Sept. 22, 2012, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Friday Night Party: The Big Top, 1638 Clio St., Sept. 21, 8 - 11 p.m., music by the To Be Continued Brass Band, cash bar, presented by The Lens
Conference Venue: Xavier University, 1 Drexel Drive
Lunch: Juan's Flying Burrito Taco Bar
Ashley Award: TBA
8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Coffee and Pastries
9 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
Keynote: Lawrence N. Powell
"The Accidental History of an Accidental Book"
How the author stumbled into the 18th century and espied post-Katrina New Orleans through the lens of her colonial past."
Bio: Until his retirement in June 2012, Lawrence N. Powell held the James H. Clark Endowed Chair at Tulane University, where he also established and directed the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South. He has written and edited twelve books and numerous articles. His most recent contributions are The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans (Harvard 2012) and George Washington Cable’s New Orleans (LSU 2008). His first book, New Masters: Northern Planters During the Civil War and Reconstruction won the Governor’s Award from Yale University Press in 1980. Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana (UNC Press) won the Lillian Smith Book Prize from the Southern Regional Council and the Kemper and Leila Williams Prize from the Louisiana Historical Association, both in 2000. It was also named by Booklist as one of the ten best Holocaust books of the year and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in the category of the Holocaust.
His professional and community service has been extensive, ranging from membership on the boards of the Amistad Research Center, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the Louisiana State Museum Board, to the presidency of the Louisiana History Association and a stint on the executive committee of the Southern Historical Association. A co-founder as well as president of the Executive Committee of the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University, from 1989 to 1992 he was vice-chair of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism (which he also helped found). For five years, until June 2005, he served as executive director of the Tulane-Xavier National Center for the Urban Community (NCUC), which administered the resident initiatives program for the Housing Authority of New Orleans, the city’s national demonstration Welfare-to-Work grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as the city’s JOB1 Youth Career Center. From 2002-2004 NCUC also administered the Individual Development Account Collaborative of Louisiana (IDACL), a statewide partnership of bankers, financial literacy trainers, credit counseling agencies, and other service providers to assist the working poor buy homes, start businesses, and further their education.
More than a productive scholar, Powell has also been an activist citizen, particularly in the arena of civil rights. He has chaired and organized national civil rights conferences and has been an expert witness in several federal voting rights cases in Louisiana. In 1998 he received the "George Washington Lucas Community Service Award" from the New Orleans branch of the NAACP.
A former Guggenheim Fellow, 1999 he was named “Louisiana Humanist of the Year” by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow in the Society of American Historians in recognition of literary distinction in the writing of history.
Main Stage: 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Panel Discussion: The Education Experiment - Petri Dish Reform in New Orleans and Louisiana
Louisiana is famous for many reasons but since Hurricane Katrina, it has become the poster child of national K-12 education reform, being touted as a “radical experiment in reform” in the New York Times (August 14, 2008). Recently Governor Jindal's reform agenda dominated the 2012 legislative session and the national media with legislative priorities revising teacher evaluation and implementing a voucher system. The reforms have drastically altered the process for evaluating teachers while virtually eliminating tenure. In addition, the voucher program has diverted nearly $2 billion in public education funds to private institutions resulting in controversy concerning the curricula of the some of the approved voucher schools. Proponents claim the program is about empowering principals and parents by giving them more choices and creating competition. Critics charge that it is no less than an attack on the very concept of public education.
Meanwhile, New Orleans, with its diverse system of various types of charter schools with their own boards, remains the state's (and some would say the nation's) most preeminent "laboratory" for educational experimentation. During a recent television appearance, Senator Mary Landrieu praised "a brand new entrepreneurial, public school system that's attracting middle class white and black families, Hispanics, back to the system and seeing extraordinary gains in academics, freeing up our principals to be great and expecting our teachers to be great."
Critics have charged that the charter system decentralization makes its governance less accountable and transparent and that its reliance on the Teach For America program devalues experienced educators. Many also claim that the selective admissions policies in many of the most sought after charter schools encourages racial and class segregation. Critics also charge these same charter schools of failing to provide services for special needs students.
Education in New Orleans has undoubtedly become synonymous with innovation. The question remains whether it will also be associated with progress.
Moderator: Jessica Williams thelensnola.org
Jessica Williams is the education reporter at The Lens, the city's first nonprofit online newsroom. Williams covers education in general, and the city's charter schools in particular, and regularly monitors and guides coverage for the brigade of reporters involved in the Charter School Reporting Corps, who cover each of the city's 46 charter school boards. Some of her work at The Lens has included: charters' failure to follow open-meetings, open-budgeting, and public records laws, stories that resulted in many charter school boards becoming knowledgeable about their legal obligations and changing internal procedures; persistently high out-of-school suspension rates in New Orleans schools, despite many schools' pledge to implement strategies aimed at keeping kids in school; and the rising costs public-school parents pay each year for enrichment and other purposes to supplement their child's taxpayer-subsidized education. She is a New Orleans native and a proud New Orleans Public Schools graduate.
- Brian Beabout - An Assistant Professor of Education at the University of New Orleans and a founding board member of the Morris Jeff Community School, his research on post-Katrina school reform has been published in the Journal of Educational Change, Multicultural Education, and the School-Community Journal.
- Elizabeth Walters - A writer, editor and high-school teacher in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, she holds a B.A. from Smith College and received her Post Baccalaureate training for Louisiana teacher certification from the University of New Orleans. She recently served as a judge for the Newspapers in Education and Education Article categories of the 2012 Maine Press Association journalism awards.
- Zack Kopplin - A student at Rice University and a recent graduate of Baton Rouge Magnet High School. Zack grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he is working to make sure that he and other Louisiana kids will be able to get jobs after they graduate. Since June, 2010, Zack has led the effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, Louisiana’s misnamed and misguided creationism law. He is organizing Louisiana students and citizens in support of his repeal. When not fighting for science, Zack likes to play soccer and swim. website http://www.repealcreationism.com/
- Dr. Lance Hill - Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research, a tolerance education and race relations research center based at Tulane University in New Orleans.Hill holds a Ph.D. in history from Tulane University, where he has taught US History and Intercultural Communication. His scholarly research field is the history of race relations, the radical right and ethnic group trauma. He is the author of The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and The Civil Rights Movement
In 1993, Hill co-founded the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University, a race and ethnic relations center. The Institute's tolerance education program-the most comprehensive project of its kind in the South-has provided training to more than 4,000 teachers from 785 schools in the Deep South. Hill is the principal trainer for the Southern Institute's cross-cultural communication program which teaches skills to improve communication and collaboration among ethnic groups in the United States.
Hill brings a unique perspective to the analysis of the impact of hurricane Katrina; he is not only an expert on the history of race relations in the Deep South, but he also remained in New Orleans throughout hurricanes Katrina and Rita where he participated in community-organized humanitarian relief work. Hill has published a series of commentaries in local and national publications on his experiences during the rescue and race and equity in issues in the recovery. He has frequently been cited in national media on post-Katrina race relations in New Orleans, including The New York Times, Time Magazine, ABC News and BBC News.
- Caroline Roemer Shirley - Executive Director Louisiana Association of Charter Schools http://lacharterschools.org/
Caroline has more than 20 years of experience organizing, developing and managing corporate and political communications strategies and public policy initiatives with an emphasis on message development and coalition building. Born and raised in Bossier City, Louisiana, Caroline left her home in 1991 to work around the country on political campaigns, eventually founding her own consulting firm, Roemer Bell, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Clients have included mayors, congressmen, governors and Fortune 500 companies.
Returning to Louisiana in 2005, Caroline became the first executive director for the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools in the fall of 2006. The LAPCS currently represents more than 90% of charter schools in Louisiana and is recognized as the leading advocacy organization on behalf of charter schools in the state.
10:15 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Panel Discussion: Take This Job and Love It: Owning Your Own Business in NOLA
Under 30 CEO recently named New Orleans the top city for entrepreneurs and it’s no wonder why. With it rich heritage and vibrant creative scene, the City is inspiring and energetic. The entrepreneurs panel at Rising Tide will feature a frank discussion about what it takes to run a business in the Crescent City. Topics will include finding a space for your business, navigating city hall, and alternative spaces for doing business.
Moderator: Victoria Adams
Victoria Adams is the current Network Relations Manager at The Idea Village, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit with the mission of identifying, supporting, and retaining entrepreneurial talent in the city of New Orleans. She manages a network of over 500 professionals, government officials, and thought leaders to support a growing ecosystem of entrepreneurs. Prior to The Idea Village, Victoria worked extensively in the music industry, including The Recording Academy, Rehage Entertainment, and the ESSENCE Music Festival. She is a native of Miami, Florida and a graduate of Loyola University, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Industry Studies with a minor in Business Administration.
Rhonda Findley - Co-Owner of Pop City and Fun Rock’n, Rhonda has almost fifteen years of retail experience. Her most recent venture, a clothing company called To The Nines, sells vintage-inspired clothing and will be adding a charitable component in 2013 that donates uniforms to a school in Africa. (Facebook)
Jeremy Miller - A combination of tasteful design mixed with the know-how of web development yields the one Jeremy Miller (No, we’re not talking about Ben Seaver from Growing Pains). With more than six years of both design and development experience, Jeremy has refined the web process of bringing a project from concept to finish.
In 2009, Jeremy co-founded SHULTZILLA, a NOLA-centric apparel company. While continuing to work with SHULTZILLA, in 2011 Jeremy co-founded JAM Creative, a print and digital communications firm.
JAM Creative has worked with notable clients such as The Rum House, Delfeayo Marsalis, Byblos, and The New Movement Theater. Jeremy is JAM’s HTML hero, CSS guru, jQuery ninja, and WordPress wonder boy.
Jeremy sits on the Creative Committee of the Advertising Club of New Orleans where he helped develop the organization’s new brand. He continues to serve on the committee, overseeing and maintaining the brand standards of the organization.
This techie can usually be found reading about the web industry, growing his already-existing knowledge and aptness, which allows JAM to bring its clients the most current technologies. Aside from reading articles and blogs on the web industry, Jeremy enjoys watching the SyFy channel, grilling sausage, and mowing the lawn. Well, that’s mostly true- mowing the lawn isn’t something he really enjoys doing at all. (Twitter)
Mindy Airhart -
Mrs. Mindy Nunez Airhart is President of The Greenhart Group, a woman- and minority-owned construction company located in New Orleans, and Business Development Manager of Southern Services & Equipment, Inc., a heavy construction and metal fabrication contractor in St. Bernard, Louisiana. In 2011 she testified at the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship's Panel on “Disaster Recovery: Evaluating the Role of Americaʼs Small Business in Rebuilding Their Communities”. A graduate of Tulane University, she resides in New Orleans with her husband Justin and her two children, Jacques and Marigny.
11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Community or Commodity?
We've all heard it said that "tourism is the lifeblood of the New Orleans economy." The city is a frequent host to major conventions and high-profile special events and boasts a burgeoning film industry subsidized by a generous state tax credit.
But as the city's economy becomes more and more dependent on the selling of its culture and entertainments, does the commodification of those elements also stifle them? As we focus more and more on selling "what makes New Orleans New Orleans" to visitors, at what point does the culture produced and revered by the city's residents cease to belong to them anymore?
At times it feels like our most beloved public spaces are always up for sale. Jackson Square becomes the site of a private corporate party, the Superdome gets a hood ornament, the city streets are frequently appropriated by film crews, the sidewalks become guerrilla advertising vectors. Residents can be forgiven for wondering whether just going about the business of living their daily lives they might be interfering with the set of a commercial... or maybe an HBO drama. Even the Mayor, at times, doesn't make distinguishing what's real from what's fake any easier.
What, then, are the real costs and benefits of the "cultural economy" in New Orleans?
Moderator: Kalen Wright
Community activist, contributor to NOLAFemmes.com; more commonly known as "lunanola." As an activist, Wright's efforts and NOLAFemmes posts contributed significantly to voter disapproval of the proposed French Quarter security district tax, prompted the overnight clean-up of Coca-Cola's sidewalk graffiti advertisements in several neighborhoods during the NCAA Men's Final Four competition hosted by New Orleans, and facilitated the ultimate failure of "Hospitality Zone" Senate Bill 573 in the Louisiana Legislature. As the moderator of this panel, she will be "flipping the script" by representing the views of a proponent favoring growth of the tourism industry and the aggressive marketing of New Orleans' culture.
- Brian Boyles - Creative Director of the People Say Project, Boyles graduated from Tulane University, relocated to New York City in 2001, and became active in the city’s spoken word scene. Beginning in 2003, he developed theater and multi-media events at the Williamsburg Art Nexus in Brooklyn, as well as directing performances at the Sideshow Gallery and the Brecht Forum. His collaboration with choreographer Luke Miller, The Pet Goat, was a Village Voice “Pick” during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. He has been a featured performer at the Charlie Parker Festival, the Vision Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club, and the Theater for the New City’s Summer Festival, and a contributor to The New York Theater Review, The Maple Leaf Rag,11211, OffBeat, SLAM, The Brooklyn Rail, Gathering of the Tribes Magazine, and Louisiana Cultural Vistas. A DJ and founding member of East Village Radio, he returned to New Orleans in 2006 and began developing programming at the Louisiana Humanities Center (LHC), including the “As Told By Themselves: The New Orleans Brass Bands” oral history project and the LHC’s acclaimed series on the history of the New Orleans mayoralty. In 2011, he was named to Gambit Weekly‘s 40-under-40 list.
- Deborah Cotton - Deborah "Big Red" Cotton is a communications consultant, freelance writer and videographer. She has worked as a writer/blogger for AOL, BET, EURweb, Nola.com, and neworleans.com, covering post-Katrina recovery, politics, life, and culture in New Orleans. She is currently writing for Gambit’s Blog of New Orleans, covering second line parades, brass bands, and Mardi Gras Indian culture. She has the largest online archive of brass band and second line parade footage with over 550 videos on her Big Red Cotton YouTube channel. Please also see her personal blog site, Big Red Cotton Presents... 'Notes from New Orleans.'
- Mari Kornhauser - Independent filmmaker, French Quarter resident, advocate for abused pit-bulls. She also is an associate professor teaching screenwriting in the LSU creative writing program and has written for HBO's "Treme" since Season Two.
- Meg Lousteau - Has been active in neighborhood and civic issues, professionally and as a volunteer, for 17 years. For the past four years, she’s been the director of the Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates, a non-profit neighborhood advocacy group formed in the 1930s to protect and preserve the French Quarter. VCPORA organized the opposition to this year’s failed Hospitality Zone legislation, which would have transferred significant amounts of control of the Quarter and Central Business District from elected representatives to political appointees and representatives of the tourism industry. She chaired the Jackson Square Task Force, which Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer created in response to the outcry over the use of Jackson Square and its environs for the NFL season kickoff event in 2010. Meg was a founding member of the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association, served on its board for five years, and has spent the past nine years renovating her home in that nationally-significant neighborhood.
- John McCusker - Is a photographer for the Baton Rouge Advocate New Orleans Edition. Prior to that, he worked at theTimes-Picayune for 26 years. He is the author of Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz and founder of the New Orleans Jazz History Tour. He is a New Orleans native.
- Alex Rawls - After five-plus years editing OffBeat Magazine, Alex Rawls left to launch his own website, My Spilt Milk, which focuses on New Orleans' culture with an emphasis on music. It's the logical extension of his work at OffBeat and Gambit, where he served as music editor before Hurricane Katrina. He has also written on recovery issues for national outlets, and is currently guest-editing Oxford American's music issue, which this year will focus on Louisiana.
11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Neighborhoods: Shake For Ya 'Hood (If It's All Good).
In New Orleans, a neighborhood is more than just a geographic boundary--it’s a way of life. Whether it’s the hipster chic of the Bywater, the quiet of Broadmoor, or the class and convenience of Uptown, each area has it’s own distinct personality. New Orleanians are fiercely proud of their neighborhoods as well working hard to keep them beautiful, protect their unique identity, and encourage smart growth. In this panel we will explore the role of neighborhood associations in New Orleans--how they identify the needs of their community, communicate effectively, and create change that benefits all. Join Andrew Amacker, president of Neighbors United Freret Street, Mandy Pumilia, president of the Bywater Neighborhood Association, and LaToya Cantrell, President of the Broadmoor Improvement Association.
Andrew Amacker - Andrew Amacker was raised in New Orleans and has lived in the Freret neighborhood since 2004. Since Katrina, he has conducted a recovery planning process, coordinated zoning issues, and conducted neighborhood surveys in the Freret and Milan areas. Currently Andrew Amacker is President of Neighbors United, the neighborhood association for the Freret and Milan neighborhoods.
LaToya Cantrell - LaToya Cantrell has served as president of the Broadmoor Improvement Association since 2005 and has been nationally recognized for her post-Katrina recovery efforts by the National Trust of Historic Preservation. She led the neighborhood is rebuilding efforts after the storm and Broadmoor now boasts an education corridor with a new school, library, and a health center will be added in 2013. She is a graduate of Xavier University and a member of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church.
Mandy Pumilia - Mandy Pumilia is President of the Bywater Neighborhood Association and Executive Director of the Faubourg St. Roch Project. The Faubourg St. Roch Project is a New Orleans-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to a holistic revitalization of the St. Roch neighborhood. In these roles she works in fundraising, grant writing, and budget oversight.
12:45 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Lunch - Juan's Flying Burrito Taco Bar
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Keynote: Lolis Eric Elie
"At War With Ourselves: New Orleans Culture at the Crossroads . . . Again . . . And Again . . . . And . . . "
In the matter of jass, New Orleans is particularly interested, since it has been widely suggested that this particular form of musical vice had its birth in this city -- that it came, in fact, from doubtful surroundings in our slums. We do not recognized the honor of parenthood, but with such a story in circulation, it behooves us to be last to accept the atrocity in polite society, and where it has crept in we should make it a point of civic honor to suppress it. Its musical value is nil, and its possibilities of harm are great.
- Times-Picayune editorial, June 20, 1918 (page 4, Column 2)
Bio: Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans based writer and filmmaker. Most recently, he joined the staff of the HBO series Treme. Working with the award-winning director Dawn Logsdon, he coproduced and wrote the PBS documentary, Faubourg Treme: the Untold Story of Black New Orleans. His essay, “America’s Greatest Hits,” is included in Best African American Essays: 2009.
From 1995 to 2009, he wrote a thrice-weekly column for the New Orleans’ Times-Picayune. A recognized expert on New Orleans food and culture, he is the author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and co-producer and writer of Smokestack Lightning: A Day in the Life of Barbecue, the documentary based on that book. He is editor of Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing.
A contributing writer to The Oxford American, his work has appeared in Gourmet, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Downbeat and The San Francisco Chronicle among other publications. His work is included in the anthologies Best Food Writing: 2008, Streetlights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience, and That‘s What I Like (About the South: and Other New Southern Stories for the Nineties). A former commentator for CBS News Sunday Morning, he has also appeared often on National Public Radio programs.
He has an MA from the Columbia School of Journalism in New York and an MFA from the University of Virginia.
3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Oil & Water
Dr. Thomas is the past president of the Association of Nature Center Administrators and has served on the Accreditation Commission of the American Association of Museums, and as chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Thomas received his doctorate in vertebrate zoology from Texas A&M University and holds adjunct professorships at the University of New Orleans, Tulane University, and Louisiana State University. http://www.loyno.edu/lucec/
On August 29, 2012, South Louisiana underwent a sobering exercise in deja vu when Hurricane Isaac's storm surge nearly matched that of Katrina causing major damage outside of the federal levee system and catching many residents by surprise. Was Isaac an aberration or was it a "reality check" for a region whose decimated coastal wetlands no longer protect inhabited areas from even the most common storms?
When Isaac turned out traces of the recent BP Macondo oil disaster with its surge it left a calling card of one of a main contributor to the growing threat to coastal communities. According to the Times-Picayune's landmark 2002 special report, Washing Away, oil and gas exploration has been responsible for "a third to more than half of the erosion that has occurred along Louisiana's coast in the past 100 years, when more than 1 million acres of Louisiana's coast, mostly wetlands, have eroded -- an area the size of Rhode Island."
The boom rush to develop Louisiana's oil and gas wealth has taken a toll not only on the land itself but also on the people and wildlife who inhabit it. Coastal residents, fisherman, and clean up workers report chronic health impacts of exposure to oil and chemicals associated with its production. And despite the barrage of BP funded advertising from tourism promoters, many questions remain about the health of coastal fisheries as well as the consequences of consuming their product.
In 2012 a salt dome operated by a gas production company collapsed into a chemical sinkhole demonstrating once again the risks the industry poses to nearby communities do not exist only in myth and stories. The consequences of exploiting Louisiana's vast mineral wealth in oil and gas are threatening to destroy its natural wealth in wildlife, fisheries, and the communities built around them. Can Louisiana find a way to tame the hazards of an economy that mixes oil and water? Or is it already too late?
Moderator: Robert Thomas
Robert A. Thomas is the director of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola. He served three years as the interim director of the School of Mass Communication. Thomas was the founding director of the Louisiana Nature Center, where he served as the liaison for the community in information pertaining to science education, environmental issues, and natural history.
- Wilma Subra - Committed to protecting the environment and the health and safety of citizens, Wilma Subra started Subra Company in 1981. Subra Company is a chemistry lab and environmental consulting firm in New Iberia, LA. Mrs. Subra provides technical assistance to citizens, across the United States and some foreign countries, concerned with their environment by combining technical research and evaluation. This information is then presented to community members so that strategies may be developed to address their local struggles.
Utilizing the information gained from community involvement, the needs identified are translated into policy changes at the State and Federal level through service on multi-stake holder committees. She has just completed a seven year term as Vice-Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), a five year term on the National Advisory Committee of the U.S. Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and a six year term on the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) where she served as a member of the Cumulative Risk and Impacts Working Group of the NEJAC Council, and chaired the NEJAC Gulf Coast Hurricanes Work Group.
Mrs. Subra holds degrees in Microbiology/Chemistry from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. She received the MacArthur Fellowship "Genius" Award from the MacArthur Foundation for helping ordinary citizens understand, cope with and combat environmental issues in their communities and was one of three finalist in the Environmental Category of the 2004 Volvo for Life Award. Was selected in 2011 as one of the 'Lifetime Remarkable Woman' and most recently won the 2011 Global Exchange, Human Rights Award for her ongoing work with the BP Oil Spill and the communities affected by it.
- Marylee Orr- Executive Director: Louisiana Environmental Action Network http://leanweb.org/, Orr is one of the co-founders of LEAN, which was formed in 1986. Marylee Orr has led LEAN for most of its twenty five years. Marylee didn't intend to work for the environment. In fact, her background was quite eclectic: she worked with Head Start, in real estate, and later owned an art gallery. Her life changed when her son was born with a respiratory illness that makes it incredibly hard for him to breathe. Marylee found inspiration in her son, and wanted to help people who were less prepared to advocate for themselves and the environment around them. An EPA report credits LEAN and Orr with giving a voice to the people concerned about releases of toxic chemicals from local facilities. Orr attributes her motivation to the constant positive pressure from the members, board, and staff to hold polluting facilities accountable.
- Mike Robichaux - Len Bahr of LA Coast Post writes Michael Robichaux, M.D., is a practicing physician from Raceland, Louisiana, who is known affectionately as ‘Dr. Mike’ by thousands of his patients and friends up and down the bayou. When this indefatigable and passionate 65 year-old former LSU football star, one term state senator, part time environmental evangelist and full time physician speaks, it always pays to listen.
- Aaron Viles - Deputy Director Gulf Restoration Network http://healthygulf.org/, Aaron leads GRN ’s response to the BP drilling disaster and the organization’s efforts to protect and restore coastal habitats throughout the Gulf. Aaron began his work for the environment while studying biology at the University of Washington and worked for many years as a Regional Field Director for U.S. PIRG. Aaron serves on the Executive Committee of the Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Board of Advisors of the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, and the Marine Fish Conservation Network. He is a graduate of Green Corps: The Field School for Environmental Organizing, a fellow of the Loyola Institute for Environmental Communications, and served on Governor Bobby Jindal’s environmental transition team. He has appeared on CNN, the PBS NewsHour, NBC News, CNBC, and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today and many other newspapers and media outlets.
Stage 2: 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Mardi Gras Moms and Who Dat Dads -
A Discussion on Parenting in New Orleans
Known around the world for its debauchery, hurricanes, and crime, New Orleans seems an unlikely place to raise a child. So why would you stay here, or even move here, to do so?
Mardi Gras Moms and Who Dat Dads will explore the strong cultural and familial bonds that make New Orleans hard to resist, but also those dark moments that make us second-guess ourselves. While some of the issues parents face here are typical of urban America, others are distinctively Nola, and the intersection of these can lead to unfathomable obstacles. But the benefits cannot be denied. New Orleans provides one of the most genuine and unique urban upbringings you can have in America today. On a good day, it’s like raising your child in the Land of Oz after living in Kansas; the senses endlessly overstimulated, the passion for life cranked up to maximum. But on a bad day it’s like raising your child in an unstable foreign country - without an embassy to run to.
Parenting here is for those who like great challenges, and curious rewards.
Moderator: Bart Everson
Bart Everson (a.k.a. Editor B) is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband and a father. An award-winning videographer, he is co-creator of ROX , the first TV show on the internet. As a media artist and an advocate for faculty development in higher education, he is interested in current and emerging trends in social media, blogging, podcasting, et cetera, as well as non-technological subjects such as contemplative pedagogy and integrative learning. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana , past president of Friends of Lafitte Corridor , sometime contributor to Rising Tide , and a participant inNew Orleans Lamplight Circle . (Twitter) (G+) (Facebook) (Flickr)
- Keith Spera - A New Orleans native, Keith Spera has written about music at The Times-Picayune since 1996. He was a member of the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina coverage team. St. Martin’s Press published his first book, Groove Interrupted: Loss, Renewal and the Music of New Orleans, in 2011. The father of three children age five and under, including a son with Down syndrome, he chronicles his parenting adventures – and misadventures – in a popular Picayune column called The Paternity Test. (Twitter)
- Ashley Bond - Ashley is the founder of NolaParent.com, a lifestyle journal and forum on raising children in the Big Easy. NolaParent is a practical, anecdotal, first-person guide about bringing up babies, toddlers, and ‘tweens. Her blog features trends, inventions, innovations, inspirations and absurdities as they relate to parenting. Having grown up in Texas as what some indignantly call an “Air Force brat”, Ashley now lives in New Orleans with with her husband, a Black Belt wearing PR czar and her three equally dangerous little girls - all under the age of five. (Twitter) (Facebook)
- Andrea Dewenter - A freelance writer and blogger with a background in public relations, foreign policy, and broadcast news, Andrea is a contributor to various local publications including NolaFemmes.com, The Gambit, NolaParent.com, NolaFrancaise.com,New Orleans Adventure, and her own blog, Pistolette.net. She focuses on issues regarding parenting, education, fitness, and culture in Louisiana, and is a strong advocate for foreign language immersion education in the state. Andrea is a New Orleans native and grew up in St. Bernard Parish. She currently lives Uptown with her husband and two preschoolers whom she’s racing to the French fluency finish line. (Twitter) (G+) (Facebook)
4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Black and White and Red All Over - The Digital Future of the New Orleans Media Market.
Late in the evening of May 23, employees of the Times-Picayune read in the New York Times that their jobs would soon be lost or significantly altered as the 175 year old paper would be folded into a new "digitally focused" media company. The print edition of the paper would be reduced to a three day per week schedule. Over 200 employees would be laid off or reassigned in the process.
The summer following the T-P's announcement has seen a lively discussion about the future of the news media in New Orleans and elsewhere. Some have argued against the changes altogether. Others have suggested they aren't happening fast enough. A still more nuanced and complete view will take into account questions about the needs of the community being served, as well as the costs of "doing journalism" and how those costs are covered.
Looming over all of this is the concern that New Orleans is losing its "paper of record" where a great cross-section of the community is presented with a comprehensive consensus view of the issues and events that matter most to them. Precisely defining the vacuum the Times-Picayune will leave in local news coverage may be an elusive proposition, but in the meantime, there is no shortage of entities and "alliances" lining up to try and fill it.
Will the upheaval in the news industry eventually lead to an era of clearer focus for readers in New Orleans? Or will the fragmented nature of the digital lens merely bring about a more robust confusion?
Moderator: Peter Athas - A longtime New Orleanian, lapsed lawyer and musician, Athas has been blogging about politics, music and whatever else seizes his fancy as "Adrastos" since 2005. His writing appears at First Draft, Humid City, and Back of Town.
- Kevin Allman - Editor at The Gambit, the alt-weekly newspaper in New Orleans, Allman has been the editor of Gambit since 2008, where he has been covering the transition at The Times-Picayune since the night the story broke. In a previous life, he worked for the L.A. Times, and his stories have appeared in publications from The Washington Post to the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Last year, his questioning of then-presidential candidate Michele Bachmann about Louisiana public schools' teaching of "intelligent design" made national news. In July, he received the Press Club of New Orleans' highest honor for editorial writing, the Ashton Phelps Sr. Memorial Award.
- Robert Morris - News Director at Uptown Messenger Morris began his journalism career in 2003 as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in his hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss. He quickly moved to progressively larger newspapers: the Palatka (Fla.) Daily News; The Courier, a New York Times regional paper in Houma, La.; and most recently The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., as first a reporter covering crime, politics and special investigations and finally as editorial page editor. Robert’s reporting has taken him from the inside of a modern-day slave labor camp in northern Florida to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of President Obama. He covered the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast before taking a job at The Courier in Houma. While there, Robert’s coverage of the cultural effects of wetlands loss around Houma and the investigation and arrest of serial killer Ronald Dominique swept the Louisiana Press Association awards.
UptownMessenger.com is a local, independent online source of news, commerce and knowledge for Uptown New Orleans that had its formal launch in September 2010.
- Jason B. Berry - An independent, investigative blogger whose primary focus is on local government corruption here in the New Orleans metro area, Barry has through his own blog, American Zombie, and other local media outlets, helped expose numerous corruption issues ranging from the New Orleans IT office scandal during the Nagin administration to the cover up of the ongoing effects of the BP oil spill. Jason has a background in video production and online media distribution. In 2006 he co-directed a documentary on the New Orleans public school system titled "Left Behind". He is currently working on a new documentary chronicling corruption in the New Orleans metro area in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill that is tentatively titled, "Kleptopolis". He is also a proud recipient of the 2009 Rising Tide Ashley award and contrary to popular belief he has never been sued for libel...at least not yet.
- James O'Byrne - During a 30-year career at The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com, James has held multiple roles, from political reporter to environmental writer to Special Projects editor to Sunday editor and Features editor. He has been director of content for NOLA.com for the past 3½ years. James was a reporter and editor on teams that won two Pulitzer Prizes in 2006 for coverage of Hurricane Katrina, and was an editor on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1996 series on worldwide fisheries depletion. When NOLA Media Group launches in October, James will be Director of State Content, overseeing high school, college and professional sports, legislative and statewide political news, and market expansion projects.
- Katy Reckdahl - As staff reporter for The Times-Picayune, Reckdahl has covered New Orleans since 1999. Her stories have tackled topics from homelessness and HIV-positive women to Mardi Gras Indians and jazz musicians. She has won numerous awards, including a Casey Journalism Center Medal, the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, and the Press Club of New Orleans's Alex Waller Memorial Award.
After Party: 9 p.m. One Eyed Jacks, GBV, "The Club is Open"