA
using various techniques (among other things).

“We organized the DNA Day event with the goal of making the public aware of the importance of DNA and genetics in our everyday lives,” notes LSUHSC’s Dr. Fern Tsien. “Everyone is encouraged to participate in the activities, which will be both fun and educational. Kids will learn as they perform hands-on experiments using safe ingredients found at home. Parents and teachers will benefit from learning interactive projects that they can use at home or in the classroom.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

BP buys Gulf Coast millions in gear

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — In the year since the Gulf oil spill, officials along the coast have gone on a spending spree with BP money, dropping tens of millions of dollars on gadgets, vehicles and gear — much of which had little to do with the cleanup, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The oil giant opened its checkbook while the crisis was still unfolding last spring and poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Gulf Coast communities with few strings attached.

In sleepy Ocean Springs, Miss., reserve police officers got Tasers. The sewer department in nearby Gulfport bought a $300,000 vacuum truck that never sucked up a drop of oil. Biloxi, Miss., bought a dozen SUVS. A parish president in Louisiana got herself a top-of-the-line iPad, her spokesman a $3,100 laptop. And a county in Florida spent $560,000 on rock concerts to promote its oil-free beaches.

Read more here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Summit Empowers Gulf Coast Jobs and Economic Development

The Gulf Coast Leadership Summit, scheduled for April 19-21, 2011 at the Hilton Riverside New Orleans, is a major regional and national event featuring the latest strategies to create jobs and the best economic development opportunities.

Confirmed participants include Entergy, Perez Architecture, Jones Walker, South Coast Solar, Global Options, Moreno Group, Roseline Development, eData Collectors, Burrle Seafood, Gulf Rim Navigation, New Orleans Metropolitan Association of Realtors, Harrison County Development Commission, Morgan Keegan & Co., McGlinchey Stafford, The Conti Group, Weston Solutions, CC-CleanTech, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Northwestern Mutual, Minority Business Development Agency, AMCREF Community Capital, New Orleans Fish House, World Trade Center New Orleans, Kauffman Foundation, Plaquemines Boat Service, Seedco Financial Services, Manning Architects, Westbank Redevelopment Corporation, Gulf Coast Energy Network, iRobot Corporation, Louisiana Workforce Commission, Environmental Restoration, Green Coast Enterprises, Joule Energy, O'Brien's Response Management, Burk-Kleinpeter and many more.

The Speakers:
U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu

Senator Bob Graham
Co-Chairman, National Oil Spill Commission

Frances G. Beinecke
Member, National Oil Spill Commission

Donald Boesch
Member, National Oil Spill Commission

Terry D. Garcia
Member, National Oil Spill Commission

Cedric Richmond
U.S. Representative

A.G. Crowe
Louisiana State Senator

Billy Nungesser
President, Plaquemines Parish

John Young
President, Jefferson Parish

Tony Kennon
Mayor, Orange Beach, Alabama

Grover Robinson
Commissioner, Escambia County, Florida

Daniel E. Becnel, Jr.
Partner, Becnel Law Firm

Joeseph Cao
Gulf Coast Claims Facility

Ken Feinberg
Administrator, Gulf Coast Claims Facility

Scott Smith
OPFLEX Solutions

Bill Picard
Advanced Environmental Solutions

Human Rights Film Festival Will Feature More Than 20 Films, Music, Special Guests

Starting April 13, the 8th Annual Patois: The New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival will feature more than 20 films, live music, filmmaker Q & As, special guests and much more. Please check out the fest website,, for more information, including a special festival pre-screening of the film Civil Indigent at Tulane University.

You can also buy tickets online at, and watch trailers for the films at

PATOIS: Noun. Pronunciation: pa'twä


1: Any language that is considered nonstandard. Can refer to pidgins, creoles, dialects, and other forms of native or local speech.

2: Many of the vernacular forms of English spoken in the Caribbean, especially in reference to Jamaican Creole.

3:The language used at the intersection of art and social justice in New Orleans.


APRIL 13 -17, 2011

New Orleans Museum Of Art

Directed By Fault Lines, Al Jazeera English, Documentary Short |USA|22 MIN
On the Gulf Coast, it has been widely accepted that the fishing and oil industries can co-exist. In the wake of the Deepwater disaster, the more destructive (and more lucrative) industry may be the last one standing.
Featuring discussion with Monique Harden, co-director and attorney, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights.

Directed by Susan Saladoff, Documentary Feature |USA|88 MIN
Most people think they know the “McDonald’s coffee case,” but what they don’t know is that corporations have spent millions distorting the case to promote tort reform. HOT COFFEE reveals how big business, aided by the media, brewed a dangerous concoction of manipulation and lies to protect corporate interests. By following four people whose lives were devastated by the attacks on our courts, the film challenges the assumptions Americans hold about “jackpot justice.”
Featuring Q & A with director Susan Saladoff.

Blue Nile, 9pm

PATOIS joins forces with The New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) in hosting a night of music, food and drink. Performance by Kora Konnection Trio featuring Morkeba Kouyate and Thierno Dioubate. Free admission.

Warren Easton Senior High School
Directed by Vadim Jean Documentary Feature|USA|84 MIN|
Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this documentary feature tells the ongoing story of the case of three extraordinary men: Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King known as the Angola 3 who have spent almost a century between them in solitary confinement in Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary. All three men appear to have been targeted by the prison authorities for being members of the Black Panther party and because they fought against the terrible conditions and systematic sexual slavery that was rife in the prison. Herman and Albert are still held in solitary confinement after 37 years.
Featuring Q & A with director Vadim Jean and a panel discussion with Robert King and Innocence Project director Emily Maw.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Emre Sahin | Narrative Feature |Turkey|89 MIN
Set in the chaotic streets of Istanbul, 40 is a story of three strangers making their way in a city of 12 million, all searching...for one bag. Shot entirely on location, 40 combines intense story telling with documentary style cinematography embarking on a synchronized journey dealing with faith, love, luck, destiny, human trafficking...and a bag of cash that falls from the sky.
Featuring Q & A with actor Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, star of 40 and supporting cast member in Treme.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Kelly Duane and Katie Galloway Documentary Feature

Two boyhood friends from Midland, Texas - David McKay and Bradley Crowder - fall under the sway of Brandon Darby, a charismatic revolutionary ten years their senior. At the volatile 2008 Republican Convention, the “Texas Two” cross a line that radically changes their lives. The result: eight homemade bombs, multiple domestic terrorism charges and a high stakes entrapment defense hinging on the actions of a controversial FBI informant. A dramatic story of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal.
Featuring discussion with Bradley Crowder, the subject of the film.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Carol Mansour, Documentary Feature |LEBANON|54 MIN
According to the Lebanese nationality law, Lebanese women that choose to marry a foreign man are denied the right to extend their citizenship to their husbands and children. Without citizenship, those families are denied most social, civil and economic rights. This is the first documentary in Lebanon that deals with such a fragile and controversial topic. The film is told through the intimate stories of five Lebanese families from different social, religious and economic backgrounds but whose lives and experiences are bound together by a discriminatory nationality law. It chronicles the lives of these families, their joys, pains, expectations and deceptions.

Documentary Short | QATAR |22 MIN
Chronicles the longtime planning and organizing in Egypt that played a major part in the revolution. Produced by Al-Jazeera English.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Dream Hampton, Documentary Feature |USA|54 MIN
Featuring exclusive interviews with exiled activist Assata Shakur, former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver, political prisoner Mutulu Shakur and others, BLACK AUGUST documents the movement behind the annual event that the non-profit Malcom X Grassroots Movement has produced for more than a decade to raise awareness about and support for political prisoners in the U.S. Along with being a concert film, Black August highlights performances in New York, Cuba and South Africa featuring Mos Def, Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, David Banner, Common and others.

Directed by National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, Housing is a Human Right and Campaign to Restore National Housing Rights, Documentary Short |USA|35 MIN
The story of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing's first official fact finding mission to the U.S. in the fall of 2009, including a visit to New Orleans.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Dahna Abourahme, Documentary Feature |LEBANON|54 MIN
The story of the women of Ein El Hilweh refugee camp between 1982-1984 is an important chapter in the history of Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon. After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the camp was destroyed and its men imprisoned. “The Kingdom of Women” documents the community and organizing spirit of the women during this period, how they were able to rebuild the camp, protect and provide for their families while their men were held captive.

Documentary Short |USA|23 MIN
Six months after the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people, the dust is starting to settle over Port-au-Prince. The UN and NGOs are as omnipresent as the rubble - but the chasm between Haiti’s poor majority and the foreign organizations that are there to help seems wide as ever. Produced by Al Jazeera English.

Directed by Ana Nogueira and Eron Davidson |USA|10 MIN
There are many lessons to draw from the South African experience of Apartheid relevant to conflicts all over the world. Roadmap To Apartheid explores in detail the apartheid comparison as it is used in the enduring conflict in Palestine.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Claus Wischmann and Martin Baer, Documentary Feature |Germany|95 MIN
Kinshasa is the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the third-largest city in Africa. Almost 10 million people live here and they number among the poorest inhabitants on this planet. Kinshasa is the home of Central Africa’s one and only symphony orchestra - L’Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste. It is a film about the Congo, about the people of Kinshasa and about music.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Kenneth Bowser, Documentary Feature |USA|96 MIN
From civil rights to the anti-war movement to the struggles of workers, folksinger Phil Ochs wrote topical songs that engaged his audiences in the issues of the 1960s and 1970s. In this biographical documentary, veteran director Kenneth Bowser shows how Phil’s music and his fascinating life story and eventual decline into depression and suicide were intertwined with the history-making events that defined a generation.
Followed by music event - Protest in Song: A Special Performance by Jonathan Freilich and Alex McMurray as The Tom Paines.

SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 12pm
Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Freedom Archives, Documentary Feature |USA|56 MIN
Cointelpro 101 exposes illegal surveillance, disruption, and outright murder committed by the US government in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Cointelpro, (FBI COunter INTELigence PROgram) was carried out to surveil, imprison and eliminate leaders of social justice movements and to disrupt, divide and destroy the movements as well. Many of the government’s crimes are still unknown. Through interviews with activists who experienced these abuses first-hand and with rare historical footage, the film provides an educational introduction to a period of intense repression and draws relevant lessons for the present and future.

Directed by Kuldeep Tagore and Waymon Boone, Narrative Short|USA|16 MIN
Faiz must make a life-changing decision.

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Carlos Cesar Arbelaez, Narrative Feature |COLOMBIA|90 MIN
Manuel, 9, dreams of becoming a great goalkeeper. His wishes seem set to come true when Ernest, his father, gives him a new ball. But an unexpected accident sends the ball flying into a minefield. Despite the danger, Manuel refuses to abandon his treasure...

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center
Directed by Richard Chisolm
Special Screening| Documentary Feature |USA|

78 MIN
Cafeteria Man is the true story of rebel chef Tony Geraci and his mission to radically reform Baltimore’s public school food system with a recipe for change. Q and A with director Richard Chisolm and Tony Geraci.

Refreshments provided by NOLA Locavores.

Directed by Bill Plympton, Animated Short |USA|6 MIN
A 2011 Academy Award Nominee for Best Animated Short Film

The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger is a children’s fable about the power of advertising, the meaning of life and ultimately the test of a mother’s love.

New Orleans Museum Of Art
Directed by Brian Nelson, World Premiere | Narrative Short | USA |32 MIN
Keeper of the Flame is a coming of age family drama that takes place in the Mardi Gras Indian world based upon a true story. It is the first ever movie about the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian culture created by and from an insider’s perspective.

Featuring a Q & A with director Brian Nelson followed by a performance of The New Pokey Way Band And Guardians Of The Flame.

New Orleans Museum Of Art
Directed by Tim Wolff, Documentary Feature | USA |

75 MIN
The Sons of Tennessee Williams tells the story of the gay men of New Orleans who created a vast and fantastic culture of wildly popular ‘drag balls’ starting in the late 1950s. These men worked with the traditions of Mardi Gras to bring gay culture into public settings in the early 1960s. By 1969, there were four gay Mardi Gras clubs legally chartered by the state of Louisiana, throwing yearly extravaganzas at civic venues around the city. They succeeded in staging a flamboyant, costumed revolution and won freedoms during a time, as now, when laws and people fought against them.

Director Tim Wolff and cast members will be in attendance.

Historic Blue Plate Factory Will Be Converted To Artist Housing By HRI Properties & JCH Development

The building where local favorite Blue Plate Mayonnaise was produced for a generation will be transformed by New Orleans-based developers HRI Properties and JCH Development, into 72 loft-style apartments specially designed for artists.

The Blue Plate building is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks and is located in a designated Louisiana Cultural District.

“The Blue Plate factory, so visible at the intersection of Earhart, Washington and S. Jeff Davis Parkway, is truly iconic to all New Orleanians,” said Josh Collen, HRI’s Vice President for Development. “It was one of the few buildings constructed during World War II and is one of the most distinctive examples of mid-20th century architecture,” he said.

“It will not only be a catalytic project for the neighborhood and surrounding communities, but also return the Blue Plate sign to lights,” said Tara Hernandez, JCH Development president and project executive for the project. “So many New Orleanians know this landmark as the place where “ya mama’s mynezz” was made for half a century,” she added.

“Soon Blue Plate Artist Lofts will become equally iconic as artist preference housing to support the burgeoning creative industry that is leading the post-Katrina New Orleans economy,” Hernandez added.

The $25 million project will create 72 mixed income loft-style units with a leasing preference for artists. The building will include on-site gated parking, a multi-purpose room and gallery space for exhibitions, a roof deck, an outdoor patio, a sound-proof music rehearsal room, a fitness center and a business center.

In addition, a number of renewable and sustainable design features have been incorporated into the building to reduce residents’ utility costs and overall operating costs.

“It was truly a public-private partnership where neighborhood organizations and stakeholders, private, city and state interests worked together to restore something so important to the community” Hernandez said.

HRI has extensive experience in developing artist-preference housing, most recently with the Bywater Art Lofts in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans.

Initial interior demolition has begun and occupancy is scheduled to begin in March 2012.

The Blue Plate building was originally constructed in 1941 as the United States entered World War II. Designed by famed New Orleans architect August Perez, it was the first building in New Orleans constructed in the Art Moderne style. The sleek structure is famous for its distinctive smooth, all-white exterior, rounded glass-block corners and the iconic Blue Plate rooftop sign.

Reily Foods commissioned the building to make Blue Plate Mayonnaise, one of the first commercially prepared mayonnaise products in the country and for years one of the South’s best selling products. Later, Reily expanded the factory with an addition built in 1948, and eventually produced Blue Plate Sandwich Spread, a line of salad dressings, Luzianne Tea, Wick Fowler’s Two-Alarm Chili and Taco Seasoning and Carroll Shelby Original Texas Chili and BBQ Sauce in the factory.

Because the plant was constructed during World War II, it utilizes unusual construction techniques required to meet the challenges of labor and material shortages during the height of the war effort. Innovative acid-proofing technologies was also incorporated into the design and construction to preserve the building from the corrosive effects of the ingredients used in the food production process.

Reily Foods ceased production in the Blue Plate building in 1999. The building was eventually sold to a private investor, then acquired by JCH Development. JCH and HRI then partnered to restore the building and convert to residential use.

Financial partners in the project include Chase bank AEGON USA Realty Advisors, LLC, Stonehenge Capital Company, City of New Orleans Office of Community Development, Louisiana Office of Community Development and Louisiana Housing Finance Agency.

The design-build contractor for the development is Woodward Design+Build, a privately held firm founded in 1924 and based in New Orleans. HRI’s in-house architectural firm, HCI Architecture, serves as the architect of record for the project.