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    Shell Louisiana invests $300,000 in River Road African American Museum Rosenwald School

    Shell Louisiana has presented a $300,000 grant to the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville, to support the restoration of the Museum’s historic Rosenwald School building. When completed, the structure will house the RRAAM Rosenwald School for Education, Culture and History, which will provide a modern space for museum visitors and school groups to explore the important role of Blacks in the region’s history.

    Planned for a summer 2021 openning, the facility will also enhance the museum’s ability to serve as a center for genealogical research as well as provide science, technology, engineering, art, and math programing; healthy eating healthy living seminars; and culture and history events.

    “The River Road African American Museum is truly excited about the gift Shell is contributing to our work,” said Todd L. Sterling, RRAAM’s board president. “Many children, members of the community, and patrons from around the world will be the beneficiary of the programming, and events that the Rosenwald School for Education, Culture, and History will execute once the building is renovated and available for use.”

    River Road African American Museum's Rosenwald School

    River Road African American Museum’s Rosenwald School

    The RRAAM Rosenwald School building is one of only a few remaining in the region, originally serving as an educational facility for Black children in St. James Parish in the early 1930s. It was moved to Donaldsonville in 2001 in an effort to save the building from demolition. The building, located at 511 Williams St., is being renovated and historically restored to become part of the Museum’s growing campus in downtown Donaldsonville.

    “Shell’s relationship with the River Road African American Museum goes back more than 20 years,” said Rhoman Hardy, vice president U.S. Gulf Coast for Shell Louisiana. “The Rosenwald School will bring new resources and opportunity to our region while assisting the Museum in advancing its mission; one we believe deeply in. This partnership echoes Shell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion both with our employees and in the communities in which we operate.”

     

    ONLINE: www.africanamericanmuseum.org.

    ONLINE: Shell Louisiana .

     

    Photo Caption: (l to r) Tyrone Smith, Shell Convent Refinery Operator and RRAAM Board Member; Emanuel Mitchell, RRAAM Board Member; Allen Pertuit, Shell Convent Refinery General Manager; Darryl Hambrick, RRAAM Executive Director; Todd L. Sterling, RRAAM Board President; Rhoman Hardy, Shell Vice President U.S. Gulf Coast.

     

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    Cleve Dunn Jr announces candidacy for EBR metrocouncil

    After playing a significant role in managing several political campaigns and actively being a voice for the community, Baton Rouge airport commissioner Cleve Dunn Jr. has announced his candidacy for metro council District 6.

    For many in the community, he is known as a strategic thinker and leader. He said these assets aid him in being the most impactful candidate for Metro and he will use these skills to bring “a fresh perspective in order to address the current challenges in the East Baton Rouge Parish.”

    After serving the district for 12 years, Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis terms out in December. Dunn said this was one of the key factors in choosing to run. “I’ve been approached in the past and asked to run for the District 6 Metro Council seat. I dismissed that ideal mainly because Donna Collins Lewis was in place as councilwoman and because the timing was not right for me.”

    Now is the time, he said.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic will have negative effects on city-parish budgets like never before seen. These are some major challenges that we have ahead of us and it’s important that we have people in office who have experience, influence, and a track record of getting things done. I feel I am that candidate who can get things done for district 6 residents and I humbly ask them for their support.” He said.

    A lifelong resident of Baton Rouge and business owner, Dunn said he is determined to bring components that have been missing in the district like industrial distribution, healthcare facilities, and a community center. He plans to focus on economic development strategies which include increasing contracting opportunities for local and disadvantaged business enterprises.

    “During these difficult times, we are faced with many challenges. As a parish we need to produce a comprehensive plan to address flooding and drainage, our DPW city employees deserve a long-overdue pay raise and district 6, and all of North Baton Rouge is in dire need for public-private partnerships to reduce blight and increase development in the area with more high paying jobs and contracting opportunities for local small businesses,” he said.

    Dunn is a chairman of the Baton Rouge Airport Board of Commissioners and a member of The North Baton Rouge Now Blue-Ribbon Commission, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Police Reform, and Community Engagement Committee, the Baton Rouge City-Parish Body Camera Committee, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome Police Policy Reform Advisory Committee.

    He co-chairs Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome North Baton Rouge Revitalization Transition Team. He is president of the Capitol High Alumni Association and serves on the board of the Angel’s Empowerment Organization and The Butterfly Society.

    He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Stacey Posey Dunn, for 22 years and they have two daughters. The election is scheduled for November 3.

    ONLINE: ElectCleveDunnJr.com

     

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    Thirteen awarded the Nu Gamma Omega Chapter Debutante Award

    The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated – Nu Gamma Omega Chapter proudly presented awards to the 2020 Coterie of Debutantes at the Louisiana Old State Capitol. The theme for the event was, “A Renaissance of Beauty and Elegance”. Reigning as Queen is Miss Sydney Alexandra LaFleur, daughter of Vanessa Caston LaFleur.

    Debutante Mykara Arie Taylor was recognized as Miss Amity.  Reigning as princesses were First Princess Courtney Danielle Scott,  daughter of Chakesha Webb Scott, Second Princess Ralyn Wynne Ricks,   Third Princess Shamari’ Tramease Wilson, daughter of Andrea Wilson,  Fourth Princess Ney-Chelle Avette Thomas, Fifth Princess Kaeyln Cachay Lipscomb, and Sixth Princess Whitney Lenis James. In addition, reigning as Maid Bailey Simone Lewis, First Pearl Bria Coleman, Second Pearl Jaysia Unique Thomas, Third Pearl Mykara Arie Taylor, Fourth Pearl Pashunti Lashae Hall, and Fifth Pearl A’niya Arlyse Lagarde.

    Danielle Staten served as general debutante chairman, while Carla Harmon,  Cynthia Reed, and  Joyce Trusclair served as co-chairs. Other program participants included Contessia Brooks,  Kynedi Grier,  Vanessa LaFleur, Breanna Lawrence, Mary Sutherland Toaston,  Cassandra Washington, Shondra White, Roena Wilford, and Andrea Wilson.

    The Debutante program enriches the lives of young ladies through educational workshops, community service projects, Teas, cultural activities, and dance rehearsals. Nu Gamma Omega Chapter will awards scholarships to Coterie of Debutantes to support their higher educational pursuits.  Jacqueline Nash Grant serves as Chapter President.

     

    Photos provided by CWash Photography

    Presented by the Nu Gamma Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha are, (left row front to back) Pashunti Hall, Mykara Taylor, Kaelyn Lipscomb and Shamari’ Wilson; center row, Sydney LaFleur, Bailey Lewis, Jaysia Thomas, and Ralyn Ricks; and, right row, A’niya Lagarde, Courtney Scott, Ney-Chelle Thomas and Whitney James.

     

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    Baker, BR commemorate 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott on Juneteenth

    The 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott, the first boycott of the segregated southern bus system which inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott was commemorated on Juneteenth by Baker Mayor Darnell Waites and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome at the CATS facility in Baton Rouge.

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    Mayor Sharon Weston Broome

    The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott was a defining moment in the Civil Rights movement and proved to be a catalyst of great influence; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his book Stride Toward Freedom, that a detailed “description of the Baton Rouge experience was invaluable” in the early stages of the Montgomery boycott. Rosa Parks’ biographer and Signpost scholar Douglas Brinkley says Mrs. Parks and other NAACP activists throughout the South monitored the developments in the Baton Rouge boycott very closely at the time.

    According to internationally known civil rights historian and Signpost advisor Adam Fairclough, “the Baton Rouge protest pioneered many of the techniques that became standard practice in the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s: mass non-violent protest, the leadership of Baptist ministers and the foundation of alternative transportation systems.”

    Submitted by the City of Baker

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    First cousins make history as valedictorian and salutatorian

    Two Landry-Walker High School seniors made history in New Orleans, becoming the first male students and first cousins to graduate from the school as the valedictorian and salutatorian on June 12, 2020.
    Keisean Garnier and Shane Sterling, also known as best friends, have been inseparable since birth and throughout their school career, and they do not plan to separate anytime soon. The cousins will be recognized as the first male students to be honored as Landry-Walker’s valedictorian and salutatorian since the establishment of Lord Beaconsfield Landry-Oliver Perry Walker High School in 2013.
    “Kiesean and Shane’s story is a great representation of the vision we plan to achieve within our organization and that includes setting the tone for all of our students to reach higher heights, break barriers and lead with excellence so that others will follow,” said Algiers Charter CEO Tale’ Lockett. “We’re so proud of their achievements at Landry-Walker High School, and we know they have a bright future ahead.”
    “Being cousins and the top two of our class is an honor because of the rarity of the feat,” said Salutatorian Shane Sterling. “We never thought that we would make history in the Landry-Walker books, but I’m glad that we could set the foundation for more young men to graduate at the top of their class. I’m fortunate for this milestone and very thankful to God for guiding us through our high school journey.”
    Both students have been with Algiers Charter since kindergarten, attending Martin Behrman Charter School throughout their elementary and junior high school years. They both started attending Landry-Walker High School in their 10th-grade year and will be attending LSU in the Fall.
    “Shane and I have common interests in a lot of things since our moms are sisters,” said valedictorian Keisean Garnier. “Although we’re not competitive, we definitely push each other to succeed in school and certain activities.”
    In addition to ranking number one and two in their class, both students served as student-athletes on Landry-Walker’s cross country, track and field, and soccer teams. They are both members of the National Society of High School Scholars.
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    Letter: Urban League of Louisiana supports Rep. Ted James’ justice bill HR13

    To address systemic racism within law enforcement, we have to be willing to acknowledge its existence

    The Urban League of Louisiana wholeheartedly supports House Resolution 13 presented by Representative Ted James earlier today that “establishes a study group to study law enforcement systems and policing.” This is a tremendous step forward for Louisiana in the continuing struggle to eradicate systemic racism within law enforcement.

    “We were disappointed, however, to learn that some legislators demanded that the resolution be stripped of what they considered to be “racist” language, including the mention of Mr. George Floyd‘s name. Disagreement was also had on the mention of race throughout the resolution, including the phrase “the deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers in recent years raised a number of questions about the treatment of racial minorities within the criminal justice system.”

    According to multiple media reports, some white lawmakers were deeply offended by this language and demanded that it be removed from the resolution before they would consider acting on it.

    We understand that words matter. We understand that tone matters. But we also know that in order for an issue to be solved, it has to be faced.

    The act of demanding the removal of Mr. George Floyd’s name because it makes some lawmakers uncomfortable reveals the need for this conversation to continue among those in positions of power and influence. In order to create sustainable change for racial equity, policy decision makers cannot ignore the racial disparities in law enforcement or the nation’s long history of racism.

    In order for these efforts to be successful, we must face our past and look deeply into the systems that have long divided us, even if it makes us uncomfortable. This is the work that we must do together as a nation.

    In the immortal words of author and activist James Baldwin, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

    Yours in the Movement,
    Judy Reese Morse
    President and CEO

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    Songs of Hope concert with David Sylvester scheduled for June 5

    VIPS is having a virtual Songs of Hope concert featuring songs requested by the public performed by phenomenal singer-songwriter, David Sylvester Jr.   The song requests are songs that bring encouragement, joy, and hopefulness when needed.  Tune into VIPS YouTube page to see him discuss his thoughts about the impact of music and his inspirations as a musician.  The concert is Friday, June 5, 2020, at 6pm

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    EBRP libraries move into Phase 2 to serve patrons

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Library will move into Phase 2 of its phased re-opening process starting Monday, June 1.

    “Although we were pleased to offer digital services over the past weeks, and then to expand access on May 20 with call ahead/pickup services and more extensive phone and online reference help, we are now ready to increase access by opening significant portions of the public service spaces in our buildings. We have successfully completed our first phase of preparations, which included reconfiguring furnishings, establishing appropriate social distancing provisions, and accepting and quarantining a large influx of returned library items. We also have secured sufficient special supplies and materials to help maintain an elevated level of preventive intervention. As the details of this phase of our reopening explain below, there are some changes and new procedures that will be necessary with the use of library public spaces. We appreciate that this will require a certain level of adjustment, but we hope that everyone can work with us to make their library experience as safe and rewarding as possible,” said library director Spencer Watts. 

    In Phase 2 of the Library’s Re-opening Plan, the following services will be available to our patrons:

    • Libraries open doors to the public to provide use of PCs, Wi-Fi, and fresh checkouts of material

    Library locations will open to the public from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. through 6 p.m. on Sunday.

    The new River Center Branch will open later in June; its opening date has been pushed back due to delays in furniture and equipment installation. 

    Telephone assistance is available as usual at all 14 locations during these hours.

    • As required by City-Parish, all patrons entering Library buildings must wear a face mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Because of the need to increase distance between workstations, a reduced number of Public PCs will be available on a “reservations” basis:
      • Please call the Reference Desk at your desired location to make a reservation
      • Reservations for slots during the first hour the Library is opened may be placed the day before
      • Headphones will not be available; please bring your own
      • Keyboard and mice will be cleaned after each use
      • Public PCs will be available until 15 minutes before closing
      • Printing, copying and faxing will be available
      • Computers and Wi-Fi are temporarily unavailable at the Delmont Gardens Branch due to connectivity issues
    • Wi-Fi will be available inside and outside from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at all 14 locations

    Seating will be limited; physical distance will be maintained between seating, tables and computers

    • Protective Measures:
      • Acrylic sneeze guards will be placed at service desks and visual reminders related to social distancing will be in use at each location
      • Hand sanitizer will be available at each location
      • PPE will be in use by staff at each location; masks are mandatory
      • Expanded cleaning protocols and an accelerated schedule for disinfecting and deep cleaning at each location
    • The Library collection will be considered “Closed Stacks” during this time period; this protective measure will help prevent exposure to the virus
      • Patrons may call ahead to locate materials, or reserve items as usual.
      • Patrons who come in person will need to request materials directly from Library staff. Library staff will then search the shelves for desired books or AV materials and bring them directly to patrons to minimize contact
      • Patrons will be able to check out their materials via Self Check Kiosks at all locations or receive assistance at Circulation Services
    • Call Ahead/ Drive Through/ Pick Up Service will continue at all locations, so that patrons who want to minimize contact may do so
    • Library materials may be returned to any location; items that are trapped to fulfill Reservations will be quarantined for 72 hours before becoming available to the patron who is “on Hold”
    • The library encourages patrons to reserve the first hour of service for seniors and those with compromised immune systems; please consider arriving at or after 10 a.m. if you are not in that category
    • Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult or care-taker
    • Staff will monitor occupancy of the library and as necessary, limit the number of patrons who may be inside at any given time; occupancy limits will need to be strictly enforced
    • Payments will only be accepted through the usual online credit card service

     

    A detailed Phase Plan is available digitally in the June edition of the Library’s The Sourcemonthly newsletter at https://www.ebrpl.com/Source/Source202006.pdf.

    To find information on the coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the InfoGuide athttp://ebrpl.libguides.com/coronavirus. More about the Library and any of its free programs, events and resources can be found online at www.ebrpl.com.

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    2020 Youth Peace Olympics goes virtual

    2020 Youth Peace Olympics Goes Virtual
    The First Virtual Opening Ceremony Coming May 30th

    The Louisiana Center for Health Equity (LCHE), along with the Together We Are More Adolescent Health Collaborative, is excited to announce our 7th year of hosting the annual Youth Peace Olympics (YPO). The YPO Opening Ceremony will begin promptly at 11 AM on Saturday, May 30, 2020, via Zoom on any smart device or computer.

    Join in at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_89jMAwWqShOetwW5JLte5w. Everyone is invited to enjoy free musical performances and other entertainment. Michael A.V. Mitchell will host this family-friendly online event. A.V. is a mogul in the making, dream coach, entrepreneur, author, artist, and highly sought after motivational speaker. Speaking to small and large audiences, Mitchell “shares his story of vision, faith, and determination in a real way.”

    Joining Mitchell, among others, is local Christian and Gospel rap artist, Carlos Vaughn, formally known as, “Thug Addict.” Led by the Spirit of God, he became a new creature and now goes by his first and middle name, “Carlos Vaughn.” As founder and CEO of Christlike Music and Ministries, LLC, he “is seeking to penetrate the youth population of the urban community to begin the process of changing mindsets.”

    Seven years ago, LCHE launched YPO with a monthly day camp where youth ages 10-17 benefitted from an innovative coaching model and personal enrichment/skills-building activities geared toward promoting healthy living and curbing youth violence. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 YPO is going virtual. As such, a few changes have been made as follows:
    • Weekly online activities replacing monthly day camps
    • Weekly activities will be scheduled for shorter time periods for online platforms
    • More Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) activities

    The weekly “virtual” camps will take place every Saturday at 11:00 AM starting June 6th – August 1st. Baton Rouge Youth, ages 10 through 17, are invited to register using the following link https://form.jotform.com/92394892338168. Parental consent is required. Hurry as space is limited.

    Coaches and volunteers are being recruited now. Coaches may serve as a buddy or mentor to the youth. They must be caring, have achieved personal success, have self-confidence, and a desire to share his or her experiences with youth by offering support, accountability, and encouragement to help enhance communication and problem solving to help youth in achieving their goals. The registration process for mentors and coaches is underway. Visit our website at www.youthpeaceolympics.org/volunteer for more information.

    Important links below:

    Link to register for Opening Ceremony: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_89jMAwWqShOetwW5JLte5w
    Link to register for 2020 YPO summer program:

    https://form.jotform.com/92394892338168

    Link to apply to become a volunteer:

    http://www.youthpeaceolympics.org/volunteer

    On Facebook:
    www.facebook.com/YouthPeaceOlympics/
    Twitter:
    www.twitter.com/ypo_br
    Instagram:
    www.instagram.com/youthpeaceolympics

    About Louisiana Center for Health Equity
    The Louisiana Center for Health Equity (LCHE) is a nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) public charity non-profit organization established in January 2010. LCHE’s purpose is to promote better health outcomes for Louisiana residents who face significant barriers to being healthy with a focus on wellness and community health.

     

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    Southern University produces 2,000 3-D masks for healthcare professionals

    The Southern University College of Sciences and Engineering is venturing into familiar territory to help combat a still unfamiliar disease continuing to affect a global community. Staff and students are currently running a full lab of 3-D printers in their Entergy-sponsored lab to manufacture parts for reusable masks to be used by healthcare professionals treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “I saw an article on Facebook talking about people using 3-D printing for masks,” said Jason Chang, director of information technology at the College. “I said, ‘We (Southern) can really help our community.’”

    Close-up of mask prototype with strings made by Southern University

    Close-up of mask prototype with strings made by Southern University

    The lab in the P.B.S. Pinchback building houses the most 3-D printers — 40 desktop-sized for smaller jobs and one commercial-scale printer for intricate or larger jobs — in a central location at an educational institution in Louisiana, said Chang. To date, his team has produced nearly 2,000 masks.

    The 3-D printers generate accurate representations of parts designed in several industry-standard software programs such as SolidWorks and AutoCAD. The lab and all materials in it, including those to make the reusable masks, were made possible by a $2M grant Entergy presented to the university in 2018. The gift was matched by Gov. John Bel Edwards for a total of $4M to strengthen STEM disciplines and to upgrade facilities.SUvirusmask.002

    While states across the U.S. continue to reopen buildings, stores and more in phases, the work for hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities continues. With this work comes the need for protective supplies.

    “The need for PPE (personal protective equipment) is paramount in the safety and protection of our healthcare community and we continue to have a shortage… which makes our frontline healthcare workers more vulnerable,” said Sandra Brown, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health at Southern, and co-chair of the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

    “The College of Sciences and Engineering’s response to this pandemic is an example of how combining science with humanity can yield a product that will impact the lives of so many,” she said.

    The masks, which are worn by loops that fit over the ears, are made of plastic with a place for a special filter. For comfort, the inside of the mask has a cushion for the wearer’s face. Since the masks are washable and easy to dry, healthcare professionals do not have to dispose of multiple masks when they come into contact with patients who have COVID-19, and are trying to protect other patients and themselves from infection.

    SUvirusmask.016

    SU professor Jason Chang with students and 3-D printers in the lab.

    Engineering faculty, staff, and students do not presently assemble the masks in the lab at Southern, but rather manufacture the parts. The assembly and quality control occur under the professionals at the hospitals and clinics who receive the parts.

    “Right now, we are focusing on the hospitals in our city and when we can, we would like to help the other cities,” Chang said.

    This is not the first time that College has been involved in responding to community needs.

    “As part of the mission of the university, the College of Sciences and Engineering is an engaged member of the community,” said Patrick Carriere, Ph.D., dean. “Engagement in public and community service is common across the faculty. Our faculty are continuously lending their expertise to address national and state priorities, serving on local and state boards, and participating in or leading community initiatives.”

    The College hosts several summer institutes for the community, which includes the Engineering Summer Institute, Summer Transportation Institute, Computer Science Robotics Camp, and STEM Summer Camp. Faculty, staff, and students often participate in Habitat for Humanity community projects.

    “Our new 3-D printing capacity has helped us respond directly to community needs and is a real example to our students and the community of engineering for human need — or engineering with the world or community in mind,” Carriere said.

    Two students working on the project with Chang — Christopher Hall, a Baton Rouge junior majoring in mechanical engineering, and Dantrel Bonner, a senior also majoring in mechanical engineering — agreed.

    “Southern University provides that type of knowledge to where you can create such a thing (masks) to supply people in need,” said Bonner, a Mobile, Alabama native who grew up in Baton Rouge. “As engineers, we have a civic duty to make sure our community is positively impacted and that we provide for that community. At this institution, you definitely get that pride instilled in you to want to give back.”

     

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    Attached Photos:

    1. Christopher Hall, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, and Dantrel Bonner, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, inspect some of the 3-D parts.

    2. Masks on table

    3. Close-up of mask prototype with strings

    4. Jason Chang with students and 3-D printers in the lab.

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    COVID-19 drive-thru site to test anyone 12 years old and up with or without symptoms

    CareSouth Medical and Dental Center has opened three COVID-19 drive-thru community testing sites in Baton Rouge, Donaldsonville, and Plaquemine. Testing is available for anyone 12 years old and up who wants to take the test with or without symptoms.
    A doctor’s order is not required, but all participants must register in order to get the test. Register by calling (225) 650-2000 or going online at caresouth.org.
    There is no out-of-pocket expense for the test. If you have insurance, your insurance will be billed. If you don’t have insurance, CareSouth will cover the cost. You will need to bring your insurance card and picture ID. This is a partnership with CareSouth, Louisiana Healthcare Connections, and Quest Diagnostics.

    The testing is part of an initiative to increase testing in underserved communities in Louisiana by working with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) like CareSouth.  Louisiana is one of 10 states participating in the initiative. CareSouth is one of only two participating organizations in Louisiana.

    “We’re excited to be a part of this great partnership to expand COVID-19 testing in the underserved communities that we serve,” said CareSouth CEO Matthew Valliere.  “It will also help us provide testing to the most vulnerable, high risk populations.”

    Testing times/locations:
    Baton Rouge, 3140 Florida St.
    Starting May 14, 2020
    Monday through Friday  9 a.m. to noon

    You must enter the clinic parking lot off of Convention Street:
    Donaldsonville, 904 Catalpa St.
    Starting May 20, 2020
    Monday 3 to 5 p.m.
    Wednesday  8 a.m. to noon

    Plaquemine, 59340 River West Drive
    Starting May 21, 2020
    Tuesdays 3 to 5 p.m
    Thursdays  8 a.m. to noon

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    Southern Teachers & Parents FCU approved as SBA Lender

    Southern Teachers & Parents Federal Credit Union has been approved as an official Small Business Administration lender. Small business owners in need of paycheck protection due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may get assistance.  Applications can be submitted online at https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A293200a0-cda9-42f3-9d0c-f374351d54ae

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    CareSouth Pharmacy offering free prescription delivery service

    CareSouth Pharmacy offers free prescription delivery for all CareSouth Medical and Dental patients, which is especially important during COVID-19.

    “This is a service that we’ve been providing since we opened the pharmacy in July 2019, but now with COVID-19 it’s getting even more popular,” said CEO Matthew Valliere. “We deliver to Houma, LaPlace and all over the area. We’re happy to provide this service which is not only convenient for our patients, but also helps protect our patients and staff.”

    “Everybody wants delivery these days,” said CareSouth pharmacist Dwight Thibodeaux. “Our patients just love being home and getting their meds.”

    Patients can get their medications delivered to their homes within a 40-mile radius of CareSouth locations in Baton Rouge, Zachary, Plaquemine, and Donaldsonville. The CareSouth Pharmacy is located in Zachary at 4852 Highway 19 and also offers curbside service.

    The pharmacy provides prescriptions at nominal prices as part of the 340B Drug Discount program. The federal program allows Federally Qualified Health Centers like CareSouth and other eligible providers that serve low-income and Medicaid populations to purchase outpatient drugs from manufacturers at a significant discount which is passed on to patients.

    For more information, call (225) 478-9030 or visit caresouth.org.

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    Stretches in bed may calm coronavirus worries and anxieties

    Anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus is leading to sleepless nights for some people – and that can result in even more health problems.

    Studies have shown that a lack of sleep weakens the immune system, the last thing anyone needs when a potentially deadly virus is making the rounds.

    The question many bleary-eyed people face is how they can remedy their insomnia without resorting to medication, anything else that they have to take orally, or a significant lifestyle change. One answer: stretches done on the bed that relax the body and mind, allowing them to drift into slumber and be better prepared for the next day – and keep that immune system humming as well, said Larry Piller (www.larrypiller.com), a certified massage practitioner and author of Stretching Your Way: A Unique & Leisurely Muscle Stretching System.

    “I consider these the crown jewels of stretches for sleep because everyone who tries them falls asleep,” Piller said. “Just by knowing that these stretches are waiting for you anytime you want them, day or night, it will give you a feeling of tranquility as opposed to a night of anxiousness. Stretching has many benefits, and one of those is that it can help you wind down and ease the tension at the end of the day.”

    So, for those struggling to rid themselves of their coronavirus worries, Piller offers a few examples of what he calls “superstar stretches for sleeping”:

    Stretch 1. While lying on your back, extend your shoulder out as is comfortable and lift your hand up as though you are trying to stop traffic. Then turn your arm and your hand backward, letting your little finger be your guide. Let your little finger land where roughly the No. 7 would be on a clock. Just extend your shoulder out as is comfortable and bring your fingers back as is comfortable.

    Stretch 2. While lying on your back on the bed, put your arm in a position as if showing your muscle to someone. Just extend your elbow out to the side as is comfortable for a tricep stretch. From that position, open your hand up all the way, extend your elbow to the side as is comfortable while bringing your thumb down toward you as is comfortable.

    Stretch 3. While you lie on your back, just extend your shoulder and arm out as is comfortable, Piller said.

    Stretch 4. While you lie on your back, bring your toes and the inner side of your foot inward to get a stretch on the side of the foot. These stretches for the side of your feet can be done lying on your side as well, as long as you have room to bring your foot or feet down or inward. You also can use a pillow between your legs to raise your foot so you can bring your foot or feet down, or hang your feet over the edge. “This by itself, or in combination with other stretches, has a high chance to put you to sleep like a little baby,” said Piller.

    A recent article in Psychology Today explored how a good night’s sleep is necessary for a person’s immune system to run as efficiently as possible. A good, healthy immune system is one of the major things that may reduce the risk of the coronavirus. That makes it extremely important that people find simple and easy ways to relax at night, rather than lie staring at the ceiling as brooding fears about the coronavirus swirl around in their minds, he said.

    “Life can be a job in itself, especially right now with all the concerns about the coronavirus,” Piller said. “Most people do not want all the difficulties that every insomnia treatment is riddled with. They don’t want to do all kinds of lifestyle changes that don’t offer solutions or guarantees, and that have minimal results at best. These superstar stretches for sleeping are the world’s easiest and safest. For me, muscle stretching is magic. You get total relief just knowing this effortless system is waiting for you at bedtime.”

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    Business, industry association expresses ‘disappointment’ in May 15 stay-at-home extension

    The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack issued the following statement on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ extension of the current “Stay at Home” order:

    “We are obviously disappointed in today’s decision. Essential service industries such as groceries, hardware, maintenance and construction have operated safely and productively for weeks now and have shown us all that smart steps can be taken to protect the public AND serve the public at the same time. Right now, other small businesses are simply asking for the same right to show they too can operate safely and responsibly to serve their community and hire back their workers. Throughout this unprecedented crisis, Louisiana’s business community has been a good-faith partner for the state, aiding our neighbors and acting in the best interest of public health at great sacrifice. Every one of the 350,000 lost jobs represents a family that needs income and stability in both the short and the long term. Flattening the curve has taken a team effort by everyone, an effort we all can be proud of. Rebuilding this economy will be just as monumental of a team effort. We hope state officials use this additional time to develop a robust and targeted plan that gives clear safety guidance going forward and takes bold actions to jump start our badly damaged economy. We will need to overcome this and we will need it soon.”

    Today, LABI President Stephen Waguespack issued the following statement on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ extension of the current “Stay at Home” order:

    “We are obviously disappointed in today’s decision. Essential service industries such as groceries, hardware, maintenance and construction have operated safely and productively for weeks now and have shown us all that smart steps can be taken to protect the public AND serve the public at the same time. Right now, other small businesses are simply asking for the same right to show they too can operate safely and responsibly to serve their community and hire back their workers. Throughout this unprecedented crisis, Louisiana’s business community has been a good-faith partner for the state, aiding our neighbors and acting in the best interest of public health at great sacrifice. Every one of the 350,000 lost jobs represents a family that needs income and stability in both the short and the long term. Flattening the curve has taken a team effort by everyone, an effort we all can be proud of. Rebuilding this economy will be just as monumental of a team effort. We hope state officials use this additional time to develop a robust and targeted plan that gives clear safety guidance going forward and takes bold actions to jump start our badly damaged economy. We will need both to overcome this and we will need it soon.”

    About the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry

    The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry was organized in 1975 to represent Louisiana businesses, serving as both the state chamber of commerce and state manufacturers association. LABI’s primary goal is to foster a climate for economic growth by championing the principles of the free enterprise system and representing the general interest of the business community through active involvement in the political, legislative, judicial and regulatory processes.

    ONLINE:www.labi.org

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  • Letter To The Editor: ‘Heroes don’t always wear capes’

    “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap a building in one single bound.” As a kid, this phrase captured my imagination. I would tie the ends of a towel around my neck, clench my fists with my arms extended towards the sky and launch into flight. Envisioning thrusting from the summit of a mountain and agilely returning to earth. In this case, I was actually jumping off the couch and unceremoniously greeting my living room floor with a crude thud. Brooding over yet another loss in the battle against gravity and the ineffectiveness of my cape; reality began to set in. There I was, sitting on the floor with a sore knee and bruised ego beginning to understand that I was human. Over the years, I fell countless more times, but more importantly, I always got back up.

    My view of the word Hero has changed over the years. Gone are the days of wishing for x-ray vision or the ability to read minds. I now recognize Heroes as those who give incredible effort in the service of others. Society at large has begun to pay homage to these people who put themselves into harm’s way for the greater good. If you drive by any medical center from North Oaks in Hammond to Baton Rouge General, you should see a sign that reads: “Heroes Work Here.” Educators are handing out meals to ensure that their scholars continue to receive nourishment and posting social media videos to show support and mindfulness of the impact of separation. Healthcare professionals, first responders, and public workers have and should continue to be hailed as heroes for their acts of courage and sense of duty. In our modern sound-bite society, heroic actions sometimes seem ordinary, until the moment of a paradigm shift.

    We are in an extraordinary time that calls for extraordinary people. There is an invisible nemesis that has changed our lives. In response to this threat, there are those among us who courageously meet our daily needs and safeguard our communities. They are essential. The Department of Homeland Security along with other federal agencies, State, and local officials developed advisory guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce. In short, this was a recommendation on people and positions required for our society to continue to function. These individuals provide services to ensure that our home utilities are in working order, stock produce in our markets, pick up our refuge from the curbs of our homes. All heroes don’t wear capes; some are only equipped with a mask and gloves. They serve with a heart for others; the greatest superpower of all.

    I stopped at a gas station the other day and after I completed my purchase, I told the cashier to be careful. She replied, “I just pray and go on.” She goes on serving; providing for her family and the public at large. One day we will return to some semblance of normalcy and when this does happen, I hope that we continue to see the courage to serve as we see it now. Though we are down now, thanks to heroes like her, we will get back up.

    By Kevin Brown
    McComb, MS


    Brown is a native of Ponchatoula, resident of Mccomb is a Community Advocate, community service project coordinator and creator of Kevbrown360.com where he shares stories of the positive contributions of organizations and individuals in the communities in which we live.

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    Faith leaders urge Gov. Edwards to use emergency powers to release detainees

    More than  50 faith leaders from a wide range of locations and denominations signed on to a letter this week urging Governor John Bel Edwards to immediately release elderly and vulnerable detainees in Department of Corrections and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. There are more than 18,000 cases of and over 700 deaths from the highly contagious and deadly virus COVID-19 in Louisiana. Positive tests have been confirmed at almost every DOC facility and at least two ICE facilities. Without the ability to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for social distancing, quarantine, and hygiene that prevent the spread of COVID-19, loved ones, advocates, and faith leaders fear that uncontrollable outbreaks will cause a catastrophic loss of life among those incarcerated and employed in detention facilities, as well as the surrounding communities across the state.

    The request calls upon Governor Edwards to utilize emergency powers for release provided to his office under the constitution.

    The letter states, “We fear those in detention are being sentenced to death despite your power to release them. We fear for those who work as correctional officers, medical staff, chaplains, mental health providers, and all personnel. We are concerned for their families and communities as well. This virus does not know the boundaries of confinement.”

    “For people of the Christian faith, this holy week from Palm Sunday leading up to Easter is about entering into the suffering of the world and deciding how we will respond.  The most vulnerable in the United States are the more than two million people sitting in prisons, jails, and detention centers with no protection and no place to go to stay safe from being infected by and dying of CoViD-19. This most sacred time of the year is a stark reminder of the choices we make. Our actions will reflect and our society will be measured by how we treat the most vulnerable during this time,” said Sister Alison McCrary, SFCC, Esq.

    “As an advocate and a minister, I appeal to Governor John Bel Edwards, as well as our state Legislature, to reduce the inmate population in Louisiana’s overcrowded prisons and jails. Louisiana incarcerates more people per capita than any other state in the country. In Angola alone, over half the inmates are morethan 60 years old or live with chronic health issues such as high blood pressure, heart conditions, diabetes, and obesity. Medical experts say that people with these conditions are more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who do not have these pre-existing health concerns. The experts also recommend social distancing as the most effective way to avoid spreading the virus.  Reduction of the prison population is not just a medical necessity based on these expert opinions, but necessary to uphold the State’s moral obligation to protect its most vulnerable citizens,” said Minister Leo Jackson, Second Zion Prison Ministry.

    Read the letter to Governor Edwards from Faith Leaders here.

    Read more »
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    Chief Justice Johnson issues guidance to reduce prison population, increase public safety during COVID-19

    Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson issued guidance to Louisiana District Judges on Thursday, April 2, urging to them conduct a comprehensive review to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and release incarcerated people under certain circumstances. The letter comes after a week of evolving news developments about COVID-19 positive cases in state corrections facilities.

    The Louisiana Department of Corrections has reported that 14 employees and five incarcerated people have confirmed cases COVID-19. A third individual incarcerated at a federal prison in Oakdale has also succumbed to the disease. Orleans Parish Prison, East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, and Jefferson Parish Prison all have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

    In order to reduce risk to staff, decrease the number of cases overall, and protect public health, Chief Justice Johnson urged that all district courts “conduct a comprehensive and heightened risk-based assessment of all detainees” and take the following actions:

    1. For those charged with misdemeanor crimes, other than domestic abuse battery, favor a nominal bail amount, or a release on recognizance order – with, of course, a notice to appear on a future date;
    2. For those convicted of a misdemeanor crime, consider a modification to a release and supervised probation or simply time-served;
    3. For those charged with a non-violent offense, consider a reduced bail obligation or a release on recognizance order with, of course, a notice to appear on a future date;
    4. For those charged in other criminal matters, re-examine the nature of the offense and criminal history, if any, to determine if any bail revisions are appropriate;

    By comparison, Louisiana has taken very few steps to reduce the population in corrections facilities as a response to COVID-19 threat in prisons. A chart that shows what other states have done to protect public health by reducing prison populations is linked here.

    Federal funding was made available a few days ago through Bureau of Justice Assistance formula grants that can be drawn down during this emergency to support justice system responses to COVID-19, including home confinement, pretrial release, and other jail alternatives. Louisiana is allocated $9.7 million for this purpose and would have to apply for the funding by May 29th.  Cities, townships, and parishes could apply for an additional $5 million in funding (allocations ranging in size from $33,000 to $1 million depending on population).

    ONLINE: https://www.lasc.org/COVID19/2020-04-02-LASC-ChiefLetterReCOVID-19andjailpopulation.pdf

     

    Read more »
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    Bryson Bouttee’s mural colorfully paints a story on lack of home ownership

    Despite Baton Rouge residents being stuck inside as a result of the coronavirus, artist Bryson Bouttee is painting the latest Walls Project mural for the #ONEROUGE series and he’s doing so live on Facebook.

    Placed on a future business specializing in new homeownership, this triptych mural highlights the past, present, and future of homeownership in Louisiana.  Boutte designed the mural to colorfully bounce through different storylines of the same narrative, experiences of trying to own a home in a state that has made it so hard, and the hopeful future with progressive change. It is painted on the old Lincoln II building at 1116 S 14th Street in South Baton Rouge.

    Throughout the years, homeownership is regarded as the pivotal accomplishment of a successful adult. Yet, only 35% of Louisiana residents actually own their own homes. Over 168,000 families across the state pay more than 50% of their income on housing, be it rent or mortgage. To encapsulate these metrics, it should be noted that up to 60% of African-Americans in our city do not own property.

    Historically, “Redlining” contributed to low figures of homeownership mentioned. By segregating who received loans and recalculating property lines, businesses and banks controlling loans and insurance kept Blacks out of homeownership for many decades. Being locked into only being able to rent allows for landlords to control the market, and without proper regulations, that market can easily displace many families. To change this narrative and challenge the pace things are currently being done, The Walls Project is announcing the third mural from the #ONEROUGE 9 Drivers of Poverty series.

    Bryson Bouttee

    Bryson Bouttee, muralist

    “In correlation with the #OneRouge project, [the mural] hones in on the lack of homeownership and the rising rental cost that many residents of the city are facing… [as well as] the future and what investment could transform the area too, repurposing the buildings of old to house businesses that can bring economic independence,” Bouttee said. The mural is supported by Partners Southeast and Kimble Properties,

    He live streamed his progression of this mural starting for two weeks on The Walls Project Instagram and Facebook pages, @wallsproject. Make sure to check it out so YOU can be part of the production!

    To help support the creation of this mural and awareness around the issue, contributions can be made by texting drawingtheline on 41444.

    The 9 Drivers of Poverty Series looks at the:

    • Sharp decline in median income
    • Access to affordable transportation
    • Lack of homeownership & escalating rental costs
    • A growing number of neighborhoods in poverty
    • High number of households with children living in poverty
    • Lack of educational attainment
    • Limited English proficiency and cultural differences
    • High teen birth rates
    • High poverty rates for single mothers

    Over the past seven years, The Walls Project has evolved beyond only creating public art. Programs of the Walls look towards using creativity and intergenerational collaboration to address deeply-rooted and historically systemic issues in our city. We CREATE and paint murals in high-need schools and underinvested neighborhoods, CULTIVATE and educate youth to attain the high-demand jobs of the future, and REACTIVATE communities by remediating blight and making them safer.

    ONLINE: wallsproject.org/onerouge

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Cox Communications waives first month, offers toolkit to help families with in-home learning

    Throughout Louisiana, families are making use of internet, wi-fi, and technology service offerings to help their school-aged children continue their education during school closures.

    During this time of uncertainty and required in-home learning, Cox Communications is helping get families in need connected to the internet through our Connect2Compete program.

    Effective Monday, March 16, Cox is providing:

    • Limited-time, first month free of Connect2Compete service, $9.95/month thereafter
    • Until May 12, 2020, we are providing phone and remote desktop support through Cox Complete Care at no charge to provide peace of mind and ease for technology needs
    • Resources for discounted, refurbished equipment through our association with PCs for People
    • A Learn from Home toolkit for schools including instructions on how to fast-track eligible students without internet access

    Offer expires 5/12/2020. Cox Complete Care in-home support excluded. Program eligibility and other restrictions apply.

    ONLINE: www.cox.com/c2c.

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  • ,

    EBR Schools updates employees and students on resources, medications, meals

    Governor John Bel Edwards signed a proclamation that closed schools effective March 16, 2020, to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

    “The mandated closure asks for schools to reopen on April 13, 2020. That date coincides with our previously scheduled spring break. We are still evaluating options on whether or not spring break dates will need to be changed. We will have an update on this by the end of the week. Governor Edwards advocated for schools to continue to support students during this time and we are stepping up to meet that call to action,” said Superintendent Warren Drake.

    Educational Resources:

    • Although our district will not provide distance learning, it will provide online links to optional enrichment and educational resources for parents. These resources will span core content areas – ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies for students PreK-12th grade. Activities will be made available on EBRPSS website by Wednesday, March 18.
    • Some of our schools may have already issued resources on Friday, March 13. Those items are also optional and students will not receive a grade.
    • Individual schools will be working with their teams to address options for Dual Enrollment courses based on guidance received from our local colleges and universities.

    Medication:

    • EBRPSS is working with Health Centers in Schools to finalize a distribution schedule for parents/guardians/emergency contacts to retrieve student medication if needed. All details will be communicated on the district Facebook page and on our website Tuesday, March 17th.

    Student Meal Pick-Up Locations:

    • The EBRPSS’s Child Nutrition Department will be serving free, grab-n-go breakfast and lunch at seven school sites beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Grab-N-Go breakfast and lunch will be served at:
      1. Northeast Elementary
      2. Progress Elementary
      3. Woodlawn Elementary
      4. Wildwood Elementary
      5. Capitol Middle
      6. McKinley Middle
      7. Park Forest Middle

      While supplies last, families will be able to pick up pre-packaged breakfast and lunches for children 18 years of age and younger, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekdays during the mandated school closure period (March 16, 2020 – April 13, 2020). At least one child must be present in order to receive school meals. To learn more about EBR Child Nutrition and to view the menu, please visit ebrschools.org/child-nutrition.

    Employee Information:

    • All 12-month employees not assigned to a school building are to begin working remotely and implementing rotation schedules for required on-site work functions. Please contact your direct supervisor for more information.
    • Beginning Tuesday, March 17, school sites should be staffed by one 12-month employee to receive mail and deliveries, and preapproved contractors and vendors. (Feeding sites may also accept donations of new, packaged to-go boxes and unused plastic bags.
    • All school sites and the central office building should be staffed from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    Who to Call:

    If you have any additional questions or concerns about the Coronavirus, please contact the following:

    COVID-19 General Information hotline:

    • 1-855-523-2652
    • 211
    • If you have an EBRPSS related question, please contact us through email – Hotline@ebrschools.org.
    • ICARE will provide support to parents and employees through this difficult time. They will address concerns at icare@ebrschools.org and reply within 24 hours with resources for support.

    “We promise to share new information and updates with you through our dedicated web page, https://ebrschools.org/news/health-update-coronavirus/ and on social media,” said Drake.

     

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Conference helps teens JOLT their voice

    Local teens can discover the power of their voice Saturday, March 28 at JOLTcon, at Goodwood Library. First of its kind in Baton Rouge, this conference is planned and hosted by the young adults of The Futures Fund and The Walls Project.

    This event is for youth to discover, through stories and workshops, how to take charge and JOLT their voices into existence. Six peer speakers will introduce attendees to the journey of finding the power of their voice and defining who they are.

    After a catered lunch break, teens are able to take the inspiration from the speakers and put it into concrete outlets. Teens are able to discover their voice through learning a tech hackathon, a workshop on phone photography, or various workshops on self-care from a teenage perspective. These workshops, while led by adult mentors, are partnered with a teen host, allowing for true collaboration between youth and adults.

    This event was made possible through the support of the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund, Foundation for Louisiana, Sparkhound Foundation, Louisiana Tech Park, Lamar Advertising and many others.

    Those wanting to register for a free JOLTcon ticket can do so by going to bit.ly/joltcon. Tickets are limited and workshops are first come first serve, so register early!

    ONLINE: wallsproject.org/joltcon

    Read more »
  • ,,

    NAACP — vigilant in removing Judge from bench — thanks community

    During this week of addressing the troubling issue of 23rd Judicial District Court Judge Jessie Leblanc’s use of racial slurs, this matter has resulted in Leblanc’s resignation letter of February 27, 2020.

    To community members and advocates, thank you so much for coming together to ensure this outcome. It is with your continued support and efforts that we can fight injustices like this.

    It is with gratitude that we thank Governor John Bel Edwards for addressing this matter head-on, standing up for what’s right and vocalizing what was needed.

    To the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, thank you for your collective strength and support in addressing this matter.

    In addition, we’d like to thank the various media outlets for presenting this issue in a fair and consistent manner.

    Lastly, we thank our state president Michael McClanahan and all NAACP Baton Rouge Branch members for its consolidated and unyielding efforts.

    This issue was disheartening, but it provided an opportunity for us to demonstrate the strength of our collective voice. When we all work together, we win!

    And while this issue has been addressed, we must continue to stay vigilant. As we look to a person to fill this seat vacancy, we must take up the responsibility of voting to ensure that whoever fills that seat is one who is equitable and who fairly represents the broader community.

    Sincerely,

    Eugene Collins Michael W. McClanahan
    President State President
    NAACP Baton Rouge Branch NAACP Louisiana State Conference

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Ponchatoula Council on Aging Hosts Tea

    A smiling, happy crowd of senior adults dressed in their best (some ladies with hats) recently met at the Ponchatoula Community Center earlier than the regular lunchtime to enjoy the fellowship and food of a Tea party given just for them.

    Hosting the occasion were Ponchatoula Area Supervisor Paula Dunn, Office Assistant Sheryl Achord, and Site Manager Janice Jackson.

    The colorful decorations made it a celebration of Valentine’s Day along with Mardi Gras.

    Delectable goodies added even more color to the tables ranging from veggies and dip to sandwiches, from cookies to iced cupcakes — not to mention plenty of tea, of course.

    As if all those weren’t tempting enough, Community Center Director Lynette Allen came waltzing in with two beautiful King Cakes.

    City Public Relations Writer Kathryn Martin extended a welcome followed by Director of Student Outreach May Stilley.

    Because Seniors have joined forces with the after-school children in the new Pen Pal exercise, Stilley gave the history of Student Outreach.

    From the sounds of surprise and response, it was obvious most Seniors had not known that Mayor Bob Zabbia and the City Council were responsible for providing the program as well as the meeting spaces available for both groups.

    Stilley explained the help coming from after-school efforts boosts some students who need to catch up or even get ahead in their studies.

    She said, “In addition to their studies, we try to include as many community resources we can for the children to have well-balanced lives. What better resource can we have than you Seniors with your experiences to share with them!”

    Stilley went on to say, “You won’t believe how excited the children are after roll call when I yell ‘Mail Call’ and they have a letter from you all.”

    It was apparent the Seniors shared the excitement as the room brightened even more when she held up the “mail box” and delivered mail from students to them!

    Next, Director of Tangipahoa Council on Aging Debi Fleming welcomed those present and commended the local staff for their on-going work and caring.

    An audience member recalled that Fleming and the City worked together to get the city bus which provides transportation five days a week for Seniors and others.

    Soon afterward, Seniors made short work of getting in the food line, and, leaving no evidence behind, joined their friends for fellowship and games to complete the morning and get ready for lunch to come later.

    Submitted News

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  • ,,,,

    Southern University alumna earns Ship Handler of the Year

    Lt. j.g. Monique Jefferson earned the Ship Handler of the Year award, which is given to Surface Warfare Officers who demonstrate superior performance while standing Officer of The Deck Underway onboard the Navy’s newest platform, the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship.

    Jefferson is from Katy, Texas and earned her commission from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her qualifications include Surface Warfare, Officer of the Deck, and Anti-terrorism Tactical Watch Officer. She recently completed a seven-month deployment to the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean Ocean when she was previously stationed onboard the USS James E. Williams (DDG 95).

    Surface Warfare Officers are Naval officers whose training and primary duties focus on the operation of Navy ships at sea, leading Sailors and managing the various shipboard systems and programs. The SWO community offers a wide variety of assignments and duty stations across the world.

    Jefferson is currently the Weapons Officer onboard the USS Indianapolis Blue crew and is the expert for all weapons systems onboard the LCS Platform. Her responsibilities include daily verification that all weapons systems are fully operational and combat-ready. Additionally, she is responsible for ensuring her sailors are fully qualified trained and are developing personally and professionally.

    When asked what her favorite thing is about her ship she eagerly answers, “multiple jobs.” All of the personnel stationed onboard the Indianapolis are required to train and demonstrate proficiency in areas outside their assigned billet. This inter-departmental experience allows everyone aboard LCS to cross-train and be a major player aboard the ship.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Young Leaders’ Academy extends application deadline

    Applications are being accepted for the 2019-2020 Young Leaders’ Academy of Baton Rouge, Inc. 

    The Young Leaders’ Academy of Baton Rouge, Inc. (YLA), is a program of academic excellence, leadership skill development and personal development for African American children in Baton Rouge. To encourage positive relationships, the Academy requires family involvement in the members’ activities with the program and offers access and opportunities for success to our members and families.

    YLA’s  Saturday Academy runs concurrently with the academic year and is held twice (2X) per month from 8:00-11:30 a.m. at Baton Rouge Community College (BRCC) campus.  Saturday Academy includes academic tutoring, field trips, educational games, STEM activities, computer lab access, conflict resolution, etiquette classes, nutrition, intramural sports, test-taking skills, financial literacy, gender-specific special workshops, and annual Summer Travel Experience. Parents are responsible for providing transportation to and from Academy programs.

    CRITERIA:

    • Each child must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in core curriculum subjects – Math, Language Arts, Science.
    • Child must be a non-retained 3rd-7th grader residing in the Greater Baton Rouge area (including Baker, Zachary, Central, Ascension and WBR) to enroll.
    • Parents and applicant must complete an Admissions Interview and sign Parental Engagement Contact.

     

    APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FEBRUARY 28, 2020! 

    To apply, please email tonya_ylabr@yahoo.com for a 1 page Admissions Application!

    The Young Leaders’ Academy exists to nurture the development of leadership abilities of young African American males and females, empowering them to improve the quality of their lives and be an active force for POSITIVE change in their communities.

    ONLINE: www.youngleaders.org 

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Grammy award-winner, civic activist, David Banner to keynote Black History Month Convocation in Grambling

    Grambling State University announced Grammy Award-winning music producer, recording artist, philanthropist, civic activist, and actor David Banner will keynote the University’s Black History Convocation in the Frederick C. Hobdy Assembly Center on February 20, 2020, at 11am.

    “A strong sense of Black History permeates the culture of our campus year-round,” said Grambling State University President Rick Gallot. “It’s important that our students understand that they are the next chapter of Black History and grasp the importance of using their talents to continue the work of trailblazers who came before them.”

    Banner attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, graduating with a degree in business; and attended graduate school at the University of Maryland on a full scholarship before pursuing his music career.

    Banner also is founder of A Banner Vision, a multimedia company that specializes in providing emotionally engaging music for iconic commercials, video games and films. A Banner Vision has produced ads for brands like Pepsi, Gatorade, Paramount Pictures (Footloose film), Marvel, Capcom, Mercedes Benz and mass-market retailer Kmart.

    Banner is the creator of Heal the Hood, Inc., a foundation providing relief and recovery assistance to lower-income people of the Gulf Region affected by natural disasters. Heal the Hood also supports youth development and recreation programs in Mississippi. The foundation raised $500,000 for Katrina survivors in Mississippi and Alabama; and 2014 was its eighth year of distributing clothing, toys, and other necessities to Jackson, Mississippi families during the holidays.

    Campus and community members are invited to attend this year’s convocation.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Governor Edwards issues statement on guilty plea in case of church fires

    Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statement today on the guilty plea of Holden Matthews on six state charges and six federal charges, including six total hate crime charges, for setting three historic African-American churches on fire in St. Landry Parish last spring.

    Edwards said:

    “These unthinkable acts deprived three church communities of not only their places of worship, but their sense of security. Holden Matthews’ actions came from a place of hate and intolerance and the charges he has pled guilty to speak to the serious and sickening nature of his crimes.

    I have often said that hate is not a Louisiana value. I have visited and prayed with the congregations of St. Mary Baptist Church, Greater Union Baptist Church, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in the aftermath of these fires and saw unshakable faith and strength in the midst of tragedy and beautiful love and forgiveness spring forth from pain. I ask that the people of our state continue to pray for and support these three churches as they rebuild and continue their missions.

    I also thank the hundreds of members of law enforcement, including the State Fire Marshal’s office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, Louisiana State Police, the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, the St. Landry District Attorney’s office and others who assisted in this case.”

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Healthy BR, HOPE Ministries to get $900,000 to continue work in North Baton Rouge

    Nearly $1 million will be invested into two local groups whose missions include healthy living, workforce development, and improving food access in Baton Rouge.

    Healthy BR will receive an investment of $715,000 to continue to fight food insecurity and social isolation via the Geaux Get Healthy project. The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. has made this commitment as part of its Strategic Community Investment Program in Baton Rouge. The Foundation began a partnership with Healthy BR in 2018 with an initial investment of $725,000.

    HOPE Ministries will receive an additional $189,700 as a key partner in the Geaux Get Healthy project, allowing for an expansion of the program’s workforce development program. By investing in HOPE Ministries, The Humana Foundation is expanding its Strategic Community Investment in Baton Rouge.

    “Working alongside our community, we are addressing food and asset security, improving the lives and health of all Baton Rouge residents,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “I’m encouraged by the initial results Geaux Get Healthy saw in its first year, especially the eight new locations where residents of North Baton Rouge can now purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.  I’m excited to see how an expanded workforce development program will help our community continue to grow and prosper.”

    HealthyBR is a community coalition that hopes to inspire a healthier Baton Rouge for all residents. Funded by both The Humana Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, Geaux Get Healthy, a HealthyBR project, works in the Baton Rouge zip codes with the highest rates of food insecurity and health disparities across north Baton Rouge. Together with a coalition of local partners, the program addresses food deserts by saturating this region with numerous access points for purchasing fresh food at an affordable price. The program also provides educational programs to help increase fresh food consumption and social connectedness.

    As part of the Geaux Get Healthy project, The Humana Foundation is also beginning a new investment with HOPE Ministries, an organization working to prevent homelessness and promote self-sufficiency and dignity in Baton Rouge. The Foundation’s investment will be used to address post-secondary attainment and sustaining employment, expanding a workforce development program called The Way to Work.

    “Workforce opportunities and retention are an ongoing topic in Baton Rouge and Louisiana, as a whole. HOPE Ministries’ The Way to Work Division provides a unique workforce solution that helps people keep jobs and companies keep people,” said Janet Simmons, President and CEO of HOPE Ministries. “Thanks to The Humana Foundation, The Way to Work division is increasing capacity thereby increasing the opportunity for more people to gain access to sustainable employment.”

    Each organization that receives a Humana Foundation Strategic Community Investment has the opportunity to receive continued funding for up to three years based on the specifics results achieved in their programs.

    The Humana Foundation’s Strategic Community Investment Program

    Through partnerships with local organizations and community members, The Humana Foundation’sStrategic Community Investment Program creates measurable results in some of the most common social determinants of health, including post-secondary attainment and sustaining employment, social connectedness, financial asset security and food security. These investments are located in Humana ‘Bold Goal’ communities, places where Humana and The Humana Foundation are working to help people improve their health 20 percent by 2020 and beyond.

    In the first year of the Strategic Community Investment Program, The Humana Foundation invested $7 million in seven communities and funded programs that served more than 16,000 individuals and their families, addressing one or more social determinant of health. Each of these seven communities will receive continued or expanded Humana Foundation investments based on the measurable results each program attained in its first year. The Humana Foundation is also undertaking two new Strategic Community Investments in New Orleans, funding two organizations for a total of $1 million.

    The Humana Foundation’s continuing and expanded Strategic Community Investments include the following locations: Baton Rouge, La., Broward County, Fla., Jacksonville, Fla.; Knoxville, Tenn., Louisville, Ky., New Orleans, San Antonio and Tampa.

    ONLINE:  Strategic Community Investment

    ONLINE:  HumanaFoundation.org

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    Legislative Youth Advisory Council now accepting applications from high schoolers

    The Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council is now accepting applications for membership from high school students who have an interest in representing the voices of other young people around the state. LYAC is an annually appointed body composed entirely of students that tackle issues affecting the youth of Louisiana.

    The purpose of LYAC is to facilitate the communication between youth and the legislature and to give students a unique opportunity to be involved in the workings of state government. The council studies and addresses a variety of issues of importance to young people such as education, mental health, civic engagement, the environment, and school safety.

    Members of the council are selected from a wide pool of statewide applicants who display a strong interest in civic involvement. The thirty-one member council includes three students representing each of the six congressional districts and the remaining members serve at large. Applicants must be between 14-19 years old and enrolled in a public or private high school, charter school, home school, or GED skills program during the 2020-2021 school year. 

    The deadline to apply is March 27, 2020. The application may be accessed at civiced.louisiana.gov and then by clicking on LYAC at the top of the page. All applicants are required to submit two recommendation letters in addition to the eight short essay questions and application form. For additional information, please contact Megan Bella at bellam@legis.la.gov or 225-342-2370.

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    Louisiana leaders meet with White House to discuss Opportunity Zones

    The White House hosted mayors, parish presidents, and representatives from economic development organizations across Louisiana on Jan. 23 to discuss ways that Opportunity Zones can continue to benefit citizens of Louisiana.

    The Opportunity Zone tax incentive provides a tremendous way to bring investment, jobs, and new business development to communities. In order to amplify the impact of this tax incentive, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council was formed to better coordinate Federal economic development resources in Opportunity Zones and other distressed communities.

    The Council is exploring the ways in which Federal agencies can better partner with Opportunity Zone investors and provide some of the social services and other support that may be necessary for community revitalization to take place. Communities, investors, and entrepreneurs who want to effect change are not alone in this process.

    About Opportunity Zones
    In 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which established Opportunity Zones to incentivize long-term investments in low-income communities across the country. These incentives offer capital gains tax relief to investors for new investment in designated Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Zones are anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment. Qualified Opportunity Zones retain this designation for 10 years.

    In December 2018, President Trump signed Executive Order 13853, which established the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. The Council is chaired by Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is tasked with leading joint efforts between agencies and executive departments to engage with State, local, and tribal governments to find ways to better use public funds to revitalize urban and economically distressed communities.

    The following individuals were in attendance:

    Administration officials:

    • Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity & Revitalization Council
    • Tim Pataki, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison
    • Ja’Ron Smith, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of American Innovation
    • Ben Hobbs, Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy
    • Nicole Frazier, Special Assistant to the President & Director of Strategic Partnerships & African American Outreach

    Agency Officials:

    • Dr. John Fleming, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development
    • Daniel Kowalski, Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury
    • Alfonso Costa Jr, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
    • Chad Rupe, Administrator for Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • Chris Caldwell, Federal Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

    External Participants:

    • Julius Alsandor, Mayor of Opelousas
    • Monique Boulet, CEO, Acadiana Planning Commission
    • Leslie Durham, Louisiana Designee, Delta Regional Authority
    • Scott Fontenot, Mayor of Eunice
    • Josh Guillory, Mayor-President of Lafayette Parish
    • Michael Hecht, President and CEO, Greater New Orleans Regional Economic Development
    • Roy Holleman, Louisiana State Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • Chad LaComb, Economic Development Planner, Acadiana Planning Commission
    • Scott Martinez, President, North Louisiana Economic Partnership
    • Robby Miller, President, Tangipahoa Parish
    • Mandi Mitchell, Assistant Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development
    • Adrian Perkins, Mayor of Shreveport
    • Jan-Scott Richard, Mayor of Scott
    • Joel Robideaux, Former Mayor-President of Lafayette
    • Shawn Wilson,PhD., Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
    • 100 other community stakeholders

    Feature photo courtesy of Hailey Hart
    Official White House Photo by Randy Florendo

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    Meet Mariah Clayton, Miss Louisiana USA 2020

    Mariah Clayton, Miss Greater Baton Rouge, was crowned Miss Louisiana USA 2020 on Oct. 19. She will represent Louisiana at the Miss USA 2020 beauty contest this spring. “I love this state. I love our culture. I love our food. I’m just so happy that I am the person that gets to represent this beautiful state on this big, big stage,” she said.

    Clayton, who is 23, participated in three categories to win the state crown: activewear/swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. She is a psychology major at Southern University and a graduate of Zachary High School. She is the founder of Level-Up Volleyball, which offers summer camps and private lessons.

    “I really just want to inspire people, young girls in particular. I’m also a volleyball coach so I’ve always felt like I’ve had an impact on young girls’ lives. That’s all I want to do is be a teacher and be a leader and be an inspiration. So I just want to help girls embrace who they are and not be defined by society’s standards,” she told BRProud.

    She is the daughter of Aristead and Michelle Clayton and one of seven children. Her older sister, Shelby, is a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints. During her time playing volleyball at Zachary High School, she received the Captain’s Award and as a defensive specialist at Southern, she received 2015 SWAC All-Academic Team honors.

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    AG Jeff Landry submits qualifying papers for Trump files for reelection in Louisiana

    Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry submitted the qualifying paperwork for President Trump’s reelection campaign. Last time President Trump appeared on the ballot in Louisiana, he received more than 1.1 million votes.

    “People across Louisiana are looking forward to their chance to support a President who has repeatedly delivered for us,” said Landry. “There will be no doubt in November, Louisiana is still Trump country.”

    Landry joined LAGOP Chairman Louis Gurvich, Republican National Committeeman Ross Little, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain and LAGOP Executive Director Andrew Bautsch.

    The election on April 4 is a closed party primary which means voters must vote with their registered party. Independent and no-party voters can not vote during the April 4 primary. All Louisiana voters (regardless of registered party) will have the opportunity to vote in the November general election.

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    LAE responds to Superintendent of Education John White’s resignation

    Louisiana Association of Educators president Tia Mills,Ph.D. issued the following response to Superintendent of Education John White’s resignation from the Louisiana Department of Education:

    While LAE members wish Mr. White the best in his future endeavors, we are happy about a change in leadership at the Louisiana Department of Education. I know many educators were not pleased with the initiatives pushed by Mr. White’s administration. His departure presents Louisiana’s education professionals with an opportunity to focus on positive change for our public school students.

    All eyes are now on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Senate, the groups charged with filling Mr. White’s position. The women and men who serve in these bodies must hire an individual with an extensive background in serving students in a K-12 public school system. LAE will be extremely vocal in this selection process.

    This could be the beginning of a promising new period for public education in Louisiana. I, along with members of the LAE, look forward to forging a collaborative relationship with the incoming members of the state board of education (BESE) and their new leader. LAE members are committed to working alongside all key players in education as we continue to help move Louisiana’s public schools in a positive direction for our precious children.

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    Registration opens for first Underground Railroad to Justice Summit

    Grassroots activists will gather on Feb. 7 for the Disrupting the Injustice Narrative: The Inaugural Underground Railroad to Justice Summit at Southern University Law Center for a daylong training open to the public.

    Activists will teach citizens, social workers, lawyers, and students how to navigate obstacles that they face as victims of Louisiana’s criminal justice system or advocates for justice-impacted individuals. The following panels will present:

    Becoming a Legislative or Policy Advocate
    Terry Landry Jr., SPLC
    Will Harrell, VOTE

    Watchdogs
    Becoming a Mental Health Watchdog
    Rev. Alexis Anderson, PREACH

    Becoming a Solitary Confinement Watchdog
    Katie Swartzmann, ACLU

    Becoming a Watchdog for Children of Justice-Impacted Parents
    Bree Anderson, DBI

    Social Workers as Watchdogs
    Ben Robertson, SUNO

    Becoming a Grand Jury Watchdog
    The Kennon Sisters

    Becoming a Felony Voting Rights Watchdog
    Checo Yancy, VOTE

    Becoming a Bail Reform Watchdog
    *Speaker Unconfirmed

    Getting the Ear of the Media
    Jeff Thomas, Think504
    Gary Chambers, The Rouge Collection

    Keynote Address by Calvin Duncan

    Using Art to Advocate
    Kristen Downing
    Kevin McQuarn
    Donney Rose

    Responding to Prosecutorial Misconduct
    Jee Parks, IPNO
    Harry Daniels
    William Snowden, Vera Institute for Justice New Orleans

    FREE continuing legal education credit will be offered for lawyers who attend the entire day and register by Jan. 15.

    FREE continuing education units will be offered for social workers who attend the entire day and register by Jan. 15.

    FREE lunch to those who register by Jan. 15.

    This event is jointly hosted by the Louis A. Berry Civil Rights and Justice Institute at SULC and the Center for African and African American Studies at SUNO.

    Register: http://www.sulc.edu/form/356

    ONLINE: SULC

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    4-day MLK Fest enters its 6th year Jan. 17-21

     Creating great change and progress takes consistent planning and collaboration, not an easy task to undertake. Yet for the past five years, The Walls Project has managed the cooperation of more than 200 organizations to progress the work of the Reactivate program, with it’s largest cleanup effort happening at MLK Fest.  Entering its sixth year and concentrating on Plank Road for the next two years, MLK Fest 2020 plans to continue the work begun earlier this year with the Reactivate Quarterly Cleanups, cleaning and refreshing the Plank Road corridor.

    Partnering with the City of Baton Rouge and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, MLK Fest 2020 is the city’s greatest opportunity for collective civic volunteerism. From Jan. 17 to Jan. 21, volunteers work together on projects by painting, removing trash, gardening, and general beautification along Plank Road, including side streets of Choctaw Drive and Chippewa Street.

    Untitled
    This 4-day long event allows residents from all over the parish to participate in cleaning and reinvigorating areas of the city once neglected. This historic volunteer effort is made possible by the support from Build Baton Rouge, ExxonMobil, Our Lady of the Lake, Capital Area United Way, Healthy Blue, Metromorphosis, BREC, PODS, PPG/Pittsburgh Paints and Lamar Outdoor Advertising Agency.

    Planning meetings for the event have been held monthly at Delmont Gardens Branch Library from 3 – 5 PM with two remaining opportunities for the community to engage in workshops on January 8th and January 15th.   Planning committees include Volunteer Outreach chaired by Pat McCallister-LeDuff (CADAV/Scotlandville CDB), Gardening and Blight Reduction chaired by Kelvin Cryer (Star Hill G.E.E.P) and Mitchell Provensal (Baton Roots Community Farm), Block Party and Resource Fair chaired by Geno McLaughlin (Build Baton Rouge) and Tracy Smith (Healthy Blue), and Murals and Building Facades lead by Kimberly Braud (The Walls Project).

    According to organizers, more than 5,000 volunteers participated, showing that this event poses an opportunity greater than logging in-service hours. Volunteers will work hand in hand with citizens from every part of the Baton Rouge community to strengthen relationships across the city as the Walls Project extends its blight remediation efforts to a year-round program on Plank Rd.

    For those wanting to become involved with this event, visitthewallsproject.org/mlk-fest for more information, volunteer registration, and donations.

    Submitted News

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    Melanin Origins offers Black History curriculum

     The founders of Melanin Origins, a children’s book company that publishes biographies about African-American leaders, are   offering their English-Language Arts Black History Curriculum for 99-cents through February 29, 2020. 

    Since 2016, Melanin Origins has provided leaders in education with quality learning materials that children of all backgrounds so desperately need. Understanding the struggle of convincing school districts to fund black history initiatives, the global publishing company has afforded teachers across the nation an opportunity to access four weeks of instruction on the lives of Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, Madam C.J. Walker, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

    The Black History Curriculum guide contains TEKS/Common Core-based lesson plans that meet national English-Language Arts standards and cover reading, writing, word study, and social studies for grade one. Many teachers find this curriculum useful for kindergarten and second grade. Melanin Origins learning materials may be applied to any classroom at any time of year. The added benefit is that the materials provide diverse and culturally responsive images and topics for all students.

    Melanin Origins is committed to literacy and empowerment through powerful images and stories representative of diverse backgrounds and cultural pride. The mission of Melanin Origins is to provide quality educational materials that inspire young minds to aspire for excellence while embracing their heritage. 

    ONLINE: HERE or by visiting www.MelaninOrigins.com

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    Students participate in 4-H Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training

    Kentwood High Magnet School held its 2019 Holiday Soft Skills Ambassador Training on Dec. 19, 2019, at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill in Hammond, La. The Ambassador Training was open to all 4-H Club members, in grades 7th – 12th, that attend the school.

    Forty youth attended the training and worked cooperatively with each other to foster a real-life application of teamwork. Youth Ambassadors were also tasked during a working Christmas Luncheon to create their own personal quotes about teamwork to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the team.

    Tahlia Carter, an 8th-grade ambassador at Kentwood High Magnet School, said the quote “alone we can do so little, together we could do so much” resonated with her the most.

    As part of the training, youth organized assembly lines to package canned goods, toys, and coats to donate to God’s Store House Thrift Store just in time for the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.

    For additional information about the 4-H Club activities at Kentwood High Magnet School, contact Nicolette Gordon, SU Ag Center’s Assistant Area Agent, at 985-748-9381.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk
    Contributing Writer

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    Survivors presented ‘A Soulful Matinee’ for breast cancer awareness

    The “Playbill”—A Soulful Matinee at the Manship Theatre Shaw Center for the Arts was held on Saturday, November 9, 2019. It was produced by the Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Cancer Survivors. This annual event salutes breast cancer survivors and advocates. The theme for the Musical Matinee was “We Are Warriors”.

    The Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Cancer Survivors has 16 chapters throughout the state of Louisiana. Those in attendance had a surprise, via a video presentation by Governor John Bel Edwards and Actress/Native of Baton Rouge, Lynn Smith Whitfield. Both spoke about their family members who are breast cancer survivors. They highly recommend and encouraged for regular health care appointments. Added to this year’s lineup was “The Barbershop”. It featured men gathered on a Saturday morning at the local barbershop giving and seeking advice on how to relate to the women in their lives impacted by breast cancer. A very moving section of the musical matinee was when those in active treatment are bundled. They are wrapped with pink blankets and prayers offered to show love and support in their time of treatment.

    LBC349

     

    A special thank you to all donors and volunteers that helped to make The Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Cancer Soulful Musical Matinee a great and huge success. The Baton Rouge Magnet High School Key Club members assisted throughout the musical matinee greeting and escorting the attendees inside the theater. They were very helpful and resourceful. Anyone interested in helping to find a cure for breast cancer can make a contribution/donation to the Louisiana Coalition of African American Breast Survivors, 8742 Scenic Highway, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70807.

    Community News Submitted by Katrina Spottsville

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    Dr. Leonard Weather appointed to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners

    The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners announced that Dr. Leonard Weather was appointed to one of two positions on its board of directors as a representative for the Louisiana Medical Association.

    Weather is an obstetrician-gynecologist. Prior to Hurricane Katrina his practice was in New Orleans; it is now in Shreveport. He received his bachelor of science in Pharmacy from Howard University in 1967, and his MD from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois, in 1974. He completed his internship, residency and fellowship in Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and finished the program in 1978. 

    Dr. Weather is a health educator and professor, ordained minister, artist, author and photographer. He has authored three inspirational poetry books and an infertility handbook. He is an active gynecological clinical trials researcher, has presented over 190 peer reviewed presentations and papers on pelviscopic surgical treatment of infertility, endometriosis, pelvic pain and fibroids. He invented the surgical procedure Optical Dissection Pelviscopy, to assist in the prevention of organ injury during laparoscopy. Dr. Weather is a past president (2010-2011) of the National Medical Association, the New Orleans Medical Association and the Louisiana Medical Association, and currently serves as the president of the Northern Louisiana Medical Association. He is a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors to the Endometriosis Association, World Endometriosis Society, a fellow of the Academy of Physicians in Clinical Research, and Grand President of the Chi Delta Mu Medical Fraternity.

    The mission of the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is to protect and improve the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Louisiana through licensing, regulation, research, and discipline of physicians and allied health professionals in a manner that protects the rights and privileges of the licensees.

    ONLINE: www.lsbme.la.gov

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    LEH is calling all aspiring young artists, illustrators for scholarship opportunity

    Applications are due November 1 for the Gustave Blache III Art Scholarship, offered by the LEH and the School of Visual Arts in New York City and open to all aspiring artists from Louisiana interested in attending SVA.

    The scholarship helps cover tuition and housing costs associated with pursuing either Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts degrees in Illustration at SVA, one of the nation’s premier art schools. Applications are due November 1.

    Full scholarship and application details can be found on LEH’s website.

    Feature photo of previous scholarship winners Marguerite Michel and Paul Michael Wright

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    Tuquisha Adams takes marines to the fight aboard U.S. Navy Warship

    SAN DIEGO – Petty Officer 3rd Class Tuquisha Adams, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, was inspired to join the Navy after her mother passed away.
    “I lost my mom and I was on a mission to make her proud,” Adams said. “One morning I woke up and the military was on my mind just out of blue.”

    Now, two years later, Adams serves aboard one of the Navy’s amphibious ships at Naval Base San Diego.“This is my first command,” Adams said. “Every day is a different experience. You never know what you’re going to get, but so far so good. I have had a learning experience. I have grown since I’ve been here.”

    Adams, a 2008 graduate of Fair Park High School, is an aviation boatswain’s mate handler aboard USS Essex, one of four Wasp-class amphibious assault ships in the Navy, homeported in San Diego.

    “I am a landing and launching aircraft petty officer,” Adams said. “I’m also training petty officer and assisting yeoman.”

    Adams credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Shreveport. “I learned to choose my friends wisely and never let anyone determine my future,” said Adams.

    Essex is designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.

    Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

    Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Essex. More than 1,000 men and women make up the ship’s crew, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly, from handling weaponry to maintaining the engines. An additional 1,200 Marines can be embarked.

    “They’re hard workers,” Adams said. “It comes with the field that they’re in.”

    Serving in the Navy means Adams is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

    A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.“Our priorities center on people, capabilities, and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”

    Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Adams is most proud of earning a promotion to third class petty officer.

    “I was proud to see that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed,” said Adams.

    As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, Adams and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

    “Serving in the Navy means that I’m a part of something huge,” Adams said. “I am fighting for people I would never meet a day in my life and that’s a good feeling.”

    By  Jerry Jimenez
    Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class
    Navy Office of Community Outreach
    Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson Brown
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    Panel to explore art as a tool for building awareness around health issues, Oct. 13

    On Sunday, October 13, the result of a partnership between Baton Rouge Gallery and CreActiv, LLC, BRG’s Sundays@4 series will host a special panel discussion, Invisible Illness Awareness through the Arts, on CreActiv’s invisible illness awareness project, The Picture of Health, to explore art as a tool for building awareness around the taboo subject of health issues.

    Panelists will discuss the creation of the project, stigmas surrounding disclosing illnesses, what it is like to have an invisible illness, ways to elicit compassion for those among us who suffer every day, and more. The program will also feature a musical performance by Invisible Illness Warrior, Chris “The Madd Katt” Lee, that will depict the pain of sciatica through drum beats. The panel will be moderated by Donney Rose. A few pieces from the exhibit will be on display.

    Panelists include:
    Leslie D. Rose, photographer, The Picture of Health and CreActiv, LLC founder and COO
    April Baham, Project Manager, Louisiana Division of the Arts and Curator of The Picture of Health
    Rani Whitfield, MD, Family Practice Physician
    Tamiko Francis Garrison, Invisible Illness Warrior and Patient Advocate

    Danny Belanger, Director of Arts Education and Accessibility/ADA/504 Coordinator, Louisiana Division of the Arts

    The Picture of Health is an invisible illness awareness program inspired by CreActiv, LLCfounder and COO, Leslie D. Rose’s own struggles with invisible illness. It seeks to highlight individuals living with invisible physical, chronic, and mental illnesses. Through the art of photography, the project shows people living with these illnesses in the manner in which they present themselves daily, focusing on the perceived ‘normalcy’ of people housed in ill bodies. The exhibit kicked off its preview run on May 29 at The Healthcare Galley and held a three-month showing at Southern Grind Cofé this past summer. Pieces are still being added to the exhibit and a full showing is being scheduled for May 2020.

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    AUDITION NOTICE: New Venture Theatre seeks performers for ‘Black Nativity’

    Audition Location
    Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, 2nd Floor
    427 Laurel Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    Audition Date
    Saturday, October 19 2019 at 1:00 p.m.
    Rehearsal Dates
    Mondays – Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:30 PM
    Some Sunday’s, 3:00 – 6:00 PM
    Performance Dates
    Friday, December 13 at 9:30 a.m. (school performance)
    Friday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, December 15 at 3:00 p.m.m.
    4 Performances at the LSU Shaver Theatre
    Audition Requirements
    Please prepare 90 seconds of a song that shows your range and vocal ability
    ALL SONGS WILL BE PERFORMED WITHOUT MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT.
    (Dance / Movement Audition Required)
    Bring or wear comfortable dance attire, as all auditions will be required to learn a short dance / movement combination.
    No monologues required for this production.
    Characters
    Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
    Seeking male and female dancers with strong ballet, modern, and jazz dance experience.
    Seeking male and female vocalist with strong gospel, and r&b style.
    Read more »
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    Formerly incarcerated Louisianans to met Monday, cast first vote together

    After becoming eligible to register on March 1, local activist Checo Yancy along with others will vote for the first time Monday.

    On March 1, approximately 40,000 Louisiana citizens on probation and parole regained their right to vote under Act 636. The law was made possible by members of Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), who advocated for the passage of House Bill 265 at the State Capitol during the 2018 legislative session. The majority of these activists were people who are directly impacted by felony disenfranchisement. Thus, come March 1, when Act 636 goes into effect, they will be able to register to vote.

    Yancy, who directs Voters Organized to Educate (VOTE), registered the first day he could. “Now, I’ll be able to elect people who actually have my best interests in mind,” he says. He’ll also be taking advantage of the early voting period for Louisiana’s upcoming Oct. 12 primary election.

    “We have come from out of prison to do all this, and we are doing it,” said Yancy.

    For him and thousands of others, it has not been an easy race to the finish line of the ballot box. People who have a conviction have to go through extra steps in the registration process. This includes getting paperwork from their local probation and parole office, even if they have finished their probation or parole time five, 10, or 20 years ago. For those living in rural Louisiana, the nearest office is a half-day’s drive away. Due in large part to the employment barriers that formerly incarcerated people, many cannot afford to buy a car or hire transportation to obtain that paperwork.

    Find more info here.

     

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    Deltas, NAACP, Urban League host Sept 24 Candidates’ Forum

     On Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. at Baton Rouge Community College’s Magnolia Theatre, 201  Community College Drive, the Baton Rouge Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,  Inc., the Baton Rouge NAACP, and the Urban League, are hosting an East Baton Rouge Candidates’ Forum.

    All candidates are invited to attend. The candidates will have a few minutes to give remarks and there will be questions afterward. After the forum, candidates will have a chance to meet with the attendees. The public is invited to attend.

    “This is a very important election, so our Sorority and partners are committed to help inform and educate our residents on who the candidates are and where they stand on issues of concern to our community,” said Chi Joseph Franklin, president of Baton Rouge Sigma.  “We’re looking forward to a great discussion.”

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    Southern University System selected as pilot institution for CIA’s White House Initiative

     Initiative focuses on HBCUs Recruitment and Workforce Development Program 

     

    The Southern University System and the Central Intelligence Agency entered into an unprecedented partnership to benefit students and faculty. President-Chancellor Ray Belton, Executive Vice President-Chancellor James Ammons, and representatives from the CIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Sept. 16 that will serve as the foundational framework for the university system’s participation in the CIA’s recruitment and workforce development initiative, which is part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Southern University System Board of Supervisors will ratify the agreement at Friday’s board meeting on campus.

    According to the MOU, the CIA chose Southern as the first participant based on the university system’s accredited programs, the graduation rate of its students, and the CIA’s track record of onboarding highly skilled and well-qualified talent.

    “Southern University is honored to have been chosen as the first institution to partner with the CIA for this initiative,” Belton said. “The reputable stature of the CIA alone is an asset to the university, students, and faculty, and we believe that the outcomes will be mutually beneficial for all involved.

    “For nearly 140 years, Southern has been a leader in innovation and scholarship. This opportunity with the CIA adds to our extensive portfolio of public and private partnerships that allow our students and faculty to expand their knowledge and to enhance their technical skills.”

    The MOU allows the CIA to engage in a broad range of classroom workshops, curriculum development, and recruitment activities to foster ongoing relationships with key university staff and personnel on Southern’s five campuses, and will provide for immediate contact with a qualified and diverse applicant pool.

    The Southern University System is comprised of Southern University Baton Rouge, Southern University New Orleans, Southern University Shreveport, Southern University Law Center, and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. The System is the only HBCU system in the nation.

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    Public invited to submit questions for LPB, CABL Governor’s debate, Sept 26

    Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for a Better Louisiana will present a Louisiana Governor’s Debate, live on Thursday, September 26 from 7PM to 8PM from the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The public is invited to submit questions at lpb.org/debate.

    Participating candidates include incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards (D), U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham (R), and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone (R). The debate will be broadcast statewide on LPB and in New Orleans on WYES and WLAE. It will also be streamed live at LPB.org/live and on public radio stations.

    Debate moderators Beth Courtney, President of LPB, and Barry Erwin, President of CABL will be joined by a panel of distinguished journalists who will pose questions to the candidates. Journalists are: Mark Ballard, The Advocate; Greg Hilburn, USA Today Network; and Natasha Williams, LPB. Candidate-to-candidate questions will also be allowed.

    Courtney said, “For forty years, LPB has presented live candidate debates as an essential part of the democratic process. It is important for voters to hear from the candidates for governor in a candid forum where they can answer questions and explain their positions on vital issues.”

    “We are really pleased to be able to partner once again with LPB to bring this debate to voters across Louisiana,” said Erwin, CABL President. “It’s our hope with this forum to focus on issues that are of importance to the state and give citizens a chance to hear straight from the candidates about their positions and what their priorities will be if elected.”

    As in years past, CABL has set criteria for participation in the debate. For this debate, candidates were invited if they: Have established a campaign committee with a treasurer and campaign staff, and filed campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission prior to the debate; AND polled at least 5% in a nonpartisan or news media poll recognized by CABL released after qualifying; AND raised at least $1 million in campaign funds prior to the debate.

     

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    Tekema Balentine Crowned Miss Black USA 2019

    Newly-crowned Miss Black USA 2019 Tekema Balentine, who has a strong desire for civic engagement, plans to use her platform to advocate on for mental health awareness.

    Balentine is an activist, scholar, and social justice advocate from Madison, Wisconsin who is a also pursing a nursing degree at Madison College.  She is a caregiver, track and field coach and sits on the board for the P.A.T.C.H organization (Providers and Teens Communications for Health), which is an organization founded to advocate for health awareness and mental health resources for teens and adults.

    Balentine said she has a strong desire for civic engagement and plans to use her platform to advocate on for mental health awareness in the Black community. During her reign, she will serve as a celebrity advocate for the Heart Truth campaign to raise awareness of heart disease and promote healthy lifestyles.

    According to Black PR Wire, the pageant, a week-long event kicked off August 7 and culminated with the crowning of Balentine on August 11.  The event was live streamed as contestants opened with an upbeat dance number wearing heels by Liliana footwear, the official shoe sponsor.  Contestants were judged in Evening Gown, On Stage Interview, Talent and Personal Fitness.

    1st Runner up –  Miss Black Nevada USA – Aisja Allen

    2nd Runner up – Miss Black New York USA – Shannon Alomar

    3rd Runner up – Miss Black Tennessee USA – Alexis Cole

    4th Runner up – Miss Black Virginia USA – Hollis Brown

     

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    Dr. Rani G. Whitfield announces run for EBR Coroner

    Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, a board-certified Family Medicine Physician, has officially announced his candidacy for Coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish.

    As coroner, Whitfield would conduct or oversee death investigations, orders of protective custody, Coroner Emergency Certificates, and sexual assault investigations throughout the parish.

    “My mission is not just documenting death, but preserving life,” said Dr. Whitfield whose campaign has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO and the Louisiana Democrats. The election is Oct. 12, 2019.

    Whitfield is a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge. After graduating from University High Laboratory School, he went on to earn a bachelors of science degree from Southern University. He completed his medical school training at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, his residency in Dayton, Ohio, at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, and a Sports Medicine Fellowship at The Ohio State University. He has a certificate of added qualification in sports medicine.

    He is deputy coroner in East Feliciana and an active member of the American Academy of Family Practice, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society of Sports Medicine, Louisiana State Medical Association, and East Baton Rouge Parish Medical Society. He is also an ambassador/national spokesperson for the American Heart Association, a board member for the organization’s Southeastern Affiliates, and a member of the American Stroke Association’s Advisory Committee. He is a sought-after lecturer and educator, addressing health-related issues in front of local and national audiences.

    As “Tha Hip-Hop Doc,” Dr. Whitfield shares health messages to people across the globe. What started as a simple nickname from students has become a persona that allows him to connect with a generation that needs a deeper understanding of the health issues they face. “Young people respond when they feel that you are sincere and actually care about them,” he said. “To be easily accessible to young people makes a big difference.”

    Dr. Whitfield said he will continue to use his grass-roots and hands-on approach as Coroner for the people of East Baton Rouge Parish, actively engaging the public, conducting outreach to citizens, and working to address the many challenges facing citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish. He has served on the boards of educational and civic organizations including the Southern University Board of Supervisors and has received multiple awards. He served as a physician volunteer and medical director of the National Association of Free Clinics Communities are Responding Everywhere (C.A.R.E) which provides free health care to the underserved patients across the USA.

    Married to registered nurse Kiara and the father of two children, Dr. Whitfield is also a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and a bass player in the band U4ria.

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    Grambling State awards more than $300,000 in technology scholarships

    Grambling State University announced it has awarded tuition and fee scholarships to 10 incoming freshman majoring technology-related degree programs as a part of its Technology Tour Scholarship program.

    “This scholarship is one of the many ways we are working to make higher education attainable for the next generation of cybersecurity and computer science leaders,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We look forward to supporting the success of these students who made the great decision to choose Grambling State.”

    This year’s Technology Tour Scholarship recipients are all incoming incoming freshmen who have at least a 3.0 GPA and 21 ACT score. The students, who have declared majors in cybersecurity, computer science, computer information systems, or engineering technology, will receive four years of tuition and fee scholarships which are funded in part by contributions from Louisiana Economic Development and AT&T.

    This year’s recipients include:

    • Stephon Hardim, Computer Engineering major from Winnsboro, Louisiana
    • Cazembe Zubari, Cybersecurity major from Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Jyron Bell, Computer Science major from Arcadia, Louisiana
    • Arlon McCrea, Construction Engineering major from Jennings, Louisiana
    • Damaine Thomas, Computer Science/Law major from New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Anthony Bell, Mechanical Engineering major from Walker, Louisiana
    • Mikayla Jackson, Cybersecurity major from Monroe, Louisiana
    • Destney Johnson, Cybersecurity major from Atlanta, Georgia
    • Ralynn Rand, Computer Engineering major from Little Rock, Arkansas
    • Tenaj Reliford, Cybersecurity major from Shreveport, Louisiana

    Alumni and supporters who are interested in sponsoring or supporting scholarship funds are encouraged to email advancementservices@gram.edu or donate at gram.edu/giving.

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    SU graduates 14 farmers from Ag Leadership Institute

    SU Ag Center holds Graduation Ceremony for 7th Small Farmer Ag Leadership Institute

    Fourteen small farmers from seven states received certificates of completion during a graduation ceremony for Cohort VII of the SU Ag Center’s Regional Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute.

    The ceremony was held on Friday, August 16 in the Cotillion Ballroom of Southern University’s Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union.

    Fourteen participants from Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas and Ohio graduated from the year-long course.

    Dawn Mellion Patin, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach at the SU Ag Center, served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. During her presentation, Patin discussed how the leadership institute was developed and encouraged the graduates to help other small farmers.

    “We expect you to share what you have learned in conversations with aspiring small farmers,” said Patin. “We expect you to host field days, workshops, and pasture walks so others can see what you are doing,” she said.

    The Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute is designed to guides small, limited-resource and minority farmers through the process of becoming more competitive agricultural entrepreneurs.

    The overriding goal of the Institute is to promote small and family farm sustainability through enhanced business management skills, leadership development and the utilization of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.

    The Cohort VII regional graduates of the Regional Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Institute are:
    Anthony Barwick, Ohio; Kay Bell, Texas; Keisha Cameron, Ga.; Mark Chandler, Va.; Debora Coleman, Miss.; Felton DeRouen, II, La.; Hilery “Tony” Gobert, Ga.; Royce Martin, Ala.; Lennora Pierrot, Ala.; Gregory Smith, La.; Brad Spencer, Miss.; Joy Womack, La.; Virgil Womack, La.; and Oliver Whitehead, Va.

    ONLINE: http://www.suagcenter.com/page/small-farmers.

    By LaKeeshia Giddens Lusk

     

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    Key decisions to help memorialize a loved one

    (Family Features) Despite the certainty of death, many Americans delay dealing with the fact and avoid funeral planning.

    In fact, nearly 3 in 5 Americans aren’t confident they could plan a funeral for themselves, let alone a loved one, according to a survey conducted by RememberingALife.com, which was created by the National Funeral Directors Association to empower families in their funeral planning, help them understand memorialization options and support them as they navigate their grief after a death.

    One of the main challenges in planning a funeral for a loved one is ensuring the service captures the person’s life and memories. However, according to the survey, just 41.2% of respondents know the deceased’s preferences for a funeral, burial or cremation, and 26.5% have not discussed their preferences with loved ones, though they do feel confident their family and friends would plan an appropriate funeral or memorial service for them.

    To kickstart the planning process, consider discussing these decisions with your loved ones:

    1. Cremation or Burial: Despite the growing popularity of cremation, burial is still important to many families. There are many factors that go into this decision, such as religion, environmental factors, cost and more.
    1. Service Options: Regardless of a preference for cremation or burial, how a family pays tribute to its loved one is also important. There are a variety of ways a funeral, memorial service or celebration of life can reflect the life of the person who died, such as through pictures, location of the service, music and more.
    1. Eulogy: One of the most impactful parts of the service can be the eulogy. Think about who knows you best and would be comfortable speaking. Some choose to write their own eulogy. Either way, eulogies can provide closure and honor a life.
    1. After the Service: While services are an opportunity for loved ones to grieve and heal together, it’s important to consider how to keep memories alive, such as by planting a tree, scattering cremated remains in a special location or visiting a gravesite. Any of these options can help a family continue to pay tribute to the deceased.

    To find more information about how a funeral director can help plan a meaningful service and resources to help you understand your own and others’ grief and loss, visit RememberingALife.com.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images

    ONLINE: National Funeral Directors Association

    Read more »
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    SU Child Development Center set to hold an Enrollment Fair

    The Southern University Child Development Laboratory will hold an Enrollment Fair for the 2019-2020 school year on Saturday, August 3 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at its facility located on E. Street on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus.

    Parents interested in enrolling their children at the laboratory can do so during the enrollment fair by bringing the child’s birth certificate; social security and insurance cards; and updated immunization, physical (well-child exam), and dental records (if applicable).

    Applications will be available to be picked up from the Laboratory on July 29.

    The Laboratory, which will open August 12, is accepting children six weeks to 4 years old. It will operate from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. with before and aftercare available from 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for an additional fee.

    To obtain an application or for additional information, call 225-771-2081 or email suchdvlab@subr.edu.

    Read more »
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    Awards ceremony honors top football recruits, Aug 1

    Tiger Rag magazine’s inaugural High School Football Kickoff Awards ceremony on Aug. 1 will honor four top high school football recruits from the Greater Baton Rouge area. A reception begins at 6pm at the Embassy Suites by Hilton at 4914 Constitution Ave. with the ceremony starting at 7pm.

    Tickets are required, though the event is free. It includes dinner and photo opportunities with former LSU football players. Tickets are available through the Tiger Rag website until July 31.

    TJ Finley

    TJ Finley

    Joel Williams

    Joel Williams

    Jalen Lee

    Jalen Lee

    Jaquelin Roy

    Jaquelin Roy

     

    The ceremony will honor quarterback TJ Finley from Ponchatoula High School, defensive tackle Jalen Lee from Live Oak High School, defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy from University High School, and cornerback Joel Williams from Madison Prep High School.

    Former LSU and NFL quarterback Matt Flynn will serve as guest speaker. Flynn played for LSU from 2003-07, earning offensive MVP honors in the Tigers’ 2007 BCS National Championship win over Ohio State.

    The ceremony will also recognize David Brewerton of Zachary High School as High School Coach of the Year. Since taking over in 2014, Brewerton has led teams to three state titles.

    ONLINE:  tigerrag.com

     

    Photo credit: 247Sports

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    Teens earn Emergency Medical Responder Certification

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation presented the 2019 graduating class of the College & Career Ready Emergency Medical Responder  Institute. The graduates, all Baton Rouge area high school students, obtained Emergency Medical Responder certification upon their successful completion of the 10-week EMR Institute.
    UREC’s 2019 College & Career Ready EMR Institute graduates are:
    • Adrianna Brown (Valedictorian)
    • Bridget Calhoun
    • Alexus Maiden
    • Leah Ruffin
    • Abria Scott
    • Aisha Smith
    UREC’s College & Career Ready EMR Institute prepares students attending high schools in Baton Rouge for careers in the medical field, while providing a pathway to industry-based certification. During the institute, scholars learned life-saving skills such as CPR, how to detect vital signs, trauma response and injury care management under the instruction of Bob Brankline with the East Baton Rouge Parish School’s Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC).
    Throughout the institute, scholars participated in lecture-based instruction at Southern University School of Nursing and hands-on, skills-based instruction at CTEC. Scholars also participated in work site visits with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security (Red Stick Ready), Baton Rouge General Mid-City, ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge EMS & 911 Operations, Baton Rouge Fire Department, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Fran U).
     
    Adrianna Brown, class valedictorian, said the program taught her technical, leadership and effective communication skills. “I learned how to take blood pressure, splint legs and arms, and how to listen to and analyze people’s airways,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program to others.”

    UREC held a graduation and pinning ceremony on June 12, 2019 at Southern University School of Nursing. Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair of the Southern University’s BSN Program, delivered the keynote address. Greggs encouraged graduates to exercise empathy, patience, continued education, self-care, humor, trust and teamwork as they embark upon future studies and careers in the healthcare field.

    Photo (L-R): Danielle Duncan, UREC, Youth Program Coordinator; Adrianna Brown; LeahRuffin; Alexus Maiden; Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair, Southern University School of Nursing BSN Program; Abria Scott; Bridget Calhoun; Aisha Smithand Kathryn Robinson, UREC, Youth Program Director.
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    Teens complete Emergency Medical Responder Institute

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation presented the 2019 graduating class of the College & Career Ready Emergency Medical Responder Institute. The graduates, all Baton Rouge area high school students, obtained Emergency Medical Responder certification upon their successful completion of the 10-week EMR Institute.
    UREC’s 2019 College & Career Ready EMR Institute graduates are:
    • Adrianna Brown (Valedictorian)
    • Bridget Calhoun
    • Alexus Maiden
    • Leah Ruffin
    • Abria Scott
    • Aisha Smith
    UREC’s College & Career Ready EMR Institute prepares students attending high schools in Baton Rouge for medial careers while providing a pathway to industry-based certification. During the institute, scholars learned life-saving skills such as CPR, how to detect vital signs, trauma response and injury care management under the instruction of Bob Brankline with the East Baton Rouge Parish School’s Career and Technical Education Center.
    Throughout the institute, scholars participated in lecture-based instruction at Southern University School of Nursing and hands-on, skills-based instruction at CTEC. Scholars also participated in work site visits with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security (Red Stick Ready), Baton Rouge General Mid-City, ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge EMS & 911 Operations, Baton Rouge Fire Department, and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (Fran U).
     
    Adrianna Brown, class valedictorian, said the program taught her technical, leadership and effective communication skills. “I learned how to take blood pressure, splint legs, and arms, and how to listen to and analyze people’s airways,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program to others.”UREC held a graduation and pinning ceremony on June 12, 2019, at Southern University School of Nursing. Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair of the Southern University’s BSN Program, delivered the keynote address. Greggs encouraged graduates to exercise empathy, patience, continued education, self-care, humor, trust and teamwork as they embark upon future studies and careers in the healthcare field.

    Photo (L-R): Danielle Duncan, UREC, Youth Program Coordinator; Adrianna Brown; LeahRuffin; Alexus Maiden; Dr. Latricia Greggs, Chair, Southern University School of Nursing BSN Program; Abria Scott; Bridget Calhoun; Aisha Smithand Kathryn Robinson, UREC, Youth Program Director.
    ONLINE: www.urec.org here.
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    SU Ag Center Uses Hydroponic Growing System to teach students, urban entrepreneurs

    Scientists at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center have partnered with Tera Vega to conduct research on a new Hydroponic Growing System. Hydroponics is a process of growing plants without soil in either sand, gravel or liquid.
    Through this research, the Center will train students and urban entrepreneurs on new technologies that will maximize crop production with limited space.
    Professor of Urban Forestry Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., and senior research associate Milagro Berhane are working to perfect the system with aspirations of teaching potential urban entrepreneurs how to effectively grow crops in areas with limited space and generate personal and community wealth opportunities.
    For additional information about this research project, contact Milagro Berhane at milagro_berhane@suagcenter.com or Yemane Ghebreiyessus, Ph.D., at yemane_ghebreiyessus@suagcenter.com.
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    Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference returns to BRCC, July 2

    Baton Rouge Community College will once again be home to The Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference. The 6th annual conference will be held on Tuesday, July 2 in the Magnolia Theatre, 201 Community College Drive, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    toya2019

    Toya Wright

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    Lance Gross

    The conference will feature master class and empowerment breakout sessions, a preview of the forthcoming stage play, “Voices from the Bayou,” an oratorical contest, and celebrity authors and guest speakers, including Lance Gross (Star, Fox) and Toya Wright (T.I. & Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle, VH1), among others.

    The event is free and open to Louisiana high school students and BRCC students, although registration is required at bswliteraryconference.com.

    In the spirit of this year’s theme, Empowering Young Voices, students will have the opportunity to participate in a Maya Angelou-inspired oratorical contest presented by Angelou’s niece Sabunmi Woods and great-niece Samyra Woods. The daylong event will also feature a preview of the stage play, “Voices from the Bayou,” based on BRCC student narratives from the book of the same name, that explores racism, police brutality, and the historic flood. Actor Lamman Rucker (Greenleaf, OWN) will star in the production, written for the stage by Clarence Nero, assistant professor of English at BRCC, and directed by Andrew Vastine, managing director of Swine Palace Theatre at LSU. The preview will also feature monologues performed by LSU MFA students, as well as song and dance performances that highlight events that occurred in Baton Rouge in the summer of 2016.

    Schedule of Events

    10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Preview of the “Voices from the Bayou” play, starring actor Lamman Rucker

    1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Master Class/Empowerment Breakout Sessions (Participants choose one)

    • Acting, Drama, Entertainment – led by actor Lance Gross and publicist Love Logan
    • Poetry – led by BRCC professors Carrie Causey and Eric Elliott
    • Creative Writing – led by literary agent and editor Maxine Thompson and BRCC professor and author Clarence Nero
    • Culinary Arts – led by Lauren Von Dor Pool, chef for celebrities Common, Venus Williams and Serena Williams
    • Arts & Crafts – led by Sabunmi Woods and Smyra Woods
    • Visual Arts/Painting – led by Sharika Mahdi, Essence Magazine Emerging Artist 2015
    • Empowerment Seminar For Young Girls – led by dating expert, Monique Kelley (NBC’s Access Hollywood Live) and BRCC faculty members Carolyn Smith, Bea Gymiah and Shelisa Theus
    • Empowerment Seminar Young Men – led by Lamman Rucker, Hilton Webb, and Kent Nichols

    3 p.m. to 4 p.m. –

    • Dr. Maya Angelou Oratorical Essay Contest presented by Sabunmi Woods and Smyra Woods, nieces of Angelou

    The program is made possible through the support of the Office of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, RECAST, BRCC Foundation, and BRCC’s Student Government Association.

    ONLINE: bswliteraryconference.com

    Read more »
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    Black Out Loud Conference to explore criminal justice reform, mental health awareness and financial empowerment, Aug. 2-4

    The second annual Black Out Loud Conference – a three-day event designed to highlight Black-centered narratives along the themes of mental health awareness, criminal justice reform and financial empowerment will be held Aug. 2-4 on the campus of Southern University and A&M College. Deriving its name from the February 2017 book from conference founder, Baton Rouge poet and Kennedy Center fellow, Donney Rose, Black Out Loud seeks to assist participants with resources to better push their narratives from outside the margins to center. The conference weekend will feature a special kick-off performance by GRAMMY-nominated singer and hip hop artist, Maimouna “Mumu Fresh” Youssef.  For complete conference information, visit www.blackoutloudbr.com53327448_2097110513669569_2987495043968794624_o-1

     “Some key conversations that persist in the African-American community are around financial empowerment, mental health, and criminal justice reform. There are more tie-ins and overlap around these subject areas than we often recognize” said conference founder Donney Rose. “Last year’s conference was primarily centered around themes I am intimately familiar with (the arts, media, and activism). This year I wanted to be able to really lean into topic areas that I have a personal curiosity about, but not expertise in. I thought it was important to reach out to local experts in these fields to give attendees of the conference a more nuance dive into conversations that impact us daily”

    The 2019 conference will kick off on Aug. 2 at Southern University’s Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union with performances, a video presentation on the power of voice/advocacy, and a networking cocktail hour. On Aug. 3, attendees will convene in the Union for workshops and panel discussions featuring subject matter experts in the finances and mental health awareness sharing best practices and dialogue around the value of financial equity and the importance of addressing the stigma surrounding mental health in the black community. The conference will end on Aug. 4 in the Union with a brunch highlighted by a “speed dating” style series of peer interviews with experts on criminal justice reform.

     Confirmed speakers and panelists include Stan Adkins, president of S & K Adkins, Inc. dba Subway Restaurant; Klassi Duncan,director of the Women’s Business Resource Center and the Contractor’s Resource Center at the Urban League of Louisiana; Terrica Matthews, CEO and senior credit consultant of Premier Property and Consulting Group, LLC; Shamyra Howard, licensed clinical social worker, founder of “On The Green Couch;” Viveca Johnson, owner of Forward Moving Counseling and Consulting Services, LLC; and Harry Turner, licensed clinical social worker.

     The mission of Black Out Loud is to center Black/African American narratives and visibility through cultural events/activities with the purpose of amplifying voices that exist outside the margins. The 2019 conference is an extension of Black Out Loud programming that has continued since the 2018 conference including a diverse array of events such as an open mic/mental health expo (Mind.Body.SOUL- September 2018), voting symposium (Voting While Black, October 2018) and financial equity symposium (The Color of Currency, February 2019). Black Out Loud Conference 2019 is presented by Black Out Loud Conference, LLC, Dr. Rani Whitfield, MetroMorphosis and Southern University and sponsored in part by CreActiv, LLC, The Bluest Ink, WTAA Engineers and Parker’s Pharmacy.

    ONLINE: Blackoutloudbr.com

    Read more »
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    Ponchatoula wastewater has a fascinating journey

    PONCHATOULA–Traffic and greenery at the junction of I-55 and U.S. Highway 51 hide one of Ponchatoula’s great feats of modern technology – its Wastewater Treatment Plant.

    A recent private tour of the facility was a real eye-opener as to how advanced the city is in yet another area of caring for its people.

    Sewerage and Water Department Director Dave Opdenhoff proudly pointed out the treatment is accomplished by biological rather than chemical means.

    In the city itself, wastewater drains southward by gravity. With the highest elevation about 26 feet, to get enough “fall”, the original sewer lines in some places are 20 feet underground, making repairs to the 80-plus-year-old system extremely difficult.

    Thus, the grants Mayor Bob Zabbia and his administration have secured mean work will begin soon on the Sewer Rehabilitation Project, aiding tremendously in a smoother transfer from across town to its 31-acre site in the southeast corner at the edge of the swamp.

    The plant has 23 lift or “pumping” stations, pumping electronically at all times with a back-up generator on a major lift station so during an outage, the wastewater can keep moving.

    Looking across the “aerated lagoon” (official name for what’s called the “Pond”), one can see the 3 cells that make it up.

    Treatment begins as the wastewater enters Cell One on the northwest section where 4 electric floating aerators mix and discharge the wastewater into the air adding oxygen to the water to begin the biological breakdown of the wastewater using aerobic bacteria. This process began in 1992 with the first upgrade to the facility since its installation in the early ’60s, changing it from an oxidation pond to an aerated lagoon.

    Wastewater then moves into Cell 2 via a 36” conduit on the far side from where it entered the facility. Air in this cell is provided by underwater diffusers. Three 50-horsepower compressors are configured to run only one at a time. They can be run concurrently but they are alternated every thirty days. As the oxygenated wastewater enters Cell Two, it meets a combination of aeration and Duckweed to shade the water, helping with the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Using a grid system keeps the Duckweed covering from floating into another area. Wastewater then exits Cell 2 on the western side of the lagoon via an opening in a curtain used to divide the lagoon into separate cells. The back-and-forth of the flow creates a serpentine flow pattern and a theoretical 30-day detention time in the lagoon.

    The current multi-million-dollar upgrade over the past 18 months is nearly complete. The upgrade included raising the levies 18” and added an automated “weir”. An ultrasonic depth chamber registers the depth of the outflow and sends a signal back to the weir gate to regulate the rising and falling of the wastewater in the lagoon.

    Upon leaving Cell Three, final treatment uses ultraviolet disinfection. Four groups of 6-feet long lights are in a trough through which the water passes. These are sequentially turned on and off based on the flow and are capable of disinfecting 2.5 million gallons of wastewater a day. (An average Ponchatoula day is 1.4 million gallons.) This device sends data to a control panel, monitoring flow and level and giving daily, monthly and annual reports.

    Also new is a dissolved oxygen probe for continuous monitoring of oxygen as well as pH numbers. The Department of Environmental Quality establishes the outfall quality for the city and data is collected and sent in monthly.

    A sampler calibrated to flow grabs hourly samples and creates a composite sample which is transported daily to Curtis Environmental in La Place for analysis. Results from the testing lab are compiled and reported to DEQ.

    The permit is for 200 parts per million fecal matter bacteria per day, as well as dissolved oxygen, pH, total suspended solids, and biological oxygen demand. The upgrades have allowed the city to meet the permit requirements and only a few minor adjustments to the system are still needed.

    At one-time nutria rats were undermining the levees but alligators moved in as watch-dogs, solving that problem. In fact, they work so well Opdenhoff says, “Crew members just have to be cautious when working around the lagoon that we don’t encounter a mama gator in the tall grass on the sides of the levees!”

    At the end of its to-and-fro journey through the three cells, treated wastewater exits the plant to enter the swamp on the southeast through what the DEQ’s map shows simply as “Drainage Ditch”.

    Ponchatoula Wastewater Treatment – a successful combination of man, science, and nature.

    By Kathryn J. Martin

     

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk focused on ‘saving a life’

    The 2019 South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk was held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at at the Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center on East Washington Street.

    The half-day event commenced with opening remarks from State Representative Patricia Haynes Smith. The welcome was given by Theta M. Williams, and Mada McDonald, Chair and Co-Chair.  The opening prayer was led by the Reverend Dale Flowers of New Sunlight Baptist Church.  Warm-up exercises were conducted by Theresa Townsend and the Sensational Seniors.  The Walk was led by Grand Marshal Helen Turner Rutledge and the Michael Foster Project.  Different arrangements of music were played, leading the crowd in Second Line renditions.

    first pic

    After the Walk, it was time to Talk.  The Program began with Greetings, offered by Jeffery Corbin, assistant director of the Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center.  Delores Newman gave a soul-stirring prayer, and a beautiful song was sung by Candace Addison, soloist.  The Walkers were then welcomed by Jared Hymowitz, as a representative of Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s Office, and also by Theta M. Williams and Mada McDonald, Chair and Co-Chair of the SBR Wellness Committee.

     

    Acknowledgments of the 2019 SBR Walk and Talk Committee were made.  Grand Marshall and Committee Honorary Chair was Helen Turner Rutledge. She conceived of the 2018 South Baton Rouge Breast Cancer Walk and Health Fair.  In her honor, she led the Walk riding in a fully decorated white Mercedes Benz. It was also her idea to host the 2019 South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk. All of the SBR Wellness Committee members were introduced.

    Jeffery Corbin introduced the Keynote Speaker and the Panelists taking part in the discussion about various health concerns.  The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Cordel Parris of Parris Cardiologist, CIS. The panel consisted of Dr. Rani “The Hip-Hop Doc” Whitfield, who served as the panel facilitator; Shirley Lolis, executive director of Metro Health Education; Dr. Burke Brooks, of the Ochsner Health Care System; and Randy Fontenot, speaking about Mental Health.  Following the panel discussion, the attendees participated in a Q and A session.nine

    Lunch was prepared and served by SBR Wellness Committee member Ann Brown Harris and her Supporting Angels. The meal was healthy and delicious.

    There were 18 vendors on-site from numerous and various groups and organizations giving out valuable information.  Booths and tents were set up to meet and greet all attendees.

    Outside, several mobile units were present: Cancer screenings – breast, prostate, and colorectal – were conducted by Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center/Prevention On-the-Go Program; Mobile Mammography was done by Woman’s Hospital; HIV testing was provided by Metro Health in their clinic within the Leo Butler Community Center.

    The East Baton Rouge Police Department provided on-site security.  The walk began at the Leo Butler Community Center and proceeded up East Washington Street to Eddie Robinson Sr. Drive, up to Louise Street, passing McKinley Middle Magnet School, leading to Thomas Delpit Drive, left in front of the McKinley Alumni Center, and back down to East Washington Street, to the Leo Butler Community Center where the walk ended.

    In 2018, the focus of the South Baton Rouge event was Breast Cancer, which was an outstanding event.  In 2019, the goal was to introduce healthy initiatives, health awareness tips and techniques to the participants.  The primary concentrations of this year’s event were heart health, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS and mental health.

    On May 18, 2019, a testimony that touched many touched and saved one life after a female had her mammogram screening.  Immediately she was sent to one of the local hospitals for further testing, after having an abnormal screening result.  Talk about “saving a life”.

    Joseph London of “A Family Blessing” was the photographer for the event and captured all aspects of the Walk and Talk.

    The South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk Committee members are: Jacqueline Addison, Marian Addison, Jeffery D. Corbin, Jr., Jennifer Cortes, Linda Daniel, Jonathan Dearborn, Sandra Elbert, Ann Brown Harris, Jared Hymowitz, Cynthia Jones, Glinda Lang, Mada McDonald (Co-Chair), Dynnishea Miller, Helen Turner Rutledge, DeTrecia Singleton, Christine Sparrow, Rene Smith, Dr. Susan Thornton and Theta M. Williams (Chair).

    All of the attendees and participants received a gift bag full of assorted items.  Special thank you to all individuals, businesses, and organizations that provided the items for the bags in support of the event, and to the Baton Rouge Community for their support of the 2019 South Baton Rouge Wellness Walk and Talk.

    By Mada McDonald
    Community Writer

    Photographs by Joseph London
    A Family Blessing

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    To Dad, With Love

    Gift ideas for a fantastic Father’s Day

    Dads can be notorious as the hardest family members to shop for, but come Father’s Day, there’s little doubt you’ll need a gift that shows dad just how much he means.

    Truth be told, your company is probably all dad really needs, but you can help deliver a little something he wants with these diverse ideas for all different kinds of dads. Remember, the secret to great gifting is giving something that shows you know and care about his personal interests.

    Find more ideas for all your gifting occasions at eLivingToday.com.

    A Sizzling Gift14734_B_UF
    Gift dad everything he needs to throw an impressive cookout any time he wants with the Father’s Day Gift Package from Omaha Steaks. He’ll be set for summer barbecues with steaks and more on-hand, including two tender filet mignons; two rich and indulgent ribeyes; four robust, juicy burgers and more. The package also includes German Chocolate Cake for a sweet way to end a backyard meal. Find more information and gift packages for dad at omahasteaks.com.

     

     

    Keep Him Connected14734_C_UF
    For the dad who’s always tuned in, there’s a way to provide him with entertainment and connectivity while protecting his hearing all at once. Whether he’s using a power saw or mowing the day away, dad can stream his favorite music with the 3M WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth wireless technology to make his day both enjoyable and comfortable. With built-in features like high-fidelity audio, comfortable ear cushions and a low-pressure headband, he can even make and take phone calls without missing a beat. Find more information at 3M.com/WorkTunes. (Content courtesy of 3M)

    Subscribe to Style14734_D_UF
    Keep dad in style with all the latest looks with a clothing subscription. You can choose from services that coordinate complete outfits, options for accessories only or providers that select a handful of garments for each shipment. It’s a simple solution for a dad who takes pride in his appearance but never has time to shop or dislikes the shopping experience itself. Pricing varies quite a bit; in some cases, dad will need to pay a styling fee while with other services he’ll pay only for the items he keeps.

    A Cut Above
    Practical tools can be the perfect gift, and a pocket knife is such a useful choice that it’s hard to go wrong. For a more sentimental approach, consider a knife with a laser-cut personal message, or go ultra-functional with a multi-tool design. Keep in mind that lesser quality blades may require more frequent sharpening, but they’ll generally do the job just as well as pricier models. Also be conscious of the weight and features like safety catches that may affect comfort and usability.

    Game for Golf
    An avid golfer never tires of golfing gear, so it’s usually a safe bet for gifting. If you’re knowledgeable enough about his preferences, you can always add a new club to his collection. However, there are plenty of other useful gifts a golfer can appreciate, from a sleeve of quality balls to a book about a legendary player. A new set of gloves can improve his grip (and his game) while a new hat or shirt can give him something he can sport on the course.

    By Family Features

     

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  • ,,,,

    Kamala Harris earns first endorsements for Helena Moreno, Rep. Ted James

    Senator Kamala Harris has earned her first endorsements in Louisiana, a critical early primary state, from New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno and State Representative Ted James earlier this month. Louisiana’s 2020 Democratic primary will be on Saturday, March 7, just four days after Super Tuesday. Fifty delegates will be up for grabs.

    Moreno and James are pointing to Harris’ commitment to help working families through policies like the LIFT Act and her recently released equal pay plan as reasons for their early support. Moreno is the first Latina to serve as New Orleans City Council President. The two will serve as Harris’ campaign co-chairs for the state.

    New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno

    New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno

    “Kamala Harris is just the type of bold,  courageous leader our country needs and I couldn’t be prouder to endorse her for President,” said Moreno. “I’m inspired by Kamala’s commitment to building coalitions and connections that unite us around priorities that America needs to work for all people, not the just the wealthy and well-connected. I look forward to helping elect the first woman president who is champion for paying teachers their worth, closing the gender pay gap and uplifting working class families.”

    “There is no better leader to unite our country at this time of paralyzing divisiveness than Kamala Harris,” said James. “Kamala has spent the balance of her life fighting to ensure everyone has equal and adequate access to health care, fair wages and safe communities. Louisianans, and Americans across the country, can count on her to be their champion in the White House, and I’m proud to endorse her for President of the United States.”

    State Rep. Ted James

    State Rep. Ted James

    “I’m so proud to have the endorsement of Helena and Ted in this race,” said Harris. ‘They understand that when we lead with our values we move closer to a more perfect union. I look forward to working with them to build a better future for our children – that includes ensuring access to quality education, clean air and water and affordable healthcare. Louisiana will play a critical role in determining the nominee and I look forward to earning the support ofLousianan’s across the state.”

    These endorsements come ahead of Senator Harris’ southern campaign swing with stops in Alabama and South Carolina. Harris has been to Louisiana twice as a candidate and was last in New Orleans in April to speak to more than 10,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. at their South Central regional conference.

     

    Read more »
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    After burning bridges, a singer struggles to get back on top

    New Venture Theatre continues its 12th season with a new musical written and directed by managing artistic director Greg Williams Jr., running July 26-28 at the LSU Shaver Theatre.

    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN tells the story of the diva herself, Georgia, who has thoroughly burned her bridges in the music industry. Rumor has it she physically assaulted Etta James, cursed out Dr. Martin Luther King, and maybe even stole the Tree of Hope from the Apollo Theatre. Determined to get back on top of the charts, Georgia takes a gig in a hole-in-the-wall club. In the process, she befriends a group of colorful characters who help her grow out of her wild ways and get back on top.

    Featuring a live on-stage band and chock-full of memorable blues songs of the ’60s and ’70s, like “I Put a Spell on You,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Down Home Blues,” SWEET GEORGIA BROWN is sure to move audiences with its songs and funny, heartwarming story.

    Featured cast members include: Khari Moise Smith (Cadillac), Roderick Tevan Jarreau (Herschel), Ingrid Roberson (Nippie), LaNea Wilkinson (Ruby), Krystal Gomez (Ida Mae), Latosha Knighten (LaWanna-The Juke Joint Jezebel), Shika Crayton (Sippie), Keyarron Harrold (Mojo), Angela Smith (Ollie), Hope Landor (Sugga), Erika Pattman (Georgia), Christian Jones (Pound Cake), and Christopher Johnson (Hatch.)

    FACT SHEET
    WHAT:
    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN
    WHERE:
    LSU Shaver Theatre
    Louisiana State University
    Music and Dramatic Arts Building, #105
    Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    SCHEDULE:
    Thursday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m.
    Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m.
    Saturday, July 27 at 2:00 p.m.
    Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.
    Sunday, July 28 at 3:00 p.m.
    TICKET PRICES:
    Regular Admission | $30
    Kids and Students With Valid ID | $25
    Groups of 10 or More | $15 must purchase prior to performance day
    BOX OFFICE:
    225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
    PG-13 Show (Recommended for Ages 14+)
    Show contains adult content and language. No one under the age of four will be allowed in the theatre and all children ages 4-13 must be accompanied by an adult.
    Call 225-588-7576 or visit www.nvtarts.org to purchase tickets or subscriptions.
    Read more »
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    ‘Not Charity Lord, but a Chance’

    On the heels of winning an international People’s Choice Award for her aromatherapy pillow business, Condoleezza Semien, 13, shared a poem during the Baton Rouge African American History Museum’s Juneteenth celebration on June 3.

    She was invited to read the poem at the event and was recognized as an “inventor” by museum curator Sadie Roberts-Joseph. The museum sits in midcity Baton Rouge and hast hosted the celebration for 15 years as the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American Museum. Roberts-Joseph led the Louisiana Legislature to approve statewide recognition of the day–June 19th–that commemorates American slaves being freed in 1865.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph and Condoleezza Semien share a smile June 3, 2019, following the annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Baton Rouge African American History Museum. Photo by Yulani S. Semien.

    Sadie Roberts-Joseph and Condoleezza Semien share a smile June 3, 2019, following the annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Baton Rouge African American History Museum. Photo by Yulani S. Semien.

    The poem, “Not Charity, Lord, But a Chance,” is a petition for fair opportunities in America. Its message is timely and symbolic for this middle-schooler whose business has won two pitch competition within three months.

    “Blacks demanded a fair chance and were brilliant and excellent in what they did. That’s my goal,” said Semien.

    Semien created Beluga Bliss™, pillows infused with specialty blends of essential oils. For seven months, she participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge. As she worked through weekly assignments, she saw the need to create a product that could help people who are living with mental health conditions and incurable chronic illnesses.

    Then, she won the YEA pitch competition at LSU to receive the YEA Saunders Scholarship and seed funds for her business. On May 4, the eighth-grader traveled to the YEA-USA competition in Rochester, NY, vying for the top award against 60 teen entrepreneurs from across the USA, China, and India. Semien was the sole competitor from Louisiana.

    Fellow YEA-BR teen entrepreneurs and her classmates at Westdale Middle School cheered her on at the semi-final competition. More than 37,000 viewers watched the live stream and more than 300 viewers were in the audience at the Rochester Institute of Technology as she pitched Beluga Bliss.

    “You have a great stage presence,” one judge commented and another expressed how her aromatherapy blends and pillows were well developed.

    “You were above average and it shows… the smell was very pleasant,” said Lenin and Gian from California. “We could smell them where we sat!”

    At the end of each round of pitches, all viewers were able to text-to-vote on their favorite business. Back home in Baton Rouge, the class bell was held for Westdale students to cast their votes. “We are so excited and proud of Condi,” said Aliah James, advanced art teacher. Hours later it was announced that Beluga Bliss™ won the People’s Choice Award.

    “Winning People’s Choice is an assurance to me. To know that people who didn’t even know me thought that I had a very good product without even smelling my scents. It was an eye-opener. I’m proud of myself and grateful for the support I got from everyone. It feels good to know people around the world think that I had a great product.”

    Condoleeza Semien along with YEA winners and VC

    “There have been so many requests for pillow packs that we have to open our online preorders June 1 instead of this fall,” she said.

    This summer, she and her family are creating pillows, bottles of a specialty blended essential oils, and car fresheners.

    Semien is also conducting a BlissTour where she visits summer programs and events to motivate youth to apply to YEA-BR, move on their dreams, and do everything that makes them happy.

    Reach her at www.belugabliss.com for the first opportunity to receive pillows before the official launch. Guests can download custom color sheets, playlists, and bliss tips. Beluga Bliss is also on Instagram @Beluga_Bliss.

    ONLINE: www.belugabliss.com

    READ MORE:

    • WAFB: Young entrepreneur uses pillows to chase her dreams – WAFB.com https://www.wafb.com/2019/04/11/young-entrepreneur-uses-pillows-chase-her-dreams/
    • EBR Schools Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/EBRPschools/posts/condoleezza-semien-8th-grader-at-westdale-middle-is-already-an-entrepreneur-she-/2044889712276961/
    • WVUE FOX 8 News - Condoleezza Semien, 13, is on a journey https://www.facebook.com/…/condoleezza-semien-13-is…/10157599869834610/
    • BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT. Baton Rouge investors give over $18K to 15 Young Entrepreneurs Academy startups. https://www.businessreport.com/business/baton-rouge-investors-give-over-18k-to-15-young-entrepreneurs-academy-startups
    Read more »
  • ,,

    ‘Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers’ encourages overwhelmed dads

    David Miller, a husband, father of three, writer, and social entrepreneur has released Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers: Reflections from the Men In Our Lives. The book is a valuable edition of the books written about the life-affirming power of Black fathers.

    Miller, a former public-school teacher, felt it was necessary to highlight ordinary Black fathers who in many situations overcame obstacles to become great fathers. Miller believes that while many new articles, reports, and documentaries focus on the “war stories” of Black fatherhood, he felt it prudent to highlight the awesome relationship between Black fathers and their children.

    Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers contains hundreds of interviews with Black fathers across the country, soliciting quotes and advice from fathers, grandfathers, uncles, coaches, friends and others who have stood in the gap providing men with fatherly advice. Many of these men were haunted by their own traumatic relationships with their fathers, yet they were able to draw wisdom from “village dads” and elders within the greater community who helped guide their fatherhood journey.

    For example, Craig is a father Miller met while conducting research for the book. Craig, a young father with multiple children, had become overwhelmed with his fatherly responsibilities and previous poor life choices including spending five years in prison. Currently, Craig is engaged to Tina, a hospital receptionist. He and Tina both have two children and are raising four children as a blended family. Craig works at a hotel by day and stocks shelves at night. He’s hard-working, and he’s a loving and committed father. Craig’s story is a shining example of Black fatherhood; his story and countless others, provide ample opportunities to rewrite narratives about fatherhood in the Black community.

    “Without a doubt, responsible fatherhood in the Black community is the antidote to the long list of self, family and group adversities. In Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers, Brother David Miller highlights the quiet strength, the profound courage, generous spirit and the amazing love of Black fathers that refuse to give in, give up or go away,” says Richard A. Rowe, author of Wanted Black Fathers: Only Serious Black Men Need Apply.

    The book provides motivation, strength, and encouragement for all the days fathers feel like giving up, for the days that many fathers are overwhelmed or the days their children make bad decisions that fathers take personally. The book is designed to inspire Black fathers to keep pushing and to never give up despite how difficult their fatherhood journey may get. Black fathers will also glean nuggets of wisdom from the book to strengthen their connectedness with their children.

    This book is ideal for young men who have grown into adulthood without a sober, responsible, spiritually guided father or father figure. Essays and quotes in the book provide fuel for new and expecting fathers. The book begins with forty powerful questions every father should ponder. 


    About the author
    A Baltimore native who holds degrees from The University of Baltimore (Political Science) and Goucher College (Education), Miller is widely known for designing Dare to Be King: What if the Prince Lives? A Survival Workbook for African American Males. The 52-week curriculum is designed to teach adolescent males how to survive and thrive in toxic environments.

    Miller is an author with a knack for writing children’s books (Khalil’s Way, The Green Family Farm, Gabe & His Green Thumb). His work has been featured on CNN, PBS, NPR, BBC Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications. 

    Miller has written extensively on strategies for engaging Black fathers and strengthening Black families. His new book, Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers, celebrates Black fathers through a series of thought-provoking essays and quotes by ordinary dads sharing their unique fatherhood experiences.

    Read more »
  • ,,,,,

    Residents urged to prepare for 2019 hurricane season

    The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1, 2019 lasting through November 30, 2019. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a “near-normal” 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

    Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (MOHSEP) urge the residents of East Baton Rouge Parish to plan ahead for the potential threat of hurricanes. Throughout the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Mayor Broome advises East Baton Rouge Parish citizens to, “Be Red Stick Ready by having a plan that will keep you and your family safe from any severe weather that may affect our area, stay informed, build a disaster supply kit, and use the Buddy System™.”

    2019 Hurricane Preparedness Tips:

    • Make a Family Communication Plan at www.brla.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5697/Family-Emergency-Communication-Plan?bidId=
    • Restock your emergency supply kit with the necessary items.
    • Make sure your home is prepared.
    • Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs.
    • Secure and clear all gutters.
    • Fuel your vehicles, generators, and gas cans. Consider purchasing a portable generator.
    • Use the BuddySystem™ to check on your neighbors, friends and family.
    • Check your insurance coverage.
    • Visit www.redstickready.com for more preparedness tips.

    For more information contact MOHSEP at  (225) 389-2100, follow @RedStickReady on Facebook and Twitter, and download the Red Stick Ready mobile application – free on Apple and Android devices by searching “Red Stick Ready”.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Teens invited to apply to UREC’s 2019 IGNITE Fellowship

    Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation is accepting applications for the 2018 College & Career Ready IGNITE Fellowship.  IGNITE is an interactive summer and after-school initiative that prepares high school students to create the jobs of tomorrow through entrepreneurship training, college and career readiness and ACT Prep. Complete the IGNITE Fellowship application here.

    Read more »
  • ,,,,

    Christian Davenport named Baton Rouge’s first Poet Laureate

    Christian Davenport has been named the first poet laureate by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

    Davenport, also known as Cubs the Poet, is a native of Baton Rouge and earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Dillard University. He has traveled the world since, with the desire of bringing perspectives and inspiration back to his home city where he plans to release his first book of poetry under his publishing company, Poetry Still Matters. Davenport is a spontaneous poet, drawing his inspiration from the connections that he makes with other people in a diverse array of settings. His poetry has taken him from Baton Rouge to Preservation Hall in New Orleans to a Ted Talk in Rapid City, South Dakota, where he was a featured speaker.  Davenport relays that he sees each opportunity to connect with another person as a new poem. 32842186_921822594608903_4260217759285116928_o

    “Christian’s impressive body of work represents new styles in poetry which require collaboration and communication, attributes that will serve him well as the city’s Poet Laureate,” said Broome. “ I look forward to adding this great work to the cultural conversation across our city.”

    The Baton Rouge Poet Laureate Program, initiated by Broome and facilitated through the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, celebrates Baton Rouge’s rich culture and diversity through the work of a poet who will represent Baton Rouge by creating excitement about poetry through outreach, programs, teaching, and written work.

    During a celebration at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library on Tuesday, May 7, Christian was named the 2019 Poet Laureate. The evening included performances by the Poetry Out Loud Regional Winner, Lily Carter, Louisiana School for the Deaf Poet Jordan Howard, and Seth Finch, Baton Rouge High School jazz musician. State Poet Laureate, Dr. Jack Bedell was in attendance and spoke at the event. Dr. Joanne Gabbin, founder and director of The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, was the evening’s keynote speaker.

    The term of service of the Poet Laureate is one year and comes with a $5,000 stipend, which covers community engagement events by the Poet Laureate over the term. Funds raised for this position were contributed by private donors.

    Read more »
  • ,,

    Baton Rouge children need more Court Appointed Special Advocates

    Each year, a startling number of children enter the foster care system due to abuse and neglect. Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA volunteers, provide a voice for these children to help them reach safe, permanent homes.

    May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, a time to recognize the role each of us can play in the lives of children and youth living in foster care. CASA volunteers play a crucial role in many of these children’s lives by speaking up for their best interests during this challenging time. Volunteers are appointed by juvenile court judges to help a child reach their forever home.

    In 2018, over 5,000 reports of abuse and neglect were reported in the Baton Rouge region and over 300 children were being served in foster care each month on average, according to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCSF). Of the CASA children whose cases closed in 2018, 88 percent were living in permanent homes at the time of closure with the help of their CASA volunteer. CASA volunteers work with the court and DCSF to serve every child that needs a voice; however, children are continually coming into foster care, and more volunteers are needed.

    CASA volunteers do not provide legal representation, nor do they replace social workers, but they help provide information to the court, and resources to the children. They are an independent voice speaking solely for the best interests of the child. The CASA volunteer may be the only consistent adult in their lives during this time.

    CASA is now accepting applications for the next training course in East Baton Rouge Parish which begins on June 11. CASA is seeking caring adults – especially male and African American individuals – to become advocates for abused and neglect children in East Baton Rouge Parish.

    The training course prepares volunteers to be the best advocates with a three week, 32-hour curriculum which covers topics such as The Well-Being of the Child; Trauma, Resilience and Communication Skills; Mental Health; Poverty and Professional Communication; and Substance Abuse and Cultural Competence to name a few.

    No special background is required to become a CASA volunteer. The first step is to attend a 45-minute orientation session at the CASA office, 848 Louisiana Ave.

    Upcoming orientation dates:

    12 p.m., Monday, May 13

    10 a.m., Saturday, May 18

    4 p.m., Monday, May 20

    3 p.m., Wednesday, May 22

    5 p.m., Tuesday, May 28

    9 a.m., Thursday, May 30

     

    To learn more about CASA or to RSVP for an orientation visitwww.casabr.org/volunteer or call 225-379-8598.

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Multiple sclerosis survivor named chief student marshal for spring commencement

    After being diagnosed with a sometimes debilitating illness, Chacity Simmons felt even more determined to continue her education and reach her goals. Because of her tenacity and hard work, Simmons is the chief student marshal for the 2019 Spring Commencement for Southern University Baton Rouge set for Friday, May 10 at 10 a.m. at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

    “This is an unbelievable honor,” said Simmons, who is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice. “As I go through life, I strive to do my best. I remain extremely humble and most grateful for Southern University’s recognition of one of my most important achievements. I extend my sincere gratitude for this honor.”

    Though she has consistently performed well academically, life has placed obstacles in her way that attempted to discourage her from continuing her education. In 2016, a semester before attending Southern, Simmons was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). As a result, she became temporarily disabled, unable to walk unless assisted by a cane.

    “After a month of treatment, I fully regained my physical strength and was able to care for myself,” Simmons said. “Throughout the struggle with my health, I felt that I should make the best out of my life and continue my education at Southern University. Despite my medical diagnosis, I chose to persevere no matter the circumstance.”

    It has not been easy to manage life with yet another hurdle. Simmons, who is a single mother and a paralegal at the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office, knew that she could not give up. Being a role model for her family and friends, including her son, was very important.

    “My son is a constant reminder of how I should fight through the pain and continue my education,” Simmons said. “My son helps keep me on my toes. He’ll remind me to take my medication whenever he notices that I’m swamped with homework. Some days are better than others, but overall I’ve adjusted to my life well.”

    Because of her challenging lifestyle, she chose the online criminal justice program because of the convenience of the self-paced learning environment. She mentioned that it was easy and accessible to browse course materials and respond to discussion posts through the app on her phone.

    As Simmons prepares to turn the tassel, she prepares for the next chapter in her life. Her future plans include attending law school at the Southern University Law Center and becoming an attorney.

    “In my current position, I have the ability to observe and assist attorneys and it definitely encourages me to pursue a career in law,” said Simmons, who is prepping to take the LSAT. “It’s quite an honor to learn from some the Southern University’s Law School alumni.”

    Before she departs the Bluff, she wants to pass along one piece of advice to students who are balancing a challenging diagnosis and wanting to pursue a college experience: Do not be discouraged.

    “Throughout life, we may experience situations that are unwanted or unexpected, but with hard work and determination, you shall overcome,” she said. “Remain focused on your goal no matter the circumstance. Adjusting to a new diagnosis may be difficult, but the ultimate reward for endurance is satisfying.”

    By Jasmine D. Hunter
    Special to The Drum

    Read more »
  • ,,,

    Public invited to second Baton Rouge Zoo & Greenwood open house public meeting

    Round #2 of the Greenwood Community Park and Baton Rouge Zoo Master Planning Meetings.

    We heard you! Join us to see how our nationally renowned consultants took your ideas and created preliminary master plans for the Baton Rouge Zoo and Greenwood Community Park. You will choose which ideas you like best for the next phase of the park and learn how your Zoo will be completely transformed one phase at a time.

    Thursday, May 2, 2019

    6 – 8 pm
    Highland Road Community Park
    Recreation Center
    N. Amiss Rd., Baton Rouge, LA
    (From Highland Rd., turn north onto Amiss Rd., then east onto N. Amiss Rd. Destination will be on the right.)

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    Mid City Micro-Con! returns to Baton Rouge

    Do you love comics? Cosplay? Creators? Of course you do!

    Come to the Main Library on Goodwood Saturday, April 27 for Mid City Micro-Con: Building Worlds, Breaking Molds. We’re celebrating the diversity found in comics, their fans, and their creators. This year’s featured guest is Ashley A. Woods, whose work includes Niobe (now in development with HBO!); Tomb Raider: Survivors Crusade; and Lady Castle.

    Ashley A. Woods

    Ashley A. Woods

     

    The Mid City Micro-Con features creators from all across Baton Rouge and Louisiana area, such as cosplayer Ninja YoYo, cartoonist Keith “Cartoonman” Douglas, podcasters Blerdish, and so many more, all in the arts and comics market in the large meeting room. (Thanks to LSU’s School of Library and Information Sciences for sponsoring our market!)

    There will be workshops and panels on everything from how to design, storyboard, and draw diverse characters in comics; to “The Influence of Ink: How Comics Can Change the World” with moderator Rodneyna Hart and speakers Ashley A. Woods, Jason Reeves, Keith Chow, and Chip Reece; to a whole room dedicated entirely to cosplay, with events running all day. You can find a complete list of artists and events on this infoguide.

    Speaking of cosplay, the East Baton Rouge Parish library is having a contest! Come as your favorite character – maybe it’s Sherlock Holmes, from our One Book, One Community read, The Hound of the Baskervilles! Maybe it’s Captain Marvel, or Black Panther, or Storm! Find out how to participate. All are welcome!

    With a green screen photobooth, more talks and activities than you could ever dream of, and absolutely TONS of prizes, there’s somethng for every single human in Baton Rouge.

    by Erica Villani

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    Youth Summer Employment program kicks off April 13 in Baton Rouge

    Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Broome will kick off the 2019 Mayor’s Youth Workforce Experience on Saturday, April 13 at 9 am. This new initiative evolved from the original Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

    Students may choose to attend the 9 am or 11 am session. Attendees will have the opportunity to pre-screen for worksites and get detailed information about employment opportunities from partners such as Excel, BREC, Raising Canes, and more.

    Broome has called together a collaborative of youth-serving agencies, led by Big Buddy and Employ BR, to serve a minimum of 500 local youth. The program serves both in-school and out-of-school youth ages 14 to 24 who reside in East Baton Rouge Parish. Teens and young adults are placed in various public sector, private sector, or non-profit jobs throughout the parish for eight consecutive weeks during the summer.

    The Mayor’s Youth Workforce Experience will offer participants a valuable educational and employment experience, exposing them to potential educational or career paths.

    Applications will open to the public on Monday, April 15 at www.brla.gov/mayorsyouthworkforce. Applicants will receive a notification of acceptance during the first week of May.

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    More juvenile human trafficking victims identified in Louisiana

    The number of reported juvenile trafficking victims rose by 20 percent in 2018, while the number of adult victims decreased by 17 percent, according to data submitted to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for its 2019 report on human trafficking.

    The annual report, now in its fifth year, compiles data from human trafficking service providers throughout the state for reporting to the Legislature under Act 564 of 2014. Of the 58 service providers identified by DCFS, 35 agencies (60%) provided information for the 2019 report – the highest response rate for any year to-date. Twenty-four agencies provided data for last year’s report.

    While the number of service providers who report trafficking data to DCFS has increased steadily over the past five years, the majority of sexual assault centers and refugee/migration service agencies do not participate. This limits the amount of information available on adult sexual abuse and labor trafficking.

    “We have to do everything we can to prevent and end the heinous crime of human trafficking,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “It’s the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the United States, with thousands of victims identified in Louisiana alone in recent years. One of the reasons we’re identifying more victims is our work with law enforcement and other agencies who come into contact with these victims. Increasing awareness, collaboration and information sharing are essential to ending this modern form of slavery.”

    Earlier this year, Gov. Edwards announced Louisiana had been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to help fight human trafficking. The grant will fund a multi-year federal project known as the Louisiana Child Trafficking Collaborative, being implemented by the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet.

    “Trafficking is not just a problem happening somewhere else. It’s a problem right here in our own back yards,” said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters, who serves on the Governor’s Office’s Louisiana Human Trafficking Prevention Commission (Act 181 of 2017). “Victims are often from vulnerable populations – domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, homeless or runaway youth and even young children. The more we know and the more we work together as a state and a community, the better we can fight against it and protect those who are most at-risk.”

    Overall, 744 confirmed and high-risk (prospective) victims of human trafficking were identified in 2018 – an increase of 63 victims (9%) over 2017. The overwhelming majority were victims of sexual trafficking (710 victims or 95.4%) and female (678 victims or 91.1%).

    Victim Ages

    Juveniles accounted for 428 (57.5%) of the reported victims, a 20 percent increase over 2017, when service providers reported 356 juvenile victims. Some 223 adult victims were identified in 2018, compared to 269 in 2017. Age was unknown or unreported for 93 victims this past year, compared to 56 in 2017.

    Forty-two victims identified in 2018 were age 12 or younger, down from 72 victims reported in 2017.

    The reported ages for all victims ranged from 5 months to 65 years old.

    The increase in reported juvenile victims can be partly attributed to an increase in the number of agencies providing data. Additionally, there have been increased efforts in identifying juvenile victims.

    Trafficking Locations

    Orleans, Caddo and East Baton Rouge were the parishes most frequently identified as the trafficking locations for both adult and juvenile victims. However, the proportion of adults to juveniles varied by location.

    Orleans and Caddo parishes both saw significantly more juvenile victims reported than adults: 83 juveniles and 34 adults in Orleans; 92 juveniles and 16 adults in Caddo. Whereas, East Baton Rouge saw a more even distribution that tilted toward adults: 59 adults and 47 juveniles.

    Those three parishes were also the most common parishes of origin for victims, along with neighboring parishes Jefferson and Bossier. Overall, victims were from more than 30 parishes throughout the state.

    Some 54 victims were from outside Louisiana, and 10 were from other countries.

    Other Findings

    Other findings in the 2019 report:

    • 710 victims (95.4%) were sexual trafficking victims; 7 (0.9%) were labor trafficking victims; 18 (2.4%) were victims of both sexual and labor trafficking. There were also 9 victims for whom the type of trafficking was not identified.
    • 678 (91.1%) of the victims were female; 44 (6%) were male; 13 (1.7%) identify as transgender; and 9 (1%) did not have a gender identified.
    • 366 (49%) of the victims were African American; 233 (31%) were white; 8 (1%) were Asian; 25 (3%) were multiracial; 58 (8%) were reported as other; and 54 (7%) were unknown.
    • 333 (45%) were confirmed trafficking victims, and 285 (38%) were reported as high-risk or prospective victims. Another 126 victims (17%) did not have a victim status identified.

    The most frequently provided services by the agencies reporting data were mental health services, referral to community services, health services, forensic interviewing, housing and education services.

    View Reports

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    Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights & Justice honors Black Panther Malik Rahim

    The Center for African and African American Studies at Southern University at New Orleans partnered with Southern University Law Center’s Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights & Justice to honor and recognize Louisiana’s own Malik Rahim (formerly known as Donald Guyton) at an inaugural Living Legend Award Celebration, Jan. 18, at the Millie M. Charles School of Social Work on SUNO’s campus.

    Rahim was selected because of his lifelong commitment to community activism.

    He enlisted in the United States Navy and after an honorable discharge, he became a founding member of the Louisiana Black Panther Party. He later served as a founding member of Sister Helen Prejean’s anti-death ministry, Pilgrimage for Life, as a founding member of the Fisher Projects Health Clinic and GED studies program and as the founder of the Angola 3 Support Committee. Following Hurricane Katrina, he served Louisiana citizens in need through immediate rescue efforts and later founded Common Ground Collective, which offered free healthcare, legal, rebuilding and clean up services in homes, schools and commercial buildings in nine parishes. By the time his work with CGC ended, approximately half a million Louisiana citizens had been served at no cost. From the 1970s until the present, Rahim has been a fierce and committed advocate for environmental and social justice, housing and prisoner rights and civil and human rights.

     

    Feature photo of Malik Rahim is from BlackSourceMedia.com

     

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    HERITAGE presents annual Festival of Negro Spirituals at The Church Baton Rouge

    HERITAGE, a non-profit professional choral ensemble, will host its 28thAnnual Festival of Negro Spirituals, Saturday, February 2, at The Church Baton Rouge – 2037 Quail Dr. – Baton Rouge, at 3pm. The event, which HERITAGE has hosted since 1991, will feature performances of spirituals by HERITAGE and several outstanding high school, community and university ensembles. Admission to the Festival is free.

    Clarence Jones, the founder and director said, “HERITAGE has been sharing its love of the Negro spiritual with the world for more than three decades. We always look forward to the festival and sharing our love of the spiritual with all the great choirs that participate. The Negro Spiritual has a rich legacy that we must pass on to future generations.”

    Other choral ensembles scheduled to perform at the 2019 HERITAGE Festival of Negro Spirituals include:

    • Southern University Concert Choir -Baton Rouge
    • Acadiana Ecumenical Choir – Lafayette
    • The Bennie L. Williams Spiritual Voices – Denver
    • Grambling State University Choir – Grambling
    • McKinley High School Chamber Choir – Baton Rouge
    • New Dimensions Choral Society- Shreveport

    HERITAGE is committed to educate, elevate and enhance the cultural level and appreciation for the Negro Spiritual. Spirituals grew out of the earliest musical expressions of enslaved Africans in the farmlands of Colonial America.

    Located in Baton Rouge, HERITAGE’s mission is to perpetuate the “Negro Spiritual” as a distinctive art form, as an expression of the Negro ancestors’ struggles and aspirations; to preserve the legacy of the Negro Spiritual in its original medium and foster its influence for all people of the community. HERITAGE strives to maintain a standard of professional excellence and to sponsor and support other worthwhile cultural activities.HERITAGE is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. Since 1976, HERITAGE has lent its talents to many civic and charitable causes in and around Baton Rouge and has performed to critical acclaim and thunderous ovations and applause in some of the finest and most prestigious concert halls at home and abroad.

    The ensemble has presented concerts throughout Louisiana as well as Mexico City, Mexico, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Nashville, Memphis, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Atlanta, Paris, and London. In Rome, HERITAGE was received in an audience with Pope John Paul II. Recent performances have included Hampton, VA, Los Angeles, CA, West Palm Beach, FL., Saginaw, MI, Huntsville, AL, Denver, CO and the 2018 Performing Arts Discovery/American Sounds program in Orlando, FL.

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    Life In Living Color! New Venture Theatre welcomes Season 12

    “Since its launch in 2008, New Venture Theatre has premiered more than 60 shows bringing fresh voices to our arts community. We have hired, nurtured and developed more than 800 artists of color. “We have pressed our audiences to confront difficult issues and lead them with compassion towards transformational dialogue. We have raised our voices in harmony to joyfully lift the human spirit. We did more than build a theatre, we made a home for a hungry arts community. And we’re not done yet—twelve years is just the beginning,” said director Greg Williams Jr.
    Now the community theatre group welcomes season twelve with the following productions.
    CROWNS
    A GOSPEL MUSICAL
    By Regina Taylor, adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry
    February 14-17
    LSU Studio Theatre | $30
    Crowns is a moving and celebratory exploration of history and identity as seen through the eyes of Yolanda, a young African-American woman who comes down South after her brother is killed, and is introduced to her grandmother’s circle of hat queens. Each hat holds the story of one of life’s joys or struggles, as Yolanda comes to realize that these hats aren’t just fashion statements, but testimonies of sisterhood—they are hard-earned Crowns.
    JAMBO! TALES FROM AFRICA
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    BOOK BY ALVIN A TEMPLE
    February 22
    Southern University Hayden Hall Theatre | $15
    “Jambo, human beings!” Take a trip to Africa, where Lion, Monkey, Elephant and their larger-than-life animal friends share three stories of people and animals who find themselves in sticky situations and use their clever minds to escape. Brimming with African folklore, storytelling, and music, each tale is taken directly from the stories passed down through the folklore of many nations and cultures—including East Africa, Kenya, and the Kalahari Bushmen—and offers important lessons for children of all ages.
    FETCH CLAY, MAKE MAN
    By WILL POWER
    March 29-31
    LSU Studio Theatre | $20
    Contains some adult content/themes. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
    In the days leading up to one of the most anticipated fights for Cassius Clay—soon to become Muhammad Ali—the heavyweight boxing champion forms an unlikely friendship with controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit. With a rhythmic script, the play explores the bond that forms between two drastically different and influential cultural icons trying to shape their legacies amidst the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s and examines the true meaning of strength, resilience, and pride.
    THE COOKOUT
    A DANCE MUSICAL
    April 5-7
    Southern University Hayden Hall Theatre | $20
    You’ll be dancing in the streets with this new dance musical! It’s time to bring multiple generations of the family together for one big outdoor dance party. And let’s face it: At least half the fun of meeting up is having the young folks teach you the latest moves while the older relatives show how they used to get down back in the day! The Cookout is a dance musical that features all of your favorite songs to groove to. They transcend time and inspire you up off that picnic bench after a day of grilling and dining.
    DISNEY’S ALADDIN JR.
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    Music by ALAN MENKEN
    Lyrics by HOWARD ASHMAN, TIM RICE, and CHAD BEGUELIN
    Book by CHAD BEGUELIN
    Based on the Disney film written by RON CLEMENTS, JOHN MUSKER, TED ELLIOTT & TERRY ROSSIO
    June 21- 23
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $20 for Adults and $15 for Kids
    Disney’s Aladdin Jr. is based on the 1992 Academy Award-winning film and 2014 hit Broadway show about the “diamond in the rough” street rat who learns that his true worth lies deep within.
    SWEET GEORGIA BROWN
    By GREG WILLIAMS, JR.
    Music by VARIOUS ARTISTS
    July 25-28
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $30
    This new musical is chock-full of sweet blues songs of the ’60s and ’70s, like “I Put a Spell on You,” “Let the Good Times Roll” and “Down Home Blues.” The diva herself, Georgia, has thoroughly burned her bridges in the music industry, including physically assaulting Etta James, cursing out Dr. Martin Luther King, and stealing the Tree of Hope from the Apollo Theatre. Determined to get back on top, Georgia takes up singing in a hole-in-the-wall club, ready to do whatever it takes to be number one again.
    PIPELINE
    By DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU
    August 9-11
    LSU Studio Theatre | $20
    Contains adult language, content and themes. Recommended for ages 16 and up.
    The play’s title refers to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and within it, inner-city public high school teacher Nya is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son Omari opportunities they’ll never have. When a controversial incident at his private school threatens to get him expelled, Nya must confront his rage and her own choices as a parent. But will she be able to reach him before a world beyond her control pulls him away? Don’t miss this deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future—without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.
    HAIRSPRAY JR. 
    THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES!
    Book by THOMAS MEEHAM and MARK O’DONNELL
    Music by MARC SHAIMAN
    Lyrics by MARC SHAIMAN and SCOTT WITTMAN
    Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by JOHN WATERS
    Date: Fall 2019 (to be announced May 1, 2019)
    LSU Shaver Theatre | $20 for Adults and $15 for Kids
    It’s 1962, and spunky, plus-size teen, Tracy Turnblad, has one big dream—to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When she finally gets her shot, she’s transformed from social outcast to sudden star. In balancing her newfound fame with her desire for justice, Tracy fights to dethrone the reigning Miss Teen Hairspray, Amber von Tussle, and integrate a TV network in the process. With the help of her outsized mom, Edna, and guest DJ, Motormouth Maybelle, the rhythm of Tracy’s new beat just might prove
    ONE NIGHT ONLY 
    A FUNDRAISER FOR NEW VENTURE THEATRE
    SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019
    SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY HAYDEN HALL THEATRE
    BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND…
    POLKADOTS
    THE COOL KIDS MUSICAL
    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2019
    SEASON 12
    NEW V AWARDS 
    DECEMBER 7, 2019
    SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY HAYDEN HALL THEATRE
    BOX OFFICE:
    225-588-7576 or www.nvtarts.org
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    EBR Councilwoman to host second meeting on acquiring adjudicated property

    East Baton Rouge Councilwoman Chauna Banks is hosting a second series pathways to acquire property in East Baton Rouge Parish. The event is free and open to the public. The meeting will include details on getting title insurance and paying the outstanding taxes.
    The second session will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2019, 5:30 p.m., Louisiana Leadership Institute, 5763 Hooper Road, Baton Rouge, LA  70811
    The goal is to help bring new life to blighted, abandoned or tax-foreclosed properties.  Agency representatives will present five unconventional pathways to acquire these properties.   Both residential and commercial investors will learn how to purchase tax-delinquent assets by attending these informational.
    A list of invited agencies and programs:
    • East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office “sheriff sale”, a public auction of property repossessed to satisfy an unpaid obligation.
    Parish Attorney’s Office, which handles the sale of adjudicated properties through public bids and donations.
    Civic Source, a company partnered with the City-Parish to offer an online process for the sale of adjudicated property in excess of 5 years.
    Mow to Own Program,  allows certain parties to avoid the public bidding and receive a preference in making an offer to purchase adjudicated properties  in excess of 3 years;
    East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority has the ability to acquire and quickly clear title to tax sale and adjudicated properties.
    For more information, contact the District 2 Office at (225) 389-8331 or email cbanks@brla.gov.
    Read more »
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    ‘Nature’ recognizes LSU chemistry professor Isiah Warner for mentorship

    Nature, the leading, international weekly journal of science has selected LSU Boyd Professor Isiah Warner for the Nature Award for Mentoring in Science. The Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science were founded in 2005 to celebrate mentorship, a crucial component of scientific career development that too often goes overlooked and unrewarded. Through Warner’s leadership and mentorship, the LSU Department of Chemistry has become the leading producer of doctoral degrees in chemistry for African Americans in the U.S. Under his direction, the LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives has mentored countless numbers of students across eight programs from the high school to doctoral levels.

    “I am delighted at the achievements of our awards winners, including Dr. Warner, and I am especially delighted this year at the diversity of their experiences and of their commitments to mentoring. I know that the judges had a strong field of applicants. It’s terrific for Nature to be able to celebrate researchers who have been so outstanding in their encouragement of a strong scientific ethos in those who come after them,” said Sir Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Springer Nature.

    Warner is considered one of the world’s experts in analytical applications of fluorescence spectroscopy. His research aims to develop and apply chemical, instrumental and mathematical measurements to solve fundamental questions in chemistry.

    Warner has recently been recognized as the 2016 SEC Professor of the Year, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry and American Association for Advancement of the Sciences. He also received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Clinton and the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into the Sciences.

    “Dr. Warner’s dedication to teaching, service and research embodies the LSU mission. We congratulate him on this international recognition,” said LSU President F. King Alexander.

    Warner is also the Phillip W. West Professor of Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor at LSU and has achieved the highest professorial rank in the LSU system — LSU Boyd Professor.

    Each year, Nature gives the awards in a different geographical region, and this year’s awards honor excellent mentors in the South of the United States. Awardees are nominated by a group of their former trainees, from different stages of the mentor’s professional life; and the winners of the awards have demonstrated outstanding mentorship throughout their careers.

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  • Community invited to celebrate United Methodist Women Sunday, Jan 20

    On Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church will Celebrate United Methodist Women Sunday.  The speaker for this occasion will be Sharron Hills, the wife of Acadiana District Superintendent Derrick Hills and former pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church.

    The theme for the occasion is “Celebrating a Faithful Future” with the scripture coming from Proverbs 3:3.  The president of St. Mark UMW is Julia Carnes and the senior pastor is Reverend Simon Chigumira.

    For additional information, call the church office at 357-6150.  The public is invited to attend. The church is located at 6217 Glen Oaks Drive in Baton Rouge.

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    ‘Carrying on the Dream’ exhibit brings MLK hearse to Baton Rouge, Jan 15.

    The Capitol Park Museum announces a preview of a new exhibit, “Carrying on the Dream” which features a rare display of the hearse that carried prominent civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s body, at the time of his death more than 50 years ago. The public is invited to preview the exhibit at a kickoff event at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – the actual birthday of the iconic civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will also include a special screening of the documentary “I am MLK Jr.” which celebrates the life and explores the character of the American icon.

    Planned in conjunction with The Walls Project, the museum event kicks off the organization’s The MLK Festival of Service – a four-day service event January 18-21 that involves more than 150 local organizations and businesses.

    On Tuesday, doors open at the event at 5:30 p.m. The documentary screening will begin at 6:15 pm. Light refreshments will be provided. The Hearse exhibit preview begins Tuesday at 5:30pm and includes counter stools from the Kress store that were used during the 1960 Civil Rights protest in downtown Baton Rouge. The stools are on loan from Preserve Louisiana.

    Todd Graves, founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s, led the preservation of hearse and through its exhibit at Capital Park Museum wants to remind young people what Martin Luther King, Jr contributed to society. “It’s important that the next generation really understands how the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. changed the world,” said Graves. “Many of us did not get a chance to hear MLK during his lifetime, so I am hoping they will be able to appreciate him and his work through this tribute to honor his life.”

    “We are excited to kick off MLK Fest with this event. We hope the exhibit and documentary will encourage even more people to come out this weekend and show their support,” said Helena Williams of The Walls Project.

    “This is an opportunity for people to view Dr. King’s hearse as it is such an important piece of history compelling us to contemplate the lasting significance of the civil rights movement,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “The hearse will serve as the centerpiece of a tribute to the struggles of the civil rights movement here in Baton Rouge where the early stages of that time in our nation’s history got its start.”

    Tuesday’s event is free and open to the public.

    Read more »
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    Negro League Bobblehead series raises $56K in funding

    The Kickstarter Campaign to create a series of officially licensed, limited edition bobbleheads to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Negro National League has raised over $56,000 with five days remaining. The project was launched on December 12, 2018, by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and Dreams Fulfilled in conjunction with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The goal of the series is to honor and celebrate the league and its players, many of whom were never honored with a bobblehead, while also educating the public about the Negro Leagues and its players.

    Two stretch goals have been added since the start of the campaign, with the first being a bobblehead of Effa Manley, the only female in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since the campaign hit the $40,000 mark, that bobblehead is being produced. If the $60,000 mark is reached, the first Milwaukee Bears bobblehead will be produced as part of the second stretch goal. Two additional stretch goals are in the works if the campaign’s momentum continues through the final days. Since the campaign hit the goal, the production process began for several of the other bobbleheads in the series, and Kickstarter backers were the first to see those bobbleheads.

    Kickstarter Backers can secure the best pricing by supporting the project before production of the series begins. Several options are available through the Kickstarter Campaign for people wishing to support the project. As soon as the campaign reached the goal, production of additional production process for the remaining bobbleheads in the series will begin and the bobbleheads will be available in the National Bobblehead HOF and Museum’s online and retail stores, Dreams Fulfilled’s website, www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com, the Negro League Baseball Museum Store and other outlets throughout the country.

    Each bobblehead in the series will be individually numbered to 2,020 and come in a collector’s box with a “back story” of the player. The bobblehead series is officially licensed by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and is being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in conjunction with Dreams Fulfilled and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Approvals have been received from all the identified estates of players featured in the series. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Negro Leagues bobblehead will go to the relatives of the Negro League players and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum located in Kansas City, Missouri.

    The players comprising the Negro Leagues Centennial Team were announced at a special event at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) in Kansas City on December 12th. Bob Kendrick, President of the NLBM, announced the team in conjunction with Jay Caldwell, founder of Dreams Fulfilled, and the Kickstarter was launched. Within 24 hours, the Kickstarter Campaign reached the initial $10,000 goal. The Kickstarter Campaign concludes on National Bobblehead Day — January 7, 2019 — at 7:07pm central time.

    The Negro League Centennial Team (1920 – 2020) is comprised of 30 of the greatest African-American and Cuban players from 1895-1947. Each player is being depicted on a baseball-shaped base with a replica of Kansas City’s Paseo YMCA, the site where the Negro National League was organized on February 13, 1920. Satchel Paige was the first player selected, and his bobblehead has been completed. Paige will be joined by 10 additional pitchers, three catchers, five outside infielders (1B, 3B), three inside infielders (2B, SS), seven outfielders, one utility player, a manager and an owner as voted on by an online poll at www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com and supplemented by five additional players.

    “We are thrilled to commemorate a historic number of former Negro League players with bobbleheads, which are the ultimate honor,” said Phil Sklar, Co-Founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. “Many of these players have never had bobbleheads, and these bobbleheads will help ensure that their legacy and vital contribution to baseball and society is always remembered. We have been overwhelmed by the excitement for the series and can’t wait to produce and distribute them.”

    Jay Caldwell, founder of Dreams Fulfilled stated, “The Negro Leagues Centennial series will bring long overdue recognition to players who were not only among the best to ever play the game, but also early civil rights pioneers who helped pave the way for integration in baseball and the country.”


    About the Negro Leagues:
    The first successful Negro League was founded by Rube Foster on February 13, 1920 at the Paseo YMCA in Kansas City. Foster believed an organized league structured like major league baseball would lead to eventual integration of the sport and racial reconciliation. Foster did not live to see his dream come true. Others picked up his cause and in 1947 Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line.


    About the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum:
    The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum is finishing set-up of its permanent location, which is expected to open this winter. The HOF and Museum was announced in November 2014 and hosted a Preview Exhibit in 2016. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for organizations, individuals and teams across the country. Visit us at www.BobbleheadHall.comFacebook.com/BobbleheadHall or Twitter.com/BobbleheadHall


    About Dreams Fulfilled:
    Dreams Fulfilled was organized to promote the Negro National League Centennial in 2020. Its founder, Jay Caldwell, has been selected by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as the primary exhibitor for an art and artifact exhibition at the museum between February 1 and May 31, 2020. Dreams Fulfilled will be exhibiting 300 original pieces of art honoring Negro League players and nearly 100 artifacts of African American baseball dating back to 1871. Visit us at www.NegroLeaguesHistory.com or www.facebook.com/NegroLeaguesHistory


    About the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum:
    The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its profound impact on the social advancement of America. The NLBM operates one block from the Paseo YMCA where Andrew “Rube” Foster founded the Negro National League in 1920. In 2006, the NLBM was designated as “America’s National Negro Leagues Baseball Museum” by the United States Congress.

    Read more »
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    Symposium to discuss ‘The Color of Currency’ in Baton Rouge, Feb. 2

    The Color of Currency is a one-day symposium designed to assist prospective Black entrepreneurs and current business owners with best practices around raising capital/providing resource information to aid in the enhancement of an existing business and development of a start-up business. Presented by Black Out Loud Conference, LLC in association with 100 Black Women of Baton Rouge, MetroMorphosis, and other community organizations.

    The event will feature a panel discussion with Black economic leaders in the Baton Rouge area, break out sessions, a keynote address from ExemptMeNow CEO, Sevetri Wilson, mini consultation sessions, food, music and more.

    Sponsored in part by Renee Marie.

    ONLINE: Color of Currency

    Read more »
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    Free library programs scheduled for all ages January

    The following special East Baton Rouge Parish Library programs will be held for all ages throughout January 2019. For more information about or to register for all the programs listed, call the branch where the event is scheduled directly or visit www.ebrpl.com. Can’t visit any of our 14 locations, which are open seven days a week? The Library is open 24 / 7 online at www.ebrpl.com.

    The Library’s Featured Events, www.ebrpl.com (225) 231-3750
    Library Closures in Observance of January Holidays
    All locations of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library will close early at 6 p.m. Monday, December 31, and all day Tuesday, January 1, 2019, in observance of New Year’s Day. The Library also will be closed Monday, January 21, 2019, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For more information about these holiday closures, call (225) 231-3750. Check out the Digital Library 24 / 7 online at www.ebrpl.com/DigitalLibrary.

    Join the Job Club Networking Group!
    The Career Center of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library is sponsoring an ongoing search and networking group for adult job seekers in professional careers. Job searching can be a lonely and discouraging activity, and this group will provide you with a safe space to meet and network with likeminded professionals who are challenged by the same job hunting process. Attendees will share job search experiences, network tips and encouragement, and they’ll learn the latest job search techniques and so much more. Patrons are welcome to join us at the Main Library at Goodwood from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Friday in January. It’s FREE and open to those in professional careers who are seeking employment. Certified Career Coach Anne Nowak will lead the meetings, and topics discussed will differ each week. For more information, call 225-231-3733. To register, go online to https://www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

    *Get a Jump on Success, Take the ACT Practice Test!
    Your Library will offer a FREE American College Testing (ACT) practice exam at two locations this month! Teens can come to the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, January 5, and the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 26, to take the practice test. Spots are limited to 25 students per location, so you must register. Please note that preference will be given to teens who are currently enrolled in high school, and middle school students who wish to take the test will be permitted to do so only if there are still spots available the Monday before the test date. The paper practice test will be administered by Library staff through the Homework Louisiana database. Results will be sent to students via email; please allow 7-10 days to receive scores. Registration is required. To register, call the Library location directly.

    *Mastering the Job Interview
    Are you searching for a new job? Your performance during an interview can determine whether or not you get your dream job. Learn how to perfect your job interview skills through this FREE seminar! Adults can come to the Main Library at Goodwood at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 12, to get tips for a great interview, common traps and pitfalls to avoid and interactive demonstrations for answering the most common interview questions. Registration is required. For more information and to register, call the Career Center at (225) 231-3733 or visit www.careercenterbr.com/events/.

    Get Organized in the New Year!
    Are you looking for tips and tricks to clean up the clutter and get organized? Join Certified Professional Organizer Alyssa Trosclair at the Main Library at Goodwood for a FREE seminar that’ll help you do just that! Adults are invited to the Library at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 12, to learn strategies that can help bring order to any space.

    The FBI & the Clementine Hunter Art Forgery Case
    Did you know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has an Art Crime Team? The East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections Departments invites adults to the Main Library at Goodwood at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, for a presentation led by Special Agent Randy Deaton of the FBI’s Rapid Deployment Art Crime Team’s New Orleans Division. Deaton will discuss what the Art Crime Team does, as well as his investigation of the forgery of artwork by Clementine Hunter, a renowned Louisiana folk artist. Hunter was from north Louisiana, and in her earliest years, she sold her paintings for only 25 cents! By the time she died in 1988, many of them were valued in the thousands of dollars, some worth even more today. Several of Hunter’s paintings will be on display during the talk.

    *Geaux Science for Girls Storytimes
    Girls in kindergarten through third grade are invited to enjoy a special Geaux Science for Girls storytime at four Library locations this month! Girls can go to the either the Main Library at Goodwood, Baker Branch, Bluebonnet Regional Branch or Eden Park Branch at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 26, to have fun with science and math-themed stories, plus hands-on science and math experiences led by some of Louisiana State University’s (LSU) top women scientists and mathematicians. Sponsored by Halliburton and the LSU College of Science, this unique storytime is designed to inspire the next generation of women innovators! Registration is required. To register, call the Library location directly.

    The BREC Baton Rouge ZooMobile Visits Libraries in January & February!
    The BREC Baton Rouge ZooMobile has come back to the Library! Children ages 4-11 are invited to the Library in January and February to enjoy these FREE informative and entertaining programs designed to educate audiences about wildlife conservation. Attendees will be amazed as they get up close and personal with several live animals at each program and learn about their bone structures, fur and more! Each presentation lasts about one hour. Registration is required for all. For more information and to register, call the Library location directly. Here’s the ZooMobile schedule:

    • 10:30 a.m. Thursday, January 3, Pride-Chaneyville Branch
    • 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, Zachary Branch
    • 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 22, Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch
    • 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 23, Fairwood Branch
    • 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 23, Delmont Gardens Branch
    • 10 a.m. Thursday, January 24, Carver Branch
    • 4:30 p.m. Thursday, January 24, Central Branch
    • 4 p.m. Friday, January 25, Scotlandville Branch
    • 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, Baker Branch
    • 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 13, Main Library at Goodwood
    • 10 a.m. Tuesday, February 19, River Center Branch
    • 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 20, Jones Creek Regional Branch
    • 4 p.m. Thursday, February 21, Eden Park Branch
    • 4 p.m. Thursday, February 28, Bluebonnet Regional Branch

    Bluebonnet Regional Branch Library, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., (225) 763-2250
    Organizing for Your Weight Loss Goals
    Do you want to lose weight but feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of it? Adults are invited to the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 8, for a FREE presentation led by Certified Professional Organizer Alyssa Trosclair that will explore the connection between the struggle with weight and disorganization. The seminar will offer simple organizational strategies that can help make achieving your weight loss goals easier. Start the New Year with positive action!

    Teen Bookmark Contest
    Grab your squad and head over to the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 3 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, to design a handcrafted bookmark with other teens, and then submit it for consideration in a contest! Prizes will be awarded to the top two winners.

    Stress Survival Workshop
    Stress wears away at your energy, immune system function, and emotional wellbeing. Prolonged, chronic stress can cause vulnerability to illness and disease. There is something you can do about it, however. Adults are welcome at the Bluebonnet Regional Branch at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 17, for a FREE stress survival workshop led by Dr. Karen Dantin, MD. The presentation will offer tools that can be used to identify and eliminate recurring daily stressors, plus relaxation techniques that can help reduce the strain life can bring.

    Carver Branch Library, 720 Terrace St., (225) 389-7450
    *Code It: Programming a Piano Story/Craft
    Kids ages 9-11 can come to the Carver Branch at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, to hear a reading of Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code by Stacia Deutsch, and Code It! Programming and Keywords You Can Create Yourself by Jessie Alkire. Later, each child will learn how to code using simple software.

    *DIY Lemon Raspberry Lip Balm
    Adults can come to the Carver Branch at 4 p.m. Monday, January 28, for a fun craft that can help provide some much-needed relief in the winter months. Using simple, household ingredients, you’ll learn how to make sweet raspberry lemon-flavored lip balm. Limited to 10 participants.

    Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch Library, 11300 Greenwell Springs Rd., (225) 274-4450
    *Octaband Movement Program
    This is a program for children ages 6-8 with physical disabilities. Come to the Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch at 5 p.m. Thursday, January 10, to hear a reading of excerpts from Being Fit by Valerie Bodden. After the story, we’ll move like an octopus by stretching, shrinking, flowing, flexing, cooperating and connecting to fun music!

    Pride-Chaneyville Branch Library, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Rd., (225) 658-1550
    Make a Classy T-Shirt Necklace!
    Teens can head over to the Pride-Chaneyville Branch at 3 p.m. Saturday, January 5, to make the perfect accessory for turtleneck shirts and sweaters. With five strips of T-shirt fabric formed into rings and an artificial flower for flair, you can create a simple and fabulous necklace!

    Rubber Band Bracelets
    You won’t believe how fast you can make these cool bracelets! Come to the Pride-Chaneyville Branch at 3 p.m. Saturday, January 26, to craft with other teens. We’ve got colors for both guys and girls, so bring your squad with you to make fun creations without a loom!

    Scotlandville Branch Library, 7373 Scenic Hwy., (225) 354-7550
    Envision Your New Year: Vision Board Craft
    Start the New Year with optimism to reach your goals! Teens are invited to the Scotlandville Branch at 3:30 p.m. Monday, January 7, to think about your goals, and then create a vision board using a poster and magazine clippings. After the craft, we’ll enjoy a sweet treat and discuss our plans for 2019!

    *You Can Be a King Story/Craft
    Kids ages 3-7 can come to the Scotlandville Branch at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 19, to hear a reading of You Can Be a King by Carole Boston Weatherford. Later, each child will create a Martin Luther King Jr. dreamcatcher craft.

    For more information about any of these January 2019 events or others, call the Library location where the event is being held directly or visit the schedule online at www.ebrpl.com. For general information about the Library, call (225) 231-3750 or visit the Library’s online calendar at www.ebrpl.com.

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    Youth ambassadors travel to the nation’s capital

    A panel of judges selected Kentwood High Magnet School 4-H’ers Jayla Berry and Ronny Johnson Jr. to represent Tangipahoa Parish at the National 4-H Council Walmart Healthy Habits Programming Training. The selection was made during an Impromptu Essay Contest on October 10.  These students were tasked with guiding their peers and communities, into living healthier lifestyles through the use of The Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project. 

    The training was held at the National 4-H Council Headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland on November 1– 3. 4-H youth and adult leaders from the Southern University Land-Grant Campus attended workshops on implementing the HYPE Project Curriculum. While attending the training, youth also had an opportunity to learn about health disparities, community access, policies, systems, and environmental changes through hands-on activities.

    Since attending the training, Berry and Johnson have hit the ground running and have committed to revitalizing Kentwood High Magnet’s school garden and building a Humanity Box for the Town of Kentwood.  During a regular 4-H Club meeting on November 14 the Youth Ambassadors presented their plans, and solicited their club members for feedback in getting the projects underway.

    The HYPE Project is a five-phase model which teaches youth ambassadors how to impact their communities by establishing youth-led campaigns. The phases of the project are: Think, Learn, Act, Share and Evaluate.

    For additional information about 4-H programs in Tangipahoa Parish, contact Nicolette Gordon, assistant youth development Agent at 985-748-5462.

    The Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences together are called the Southern University Land-Grant Campus.

    Photo:  Kentwood High Magnet School students Ronny Johnson, Jr. and Jayla Berry attended the National 4-H Council Walmart Healthy Habits Programming Training in Chevy Chase, Maryland on November 1-3, 2018. The two youth ambassadors are developing plans to make their school and community healthier. (Photo courtesy of Nicolette Gordon, SU Ag Center.)

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    Professor researches link between ADHD, entrepreneurship

    Reginald L. Tucker, assistant professor in the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business, recently published an article in Journal of Business Venturing that examined the influence of ADHD on business start-up.

    “It’s my most cited paper, and I think seminal to the Mental Health and Entrepreneurship literature stream,” said Tucker, adding, “We found that ADHD did influence business start-up when impulsivity was present.”

    There has been increased interest recently in how negative traits associated with mental disorders, such as ADHD, may have positive implications in entrepreneurship. While this research has the potential of producing important results, it is still in its infancy and consequently has received limited attention. To that end, Tucker’s study developed and tested a model that ADHD influences entrepreneurship through the multifaceted trait of impulsivity or the tendency to act on impulse rather than thought.

    “Findings demonstrate that entrepreneurship is indeed a unique area where negative traits, such as ADHD, may represent valuable assets,” Tucker said. There are at least two important practice implications associated with the results. First, the results imply that individuals with ADHD symptoms may be empowered to craft their own jobs to fit their special needs. Second, the findings suggest that people with ADHD symptoms and impulsivity will tend to prefer action speed over action accuracy and that this may be functional in the context of entrepreneurship.”

    ONLINE: https://www.lsu.edu/business/sdeis/index.php.

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    Council on Aging purchases property to expand services

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging Purchases Property to Expand Meal Services.

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging has purchased 2.8 acres to meet the demands of meals on wheels and congregate meals services.  The property, located on North 18th Street, will be the site of a new 25,000 square feet facility that will provide much-needed space for preparing home-delivered meals to seniors and congregate (hot) meals that are delivered to the 26 senior centers and feeding sites across the parish.

    “We have performed miracles in the current, but outdated, facility and I am eager to begin construction on a new state of the art building that will accommodate the ever-increasing needs of seniors in our Parish,” said Tasha Clark-Amar, CEO.

    The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging has been housed at the 5790 Florida Boulevard location for over 30 years.  The new facility will not only include a commercial kitchen and meal packing facility, but also a space for administrative offices for more than 60 employees and parking for the agency’s fleet of Meals on Wheels vans.

    “The North 18th/Fuqua site has been an abandoned property in my district for a number of years.  I am proud the Council on Aging is not only expanding services for seniors but investing in a much-needed area of the Parish,” said Councilwoman Tara Wicker.

    The Council on Aging will begin the design phase of the new development in January, with hopes of moving into the new building in approximately 18 months.

    “Many thanks to our board of directors and staff for all their hard work bringing this vision to fruition.  The entire parish will benefit from this investment in seniors, and the community as a whole,” said board chairwoman Jennifer Moisant.

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    Dyslexia screening provision included in new criminal justice reform bill

    Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a member of the Senate health and education committee, announced that his provision providing for the screening of inmates for dyslexia is included in the new version of the First Step Act (S. 3649), legislation endorsed by President Trump to reform America’s criminal justice system. Cassidy announced his support for the legislation two weeks ago.

    “Having treated patients in prisons, I learned that illiteracy often leads someone to turn to a life of crime. Dyslexia is a leading cause of illiteracy, so to address illiteracy and incarceration, we must better address dyslexia,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I’m pleased Chairman Grassley, Jared Kushner and the White House agreed to incorporate my proposal for screening inmates for dyslexia into this bill. It makes sense that if a someone learns to read, they’re less likely to end up in prison and more likely to be a productive member of society. And if someone ends up in prison, they’re more likely to get a job and keep it once they are released. In the end, I think this will save some people from the prison system, make our streets safer, and save taxpayers money.”

    A study found that 80 percent of prison inmates at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas, were functionally illiterate and 48 percent were dyslexic.

    The First Step Act will formally define dyslexia as “an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader, most commonly caused by a difficulty in the phonological processing (the appreciation of the individual sounds of spoken language), which affects the ability of an individual to speak, read, and spell.” The bill requires the U.S. attorney general to incorporate an evidence-based, low-cost, readily available dyslexia screening program into the new risk and needs assessment system, including by screening for dyslexia during the prisoner intake process and each periodic risk reassessment of a prisoner. It also requires the U.S. attorney general to incorporate dyslexia treatment programs into recidivism reduction programs.

    In October, Cassidy and his wife, Dr. Laura Cassidy, coauthored a column about their family’s personal struggle to overcome dyslexia.

    In June, Cassidy met with Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner about prison reform, and Cassidy stressed the need to identify and address dyslexia in early education in order to prevent students from being consigned to a path of illiteracy, crime, and incarceration.

    Ameer Baraka

    Ameer Baraka

    In May 2016, Cassidy chaired a HELP Committee hearing on understanding dyslexia. The hearing featured actor Ameer Baraka, a New Orleans native who struggled with dyslexia as a student and turned to selling drugs. Barak discussed how he taught himself to read in prison on Fox News in April 2017.

    In February 2016, Cassidy’s READ Act was signed into law by President Obama. The legislation requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to devote at least $2.5 million to dyslexia research every year.

    In 2015, Cassidy hosted world experts on dyslexia for a discussion at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, and chaired HELP Committee field hearings on dyslexia and education in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

    Each year, Cassidy introduces a resolution in the Senate designating October as National Dyslexia Awareness Month.

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    Dr. Maurice Sholas inspires SU grads at fall commencement

    Nearly 500 graduates earned degrees from Southern University at its fall commencement, December 14. Led in by Traci Smith, chief student marshal, graduates convened to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as commissions to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. The newest alumni heard from one of their own, Dr. Maurice Sholas, a physician and principal for Sholas Medical Consulting LLC.

    “You may look at today as a glorious ending, but it is a glorious beginning,” Sholas said to the graduates.

    The Baton Rouge native reflected on his family legacy of Southern alumni, beginning with his parents, who met each other at the university.

    “My first visit to Southern was while I was in my mother’s womb,” Sholas said. “My heart was set on Southern from the start in spite of naysayers — those who said I could go to a “good school” because I had good grades. Well, Southern University wasn’t just good to me. It was great.

    “I came here to see what is possible for people like us. I became a part of a community that cares for and cared about me.”

    Sholas said that Southern prepared him for life beyond the Bluff in a number of ways, including him going on to Harvard to earn his M.D. and Ph.D.

    “Southern gave me the confidence to stand with those from corners of the world I’d never heard of,” he said.

    Sholas told the graduates to not fret about tomorrow as they celebrated their achievements today.

    “You don’t have to know today (what’s next),” he said. “When I was sitting here, I had no idea what I would be doing for the next 20 years. While you sort it out, keep moving forward. Excellence defines us. Pride sustains us. Tradition guides us. We are Southern.”

    Sholas closed by reminding the graduates that Southern is a family-oriented organization that reaches well beyond the acres in the capital city.

    “Your SU tribe is a short phone call or text away,” he said. “And my service to you is not over after this message. What I know… what I have experienced is yours. We are Southern.”

    Former Louisiana Sen. Diana E. Bajoie received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the university. The Southern University alumna who is a pioneer in state politics. In 1976, she was the only woman serving in the Louisiana House of Representatives; in 1991, she was the first black woman elected to the Louisiana Senate; and in 2004, she was the first woman elected as Senate President Pro Tempore.

    The ceremony can be viewed in its entirety at https://bit.ly/2SLS59d. The Fall 2018 Commencement program can be viewed at https://bit.ly/2S0ByhV.

    By Jasmine Hunter
    Special to The Drum

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    Louisiana Democracy Project gives Devil Swamp warning: ‘Don’t eat the coon’

    It may be cultural. It may be heritage but once cold weather and or holidays hit, a segment of the Louisiana population has a taste for wild game such as raccoon.

    Generally, this is not a problem but the Louisiana Democracy Project is continuing to issue warnings to its constituents to avoid eating wild life from the Devil Swam/Bayou Baton Rouge areas. “During the summer an advisory was issued by the Department of Health & Hospitals, along with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries warning people not to eat fish or crawfish from the area. “We know many people enjoy eating raccoons and raccoons enjoy eating fish and crawfish. We think it is important to warn everyone to avoid not only the seafood but the seafood eating mammals as well”, said Stephanie Anthony, LDP president and chair of Pray for Our Air program.

    Paul Orr of the Lower Mississippi River Keepers agrees that people should not eat largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, or raccoons from the area. Samples show HCB hexachlorobenzene, HCBD hexachlorobutadine, PCB polychorinateed biphenyls, arsenic, lead and mercury in the fish.

    There have been advisory’s out since 1993 telling citizens not to drink, swim or play in the water because of contamination. Whereas some citizens around Alsen, Baker and even the Cedarcrest area of East Baton Rouge Parish say they are vaguely aware of contamination, they do not relate this knowledge to fish-eating mammals.

    Devil Swamp covers over 8 miles and more than 6,000 acres of land. It is bounded on the north by Hall Buck Marine Road on the east, by the bluff and the Baton Rouge Barge Harbor and on the south and west by the Mississippi River.

    During the question and answer period after a presentation to the Green Army meeting at Greater King David Church, award winning scientist Wilma Supra remarked that there was not legislative funding to replace signs damaged or destroyed, to warn citizens about hunting, fishing or swimming in contaminated waters. During the 1980s then State Representative Joseph A. Delpit authored legislation requiring signs posting to warning of water contamination in English, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Today the population in Baton Rouge is 54.98 percent Black, 3.32 percent Hispanic and 3.48 percent Asian. That correlates to about 126,089 Black, 7,974 Asian and 7606 Hispanic equaling over 60 percent of the population.

    Veteran environmentalist Willie Fontenot is said to have named Bayou Baton Rouge, decades ago. He attests to the contamination in the area. He said Devil Swam area is so contaminated that only the devil would enjoy it at this point.

    Anthony said the Louisiana Democracy Project does not ordinarily tackle water issues but they see this is a true grassroots issue affecting the quality of life for citizens whose lives they touch on other issues. They encourage interested parties to contact them at 225-907-1459 or the Department of Health and Hospitals 888-293-7020.

    Feature photo by Jed Postman, taken from SeriousEats.com

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    North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative selects 200 new students

    The North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative has selected 200 local students to be part of the program’s fifth cohort, which will begin in January 2019. The students are predominantly from North Baton Rouge and are pursuing careers in electrical, pipefitting, millwright and welding crafts. Each student will receive free training and a National Center for Construction Education and Research Core, Level I, and Level II certification after completion of the program.

    The NBRITI program began in 2012 spearheaded by ExxonMobil in an effort to better connect community members to industry jobs. The training is based at Baton Rouge Community College’s Acadian Campus and provides no-cost training for high-demand crafts. For the past six years, several partners have supported the program and hired graduates including Baton Rouge Community College, ExxonMobil, Excel Group, Cajun Industries, ISC, Turner Industries, Performance Contractors, Jacobs Engineering, Pala Group, Triad, Brock Group, Geo Heat Exchangers, Stupp Corporation, GBRIA, Associated Builders and Contractors, Urban League of Louisiana, and Employ BR.

    “Our partnership is ensuring sustainable workforce educational opportunities in North Baton Rouge, as well as the entire region. ExxonMobil’s continued commitment to bring together business and industry, education institutions and the community is the model of corporate citizenship,” said BRCC Chancellor Larissa Steib.

    _G4A8249About 800 applicants for the fifth training class were screened by the Baton Rouge Community College and partner company representatives through a testing and interview process. Many attended the North Baton Rouge Career Fair in October to learn about opportunities in industry. The college will offer reduced-cost training opportunities for those students not accepted into the NBRITI program.

    “This training has the power to be transformative – not just for the graduates — but for their families as well. We will be hiring millwrights directly from this new class, and I pledge to continue to lead the initiative forward,” said ExxonMobil Refinery Manager Gloria Moncada. With the addition of a millwright track, this new class will triple in size compared to previous classes.

    A unique aspect of the program is a social skills component involving ongoing tutoring, financial literacy training, and resume and interview assistance. This involves additional support from organizations including the Urban League of Louisiana, BancorpSouth, and ExxonMobil YMCA Community Outreach Retiree Alliance.

    About 45 students of the current, fourth training class will graduate on Jan. 24, 2019, at a special ceremony at the Baton Rouge Community College Acadian Campus.

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    ‘Revolutionary health research initiative’ launched in Baton Rouge

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and the National Institutes of Health launched a revolutionary health research initiative called “All of Us Research Program” in Baton Rouge.

    The All of Us Research Program is building the largest and most diverse health data resource of its kind by asking one million or more people from across the country of different races, ethnicities, age groups, geographic regions, gender identities, sexual orientations, and health statuses to share their unique health information. Many of these people have historically been underrepresented in medical research. Health data from such a large and diverse group of people will enable scientists to study how different factors – from genetics to exercise habits – affect a person’s health.

    Baton Rouge is one of the early cities in the nation to see a focused effort to recruit participants, led locally by Blue Cross. The All of Us Research Program recognizes Louisiana’s diverse population and unique health challenges and encourages residents to sign up for a chance to be part of the future of precision medicine.

    Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments and biological makeup, including genes. With eyeglasses and hearing aids, we have long had customized solutions to individual needs. More recently, treating certain types of cancer is now possible with therapies targeted to patients’ DNA.

    By partnering with one million diverse people who share information about themselves, the All of Us Research Program will enable researchers to more precisely prevent and treat a variety of health conditions.

    “The All of Us Research Program is an opportunity for individuals from all walks of life to be represented in research and pioneer the next era of medicine,” said NIH director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “The time is now to transform how we conduct research-with participants as partners-to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways. This is what we can accomplish through All of Us.”

    “Here in Louisiana, a state rich in diversity, we have the opportunity to be part of this important research initiative, one that can go a long way in helping to address some of the state’s health problems,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, Blue Cross executive vice president and chief medical officer. “We all know the state of health in Louisiana is poor. We have some of the highest rates of obesity and chronic diseases in the country, and we are consistently at or near the bottom of rankings of health statuses. All of Us will lead to healthcare breakthroughs we believe will be beneficial for our people.”

    Leaders from Blue Cross, the Urban League of Louisiana, Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome’s Healthy City Initiative, Louisiana Department of Health, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, the NIH and the YMCA of the Capital Area spoke in support of the program.

    “Through The Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, we bring together many key stakeholders who make Baton Rouge a healthier place.” said Hymowitz “Good, timely data is something we always struggle to identify. All of Us will help us to make more data-driven decisions to better support our community.”

    Partners were also able to get a more thorough understanding of what it means to take part in the All of Us Research Program, what information participants are asked to provide and how the research is being used to further precision medicine.

    “This initiative is important to Baton Rouge and populations who often are underrepresented in medical research,” said Judy Morse, President and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana. “Without the preventative healthcare measures of programs like All of Us, it would be nearly impossible to detect and cure the diseases that plague our community.”

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    Gregory Pierson appointed assistant director of aviation

    Gregory Pierson was appointed assistant director of aviation of the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) by Mike Edwards, the director of aviation.

    Pierson has 12 years of airport management experience, and was serving as the Interim Assistant Director of Aviation. He was previously the BTR Airport Computer/Electronics Systems Manager (IT Manager). He first joined the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport 15 years ago as a PC LAN Specialist. Within his first three years, he was promoted to a PC LAN Administrator. In his most recent role as IT Manager, his Airport-wide involvement afforded him the experience to identify and manage the expectations and needs of various stakeholders, while ensuring the decisions and processes related to the Technology division were in alignment with the overall mission of the Airport.

    Pierson holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science with a minor in business management from Southern University, and a masters of business administration from the University of Phoenix. He has an ITIL Foundation and Software House industry certification and is currently preparing for his AAAE Certified Member certification. He is also a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), and is an IRS Registered Tax Preparer.

    “I am truly humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve in this new capacity. I look forward to continuing to do my part to make BTR the airport of choice, and to facilitate improvements in our community outreach efforts.”

    Greg grew up in the Baton Rouge Area, graduating from Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge. He and his wife LaToya have three children, Alyvia, Dylan and Skylar.

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    Uncle Chess and The Groove to perform at Pit-N-Peel

    Uncle Chess and The Groove will perform at the Pit-N-Peel on Friday, November 30 from 6pm to 9pm. The venue is located at 2101 Government Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70806. Venue phone is 225-421-1488. No Cover.

    Uncle Chess and the Groove, known for their smooth Southern soul songs have appeared at The Baton Rouge Blues Festival, the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras and Soul Food festivals, and at the Henry Turner, Jr. Day Music Festival.

    The band is Uncle Chess on vocals, Burnell Palmer on drums, Randy Hamilton on percussion, Dameron Bates on bass, Bob Johnson on keyboard, and Ron Griffin on lead guitar.

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    Dawn Mellion-Patin receives Iowa State’s 2018 George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award

    Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s Vice Chancellor for Extension and Outreach Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., has been named the recipient of the 2018 George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award by Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    Patin has dedicated her career to educating and improving the lives of small farmers. In 2005, she developed the Southern University Ag Center’s Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute, an intensive leadership development program that guides small, minority, socially-disadvantaged and limited-resource farmers through the process of becoming competitive agricultural entrepreneurs.
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    Her work in the field of agriculture has also provided her with the opportunity to serve as a panel manager for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); chair of the Southern Region- Agricultural and Natural Resources Program Leaders Committee; grant committee member for the USDA’s  National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); 1890 representative on the National Extension Disaster Education Network Executive Committee and historian for the National Society of Minorities in Agricultural, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) organization.

    She has received the SU Ag Center’s Outstanding Specialist Award, Tuskegee University’s Distinguished Service Award, the Association of Extension Administrators Excellence in Extension Award and USDA NIFA Cooperative Extension System Outstanding Leadership Award.

    Patin earned a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil sciences and a master’s degree in educational agriculture, both from Southern University, and a doctoral degree in Agricultural and Life Sciences Education from Iowa State University.

    The George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award was established in 2005. The award honors distinguished College of Agriculture and Life Sciences alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement or leadership by making significant, influential, or innovative contributions to society.

    Patin received the award during the annual Honors and Awards Ceremony on October 26.

    By LaKeeshia Lusk
    The Drum Contributing Writer

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