"Funny you should mention. Last week I was thinking if only we could bring bloggers to New Orleans to see it for themselves and a conference on what is happening. I think we'd see more posts on the Crescent City."- Scout Prime

After the flood that followed Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, the internet became a vital connection among dispersed New Orleanians, former New Orleanians, friends of the city and of the Gulf Coast region. A surge of new blogs erupted and, combined with those that were already online, a community of bloggers with a shared interest in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast developed. In the summer of 2006, after the success of the first Geek Dinner, and to mark the anniversary of the flood, the newly formed NOLA Bloggers organized the first Rising Tide Conference, taking their shared interest in technology, the internet and social media and turning advocacy for the city into action.

The idea for the conference originated with Scout Prime, then a blogger for First Draft, and a tireless advocate for New Orleans. Her idea resonated with New Orleanian Mark Moseley, "Oyster" of Your Right Hand Thief. It culminated in this post, which brought together the group of New Orleans bloggers who put on the first Rising Tide in August, 2006.

Sept. 13, 2014, 9 a.m.
Conference Venue:
Xavier University, 1 Drexel Drive

Tech School

The Road to Publishing— both self-published and traditional
How Traditional Media is utilizing Social Media
Social Media Roundtable— led by Mary C. Long of Digital Media Ghost
How businesses use Instagram to showcase their brands


9 a.m. Registration

10 a.m.

Panel: Using Mobile Devices to Uncover Seemingly Lost Historical Memory of the Confederacy, Leprosy, and White Supremacy in New Orleans

New Orleans residents, both natives and more recent arrivals, enjoy participating in the city’s collective historical memory. Nevertheless, much of the past remains unexamined and often unknown. Three UNO graduate students with varied research interests share a desire to make new historical research available to the public even before their theses are defended.

This is a panel presentation on digital iterations of South Louisiana’s historical memory. The panel will feature three online and mobile tours developed for New Orleans Historical that reveal stories about Louisiana’s past that have been either misrepresented or ignored in historical memory.

Jessica Dauterive will present a tour she has developed on the social history of New Orleans under Federal occupation during the Civil War, centering on the song “Bonnie Blue Flag.” This Confederate anthem was outlawed as political action against the Union, but laws were unsuccessful in silencing the voices of New Orleanians. The song has remained a part of the soundscape of the region, reappearing in compilations of Confederate-­‐era sheet music, classrooms (those restricted for white students) throughout New Orleans during the Jim Crow period, and even modern video game and movie soundtracks. Through “Bonnie Blue Flag,” Jessica will discuss an aspect of New Orleans’ rich musical tradition that extends beyond jazz.

Kevin McQueeney will focus on Palmer Park, a small park located in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans. This work offers a micro-­‐history of the park while examining issues that affected the park: the annexation of Carrollton by New Orleans; the struggle for Carrollton to maintain its own identity and autonomy, seen in the push to prevent the takeover of the park by the New Orleans Recreation Department; issues of race, seen in the efforts to keep the park a “white space” through the 1970s; the impact of changes in the surrounding neighborhoods, major historical events, and larger forces in the city; the park as a gathering space for various community events and organizations; and the continued struggle over how the space should be used. Special attention will be afforded the question of how to address the community regarding whether or not the park’s current name, selected in 1902 to honor Benjamin Palmer, the “Chaplain of the Confederacy,” should be changed and how best to solicit community input for a proposed renaming of the park. (The park’s original name was Hamilton Square.)

Michael Mizell-Nelson will discuss the efforts of Stanley Stein and The Sixty-Six Star newspaper he founded in 1931 at the National Leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, which laid the groundwork for reforms fully realized only after a medical cure was developed in the 1940s. Patient newspapers commonly existed in tuberculosis sanatoriums and other isolation hospitals, but none developed beyond the limited goals of reporting hospital news and patient gossip. Hospital administrations typically started newsletters as a therapeutic pastime for the patients. Carville's patients decided to create their newsletter using a donated mimeograph machine. They transformed the Star into an internationally circulating publication that challenged the local hospital administration and Public Health Service officials as well as the public’s ossified misconceptions of the disease. The sulfone drug breakthrough of the 1940s afforded patients the physical energy required to manage their reform movement, but the medical success obscures the fact that in the 1930s the patients had already formulated the strategies that they later employed successfully.

11:30 a.m.

Panel: Building Capacity in Marginalized Communities

Community capacity building is the methods by which communities recognize, strategize and mobilize to address or respond to circumstances, conditions, decisions and events that may produce negative physical, social, economic or cultural impacts on communities. The community capacity building panel, presented by the Young Leadership Council (YLC), will focus on the cultural, economic, educational, and social challenges that New Orleans’ most vulnerable communities face, and how the YLC, and other such organizations, hasmobilized vast volunteer-based networks to create, fund and implement new programming in response to those needs.

Scott Sternberg practices law at Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer, LLC. He primarily
practices in the areas of commercial litigation, admiralty and media law in addition to
teaching Media Law at Loyola University. Since joining the YLC in 2010, Sternberg has
been a project leader for the Leadership Development Series, a site coordinator for the
2013 Super Bowl Super Saturday of Service, and serves as General Counsel for the Board of


Curry Smith is the Executive Director of the Young Leadership Council (YLC). He is native of Lafayette, La. Smith earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy from the Murphy Institute at Tulane University.

Kelley Bagayoko is the legislative aide to State Representative Helena Moreno
representing District 93. Since joining the YLC, Kelley has served as a volunteer, project leader, committee member and board member. As a member of the YLC Leadership Development Series class of 2010, she was a part of the group that brought back RECreate.

David T. Baker
is an associate editor for The Louisiana Weekly newspaper. Since joining the YLC, he has worked as a volunteer with a variety of the organization’s projects and committees including the literacy awareness project, One Book One New Orleans. He currently sits on the Board of Directors as VP of Communication.

Richard Pavlick
is an associate with the law firm of Burglass & Tankersley. Since joining the YLC, Pavlick has served as Secretary/General Counsel as well as President of the Board of Directors.

Alyssa Wenck-Rambeau
is the Director of Finance at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial
Convention Center. Since joining the YLC, she has served as President of the Board of
Directors, Treasurer, and VP of Development, among others.

Warren M. M. Surcouf
is a Project Manager for the Fat City Friends and organization in
charge of the revitalization of Fat City. Since 2009, Surcouf has served as project leader for the YLC’s Wednesday at the Square concert series. He has also held several other volunteer positions including Editor of the Streetcar Named Inspire Book. Surcouf has also overseen all aspects of concert production including logistics, food and beverage and public relations. Surcouf is Vice President of Development for the Board of Directors.

2 p.m.

Keynote: Andre Perry, Ph.D. Founding Dean of the College of Education at Davenport University, former Associate Director of the Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education (New Orleans) and former CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network.

'Education is like water; put down your reform rake'

Rakes don’t organize water very well. Likewise, charter schools, vouchers and lotteries aren't the proper tools to deal with the root problems of New Orleans education. New Orleans public schools must become a “unified school district” if the needs of children, families and communities are to be met. Getting, private and parochial school parents to believe we’re all in this together has been and will be the essential problem that needs solving.

About Dr. Perry

Dr. Andre Perry is currently the Founding Dean of Urban Education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI and is responsible for planning and launching Davenport’s new teacher and educational leadership programs. Prior to moving to Michigan, he was a resident of New Orleans and served as the CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network, which was comprised of four charter schools in New Orleans.. Dr. Perry is a regular contributor for the Washington Post is also a columnist for the Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization focused on producing in-depth education journalism out of Columbia University. Perry’s views, opinions and educational leadership have been featured on NBC, CNN, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera America and The New Republic. 

A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Perry earned his Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland College Park. His research and teaching interests are college access and retention, charter schools and immigrant educational rights. In 2011, UNO Press released his book, The Garden Path: The Miseducation of the City.  In his book, Perry uses non-fiction narrative to illustrate the real life tensions in post-Katrina education reform in New Orleans. In addition to The Garden Path,  Perry co-authored the chapter “Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita “published by the Brookings Institution Press.  He also co-authored a chapter in the publication Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance, and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reformpublished by Harvard University Press.  Along with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Perry co-authored the report, PLACE MATTERS for Health in Orleans Parish: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All.

3 p.m.

Panel: Saga at Treme: The Story of How A Quest for Personal Resilience Exposed Incompetence and Waste in Government

City planer Amy Stelly writes, "Last summer, I decided I didn’t want to be fat anymore. So I made a commitment to take advantage of the best deal in town: free water aerobics and swimming classes at the newly renovated Treme Center’s heated indoor pool. I soon discovered others, like me, were attending classes to gain control of their health. There were arthritics looking for relief; diabetics working to bring their blood sugar down; cardiology patients trying to strengthen their hearts; and, most remarkably, a stroke victim who was struggling to walk again. We shared our stories and quickly bonded through an activity that we all grew to love.

As we tirelessly pursued our goals, we began to notice a huge colony of mold on the ceiling of the natatorium. This was particularly disturbing since the center had just undergone a $6.1 million renovation touted by Mayor Landrieu during his 2013 State of the City speech. And as the weather got colder, more and more problems began to surface at Treme, the mayor’s symbol of the city’s resurgence.

During the winter, the pool’s allegedly new mechanical systems failed, leaving us with ice-cold water in our beloved heated pool. Incensed swimmers sprang into action. One left the frigid water and marched down to the office of the New Orleans Recreation Development Corporation, NORDC, to voice a compliant. Another jumped out of the pool to corral a city official upon hearing that the staff was meeting at the center while the morning water aerobics class was in session.

That fateful event led to our real life demonstration of internet activism. I was inspired by the moxie of those two ladies. I decided that the least I could do was to write an email in support of their efforts. In my email, I acknowledged our impromptu meeting with the captured NORDC official and requested a formal meeting that would engage more of our classmates. Our request was granted.

Fourteen irate swimmers greeted the administrators from NORDC, much to their surprise. The officials quickly realized we were unsatisfied and weren’t going to walk away. So city officials decided to continue the conversation.

Through my work as a city planner, I learned that the best way to engage local government was to place our concerns and complaints on the public record via email. I also knew that the best way to draw attention to our cause was to send a series of emails pointedly describing our observations and experiences. Through the emails, I continually questioned the integrity of the building and asked about the use of millions in unrestricted tax dollars. My training as an architectural designer gave me the tools to write what we observed with a great deal of technical acuity. The emails not only caught the city’s attention, they led to a movement that included other users of the Treme Center who saw troubling things that the swimmers did not see. Our simple email campaign has led to a groundswell of support that includes news coverage on television and in print. And it has piqued the curiosity of the Inspector General.

Our findings have shed light on gross incompetence and lack of oversight as well as forced city officials to reveal that costs for the shoddy renovation of the Treme Center exceeded the winning bid by170%! On top of that, we discovered that laws have been broken!

As the city embarks on conversations about resilience, its stewardship of the Treme Center sadly symbolizes an all-too-familiar, impaired New Orleans – wasteful and opaque. The Treme community’s drive shows that the people are willing stand up and demand that the city get things right. They’re demanding resilience and won’t rest until that’s achieved.

Saga at Treme will be presented through PowerPoint and a discussion that focuses on tips and strategies for effectively engaging government through email communication. The session will also feature a discussion with the players who started the ball rolling. They worked to build community support at the grassroots level and have chosen to vocalize their displeasure as our engagement with the City of New Orleans continues to heat up."

4 p.m.

Panel: Religion in Post-Katrina New Orleans

A conversation among representatives from diverse faith/spiritual communities over how such communities have been instrumental in the recovery of people's spiritual health and emotional/psychological well-being since the flooding of New Orleans in 2005.

Charlotte Klasson – The New Orleans Secular Humanist Association

Matt Rousso – Maryknoll Mission Education Office & St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish

Tahera “Ty” Siddiqui – New Orleans Lamplight Circle

Rev. William Thiele – The School for Contemplative Living

 Rev. Tom Watson -  Senior Pastor at Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries


Sept. 14, 2013, 9 a.m.
Conference Venue:
Xavier University, 1 Drexel Drive
Lunch: Juan's Flying Burrito Taco Bar
Ashley Award: TBA

9 a.m.: Breakfast and Registration

10 a.m.
Panel: Creating Community for Writers of Color: MelaNated Writers Collective

Far too often writers of color are unheard, under-represented, and undervalued in the literary world. MelaNated Writers Collective was established in 2010 to create a network of support and resources for writers of color in New Orleans.

MelaNated Writers is a contemporary incarnation of previous black artist collectives in New Orleans such as: Negro Writers Project, a BLKARTSOUTH, the Congo Square Writers’ Union, and more recently, NOMMO Literary Society.

While some of the MelaNated writers are originally from cities like Memphis, Chicago and San Francisco all currently call New Orleans home.  While the group is predominantly composed of Black writers, it includes members who have roots in the Philippines and India. MelaNated Writers are journalists, prize-winning playwrights, fiction authors, poets, and even one Pulitzer winner.

MWC has hosted a number of successful literary events: A MelaNated Summer (2012), a series of public readings held at locations around the city like the New Orleans Museum of Art and JuJu Bag attracted more than 300 literature lovers; MWC’s signature event, The Literary Jook Joint (December 2012) featured nationally-renowned poet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis as well as local legends Dr. Jerry Ward, Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy and Kalaamu ya Salaam; The Literary Jook Joint (March 2013) held in conjunction with the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. MWC also engages a local and national audience on Facebook and Twitter.

Despite changes in the publishing world and local dismal literacy rates, MWC works to create opportunities for writers that grow the audience for literary artists of color.

Members of MWC will discuss its struggles and success as a collective and why New Orleans is a ripe city for literary rebirth. Panelists will discuss how the group’s mission, vision, writers workshop, and how it engages community and partners with other locals.

Moderator: Jarvis Q. DeBerry, an editorial writer and columnist, has written for The Times-Picayune since 1997. He was on the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. In 2007, 2011 and 2013, his column was given first prize by the Louisiana/Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors Association. DeBerry has had poetry published in several anthologies, most recently The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South.


jewel bush is a writer whose work has appeared in The Courier, The Washington Post and The Times-Picayune among other publications. bush has participated in the Voices summer workshop for writers of color at the University of San Francisco as well as Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop at Texas A&M University. In July 2010, she founded MelaNated Writers, a multi-genre collective for writers of color in New Orleans. jewel writes a weekly opinion column on politics, literature and women's issues for the Uptown Messenger, a news/media website.

David Thaddeus Baker is a media coordinator and journalist based in New Orleans, LA. He is a native of the city and works as an associate and web editor for The Louisiana Weekly newspaper – the oldest African-American newspaper in the Southeast Louisiana region – where he has been employed since 2004. Baker earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Dillard University in 2004 and has studied Public Relations at Tulane University’s University College. Baker began writing in the early years of high school where he wrote creative fiction and essays. It wasn’t until college that he expanded his literary portfolio to include poetry, script- and play-writing.

Kelly Harris Poet and founder of Poems & Pink Ribbons, a writing workshop for breast cancer survivors and their loved ones.  Her poems have appeared in Say it Loud: Poems for James Brown, Pluck Journal, and Yale University’s Caduceus. She also serves on the board of STAIRNola (Star the Adventure in Reading).

Gian Smith is a New Orleans based artist. His craft spans over several media including writing, acting, and video production, but he is probably most notably recognized as a spoken word poet. Gian has made several television appearances, some on local New Orleans stations, some international including VH1 and HBO. His poem ‘O Beautiful Storm’ was featured in a preview for season 2 of HBO’s Treme, which resulted in an interview on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition. Smith is also well known locally for his community organization including NOYOpresents: Pass It On open mic. He and his partners have co-hosted the event since November of 2008. Smith can often be found at local high schools and middle schools when asked to speak to children and aspiring poets.

11:30: Panel: Charter School Access & Accountability

The panel on Charter School Access & Accountability will focus on the following question:

Are charter schools in New Orleans more or less responsive to democratic principles than our old School Boards, and how can we address the access and accountability issues for the present and future of New Orleans?

As 80% of our public schools are now Charter Schools, the business of covering charter schools has moved from weekly Parish-wide school board meetings to a variable number of meetings by a much larger number of Boards, which leaves the coverage up to more flexible news organizations like The Lens and Uptown Messenger.  Charter schools and these  reporters often tussle over the exceptions to open meetings laws, public records requests and other access issues.  Do parents have similar issues? What is the parent’s recourse if they are not happy with how their charter school is run?


Scott Sternberg is an attorney at the firm of Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer. Among many other clients he works for The Lens and Uptown Messenger, and represents clients before the Louisiana Board of Ethics and other governmental entities. Sternberg has worked with the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, among  other good government groups.  Sternberg is married to an educator and consequently holds some teacher-oriented views on education policy.


Steve Beattyis the editor of The Lens news website. He originated the Lens’ Charter School Reporting Corps, which covers boards that govern over 75 schools in Orleans Parish. This year the Corps won The New Orleans Press Club’s first place award for Community News.  Beatty has three children who attend charter schools.

Jaimme Collinsis an attorney at Adams & Reese who regularly represents charter schools. In 2013, Collins received the National Diversity Council's Glass Ceiling Award for her diversity efforts and leadership in the workplace. In 2011, she received "Women of the Year" honors from New Orleans CityBusiness. Collins is a member of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans— an agency which is dedicated to offering free mental health services exclusively to children.

Marta Jewsonis a freelance journalist who covers charter schools for The Lens and Uptown Messenger. From 2010 to 2012 she served as an AmeriCorps member with Project Homecoming while working as a freelance reporter. After interning at Gambit, Marta began reporting for The Lens’ Charter School Reporting Corps in the fall of 2011. She began reporting for Uptown Messenger in the fall of 2012, and Mid-City Messenger in January 2013.

Aesha Rasheedis a consultant and researcher who formerly reported on education for the Times Picayune. In 2007 Rasheed created the  “New Orleans Parents Guide,” an essential resource for information on public and charter schools in New Orleans. She also founded the New Orleans Parent Organizing Network, which supports parents in their effort to organize for quality public schools. This summer Rasheed was recognized with a Point of Light award for her work to improve education in the city.

Noon: Lunch - Juan's Flying Burrito Taco Bar

1:45 p.m.: Presentation of the Ashley Award

2 p.m. Keynote: LT. General Russel Honore

Honore commanded the Joint Task Force responsible for coordinating military relief efforts in areas effected by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans. His leadership in 2005 provided a stark contrast to failures by FEMA and other government entities. Currently Honore is a Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization and a CNN Preparedness Contributor. 

His latest book is "Leadership in the New Normal."

This year Honore has spoken on preparedness topics related to the Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster as well as the Flood Authority's coastal erosion lawsuit against oil and gas companies.

3 p.m. PANEL: Beyond Tourism Beyond Recovery

In a recent editorial, Governor Bobby Jindal became the latest in a growing string of commenters to call New Orleans “America’s Comeback City.”   Since 2007, its population has grown faster than that of any other American city. And over the course of its long recovery from disaster it has largely bucked the trend of national economic downturn.

As the recovery period draws to a close, how is the city preparing to maintain this momentum? According to the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, “the New Orleans area has experienced notable growth in knowledge–based industries, including higher education and insurance services, while maintaining older industrial strengths.”  In 2012 New Orleans led the nation in business startups per capita.  The New Orleans Business Alliance has completed a strategic plan to take advantage of these assets and build a stronger more diverse economy as the city moves forward.

But even with these developments in progress, New Orleans remains as reliant as ever on tourism.

Tourism has been the city’s traditional calling card and remains so through the recovery.  But its dominance is not without consequences. Tourism wields tremendous influence on the city’s business community, on its politics, and ultimately on the day to day life of its residents.

Residents often complain that the city prioritizes the needs of the tourism business over those of neighborhoods with regard to streets, lighting, transit and other basic infrastructure.   Meanwhile, within those neighborhoods, businesses dedicated to fostering New Orleans’s trademark cultural cache can create livability issues for nearby residents who have to deal with the noise, litter, and other inconveniences associated with city’s famous amusements.

Finally, the very act of turning the city’s unique cultural heritage into a set of mass produced touring experiences can diminish the authenticity of that very culture.  Is it worth it? According to a recent Loyola University study, the average salary in tourism and hospitality is only $26,000.

Can we do better by the waiters, cooks, musicians, artists, tour guides and the like who support the “cultural economy”? Does the industry  have too heavy and influence on the city’s major land use and infrastructure decisions?  How do we balance the demands of the tourism industry with the needs of neighborhoods and those of us who just like to live here?  And is the city doing enough to diversify its economy beyond tourism as it moves beyond recovery?

Moderated by Charles Maldonado: Staff Writer at The Lens

Charles Maldonado is The Lens’ government accountability reporter, covering the city of New Orleans and other local government bodies. He previously worked for Gambit, New Orleans’ alternative newsweekly, where he covered city hall, criminal justice and public health. Before moving to New Orleans, he covered state and local government for weekly papers in Nashville. In Knoxville, Tenn., Maldonado received numerous awards for his reporting of a billion-gallon coal ash spill at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant. A native of Detroit, Maldonado and his wife are expecting their first child.

Kevin Fox GothamPh.D. is a professor of sociology and associate dean of academic affairs in the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University in New Orleans. He has research interests in urban redevelopment, real estate and housing policy, tourism, and post-disaster recovery and rebuilding, and sustainability studies.

He is the author of several books including: Race, Real Estate and Uneven Development (2014 SUNY Press), Authentic New Orleans: Race and Culture in the Big Easy (2007, New York University Press), and Critical Perspectives on Urban Redevelopment (2001, Elsevier). His new book (co-authored with Miriam Greenberg), Crisis Cities: Disaster and Redevelopment in New York and New Orleans (Oxford University Press) will be released in early 2014.

Brice Miller is a New Orleans jazz trumpeter and cultural engagement and public humanities specialist. For many years he taught jazz education for New Orleans Public Schools and created K-16 music and art education programs.He is presently a research assistant for the division of student affairs at The University of Alabama where he is a PhD candidate graduating in December 2013. His research is ethnographic study on brass bands in post-Katrina New Orleans. He is the former assistant director for Crossroads Community Center and the Division of Community Affairs at The University of Alabama (2007-2012).

As a jazz artist and performer, Miller has enjoyed a phenomenal career as a musician and entrepreneur, traveling internationally since age 17. He is also the leader of Mahogany Brass Band, one of New Orleans’ only young brass bands maintaining the legacy of the tradition while still pushing the genre forward. Miller has performed at Carnegie Hall on three separate occasions, Kennedy Center, festivals throughout Europe including Umbria and North Sea jazz festivals, and Tivoli Gardens in Denmark to name a few.

Miller is a two-time graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, where he earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education and a Master’s in Educational Administration and Leadership. Miller works for The University of Alabama Crossroads Community Center, an initiative of the Office of Community Affairs.  He is an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. candidate at The University of Alabama with a concentration in community and scholarly engagement using the arts and public humanities.

Meg Lousteauis the executive director of the Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates (VCPORA), a non-profit neighborhood advocacy group formed in the 1930s to protect and preserve the French Quarter. Lousteau also serves on the board of the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association, and on the PRC’s Property Advisory Committee.

Lousteau earned a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans’ College of Urban and Public Affairs. She worked as assistant director of the Preservation Resource Center’s Operation Comeback program, and later became founding executive director of the Louisiana Landmarks Society. After Katrina, Lousteau became involved in real estate and renovations. However, her love of preservation and advocacy lured her back to the non-profit world, and in November of 2008, she accepted a position as the first executive director of VCPORA.

Robin Keegan is a professional planner at GCR Inc. with over 18 years of experience in housing, economic development, community planning and housing program design. She is currently managing the New Orleans Economic Development Plan for the Business Alliance and spearheading housing recovery efforts in New York post-Hurricane Sandy. Before joining GCR, Keegan served as Director of Real Estate Planning for the Housing Authority of New Orleans and Executive Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, overseeing $14 billion in funds for housing, infrastructure and economic development initiatives.

Keegan earned an M.S. in Planning and Preservation from Columbia University and a B.A. from Macalester College. Before moving to Louisiana, Keegan provided economic development consulting services in New York, serving as Deputy Director for the Center for an Urban Future and Project Manager for the New York Industrial Retention Network. She has served as Adjunct Professor in Economic Development at Columbia, instructing on economic development through the arts.

Mark Romig serves as President and CEO of the New Orleans TourismMarketing Corporation (NOTMC), the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency. He is an established public relations and marketing professional and is accredited (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America. Romig has been involved in a variety of historic and milestone events throughout his career, including the development of the Hotel Inter-Continental New Orleans, the 1984 Louisiana World’s Fair, and the wildly successful Idea Village New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Romig was recently tapped by the Saints to succeed his father Jerry as the Stadium Announcer for the home games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He was Co-Chair of the Media & PR Committee for the New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee.

Romig is a member of the Board of Trustees and Board Secretary for Xavier University of Louisiana and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. He currently serves as a member of the New Orleans City Park Board of Commissioners and on the board of directors for Covenant House New Orleans. Romig taught public relations courses at Tulane’s University College for several years.

Romig graduated from Brother Martin High School and attended the University of New Orleans, where he received his B.S. from the School of Business Administration (School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration). He was named the school’s outstanding alumnus in 2012.


Want to learn more about using social media? Katy Monnot, author of Bird on the Street, hosts Tech School at Rising Tide 8 

10 a.m.

Working With Bloggers –Join Bridgette Duplantis from Experimental Mommy; Maria Sinclair from Babies, Blogging, and the Bayou; and Shercole King from Goodnola.com and Minoritywierdos.comfor a discussion on how small, local businesses can leverage the power of blogs to help with promotions. Moderated by Victoria Adams, Director of Content Strategy at the Idea Village.

11:30 a.m.

Using Visual Tools in Online Promotion 

Addie K Martin of Culicurious.com and Jess Leigh of Jess Leigh Jewels answer questions about selecting the right images, when to share, and how to maximize marketing potential.

Moderated by Cara Jougelard of Peanuts are Evil Photography.

12:15 p.m.

Content Marketing – presented by Steve Maloney of Search Influence.

3 p.m.

Personal Branding: When You are What You’re Selling – Megan (Braden-Perry) Capone, Celeste “Metry Chick” Haar, and Marielle “NOLA Chick” Songy talk about how to promote yourself and present your work.

3 p.m.:

For Fasion and Llifestyle Bloggers



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

Lawrence 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.

Stage 2:
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 ReviewThe Maple Leaf Rag,11211, OffBeat, SLAM, The Brooklyn RailGathering 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.  

Stage 2:
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.
- 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
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.

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/ 

  • 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.comNolaFrancaise.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 DraftHumid 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"


Aug. 27, 2011

Friday Night Party: Tracey's, 2604 Magazine St, 7 p.m.
Conference Venue:
Xavier University
Lunch: J'Anitas
Ashley Award: TBA

8 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Registration & Breakfast
8:55 a.m. - 9:05 a.m. 
Rising Tide Welcome Comments
9:05 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
Sister Monica Loughlin, SBS,  Xavier University Welcome Comments

9:15 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. 
Morning Keynote
: How New Orleanians came to perceive, delineate, name-- and argue about-- the neighborhoods of their city.

Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella is the author of six critically acclaimed books on the physical and human geography of New Orleans, including "Bienville's Dilemma," "Geographies of New Orleans," and "Lincoln in New Orleans." The only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year award, Rich has also received the Williams Prize for Louisiana History and the Mortar Board Award for Excellence in Teaching from Tulane University.

10:15 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.
Panel Discussion:
Social Media, Social Justice

10:15 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.
Advanced Wordpress Techniques for Bloggers 

Chris Boudy
Chris is a native New Orleanian whose love for technology has spilled over into all aspects of his life.  As a web designer, Chris has worked with small and large organizations helping them develop web strategies and implement on large scale web projects. 


  10:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
FSC Interactive
 On using Google+ and Facebook Places.

With ten years combined experience in New Orleans, Seattle and San Diego, McKenzie has worked with a variety of clients in multiple industries including law, education, telecommunications and publishing.



11:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Neighborland is a new way to shape the development of New Orleans. We started with a simple question: What if we could easily see what people want in their neighborhoods?

Alan Williams
Alan is Community Manager for Neighborland.org, a New Orleans based social media platform supporting civic engagement and entrepreneurship.



12:10 p.m. - 12:40 p.m.

Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.

Justin Shiels
Justin is a digital strategist and creative entrepreneur. He is the founder of InvadeNOLA.com, an online magazine that mirrors the tone of our great city: authentic, multicultural and fun. 


3:05 p.m. - 3:35 p.m.
Louisiana Bloggers Network

Photography / design for blogs and online content.

Katy Monnot
A long-term personal blogger, the Louisiana Bloggers Network is an organization dedicated to the promotion and support of Louisiana bloggers.

Kerry Maloney
A New Orleans based freelance photographer, she shoots locally for The Times-Picayune and the Associated Press and runs a wedding photography business. She blogs for her websites at kerrymaloney.com/blog and blog.joiedujourphotography.com 


3:40 p.m. - 4:10 p.m.
Know your intellectual property rights for online content

With Ben Varadi

More and more people around the world use blogs and social network services. Their power to connect people and publish diverse voices raises questions about the possibility of using new media as organizing tools for social change. For example, blogs played a crucial role in organizing protests in Jena, Louisiana, in 2007. This panel will examine the intersection and interaction of social media with the struggle for a more just and humane society. Can tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs, YouTube, et cetera, facilitate such work, and if so how? We’ve all heard about how social media fueled the revolution in Egypt, but what’s going on locally? Conversely, might social media actually impede the struggle for justice? Are we just “amusing ourselves to death”? Does new media present new opportunities, or do we face the same issues as ever?

Dr. Kimberly Chandler - Dr. Kimberly J. Chandler is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. As well, she is a faculty contributor to the Women’s Studies program at Xavier. In 2011, Dr. Chandler began a blog as an extension of her work in gender and communication entitled, “Confessions of an Ex-Superwoman.” Dr. Chandler is a passionate advocate for the use of service-learning as a method of instruction within the classroom. In doing so, she engages in the use of social media, especially blogging, in order to expand students’ notions of using one’s voice as an instrument of social justice and activism.

  • Jordan Flaherty  - Flaherty was the first journalist with a national audience to write about the case of the Jena Six, and his award-winning reporting from the Gulf Coast has been featured in a range of outlets from the New York Times to Al Jazeera to Argentina's Clarin newspaper. He has reported on protest movements in the Middle East and met with Egyptian bloggers after the revolution there. He is the author of FLOODLINES: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six and has blogged at justiceroars.org.

  • Cherri Foytlin - Foytlin is an oil worker's wife, mother of six, Louisiana resident and journalist whose family has been deeply impacted by the BP Oil Disaster and consequential moratorium on deep water drilling. She co-founded Gulf Change, blogs forwww.BridgeTheGulfProject.org, and walked to Washington D.C. from New Orleans (1,243 miles) to call for action to stop the BP oil disaster.  She has been a constant voice, speaking out to the Obama Administration's Gulf Oil Spill Commission, and in countless forms of media.  Cherri will continue her fight for the industries, people, culture and wildlife of south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast "until we are made whole again."

  • Jimmy Huck, Jr. - Huck is a professor at Tulane University in the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and functions as the Center’s Graduate Advisor.  He sits on the Executive Committee of Tulane University’s Center for Public Service and is currently a Board member of Puentes New Orleans. His blog is “The Huck Upchuck” and he has been blogging since August of 2002.  He has been involved in monitoring anti-illegal immigrant legislation in the Louisiana Legislature over the past three years and has traveled up to Baton Rouge on occasion to testify against such legislation.  He has used his blog as well as other social media such as Facebook to mobilize grass-roots action regarding such legislation, and in the general promotion of social justice.  His professional and intellectual interests include re-invigorating the idea of the academy as a proper vehicle for cultivating civic identity, educating for democracy, and transforming knowledge into social action.

  • Stephen Ostertag - Ostertag is a sociologist at Tulane University.  His research and teaching are in the areas of news media, democracy and citizenship; and crime, incarceration and inequalities.  He is currently researching the growing social organization of bloggers and its implications for the production, dissemination, and consumption of news and information.  He also recently started a blog named publicspherenola. Stephen is originally from Connecticut, where he was a volunteer with the Hartford Independent Media Center.

11:40 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.
Panel Discussion:
Re-capping the well
The aftermath of the Macondo oil disaster and the future of the Gulf Coast. A discussion about how what's just happened over the past year will affect the land and the people for years to come.

Moderator: Alex Woodward - staff writer, Gambit, covering the environment, arts and culture of south Louisiana.

  • Anne Rolfes - Founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. Anne began her organizing career in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo. It was there that she first witnessed the destruction of oil production. After six years of working on Nigerian issues, Anne returned to Louisiana in 1999 to protect her home state from petrochemical pollution. Anne was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana where many people made their fortunes from the oil industry. She has seen the wealth and the poverty created by oil production and seeks to make the industry more equitable. In October 2007 Anne was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a Community Health Leader.

  • David Hammer - An award-winning reporter for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. He led the paper's investigation of what went wrong on the Deepwater Horizon rig and broke several stories about key engineering decisions that contributed to the BP well blowout. His beats since the oil spill also include the drilling moratorium and Kenneth Feinberg's administration of spill claims. Hammer is a seventh-generation New Orleanian and a graduate of Harvard University. He worked five years for newspapers in New England and four years with The Associated Press.

  • Dr. Len Bahr - The former director of the Governor's Applied Coastal Science Program who currently publishes the La Coast Post website.
  • Drake Toulouse- A BP and Gulf Coast Claims Facility critic who writes at Disenfranchised Citizen.

  • Bob Marshall - Marshall is The Times-Picayune's Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has spent much of his career chronicling the people, stories and issues of Louisiana's wetlands culture. Although best known as outdoors editor of the newspaper, Marshall's 35-year career includes extensive work as a reporter and columnist covering professional, college and Olympics sports, feature writing, op-ed columns, and special projects specializing in environmental issues.

12:50 p.m. - 2 p.m. Lunch by Janita's

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.  
Afternoon Keynote

David Simon is creator and executive producer of HBO's New Orleans dramaTreme. He is a Baltimore-based former journalist for the Baltimore Sun and television producer of acclaimed programs such as The Corner, The Wire and Generation Kill.

3:05 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.  
Panel Discussion:
New Orleans Food - Continuity and Change
Cooking in all its branches should be studied as a science, and not be looked upon as a haphazard mode of getting through life - Lafcadio Hearn 

These are fascinating times for food culture in New Orleans. The years following the Katrina flood have seen much upheaval and loss but also innovation and rebirth. Boosters frequently boast that there are now more restaurants open in the city than there were before the storm, but the food scene in New Orleans encompasses much more than just a number of operational businesses. While the industry is certainly a key component of the city's economic health, New Orleanians consider their cuisine a core component of their familial and civic identity. Meanwhile, spurred by trends in popular culture, more American cities can lay legitimate claim to first-class dining scenes. How do such trends affect the way we think about food in New Orleans? During a time of rapid change, are the elements that make New Orleans unique being preserved? And what innovations are occuring here that continue to set us apart as a world class culinary destination? Our panel of New Orleans food writers and professionals will address these issues as well as other challenges and rewards of cooking and eating in a city long defined by its love of both tradition and creativity.

  • Todd Price - Freelance writer, featured contributor to the Times-Picayune, former food editor at Offbeat Magazine, columnist at New Orleans Living Magazine, contributor toZagat Survey New Orleans, Fodor's New Orleans, blogger at A Frolic of My Own, author of several local dining guides including a New Orleans' Best Bars iphone app.
  • Peter Thriffley and Rene Louapre - Food columnists at Offbeat Magazine, authors of popular New Orleans food blog Blackened Out.

  • Chris Debarr - Chef at Green Goddess, formerly of The Delachaise, long time New Orleans "excitable chef" blogger

  • Adolfo Garcia - Chef & Owner: RioMarLa Bocaa ManoGustoHigh Hat CafeAncora Pizzaria. From Chef Garcia's bio, "Growing up in New Orleans, Adolfo Garcia was keenly aware of both the city’s culinary reputation as well as dishes his ancestors enjoyed. His family is Panamanian and they loved to travel and explore other cultures. Garcia studied history at the University of Texas, and chose to pursue his passion for gastronomy. Garcia graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. After stages in high-end London, Madrid, and NYC restaurants, he returned to New Orleans eight years later inspired to cook from an historical perspective. He was ready to introduce traditional dishes, albeit ones wholly new to the city.

  • Alex del Castillo - Chef and owner of Taceaux Loceaux Alex and Maribeth Del Castillo are among the pioneers in bringing the gourmet food truck trend to New Orleans and leveraging social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to promote it. They've recently added a permanent location taking over the kitchen at Chickie Wah Wah music club.

4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Ashley Award

The Ashley Morris award was established in 2008 to honor and remember one of the founding members of Rising Tide, Dr. Ashley Morris. It is presented in cooperation with Hana Morris. The award is given annually to someone who embodies Ashley's fierce passionate defense of New Orleans, its people and its culture.

4:35 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Panel Discusion:
Brass. New Orleans. Music.

Moderator: "Big Red Cotton" Deborah Cotton - Writer (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)


"Crude Awakening"

Friday Night Party: Howlin Wolf Den
Conference Venue:
Howlin Wolf
Lunch: Howlin Wolf Den
Ashley Award: Clifton Harris - Cliff's Crib

Keynote: Mac McClelland, Mother Jones' human rights reporter, writer of The Rights Stuff, and the author of For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question: A Story From Burma's Never-Ending War. She was "on the Gulf Coast since the early days of the Gulf oil disaster, and... documented every last drop of it."

Panel Discussion: Public Safety
Moderator: Peter Scharf - Criminologist, Tulane University

  • Ronal Serpas - New Orleans' Chief of Police
  • Jon Wool - directs the Vera Institute of Justice’s New Orleans office,
  • Allen James - executive director of Safe Streets.
  • Susan Hutson - Independent Police Monitor, City Of NOLA

Panel Discussion: 'Paradise Lost' Evironmental panel
Steve Picou
- Environmental blogger at nolamotion.com and dyingoaks.posterous.com.

  • Robert Verchick - Author, "Facing Catastrophe: Environmental Action for a Post-Katrina World"
  • Len Bahr - Founding editor, frequent writer for LACoastPost

Panel Discussion: Politics
Moderator: Peter Athas, Blogger at First Draft

Presentation: 'Why Can’t We Get Some Dam Safety in New Orleans?' by Tim Ruppert blogger at Tim's Nameless Blog

Panel Discussion: 'Down in the Treme' Treme Panel
by Maitri Erwin, Blogger at Back of Town and Maitri's Vatul Blog

Nov. 12, 2009
Presented by Rising Tide

"An Introduction to Blogging for the Utter Novice"

Workshop: Blogging 101

Everybody's talking about blogging, but nobody ever does anything about it. Until now. NOLA Bloggers will instruct on all the basics, including an overview of the available free blogging services, a lesson on how to set up your own blog and some tips on getting your blog noticed. Whether you know a little or a lot, instructors will be on hand to help you get the most of your blogging experience.

"Sinking to New Heights"

Friday Night Party: Avenue Pub
Conference Venue:
Zeitgeist Multi- Disciplinary Arts Center
Lunch:Cafe Reconcile
Ashley Award: Jason Barry, blogger at American Zombie

Keynote: Blogger, actor, comedian and New Orleans activist Harry Shearer

Panel Discussion: Culture
Moderater: Mark Folse, blogger at Toulouse Street

Presentation: Net2NO

Panel Discussion: Politics panel
Moderater: Peter Athas - Blogger, First Draft

Presentation: NO Institute

Panel Discussion: Health Care
Moderater: Holy Scheib

  • Cecile Tebo - crisis unit coordinator for the NOPD
  • Dr. Elmore - Rigamer of Catholic Charities.

Panel Discussion: Sports
Moderater: Jeffrey Bostick, blogger at Library Chronicles

Jan. 31, 2009
Sponsored by Rising Tide

Conference Venue:
Xavier University

Coordinated by Dr. Kimberly J. Chandler - Communications Department and Bart Everson - Center for the Advancement of Teaching

Panel Discussion: The Rise of Blogging and Grassroots Media as Tools for Social Justice in New Orleans and Beyond

  • Clifton Harris - Blogger and Homeless Management Information Systems Coordinator for ViaLink in collaboration with UNITY.
  • Dr. Eban Walters - Blogger/Child Clinical Psychologist
  • Dedra Johnson - Blogger/Author, Asst. Professor of English and Creative Writing and Asst. Dean of Humanities, Dillard University.
  • Paul Beaulieu - Media professional, radio host of "Showtime in the Afternoon" at WBOK, 1230 AM.  

Panel Discussion: Using Blogging and Grassroots Media as an Educational Tool to Realize the Xavier Mission - A Discussion of Best Practices and Student Reflections

  • Dr. Marion Carroll - Asst. Professor, Xavier Chemistry Department; Blogger and Grassroots Media Advocate
  • Dr. Michael Homan - Assoc. Professor - Xavier Theology Department; Blogger and Community Outreach Advocate
  • Dr. Ross Louis - Asst. Professor - Xavier Communications Department; editor, XULAneXUS, Assoc. Dir., Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR) and Faculty In Residence, Center for Student Leadership & Service/Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT).

Panel Discussion: Xavier University student bloggers

- Bart Everson's Flickr photos for Beyond Jena
- Complete audio from the Beyond Jena Conference

"Attack of the Cranes"

John Barry, author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America and commissioner for the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East

Friday Night Party: Buffa's Lounge
Conference Venue:
Zeitgeist Multi- Disciplinary Arts Center
Lunch: J'Anitas
Ashley Award: Karen Gadbois - Squandered Heritage

Panel Discussion: The Past, Present, and Future of Elementary and Secondary Education in New Orleans
Patrick Armstrong, former Recovery School District teacher and at Hurricane Radio

Panel Discussion: Media Panel
Jeffrey Bostick, Blogger at Library Chronicles

Presentation: Levees.org's "The Katrina Myth: The Truth About A Thoroughly Unnatural Disaster." Introduction by Sandy Rosenthal. 

Panel Discussion: Local Politics
Moderator: Peter Athas, Blogger, First Draft

"No Holding Back"

Keynote: Dave Zirin, syndicated columnist and author of Welcome to the Terrordome

Friday Night Party:
Buffa's Lounge
Conference Venue:
New Orleans Yacht Club
Lunch: Dunbar's
Ashley Award: Matt Mcbride - Fix the Pumps

Panel Discussion: Local Politics
Moderator: Kim Marshall, blogger at Dangerblond

Panel Discussion: Writing
Moderator: Greg Peters - Blogger, Suspect-Device

  • Dave Brinks - Poet
  • Joshua Clark - Author of Heart Like Water
  • Sam Jasper - Blogger, Nola Slate
  • Valentine Pierce - Poet and performance artist

Panel Discussion: Making Civics Sexy
Moderator: Maitri Venkat-Ramani, blogger at Maitri's Vatul Blog

Presentation: 'In Levees We Trust' by Tim Ruppert, blogger at Tim's Nameless Blog

Presentation: Fix the Pumps by Matt McBride, blogger at Fix the Pumps


Chris Cooper and Robert Block, Wall Street Journal correspondents and authors of Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security.

Friday Night Party: New Orleans Yacht Club
Conference Venue:
New Orleans Yacht Club
Lunch: Dunbar's
Ashley Award: Ashley Morris - Ashley Morris: The Blog
Service: House Gutting with the Arabi Wrecking Krewe, coordinated by Ray Shea.

Panel Discussion: Personal Viewpoints
Moderater: Mark Moseley, Blogger at Your Right Hand Thief

Presentation: Think New Orleans by Alan Gutierrez

Panel Discussion: Politics
Peter Athas - Blogger First Draft

  • Michael Duplantier
  • Shane Landry
  • Peggy Wilson - former New Orleans City Councilwoman
  • David Jaynes - New Orleans Blogger

Panel Discussion: Influence of Journalists and Bloggers
Maitri Venkat-Ramani, blogger at Maitri's Vatul Blog and Mark Folse, blogger at Toulouse Street

  • Troy Gilbert - Author of New Orleans Kitchens, the Café Degas Cookbook and Dinner with Tennessee Williams.
  • Daisy Pignetti - Blogger, daisypignetti.com
  • Jon Donley - Editor, Nola.com
  • Chris Roberts

Panel Discussion: Bloggers & Neighborhood Associations
Moderators: Morwen Madrigal, Blogger at Gentilly Girl and Peter Athas, Blogger at First Draft