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New Orleans: Christian Org. to Rebuild First Homes
By Associated Press Writer
Becky Bohrer
Wed, Mar. 11 2009 08:07 AM EDT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The state has begun transferring properties it bought in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, with the first of thousands waiting to beredeveloped going to an evangelical organization led by Franklin Graham.

Samaritan's Purse plans to rebuild five homes initially, and up to 50 eventually, in the Gentilly neighborhood, using donations and volunteer labor,project manager Richard Brown said Monday. The organization, which has been involved in aid work on the Gulf Coast since the August 2005 storm, took ownershipof the first four Friday and plans to close on the fifth this week, he said.

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority has been soliciting redevelopment plans, initiating expropriation cases and lining up homeowners interested inbuying the lots next door to them, hoping to move the properties into commerce as quickly as possible once the transfers began.

In all, the agency, known as NORA, expects to receive about 4,450 properties the state bought from hurricane-affected homeowners who didn't want torebuild here after the August 2005 storm and levee breaches. Many of the properties are in hard-hit areas like the Lower 9th Ward, eastern New Orleans andGentilly.

Rob Couhig, a NORA board member, said the agency has a chance to make a "real impact" on areas blighted by derelict properties and struggling torecover or simply maintain since Katrina.

It has been reaching out to large developers, church and neighborhood groups, individuals, nonprofits and others deemed capable of redeveloping propertiesand getting them back into commerce, he said.

"There's nothing more destructive to a neighborhood than a vacant lot or, maybe worse, a vacant house," he said.

Samaritan's Purse plans to provide the new or rebuilt houses mortgage-free, though families would still have to pay for such things as taxes and meetincome and other eligibility requirements, Brown said. About 80 applications have already been turned in, he said.

The funds are committed, and so far there's been no shortage of volunteers for the planned building work, he said.

"The importance of bringing the houses back is huge," he said. "We want to come in and be a catalyst" for blocks to come back.

source: christianpost

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

I started a previous MUSIC RISING thread, but I can't see it here, so reboot and started it again...

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Homes are being rebuilt, I see it every week, it's slow going but it's still going. Gentilly is in New Orleans East and the 9th Ward is just SE ofGentilly. The 9th Ward Makeitright.org homes are going up faster now, that's Brad Pitt's group. Interesting designs, very green with solar. While Idoubt U2 will play down here(POP tour only had 20,000 people in the 80,000 seat Superdome) for NLOTH, at least they have been active helping NOLA rebuild, aswell as playing a few short NFL shows down here! Music Rising T-shirts are still available through Hard Rock Cafe's website.

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2009 Jazz Fest poster featuring Allen Toussaint created by New Orleans artist James Michalopoulos
Posted by Doug MacCash, Arts writer, The Times-Picayune March 13, 2009 11:04AM
Categories: Art, Festivals, Jazzfest, Top News

medium_JazzFestposter.jpg
James Michalopoulos' 'Two Saints: Allen Toussaint and the French Quarter'

New Orleans artist James Michalopoulos was the artist chosen to create the 2009 Jazz Fest poster. The poster, which will be sold online and at the NewOrleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell, features Allen Toussaint.

The poster is entitled: "Two Saints: Allen Toussaint and the French Quarter."

Michalopoulos, for his slanted depictions of New Orleans architecture, created other Jazz Fest poster that featured such musical legends as Louis Armstrong,Fats Domino, Dr. John and Mahalia Jackson.

Watch here for Doug MacCash's review of the poster will be posted here shortly.

For more information about the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
source: nola


New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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2009 Jazz Fest poster featuring Allen Toussaint created by New Orleans artist James Michalopoulos
Posted by Doug MacCash, Arts writer, The Times-Picayune March 13, 2009 11:04AM
Categories: Art, Festivals, Jazzfest, Top News

medium_JazzFestposter.jpg
James Michalopoulos' 'Two Saints: Allen Toussaint and the French Quarter'

New Orleans artist James Michalopoulos was the artist chosen to create the 2009 Jazz Fest poster. The poster, which will be sold online and at the NewOrleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell, features Allen Toussaint.

The poster is entitled: "Two Saints: Allen Toussaint and the French Quarter."

Michalopoulos, for his slanted depictions of New Orleans architecture, created other Jazz Fest poster that featured such musical legends as Louis Armstrong,Fats Domino, Dr. John and Mahalia Jackson.

Watch here for Doug MacCash's review of the poster will be posted here shortly.

For more information about the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
source: nola


New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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Locals want more New Orleans levee dump truck work
Saturday March 14, 3:06 pm ET
Dump truck drivers: Levee work is plentiful in New Orleans, but not for locals. Rally planned.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Dump truck drivers from the New Orleans area say they don't get enough of the levee work in and around the citiy.
They planned a rally Saturday to demand the Army Corps of Engineers see to it that more of the levee work around New Orleans goes to local drivers. However,organizer Dennis Weber said heavy rain forced a postponement until Monday.

The corps is paying trucks to haul tens of millions of cubic yards of dirt to make levees.

A group of truckers spoke out at a corps public meeting Wednesday.

The corps says it will compile a list of local truck drivers and pass it on to contractors. But the agency says it cannot tell contractors who to hire.

source: yahoo

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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Locals want more New Orleans levee dump truck work
Saturday March 14, 3:06 pm ET
Dump truck drivers: Levee work is plentiful in New Orleans, but not for locals. Rally planned.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Dump truck drivers from the New Orleans area say they don't get enough of the levee work in and around the citiy.
They planned a rally Saturday to demand the Army Corps of Engineers see to it that more of the levee work around New Orleans goes to local drivers. However,organizer Dennis Weber said heavy rain forced a postponement until Monday.

The corps is paying trucks to haul tens of millions of cubic yards of dirt to make levees.

A group of truckers spoke out at a corps public meeting Wednesday.

The corps says it will compile a list of local truck drivers and pass it on to contractors. But the agency says it cannot tell contractors who to hire.

source: yahoo

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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A guide to St. Patrick's Day fun in New Orleans
Posted by Molly Reid, Staff writer, The Times-Picayune March 12, 2009 11:45AM
Categories: Festivals, St. Patrick's Day, Top News

medium_St-Patricks-Day-New-Orleans.JPG
Get your green on at one of the great St. Patrick's Day events around the New Orleans area.

With its penchant for parties and its large Irish-American population, local culture has felt the green influence -- from the Yats of the IrishChannel to the revival of Irish pubs such as Finn McCool's in Mid-City.

More St. Patrick's Day fun in New Orleans

For those feeling lucky, there are plenty of opportunities to show off your finest green, imbibe lots of beer and kick-start festival season. Irish pubsthroughout the city will be kicking it into high gear, including beloved Irish Channel watering hole Parasol's, which hosts its annual St. Patrick'sDay Block Party on Tuesday, March 17. Green beer and Guinness will flow. Down in the French Quarter, Pat O'Brien's will entice weekday revelers withdrink specials and giveaways on Tuesday, March 17, at St. Patrick's Day at Pat O's.

medium_St-Patricks-Day-New-Orleans-flowers.JPG
Club members get ready for the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Club parade.

And for parade-goers, the options start tonight and continue through Tuesday:

Mixing up the usual male-only parading, Jim Monaghan's Irish Parade will include such lovely ladies as the Big Easy Rollergirls and the Camel Toe LadySteppers as it rolls Friday, March 13, at 6 p.m. Green-clad riders in horse-drawn carriages, led by the Storyville Stompers marching band and the KazoozieFloozies music group, will start and end at Molly's at the Market, 1107 Decatur St., going down Decatur to Bienville to Burgundy to Conti to Bourbon toGov. Nicholls streets along the way.

Once again, the gentlemen of the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Club will put on tuxedos and parade down Magazine Street, tossing cabbages, giving outflowers and throwing beads. The parade on Saturday, March 14, will be preceded by the 62nd annual St. Patrick's Day Mass at noon at St. Mary'sAssumption Church, 923 Josephine St. The parade starts at 1 p.m. at Magazine and Josephine streets, turns onto Jackson Street to St. Charles Avenue, thencircles back down Louisiana Avenue and Magazine Street to finish at Jackson and Constance streets. On St. Patrick's Day, the organization will host itsninth annual Irish Channel Block Party from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Michael's Special School, 1522 Chippewa St. The party will benefit the school.

The annual Metairie St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, March 15, features Mardi Gras-style floats and trucks, with plenty of produce, beads and flowersbeing tossed down Metairie Road in Old Metairie. The parade starts at noon at Severn Avenue and 41st Street, and proceeds down Metairie Road to end at the 17thStreet Canal at Focis Street.

large_St-Patricks-Day-Slidell.JPG
Miss Slidell 2008 Amanda Perrin hands Nicholas Connon a cabbage during the Olde Towne Slidell Association's annual St. Patrick's Parade last March.This year's parade rolls Sunday.

The Slidell St. Patrick's Day Parade rolls through Olde Towne on Sunday, March 15, at 1 p.m., starting at City Hall, 2055 Second St., and ending atFirst and Erlanger streets.

The Downtown Irish Club marching parade is a stickler for punctuality: It always marches on St. Patrick's Day, no matter what day of the week. StartingTuesday, March 17, at 6:30 p.m., bands and marchers will make their way from Bywater, starting at Desire and Burgundy streets, to the French Quarter,disbanding at Bourbon and Dumaine streets. Stops along the way will include Markey's Bar in Bywater, Mimi's in the Marigny, Tujagues on Decatur Street,Molly's at the Market on Decatur Street and Fritzel's Jazz Pub on Bourbon Street.

medium_Irish-Channel-St-Patrick-Day-Club.JPG
Face-painter Sasha Alhovsky adds a finishing touch of sparkles to Sarah Berger's belly at the outdoor party that packs the streets in front ofParasol's in the Irish Channel.

Other St. Patrick's Day parties:

Holy Name of Jesus St. Patrick's Day Party
6325 Cromwell Place, 504.861.9709
Dinner, dancing and music, 7-11 p.m., Friday, March 13. Tickets are $30 at the door.

Waldorf School of New Orleans St. Patrick's Day Festival
Magazine Street & Washington Avenue, 504.525.2420
Food, crafts, games, music, activities for all ages along the Irish Channel parade route, Saturday, March 14, from 11 to 5 p.m.

St. Patrick's Day Parade Party
1305 Louisiana Ave. (former Our Lady of Good Counsel Rectory), 504.899.1378
Food, beverages and music, Saturday, March 14, from noon to 4 p.m. Proceeds benefit the newly formed Good Shepherd Parish.

Parasol's Block Party
2533 Constance St., 504.899.2054
The annual bash where the green beer flows begins 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, and ends at 7 p.m.

St. Patrick's Day Bash
Clubhouse Bar & Grill, 8133 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, 337.580.5765
Crawfish, oysters, barbecue, green beer, music with Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition, Steve Adams and the Bourre Allstars, Tuesday, March 17, from 2 p.m. until.... No cover. Must be 18. Benefits local charities.

St. Patrick's Day at Pat O's.
718 St. Peters St.
Pat O'Brien's will entice weekday revelers with drink specials and giveaways Tuesday, March 17, with music from The Wise Guys. The restaurant will haveIrish lunch specials. Specials are available 5 p.m. to closing.

Tell us about the parties, parades and fun we've missed!


Molly Reid can be reached at mreid@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3448.
source: nola

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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A guide to St. Patrick's Day fun in New Orleans
Posted by Molly Reid, Staff writer, The Times-Picayune March 12, 2009 11:45AM
Categories: Festivals, St. Patrick's Day, Top News

medium_St-Patricks-Day-New-Orleans.JPG
Get your green on at one of the great St. Patrick's Day events around the New Orleans area.

With its penchant for parties and its large Irish-American population, local culture has felt the green influence -- from the Yats of the IrishChannel to the revival of Irish pubs such as Finn McCool's in Mid-City.

More St. Patrick's Day fun in New Orleans

For those feeling lucky, there are plenty of opportunities to show off your finest green, imbibe lots of beer and kick-start festival season. Irish pubsthroughout the city will be kicking it into high gear, including beloved Irish Channel watering hole Parasol's, which hosts its annual St. Patrick'sDay Block Party on Tuesday, March 17. Green beer and Guinness will flow. Down in the French Quarter, Pat O'Brien's will entice weekday revelers withdrink specials and giveaways on Tuesday, March 17, at St. Patrick's Day at Pat O's.

medium_St-Patricks-Day-New-Orleans-flowers.JPG
Club members get ready for the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Club parade.

And for parade-goers, the options start tonight and continue through Tuesday:

Mixing up the usual male-only parading, Jim Monaghan's Irish Parade will include such lovely ladies as the Big Easy Rollergirls and the Camel Toe LadySteppers as it rolls Friday, March 13, at 6 p.m. Green-clad riders in horse-drawn carriages, led by the Storyville Stompers marching band and the KazoozieFloozies music group, will start and end at Molly's at the Market, 1107 Decatur St., going down Decatur to Bienville to Burgundy to Conti to Bourbon toGov. Nicholls streets along the way.

Once again, the gentlemen of the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Club will put on tuxedos and parade down Magazine Street, tossing cabbages, giving outflowers and throwing beads. The parade on Saturday, March 14, will be preceded by the 62nd annual St. Patrick's Day Mass at noon at St. Mary'sAssumption Church, 923 Josephine St. The parade starts at 1 p.m. at Magazine and Josephine streets, turns onto Jackson Street to St. Charles Avenue, thencircles back down Louisiana Avenue and Magazine Street to finish at Jackson and Constance streets. On St. Patrick's Day, the organization will host itsninth annual Irish Channel Block Party from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Michael's Special School, 1522 Chippewa St. The party will benefit the school.

The annual Metairie St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, March 15, features Mardi Gras-style floats and trucks, with plenty of produce, beads and flowersbeing tossed down Metairie Road in Old Metairie. The parade starts at noon at Severn Avenue and 41st Street, and proceeds down Metairie Road to end at the 17thStreet Canal at Focis Street.

large_St-Patricks-Day-Slidell.JPG
Miss Slidell 2008 Amanda Perrin hands Nicholas Connon a cabbage during the Olde Towne Slidell Association's annual St. Patrick's Parade last March.This year's parade rolls Sunday.

The Slidell St. Patrick's Day Parade rolls through Olde Towne on Sunday, March 15, at 1 p.m., starting at City Hall, 2055 Second St., and ending atFirst and Erlanger streets.

The Downtown Irish Club marching parade is a stickler for punctuality: It always marches on St. Patrick's Day, no matter what day of the week. StartingTuesday, March 17, at 6:30 p.m., bands and marchers will make their way from Bywater, starting at Desire and Burgundy streets, to the French Quarter,disbanding at Bourbon and Dumaine streets. Stops along the way will include Markey's Bar in Bywater, Mimi's in the Marigny, Tujagues on Decatur Street,Molly's at the Market on Decatur Street and Fritzel's Jazz Pub on Bourbon Street.

medium_Irish-Channel-St-Patrick-Day-Club.JPG
Face-painter Sasha Alhovsky adds a finishing touch of sparkles to Sarah Berger's belly at the outdoor party that packs the streets in front ofParasol's in the Irish Channel.

Other St. Patrick's Day parties:

Holy Name of Jesus St. Patrick's Day Party
6325 Cromwell Place, 504.861.9709
Dinner, dancing and music, 7-11 p.m., Friday, March 13. Tickets are $30 at the door.

Waldorf School of New Orleans St. Patrick's Day Festival
Magazine Street & Washington Avenue, 504.525.2420
Food, crafts, games, music, activities for all ages along the Irish Channel parade route, Saturday, March 14, from 11 to 5 p.m.

St. Patrick's Day Parade Party
1305 Louisiana Ave. (former Our Lady of Good Counsel Rectory), 504.899.1378
Food, beverages and music, Saturday, March 14, from noon to 4 p.m. Proceeds benefit the newly formed Good Shepherd Parish.

Parasol's Block Party
2533 Constance St., 504.899.2054
The annual bash where the green beer flows begins 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 17, and ends at 7 p.m.

St. Patrick's Day Bash
Clubhouse Bar & Grill, 8133 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, 337.580.5765
Crawfish, oysters, barbecue, green beer, music with Ryan Foret & Foret Tradition, Steve Adams and the Bourre Allstars, Tuesday, March 17, from 2 p.m. until.... No cover. Must be 18. Benefits local charities.

St. Patrick's Day at Pat O's.
718 St. Peters St.
Pat O'Brien's will entice weekday revelers with drink specials and giveaways Tuesday, March 17, with music from The Wise Guys. The restaurant will haveIrish lunch specials. Specials are available 5 p.m. to closing.

Tell us about the parties, parades and fun we've missed!


Molly Reid can be reached at mreid@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3448.
source: nola

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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Visit and support Music Rising
New Orleans Schools Rise From Chaos of Katrina: Albert R. Hunt
Commentary by Albert R. Hunt

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- The Samuel J. Green school in inner-city New Orleans features an edible garden, where the kids grow and eat the produce. Four yearsago, there were metal detectors.

That's a symbol of one of the few bright spots to emerge from the Hurricane Katrina disaster that devastated this great city 3 1/2 years ago. One of thecountry's worst school systems was destroyed. A collection of local reformers, generous benefactors, entrepreneurial nonprofits, and committed teachers andstudents are producing something much better.

"This is the most exciting urban education place in the world," says Jay Altman, the director of FirstLine Schools in New Orleans, which runs theGreen charter school, kindergarten through eighth grade.

Three miles away, in the French Quarter, the same story and the same enthusiasm are present at the McDonogh 15 school, run by KIPP (Knowledge is PowerProgram), the nation's foremost education network of schools working with inner-city kids.

Like most New Orleans schools, McDonogh 15 is open- enrollment. Children are bussed from all over the city. On the third floor, a terrific band ensemble isplaying. After Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency threw away all the instruments.

Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, the director of KIPP New Orleans, raised private donations to buy new instruments, and music teacher Kelvin Harrison's band ofseventh and eighth graders are so good they perform around the community.

Helped by Storm

An overhaul of the public school system actually began before Katrina, but the storm facilitated those efforts. School reformers here face less bureaucraticresistance and political interference than in cities like Washington and New York.

The state of Louisiana took over most of the city schools and brought in Paul Vallas, the hard-charging, controversial educator who had run the Chicago andPhiladelphia school systems. More than half the schools in New Orleans are charters, run independently but accountable to the Recovery School District, whichVallas heads. The premium is relentlessly on performance.

"We have the most free-market public school system in America," says Leslie Jacobs, a New Orleans dynamo who has been involved in educationalreform for more than two decades. With the storm, she says, "preparation met opportunity."

One Bright Spot

The improvement in education is a bright spot in a city whose future hangs in the balance. Katrina forced almost half its 450,000 residents to leave; thepopulation is now back up to about 335,000. A majority, yet a smaller one, of the people are African-American.

Crime and corruption are rampant, and the political system remains dysfunctional. The mayor is criticized as woefully ineffective, the state governmentminimally involved.

On a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward -- the black community that was hardest hit by Katrina -- there are a few sparkling new homes yet mainly block after blockof desolation. Parts of New Orleans will never return.

More inexplicably is that areas capable of resurgence remain plagued by decrepit infrastructure, while there's some $5 billion in appropriated federalfunds for New Orleans that haven't been spent because of bureaucratic bungling.

What the city needs is the energy that emanates from the charter schools, which run from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, with many having Saturday activitiesand special sessions during the summer. The school year was increased by 20 percent, and there are rigorous performance evaluations.

Magnet for Change

The challenge has made New Orleans a magnet for social entrepreneurial groups like Teach for America and New Leaders for New Schools; the city is receivingassistance from prestigious philanthropists like the Gates Foundation and Eli Broad, as well as local professional football hero Drew Brees.

Yet for all the progress -- Tulane University recently reported significant improvements in test scores from pre- Katrina levels -- Vallas and the charterschool leaders acknowledge there's a long way to go. There has been almost no change in the high schools, so KIPP and others are planning charter highschools starting next year.

The system is almost completely African-American, most from low-income, single-parent families. Three students at Green, which goes from kindergartenthrough eighth grade, were killed in their neighborhoods this year. And while the school, with its garden centerpiece, has been refurbished and provides a safeenvironment, as much as $5 million is still needed for repairs and maintenance.

Long Hours

The teachers and administrators work long hours, are always available on their cell phones, and are under pressure. Altman worries about a "burnoutrate" if more resources aren't available.

He says if the urban charter-reform movement "is really going to go to scale," it's going to be necessary for the federal government to fullyfund the No Child Left Behind initiative.

Still, in both Green and McDonogh, the progress is remarkable. The kids wear modest uniforms supplied by the school. There's a strong sense of order anddiscipline, yet an emerging energetic and innovative environment.

"We are moving from a culture of compliance to a culture of performance, which we hope will lead to a culture of investment in public education,"Altman says.

While some teachers are recent graduates of Teach for America, there are veterans like Helen Tuley, who retired as a Kansas schoolteacher and responded tothe challenge of teaching first grade at Green.

Better and Better

At McDonogh, the middle school principal, Jared Lamb, began teaching math there a year ago. On a national math test, these kids started off the year in the23rd percentile and ended up in the 81st.

The McDonogh students all talk about what class they're in, and they refer to what would be their first year of college, as in the Class of 2015 or2022.

"High expectations are the central pillar of everything we do," Kalifey-Aluise says.

Last week, sixth grader Adia Heisser introduces herself to a reporter; she says she's undecided whether she's going to Howard or Harvard.

(Albert R. Hunt is the executive editor for Washington at Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Albert R. Hunt in Washingtont .

Last Updated: March 15, 2009 00:15 EDT
source: bloomberg

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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Share on other sites

Visit and support Music Rising
New Orleans Schools Rise From Chaos of Katrina: Albert R. Hunt
Commentary by Albert R. Hunt

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- The Samuel J. Green school in inner-city New Orleans features an edible garden, where the kids grow and eat the produce. Four yearsago, there were metal detectors.

That's a symbol of one of the few bright spots to emerge from the Hurricane Katrina disaster that devastated this great city 3 1/2 years ago. One of thecountry's worst school systems was destroyed. A collection of local reformers, generous benefactors, entrepreneurial nonprofits, and committed teachers andstudents are producing something much better.

"This is the most exciting urban education place in the world," says Jay Altman, the director of FirstLine Schools in New Orleans, which runs theGreen charter school, kindergarten through eighth grade.

Three miles away, in the French Quarter, the same story and the same enthusiasm are present at the McDonogh 15 school, run by KIPP (Knowledge is PowerProgram), the nation's foremost education network of schools working with inner-city kids.

Like most New Orleans schools, McDonogh 15 is open- enrollment. Children are bussed from all over the city. On the third floor, a terrific band ensemble isplaying. After Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency threw away all the instruments.

Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, the director of KIPP New Orleans, raised private donations to buy new instruments, and music teacher Kelvin Harrison's band ofseventh and eighth graders are so good they perform around the community.

Helped by Storm

An overhaul of the public school system actually began before Katrina, but the storm facilitated those efforts. School reformers here face less bureaucraticresistance and political interference than in cities like Washington and New York.

The state of Louisiana took over most of the city schools and brought in Paul Vallas, the hard-charging, controversial educator who had run the Chicago andPhiladelphia school systems. More than half the schools in New Orleans are charters, run independently but accountable to the Recovery School District, whichVallas heads. The premium is relentlessly on performance.

"We have the most free-market public school system in America," says Leslie Jacobs, a New Orleans dynamo who has been involved in educationalreform for more than two decades. With the storm, she says, "preparation met opportunity."

One Bright Spot

The improvement in education is a bright spot in a city whose future hangs in the balance. Katrina forced almost half its 450,000 residents to leave; thepopulation is now back up to about 335,000. A majority, yet a smaller one, of the people are African-American.

Crime and corruption are rampant, and the political system remains dysfunctional. The mayor is criticized as woefully ineffective, the state governmentminimally involved.

On a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward -- the black community that was hardest hit by Katrina -- there are a few sparkling new homes yet mainly block after blockof desolation. Parts of New Orleans will never return.

More inexplicably is that areas capable of resurgence remain plagued by decrepit infrastructure, while there's some $5 billion in appropriated federalfunds for New Orleans that haven't been spent because of bureaucratic bungling.

What the city needs is the energy that emanates from the charter schools, which run from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, with many having Saturday activitiesand special sessions during the summer. The school year was increased by 20 percent, and there are rigorous performance evaluations.

Magnet for Change

The challenge has made New Orleans a magnet for social entrepreneurial groups like Teach for America and New Leaders for New Schools; the city is receivingassistance from prestigious philanthropists like the Gates Foundation and Eli Broad, as well as local professional football hero Drew Brees.

Yet for all the progress -- Tulane University recently reported significant improvements in test scores from pre- Katrina levels -- Vallas and the charterschool leaders acknowledge there's a long way to go. There has been almost no change in the high schools, so KIPP and others are planning charter highschools starting next year.

The system is almost completely African-American, most from low-income, single-parent families. Three students at Green, which goes from kindergartenthrough eighth grade, were killed in their neighborhoods this year. And while the school, with its garden centerpiece, has been refurbished and provides a safeenvironment, as much as $5 million is still needed for repairs and maintenance.

Long Hours

The teachers and administrators work long hours, are always available on their cell phones, and are under pressure. Altman worries about a "burnoutrate" if more resources aren't available.

He says if the urban charter-reform movement "is really going to go to scale," it's going to be necessary for the federal government to fullyfund the No Child Left Behind initiative.

Still, in both Green and McDonogh, the progress is remarkable. The kids wear modest uniforms supplied by the school. There's a strong sense of order anddiscipline, yet an emerging energetic and innovative environment.

"We are moving from a culture of compliance to a culture of performance, which we hope will lead to a culture of investment in public education,"Altman says.

While some teachers are recent graduates of Teach for America, there are veterans like Helen Tuley, who retired as a Kansas schoolteacher and responded tothe challenge of teaching first grade at Green.

Better and Better

At McDonogh, the middle school principal, Jared Lamb, began teaching math there a year ago. On a national math test, these kids started off the year in the23rd percentile and ended up in the 81st.

The McDonogh students all talk about what class they're in, and they refer to what would be their first year of college, as in the Class of 2015 or2022.

"High expectations are the central pillar of everything we do," Kalifey-Aluise says.

Last week, sixth grader Adia Heisser introduces herself to a reporter; she says she's undecided whether she's going to Howard or Harvard.

(Albert R. Hunt is the executive editor for Washington at Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Albert R. Hunt in Washingtont .

Last Updated: March 15, 2009 00:15 EDT
source: bloomberg

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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Share on other sites

Visit and support Music Rising

Grammy-winning trumpeter records new album in hometown New Orleans
Jazz trumpeter-composer Terence Blanchard honed his musical gift in the streets and clubs of his hometown New Orleans and received music's highest honorfor an album about the city's darkest hour - Hurricane Katrina.

By STACEY PLAISANCE

Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS -
Jazz trumpeter-composer Terence Blanchard honed his musical gift in the streets and clubs of his hometown New Orleans and received music's highest honorfor an album about the city's darkest hour - Hurricane Katrina.

But in a career spanning nearly three decades that includes roughly 50 film scores and more than a dozen albums, Blanchard, 47, never once recorded an albumin his hometown - until now.

After making an appearance on this year's Grammy Awards show in a special segment celebrating New Orleans music, Blanchard said there was no betterplace to record his latest album, "Choices," than at home.

"I was so proud to represent the city like that," he said of leading the Dirty Dozen Brass Band onto the Grammy stage.

But Blanchard didn't want the celebration of his hometown to end there. This month he got to work on "Choices" with his five-piece band andguest artist, Bilal, a hip-hop and jazz singer from New York. ("Choices" is slated for release before the end of the year, but an exact date has notbeen set, he said.)

While Blanchard's last album, the Grammy-winning "A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)," stemmed from the storm's pain anddestruction, this one would be a celebration of all that has survived Katrina, he said.

That's why Blanchard chose to record from the Patrick F. Taylor Library, a building dating back to the late 1800s that has survived more than a centuryof hurricanes and decades of neglect.

"Being in this building, in this city, creating something here. ... It's a powerful thing, and it's something we can all be proud of," hesaid.

Blanchard said not recording an album in his hometown wasn't intentional. He was either living or working elsewhere, he said.

Katrina's destruction - including the flooding of his mother's home - inspired "A Tale of God's Will," the album that earned Blancharda Grammy in 2007 for best large jazz ensemble album. It included 13 emotional songs with such titles as "Levees," ''The Water,"''In Time of Need" and "Funeral Dirge."

Blanchard was nominated that year for best jazz instrumental solo for "Levees," the track he composed for Spike Lee's HBO documentary"When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts."

While he could never forget Katrina, which struck in 2005, Blanchard said he was ready for an album focused on growth, change and the celebration of"how far we've come."

source: seattletimes

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Grammy-winning trumpeter records new album in hometown New Orleans
Jazz trumpeter-composer Terence Blanchard honed his musical gift in the streets and clubs of his hometown New Orleans and received music's highest honorfor an album about the city's darkest hour - Hurricane Katrina.

By STACEY PLAISANCE

Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS -
Jazz trumpeter-composer Terence Blanchard honed his musical gift in the streets and clubs of his hometown New Orleans and received music's highest honorfor an album about the city's darkest hour - Hurricane Katrina.

But in a career spanning nearly three decades that includes roughly 50 film scores and more than a dozen albums, Blanchard, 47, never once recorded an albumin his hometown - until now.

After making an appearance on this year's Grammy Awards show in a special segment celebrating New Orleans music, Blanchard said there was no betterplace to record his latest album, "Choices," than at home.

"I was so proud to represent the city like that," he said of leading the Dirty Dozen Brass Band onto the Grammy stage.

But Blanchard didn't want the celebration of his hometown to end there. This month he got to work on "Choices" with his five-piece band andguest artist, Bilal, a hip-hop and jazz singer from New York. ("Choices" is slated for release before the end of the year, but an exact date has notbeen set, he said.)

While Blanchard's last album, the Grammy-winning "A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)," stemmed from the storm's pain anddestruction, this one would be a celebration of all that has survived Katrina, he said.

That's why Blanchard chose to record from the Patrick F. Taylor Library, a building dating back to the late 1800s that has survived more than a centuryof hurricanes and decades of neglect.

"Being in this building, in this city, creating something here. ... It's a powerful thing, and it's something we can all be proud of," hesaid.

Blanchard said not recording an album in his hometown wasn't intentional. He was either living or working elsewhere, he said.

Katrina's destruction - including the flooding of his mother's home - inspired "A Tale of God's Will," the album that earned Blancharda Grammy in 2007 for best large jazz ensemble album. It included 13 emotional songs with such titles as "Levees," ''The Water,"''In Time of Need" and "Funeral Dirge."

Blanchard was nominated that year for best jazz instrumental solo for "Levees," the track he composed for Spike Lee's HBO documentary"When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts."

While he could never forget Katrina, which struck in 2005, Blanchard said he was ready for an album focused on growth, change and the celebration of"how far we've come."

source: seattletimes

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New Orleans' population rises above 300,000
Thursday March 19, 11:20 am ET
By Cain Burdeau, Associated Press Writer
New Orleans population rises above 300,000 for first time since Hurricane Katrina hit in '05


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- For the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 left New Orleans a quagmire of flooded streets and smashed homes, the city'spopulation has risen above 300,000 people, according to Census Bureau figures released Wednesday.

Demographers said the increase was tied to billions of dollars in rebuilding grants handed out to residents and the arrival of new people seeking to takepart in the recovery, from laborers to young professionals. The Census estimated that on July 1, 2008, New Orleans had a population of 311,853, an increase of23,740 over July 2007. Before the storm flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, the city's population was 455,000.

Maggie Merrill, Mayor Ray Nagin's director of policy, said the data was "a tremendous milestone."

"This reinforces what those of us who have been here working toward our recovery have known all along -- that New Orleanians are strong, resilient, andcommitted to our city," she said.

Some indications from other sources indicate the city actually might have more than 300,000 people, and Merrill said the city would challenge the 2008estimates.

For New Orleans residents, the projections confirm what they've seen with their own eyes -- slow but steady progress in the recovery from Katrina.

"I am seeing cranes in the sky all over the city and cones in the street," said Steve Villavaso, a New Orleans urban planner involved in thecity's rebuilding efforts. "I always said it would take 10 years, a 10-year cycle, to get us back to recovery, where we were before Katrina."

source: yahoo



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New Orleans' population rises above 300,000
Thursday March 19, 11:20 am ET
By Cain Burdeau, Associated Press Writer
New Orleans population rises above 300,000 for first time since Hurricane Katrina hit in '05


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- For the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 left New Orleans a quagmire of flooded streets and smashed homes, the city'spopulation has risen above 300,000 people, according to Census Bureau figures released Wednesday.

Demographers said the increase was tied to billions of dollars in rebuilding grants handed out to residents and the arrival of new people seeking to takepart in the recovery, from laborers to young professionals. The Census estimated that on July 1, 2008, New Orleans had a population of 311,853, an increase of23,740 over July 2007. Before the storm flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, the city's population was 455,000.

Maggie Merrill, Mayor Ray Nagin's director of policy, said the data was "a tremendous milestone."

"This reinforces what those of us who have been here working toward our recovery have known all along -- that New Orleanians are strong, resilient, andcommitted to our city," she said.

Some indications from other sources indicate the city actually might have more than 300,000 people, and Merrill said the city would challenge the 2008estimates.

For New Orleans residents, the projections confirm what they've seen with their own eyes -- slow but steady progress in the recovery from Katrina.

"I am seeing cranes in the sky all over the city and cones in the street," said Steve Villavaso, a New Orleans urban planner involved in thecity's rebuilding efforts. "I always said it would take 10 years, a 10-year cycle, to get us back to recovery, where we were before Katrina."

source: yahoo



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New Orleans' Recovery Needs 'Unconventional Thinking'

Libraries
Science News

Keywords
GLOBAL WARMING, RISING SEA, EARTH, ENVIRONMENT, NEW ORLEANS, COAST, SEA LEVEL, URBAN SPRAWL, KATRINA

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Description

Calling New Orleans "the canary in the global warming coal mine," two Tulane professors say the Crescent City must embrace unconventional thinkingin order to recover in a sustainable way from Hurricane Katrina while withstanding a continual threat from rising sea levels, diminishing wetlands and futurestorms. They stress that the No. 1 priority for Louisiana should be to combat global warming and accelerated sea-level rise.

Newswise - Calling New Orleans "the canary in the global warming coal mine," two Tulane professors say the Crescent City must embraceunconventional thinking in order to recover in a sustainable way from Hurricane Katrina while withstanding a continual threat from rising sea levels,diminishing wetlands and future storms. They stress that the No. 1 priority for Louisiana should be to combat global warming and accelerated sea-levelrise.

In the commentary "Sustaining Coastal Urban Ecosystems" published in the latest issue of the London-based journal Nature Geoscience, Torbjörn E.Törnqvist, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Douglas J. Meffert, deputy director of the Tulane/Xavier Center forBioenvironmental Research, also say New Orleans must concentrate more of its population on the 50 percent of its land mass that lies above sea level.

"New Orleans could accommodate more than 300,000 residents above sea level, which by U.S. Census Bureau estimates is approximately the currentpopulation of the entire city," the authors write, citing a recent demographic study by colleague Richard Campanella, assistant research professor in theDepartment of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "The population density in New Orleans immediately before the exodus caused by Hurricane Katrina was onlyabout 2,500 residents per square kilometer. By comparison, the present-day population density in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a city in a broadly similarenvironmental setting, is almost 4,500 residents per square kilometer."

Törnqvist and Meffert also point out that much of the city's above-sea-level land remains vacant and undeveloped while urban sprawl continues in areasknown to flood. Urban sprawl in flood-prone areas should be banned, they say, in New Orleans as well as in vulnerable areas nationwide such as St. Louis. Onthe other hand, rebuilding efforts in floodplains should be restricted to raised, storm-resistant structures like those featured in Brad Pitt's Make itRight project.

The professors also contend that efforts at wetlands restoration are currently "miniscule" and need to be ramped up, along with a betterunderstanding of the role rising sea levels play in exacerbating the devastation brought on by hurricanes.

New Orleans offers an unprecedented opportunity to find more effective ways to make urban coastal areas safer around the world, Törnqvist and Meffertsay.

"A concerted effort to restore and transform a coastal urban center whose functioning is inextricably tied to its surrounding natural ecosystem canonly lead to new knowledge and understanding that will prove critical once comparable conditions confront Shanghai, Tokyo and New York City," the authorswrite.

Nature Geoscience is a monthly, multi-disciplinary journal aimed at bringing together top-quality research across the spectrum of the earth sciences alongwith relevant work in related areas.

source: newswise


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Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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New Orleans' Recovery Needs 'Unconventional Thinking'

Libraries
Science News

Keywords
GLOBAL WARMING, RISING SEA, EARTH, ENVIRONMENT, NEW ORLEANS, COAST, SEA LEVEL, URBAN SPRAWL, KATRINA

Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only
Description

Calling New Orleans "the canary in the global warming coal mine," two Tulane professors say the Crescent City must embrace unconventional thinkingin order to recover in a sustainable way from Hurricane Katrina while withstanding a continual threat from rising sea levels, diminishing wetlands and futurestorms. They stress that the No. 1 priority for Louisiana should be to combat global warming and accelerated sea-level rise.

Newswise - Calling New Orleans "the canary in the global warming coal mine," two Tulane professors say the Crescent City must embraceunconventional thinking in order to recover in a sustainable way from Hurricane Katrina while withstanding a continual threat from rising sea levels,diminishing wetlands and future storms. They stress that the No. 1 priority for Louisiana should be to combat global warming and accelerated sea-levelrise.

In the commentary "Sustaining Coastal Urban Ecosystems" published in the latest issue of the London-based journal Nature Geoscience, Torbjörn E.Törnqvist, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Douglas J. Meffert, deputy director of the Tulane/Xavier Center forBioenvironmental Research, also say New Orleans must concentrate more of its population on the 50 percent of its land mass that lies above sea level.

"New Orleans could accommodate more than 300,000 residents above sea level, which by U.S. Census Bureau estimates is approximately the currentpopulation of the entire city," the authors write, citing a recent demographic study by colleague Richard Campanella, assistant research professor in theDepartment of Earth and Environmental Sciences. "The population density in New Orleans immediately before the exodus caused by Hurricane Katrina was onlyabout 2,500 residents per square kilometer. By comparison, the present-day population density in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a city in a broadly similarenvironmental setting, is almost 4,500 residents per square kilometer."

Törnqvist and Meffert also point out that much of the city's above-sea-level land remains vacant and undeveloped while urban sprawl continues in areasknown to flood. Urban sprawl in flood-prone areas should be banned, they say, in New Orleans as well as in vulnerable areas nationwide such as St. Louis. Onthe other hand, rebuilding efforts in floodplains should be restricted to raised, storm-resistant structures like those featured in Brad Pitt's Make itRight project.

The professors also contend that efforts at wetlands restoration are currently "miniscule" and need to be ramped up, along with a betterunderstanding of the role rising sea levels play in exacerbating the devastation brought on by hurricanes.

New Orleans offers an unprecedented opportunity to find more effective ways to make urban coastal areas safer around the world, Törnqvist and Meffertsay.

"A concerted effort to restore and transform a coastal urban center whose functioning is inextricably tied to its surrounding natural ecosystem canonly lead to new knowledge and understanding that will prove critical once comparable conditions confront Shanghai, Tokyo and New York City," the authorswrite.

Nature Geoscience is a monthly, multi-disciplinary journal aimed at bringing together top-quality research across the spectrum of the earth sciences alongwith relevant work in related areas.

source: newswise


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Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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New Orleans piano legend Eddie Bo has died
Posted by The Associated Press March 20, 2009 3:38PM
Categories: Top News

medium_eddie_bo.JPG
Eddie Bo

Singer-pianist Edwin Joseph Bocage, known to fans and those in the New Orleans music industry simply as Eddie Bo, died Wednesday of a heart attack. He was79.

Bocage's death was confirmed Friday by his close friend and booking agent, Karen Hamilton.

Hamilton said Bocage had a "sudden, massive heart attack" while out of town Wednesday.

source: blog. nola


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New Orleans piano legend Eddie Bo has died
Posted by The Associated Press March 20, 2009 3:38PM
Categories: Top News

medium_eddie_bo.JPG
Eddie Bo

Singer-pianist Edwin Joseph Bocage, known to fans and those in the New Orleans music industry simply as Eddie Bo, died Wednesday of a heart attack. He was79.

Bocage's death was confirmed Friday by his close friend and booking agent, Karen Hamilton.

Hamilton said Bocage had a "sudden, massive heart attack" while out of town Wednesday.

source: blog. nola


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New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield to open jazz nightclub on Bourbon Street
By STACEY PLAISANCE | Associated Press Writer
10:53 AM EDT, March 20, 2009

45691170.jpg


NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Bourbon Street may be better known for drunken carousing and strip clubs than culture and class, but New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfieldsays it's still the perfect place for jazz.

New Orleans jazz belongs on the streets, especially the city's most famous street, just as much as in the concert halls and dapper clubs of places likeNew York and Chicago, he said.

That's why Saturday night, across from a row of strip joints and sports bars, he will add to the French Quarter's music offerings by opening IrvinMayfield's Jazz Playhouse. The club will offer live performances by New Orleans musicians in a cozy environment that he hopes will appeal to locals andtourists alike.

"Jazz belongs on Bourbon," said Mayfield, 31, sipping coffee at a bistro table in the club, which is just a few steps inside the Royal SonestaHotel. The hotel asked Mayfield to be a partner and lend his name to the club, which was formerly a music and burlesque venue called The Mystick.

Redecorated, it is a plush and sophisticated room with a bar, couches and bistro tables. French doors open to a lush courtyard where patrons - and music -can spill out onto an outdoor patio.

The club is in a room that has offered live music since the Sonesta first opened in 1969. It has high ceilings and a slightly raised stage. Famed NewOrleans musicians Fats Domino and trumpeter-bandleader Al Hirt have performed there, Mayfield said.

The room's smallish size and wood floors with carpeting enhance what Mayfield called great acoustics. "They can just come in and play" withoutspeakers and microphones.

Mayfield said he recognizes that many locals and those who frequent the city like the mysterious, "hidden treasure" aspect of New Orleans and itsbest-kept-secret clubs. And he says he's not trying to change that.

"We just also want to offer that quality authentic experience to all the visitors who come here, and we want to make it as accessible and as easy tofind as possible," he said.

There are clubs on Bourbon Street that offer jazz, such as Fritzel's and Maison Bourbon Jazz Club, the place where Harry Connick Jr. got his start.

But Mayfield said there is both room and need for more.

"Visitors are looking for jazz when they come to New Orleans, and a majority go to Bourbon Street," he said. "It's the street they go to,and they make the assumption that jazz, that all New Orleans' assets will be ready and available there."

The Jazz Playhouse launches Saturday with a second-line march led by musicians down Bourbon Street and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with one of the city'soldest jazz trumpet players, 97-year-old Lionel Ferbos.

Mayfield will perform opening night with friends Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, pianist Ronald Markham, bassist Neal Caine and others.

This is the latest in a string of projects for Mayfield. Besides leading the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and serving as the Minnesota Orchestra'sartistic director of jazz, Mayfield hosts his own local radio show, is chairman of the New Orleans Public Library Board of Directors and was recently named tothe New Orleans Redevelopment Authority board.

Briefly, Mayfield was a consulting partner for a nightclub at the top of the World Trade Center, which overlooked the Mississippi River. He said hedidn't like certain aspects of the club's operation and pulled out just before Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"I'm a trumpet player first," he said. "Music is at the core of what I do, what I love."

To start, the Jazz Playhouse will offer live shows three nights a week, Thursdays through Saturdays. In April, Monday and Wednesday night performances willbe added. There will be no cover charge, except during special events such as cabaret and burlesque shows, he said.

The club will also serve food, from traditional New Orleans eats such as gumbo and red beans and rice to the not-so-conventional for a nightclub - milk andcookies.

"Who doesn't love milk and cookies?" Mayfield said with a laugh.
source: mcall

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New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield to open jazz nightclub on Bourbon Street
By STACEY PLAISANCE | Associated Press Writer
10:53 AM EDT, March 20, 2009

45691170.jpg


NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Bourbon Street may be better known for drunken carousing and strip clubs than culture and class, but New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfieldsays it's still the perfect place for jazz.

New Orleans jazz belongs on the streets, especially the city's most famous street, just as much as in the concert halls and dapper clubs of places likeNew York and Chicago, he said.

That's why Saturday night, across from a row of strip joints and sports bars, he will add to the French Quarter's music offerings by opening IrvinMayfield's Jazz Playhouse. The club will offer live performances by New Orleans musicians in a cozy environment that he hopes will appeal to locals andtourists alike.

"Jazz belongs on Bourbon," said Mayfield, 31, sipping coffee at a bistro table in the club, which is just a few steps inside the Royal SonestaHotel. The hotel asked Mayfield to be a partner and lend his name to the club, which was formerly a music and burlesque venue called The Mystick.

Redecorated, it is a plush and sophisticated room with a bar, couches and bistro tables. French doors open to a lush courtyard where patrons - and music -can spill out onto an outdoor patio.

The club is in a room that has offered live music since the Sonesta first opened in 1969. It has high ceilings and a slightly raised stage. Famed NewOrleans musicians Fats Domino and trumpeter-bandleader Al Hirt have performed there, Mayfield said.

The room's smallish size and wood floors with carpeting enhance what Mayfield called great acoustics. "They can just come in and play" withoutspeakers and microphones.

Mayfield said he recognizes that many locals and those who frequent the city like the mysterious, "hidden treasure" aspect of New Orleans and itsbest-kept-secret clubs. And he says he's not trying to change that.

"We just also want to offer that quality authentic experience to all the visitors who come here, and we want to make it as accessible and as easy tofind as possible," he said.

There are clubs on Bourbon Street that offer jazz, such as Fritzel's and Maison Bourbon Jazz Club, the place where Harry Connick Jr. got his start.

But Mayfield said there is both room and need for more.

"Visitors are looking for jazz when they come to New Orleans, and a majority go to Bourbon Street," he said. "It's the street they go to,and they make the assumption that jazz, that all New Orleans' assets will be ready and available there."

The Jazz Playhouse launches Saturday with a second-line march led by musicians down Bourbon Street and a ribbon-cutting ceremony with one of the city'soldest jazz trumpet players, 97-year-old Lionel Ferbos.

Mayfield will perform opening night with friends Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, pianist Ronald Markham, bassist Neal Caine and others.

This is the latest in a string of projects for Mayfield. Besides leading the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and serving as the Minnesota Orchestra'sartistic director of jazz, Mayfield hosts his own local radio show, is chairman of the New Orleans Public Library Board of Directors and was recently named tothe New Orleans Redevelopment Authority board.

Briefly, Mayfield was a consulting partner for a nightclub at the top of the World Trade Center, which overlooked the Mississippi River. He said hedidn't like certain aspects of the club's operation and pulled out just before Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"I'm a trumpet player first," he said. "Music is at the core of what I do, what I love."

To start, the Jazz Playhouse will offer live shows three nights a week, Thursdays through Saturdays. In April, Monday and Wednesday night performances willbe added. There will be no cover charge, except during special events such as cabaret and burlesque shows, he said.

The club will also serve food, from traditional New Orleans eats such as gumbo and red beans and rice to the not-so-conventional for a nightclub - milk andcookies.

"Who doesn't love milk and cookies?" Mayfield said with a laugh.
source: mcall

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Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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New Orleans: Food, folks and all that jazz
Music's strong current pulls visitors back to Crescent City to sample its enduring tastes and evolving culture.
By Helen Anders

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

image_8529311.jpg
In New Orleans, there's music on every street corner.

image_8529343.jpg
You don't have to go to a nightclub or a festival to hear good jazz in New Orleans, where street musicians serenade passersby and diners at outdoor cafes.

image_8529345.jpg
A visit to Jackson Square is guaranteed to be entertaining. Musicians and artists set up daily in the heart of the French Quarter.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - Music pours from each pore of this city in an insistent, incessant stream of diverse melodies and messages.


A French horn bleats a Spartan "All of Me" as we walk across Jackson Square. A guitarist picks the theme from "The Pink Panther" while wechomp beignets at Café du Monde. The jukebox at Pat O'Brien's rocks with the Stones' "Paint It Black." In a Garden District hotel bar, asinger swings into Dorothy Fields' and Jerome Kern's timely "Pick Yourself Up."


If you were singing the blues because Austin's music-on-every-street-corner South by Southwest is ending, just drive nine hours east. The music never stopshere. Of course, New Orleans' favorite musical dish is jazz, and it spills into the French Quarter's streets from almost every doorway. But NewOrleans' jazz is in more than its music, and folks planning to attend the yearly New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (April 24-26 and April 30-May 3)can count on being electrified by its currents of food and culture as well as music.


It's such an intense experience that I've always thought three days was exactly the right amount of New Orleans.


My husband and I started our own recent three by scampering to Acme Oyster Bar, where we scored two stools at the oyster counter (oh, lucky day). Each of usordered a dozen on the half shell and a Dixie beer. There's no better way to ease into the rhythm of New Orleans.


We checked in at Le Richelieu in the French Quarter. With a free parking lot in its courtyard, the stately Richelieu, part of which dates to 1845, is a greatvalue. Its rooms start at $250 during Jazz Fest but can be had for as little as $120 during the off-season. There's also a big two-room suite that includesa kitchen; Paul McCartney once stayed here with his family. The hotel, on a quiet edge of the Quarter, has a cozy bar and a little cafe that makes splendidbanana crêpes for breakfast.


A few blocks from Le Richelieu is the French Market, where I picked up my favorite Jazz Fest T-shirt. Nearby, the Old Mint historical landmark used to house ajazz museum. The building was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina and has been repaired, but the museum inside is closed for the construction of new exhibitionspaces. Its artifacts were saved, though, and by 2010 the museum should be back and bigger, with a new performance venue on the third floor. The project is ajoint venture of the National Park Service and the Louisiana State Museum.


Lacking that museum, we decided to explore two new museums that have nothing to do with jazz but, rather, Louisiana insects and food, both jazzy in their ownway.


The new Audubon Insectarium is run by the Audubon Institute, which also presides over the city's zoo and aquarium. Located just upriver of the FrenchQuarter near Harrah's casino, it offers a look at numerous insects - some pinned, some very much alive and thriving in cases furnished like their nativehabitats. (The cockroach habitat is a food pantry, and it's really gross.)


Exhibits explain such phenomena as the culture of ants and bees, and there are interactive exhibits that kids will especially like. We petted a caterpillar.(He was soft and velvety.) We were offered the opportunity to eat some crunchy fried crickets but opted not to. I was told they taste like sunflower seeds.


There's a room featuring Louisiana critters, including alligators and crawfish. Those aren't insects, of course, but this is Louisiana. Can't leaveout gators and mudbugs.


We walked from the Insectarium to New Orleans' other new museum, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. It's at the southern end of the RiverwalkMarketplace, a nicely lighted riverfront mall that didn't have many people in it on a Tuesday afternoon - until we got to the food court.


This was no ordinary food court. It was filled with local offerings, and I dined on an excellent soft-shell crab from the Messina's stand.


Only then did we venture on to the museum. Its exhibits explore the history of such local fare as shrimp, crabs, gumbo and boudin. There's an area on thecanning process as well as a film on the history of 104-year-old Galatoire's restaurant, a favorite of mine where on this very night I wound up, going nutson shrimp rémoulade, almond-crusted black drum meunière and a house flan in honor of my birthday. (On your birthday, you get the flan and a pen, so I make it apoint to be there on my birthday.)


The food museum also now houses the Museum of the Cocktail, which used to be in the French Quarter. It covers the first mention of the word cocktail in the1800s, the annoying time known as Prohibition and such debates in the cocktail world as who invented the margarita (the consensus: somebody in Mexico, thoughthere's one theory that it was invented in Galveston).


New Orleans drinkeries, of course, are a world of their own. Iconic ones include Pat O'Brien's (I like the indoor long bar, but the hurricane crowdtends to gather in the courtyard) and Napoleon House, which also makes a fine hot muffaletta, though its hours are really sporadic these days.


Hotels house some of our favorite bars, such as the Hotel Monteleone's revolving (not fast enough to hurt your head) Carousel Bar, the Prince Conti'sromantic Bombay Club and the clubby multiroom Victorian Lounge inside the Columns Hotel in the Garden District. We also enjoyed a cocktail on the Columns'big verandah.


Just to get out of the Quarter for a day, we spent our third night at the Columns, a 20-room house built in 1883 by a tobacco baron and a great value at $120weekdays and $160 weekends. (The rates are the same for Jazz Fest, but there's a three-night prepaid minimum.)


I joked to my husband that the place has a fitness center. I was referring to the 54 stairs and four landings between the ground floor and our room. Butthat's how it is in an old, rambling house. The hotel is on St. Charles Avenue, near a street car stop, and has a delicious free breakfast, right down tothe grits.


What can you expect from Jazz Fest this year? A lot. Let's start with Wynton Marsalis, Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt and, ofcourse, the Nevilles. Add a dose of Kings of Leon, Erykah Badu, Preservation Hall Jazz Band ... the list is long. See it all at www.nojazzfest.com.


If you can't make it for JazzFest, not to worry. Whatever the time of year, it's as impossible to avoid music in New Orleans as it is in Austin.


One evening, after filling ourselves with barbecued shrimp (which really aren't barbecued but soaked in butter and seasonings) at Mr. B's Bistro, weretreated to the romantic Bombay Club. Music wasn't even schedule that night, but we were lucky enough to be treated to a hearty rendition of"Summertime" by a young woman who was hoping to work there. She was good. Hope she got the gig.

handers@statesman.com; 912-2590

source: statesman

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New Orleans: Food, folks and all that jazz
Music's strong current pulls visitors back to Crescent City to sample its enduring tastes and evolving culture.
By Helen Anders

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

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In New Orleans, there's music on every street corner.

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You don't have to go to a nightclub or a festival to hear good jazz in New Orleans, where street musicians serenade passersby and diners at outdoor cafes.

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A visit to Jackson Square is guaranteed to be entertaining. Musicians and artists set up daily in the heart of the French Quarter.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - Music pours from each pore of this city in an insistent, incessant stream of diverse melodies and messages.


A French horn bleats a Spartan "All of Me" as we walk across Jackson Square. A guitarist picks the theme from "The Pink Panther" while wechomp beignets at Café du Monde. The jukebox at Pat O'Brien's rocks with the Stones' "Paint It Black." In a Garden District hotel bar, asinger swings into Dorothy Fields' and Jerome Kern's timely "Pick Yourself Up."


If you were singing the blues because Austin's music-on-every-street-corner South by Southwest is ending, just drive nine hours east. The music never stopshere. Of course, New Orleans' favorite musical dish is jazz, and it spills into the French Quarter's streets from almost every doorway. But NewOrleans' jazz is in more than its music, and folks planning to attend the yearly New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (April 24-26 and April 30-May 3)can count on being electrified by its currents of food and culture as well as music.


It's such an intense experience that I've always thought three days was exactly the right amount of New Orleans.


My husband and I started our own recent three by scampering to Acme Oyster Bar, where we scored two stools at the oyster counter (oh, lucky day). Each of usordered a dozen on the half shell and a Dixie beer. There's no better way to ease into the rhythm of New Orleans.


We checked in at Le Richelieu in the French Quarter. With a free parking lot in its courtyard, the stately Richelieu, part of which dates to 1845, is a greatvalue. Its rooms start at $250 during Jazz Fest but can be had for as little as $120 during the off-season. There's also a big two-room suite that includesa kitchen; Paul McCartney once stayed here with his family. The hotel, on a quiet edge of the Quarter, has a cozy bar and a little cafe that makes splendidbanana crêpes for breakfast.


A few blocks from Le Richelieu is the French Market, where I picked up my favorite Jazz Fest T-shirt. Nearby, the Old Mint historical landmark used to house ajazz museum. The building was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina and has been repaired, but the museum inside is closed for the construction of new exhibitionspaces. Its artifacts were saved, though, and by 2010 the museum should be back and bigger, with a new performance venue on the third floor. The project is ajoint venture of the National Park Service and the Louisiana State Museum.


Lacking that museum, we decided to explore two new museums that have nothing to do with jazz but, rather, Louisiana insects and food, both jazzy in their ownway.


The new Audubon Insectarium is run by the Audubon Institute, which also presides over the city's zoo and aquarium. Located just upriver of the FrenchQuarter near Harrah's casino, it offers a look at numerous insects - some pinned, some very much alive and thriving in cases furnished like their nativehabitats. (The cockroach habitat is a food pantry, and it's really gross.)


Exhibits explain such phenomena as the culture of ants and bees, and there are interactive exhibits that kids will especially like. We petted a caterpillar.(He was soft and velvety.) We were offered the opportunity to eat some crunchy fried crickets but opted not to. I was told they taste like sunflower seeds.


There's a room featuring Louisiana critters, including alligators and crawfish. Those aren't insects, of course, but this is Louisiana. Can't leaveout gators and mudbugs.


We walked from the Insectarium to New Orleans' other new museum, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. It's at the southern end of the RiverwalkMarketplace, a nicely lighted riverfront mall that didn't have many people in it on a Tuesday afternoon - until we got to the food court.


This was no ordinary food court. It was filled with local offerings, and I dined on an excellent soft-shell crab from the Messina's stand.


Only then did we venture on to the museum. Its exhibits explore the history of such local fare as shrimp, crabs, gumbo and boudin. There's an area on thecanning process as well as a film on the history of 104-year-old Galatoire's restaurant, a favorite of mine where on this very night I wound up, going nutson shrimp rémoulade, almond-crusted black drum meunière and a house flan in honor of my birthday. (On your birthday, you get the flan and a pen, so I make it apoint to be there on my birthday.)


The food museum also now houses the Museum of the Cocktail, which used to be in the French Quarter. It covers the first mention of the word cocktail in the1800s, the annoying time known as Prohibition and such debates in the cocktail world as who invented the margarita (the consensus: somebody in Mexico, thoughthere's one theory that it was invented in Galveston).


New Orleans drinkeries, of course, are a world of their own. Iconic ones include Pat O'Brien's (I like the indoor long bar, but the hurricane crowdtends to gather in the courtyard) and Napoleon House, which also makes a fine hot muffaletta, though its hours are really sporadic these days.


Hotels house some of our favorite bars, such as the Hotel Monteleone's revolving (not fast enough to hurt your head) Carousel Bar, the Prince Conti'sromantic Bombay Club and the clubby multiroom Victorian Lounge inside the Columns Hotel in the Garden District. We also enjoyed a cocktail on the Columns'big verandah.


Just to get out of the Quarter for a day, we spent our third night at the Columns, a 20-room house built in 1883 by a tobacco baron and a great value at $120weekdays and $160 weekends. (The rates are the same for Jazz Fest, but there's a three-night prepaid minimum.)


I joked to my husband that the place has a fitness center. I was referring to the 54 stairs and four landings between the ground floor and our room. Butthat's how it is in an old, rambling house. The hotel is on St. Charles Avenue, near a street car stop, and has a delicious free breakfast, right down tothe grits.


What can you expect from Jazz Fest this year? A lot. Let's start with Wynton Marsalis, Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt and, ofcourse, the Nevilles. Add a dose of Kings of Leon, Erykah Badu, Preservation Hall Jazz Band ... the list is long. See it all at www.nojazzfest.com.


If you can't make it for JazzFest, not to worry. Whatever the time of year, it's as impossible to avoid music in New Orleans as it is in Austin.


One evening, after filling ourselves with barbecued shrimp (which really aren't barbecued but soaked in butter and seasonings) at Mr. B's Bistro, weretreated to the romantic Bombay Club. Music wasn't even schedule that night, but we were lucky enough to be treated to a hearty rendition of"Summertime" by a young woman who was hoping to work there. She was good. Hope she got the gig.

handers@statesman.com; 912-2590

source: statesman

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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Hear the musicBand plays on for New Orleans

032209_brass_band1.jpg
The Bay City Brass Band, based in Alabama, travels the country upon request. The band takes the New Orleans tradition on the road and carries on its legacyof celebration.

By YVETTE OROZCO
Updated: 03.22.09

While New Orleans struggles to rebuild nearly four years after Hurricane Katrina, one native has found a life outside home.

Tony Craig was born and raised in the city of jazz and lights, but he is far from that now - as he travels the country with his band, the Bay City BrassBand.

Last Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of miles away from New Orleans, the old-time jazz band, playing a rendition of "When the Saints Go MarchingIn," led a joyful funeral procession for Richard Newton, a longtime educator in the Pasadena area, at the request of his wife.

Through celebration, singing and dancing, the Bay City Brass Band brought some New Orleans tradition to the Newton family. As the band remains rooted in theheart of the iconic city's cultural legacy, others are touched by that legacy.

"This is my children's first funeral and it gives them a different perspective of death and how to deal with it," said Richard Hanson,Newton's brother-in-law. "It shows them to look at the positive and not the negative."

Newton's widow, Sharon, displayed her gratitude as the service closed and for the members of the band, the long drive from Alabama, where they arebased, was worth it.

"It feels great," said Craig. "We're helping to send someone's loved one off and it makes the day a little brighter. We traveledseven hours to come and do this, but it was worth it - it's always worth it. He's (Newton) looking down and smiling and for the family, it takes someof the pain away."

The seven-man band, led by founder and Alabama native Marcus Johnson, is booked throughout the year and travels by van to funerals and weddings, parties andconventions.

For saxophonist Craig, the band is ensuring that the New Orleans is not just a place, but its tradition is something universal.

"No matter where you're from, if you're from New Orleans and you end up in Canada and you want a New Orleans-style funeral, we'll bring itto you," he said.

Besides making a living as a musician, the band's music bonds Craig's ties to his hometown.

Nearly four years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans remains a city in disrepair and neglect.

While Bourbon Street and the French Quarter thrive with a spark of commerce, the neighborhoods outside the tourist district remain silent and vacant; blocksof dilapidated houses and buildings remain abandoned, empty and lifeless - like ghost towns.

"The only thing left in New Orleans is Bourbon Street and tourists, but there are no more communities," said Craig. "It's not the samebecause the people are gone."

In spite of all this, he said, he misses his hometown. But that affection is mingled with a tint of bitterness.

There is still resentment, said Craig, toward a city infrastructure that he believes failed its own people and frustration over the lack ofaccountability.

Those feelings make it hard, he said, to go back.

"There is nothing left and most of us are gone," he said. "We're here and there and a lot of us have found better lives. There'snothing to go back to."

For now, Craig finds a cathartic resonance through the band's itinerary - as he mourns his city and celebrates its indestructible life-force.

"I don't live there anymore, but I carry New Orleans with me everywhere I go," he said. "We're keeping the legacy of New Orleansalive every time we bring someone some music and joy on a day like this."

Outside the lights and the rhythms of Bourbon Street, Craig's hometown may lie in quiet semi-desolation, but its ghost remains a tangible presence forhim.

"New Orleans is good place to have a good time, but it's also a place to pray for," he said.

For Bay City Brass Band booking information, visit www.baycitybrassband.com.
source: hcnonline


New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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Visit and support Music Rising

Hear the musicBand plays on for New Orleans

032209_brass_band1.jpg
The Bay City Brass Band, based in Alabama, travels the country upon request. The band takes the New Orleans tradition on the road and carries on its legacyof celebration.

By YVETTE OROZCO
Updated: 03.22.09

While New Orleans struggles to rebuild nearly four years after Hurricane Katrina, one native has found a life outside home.

Tony Craig was born and raised in the city of jazz and lights, but he is far from that now - as he travels the country with his band, the Bay City BrassBand.

Last Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of miles away from New Orleans, the old-time jazz band, playing a rendition of "When the Saints Go MarchingIn," led a joyful funeral procession for Richard Newton, a longtime educator in the Pasadena area, at the request of his wife.

Through celebration, singing and dancing, the Bay City Brass Band brought some New Orleans tradition to the Newton family. As the band remains rooted in theheart of the iconic city's cultural legacy, others are touched by that legacy.

"This is my children's first funeral and it gives them a different perspective of death and how to deal with it," said Richard Hanson,Newton's brother-in-law. "It shows them to look at the positive and not the negative."

Newton's widow, Sharon, displayed her gratitude as the service closed and for the members of the band, the long drive from Alabama, where they arebased, was worth it.

"It feels great," said Craig. "We're helping to send someone's loved one off and it makes the day a little brighter. We traveledseven hours to come and do this, but it was worth it - it's always worth it. He's (Newton) looking down and smiling and for the family, it takes someof the pain away."

The seven-man band, led by founder and Alabama native Marcus Johnson, is booked throughout the year and travels by van to funerals and weddings, parties andconventions.

For saxophonist Craig, the band is ensuring that the New Orleans is not just a place, but its tradition is something universal.

"No matter where you're from, if you're from New Orleans and you end up in Canada and you want a New Orleans-style funeral, we'll bring itto you," he said.

Besides making a living as a musician, the band's music bonds Craig's ties to his hometown.

Nearly four years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans remains a city in disrepair and neglect.

While Bourbon Street and the French Quarter thrive with a spark of commerce, the neighborhoods outside the tourist district remain silent and vacant; blocksof dilapidated houses and buildings remain abandoned, empty and lifeless - like ghost towns.

"The only thing left in New Orleans is Bourbon Street and tourists, but there are no more communities," said Craig. "It's not the samebecause the people are gone."

In spite of all this, he said, he misses his hometown. But that affection is mingled with a tint of bitterness.

There is still resentment, said Craig, toward a city infrastructure that he believes failed its own people and frustration over the lack ofaccountability.

Those feelings make it hard, he said, to go back.

"There is nothing left and most of us are gone," he said. "We're here and there and a lot of us have found better lives. There'snothing to go back to."

For now, Craig finds a cathartic resonance through the band's itinerary - as he mourns his city and celebrates its indestructible life-force.

"I don't live there anymore, but I carry New Orleans with me everywhere I go," he said. "We're keeping the legacy of New Orleansalive every time we bring someone some music and joy on a day like this."

Outside the lights and the rhythms of Bourbon Street, Craig's hometown may lie in quiet semi-desolation, but its ghost remains a tangible presence forhim.

"New Orleans is good place to have a good time, but it's also a place to pray for," he said.

For Bay City Brass Band booking information, visit www.baycitybrassband.com.
source: hcnonline


New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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Life Stands Still On New Orleans' Honeysuckle Lane

Listen Now [8 min 59 sec]
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John Brown, a retiree and avid golfer, is back in his duplex on Honeysuckle Lane. Two years ago, he said he wasn't coming back, but he changed his mind,and now he's "stayin' for good."

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Brown says that although he has rehabbed his side (right) of the duplex, his neighbor hasn't done anything. But Brown, who is a prostate cancer survivor,is more concerned about not having a hospital nearby.

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Ernie Vincent, a singer-songwriter, says people are not going to come back to the area around Honeysuckle if there aren't services, a hospital and stores.

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Jeane Wooten, who teaches at a charter school around the corner from Honeysuckle Lane, asks why the recovery is taking so long. "What's stopping theprogress?" she says.

All Things Considered, March 23, 2009 · After Hurricane Katrina raked New Orleans in 2005 and scattered its people, NPR began following the plight of those onHoneysuckle Lane. A 20-minute drive from the city center, it's a perfectly average place, with middle-income residents such as cops and school teachersliving in midsized homes.

The punishment Katrina inflicted on Honeysuckle Lane was average by comparison: some roof damage, mostly standing water. But the storm turned Honeysuckleinto something like a ghost town.

While most of the houses had a foot or less of floodwater, mold had claimed the drywall and the furniture. Every refrigerator was a coffin full of rottenfood and had to be replaced. The smells inside the homes were oppressive. Scavengers drove through and took what they pleased. When the water was turned backon, washing machines and dishwashers that had been dislodged in the flooding started spewing water.

A lot has changed since then.

'It's On Now, I'm Stayin' For Good'

NPR's Robert Siegel recently returned to Honeysuckle Lane - located in a part of the city called New Orleans East, which was undeveloped wetland untilthe '60s - to catch up with some of the people who live there, people like Gaye Hewitt.

"We started rebuilding, we started getting some of the house back together; at least we're back in the house, we're no longer in atrailer," says Hewitt, a former police officer who was doing medical transcription a few years ago. "Then [Hurricane] Gustav came, and we had tostart again. We're almost hopefully done with everything before the next storm comes. I hope that takes a while. I think we'll be ready for the nextone.

"We still have some damage with the fireplace and everything," she says. "But everything's pretty good. We got us another dog. We lostour first dog in Katrina, so we have another one. The kids are back in school, back in college. I have one son who's now in the police department - and inaddition, a 2-year-old granddaughter."

Outside the house, Hewitt pointed to the damage from Gustav. She says the storm tore the top off her shed.

"I'm hoping that they'll have someone who will come fix it up, because it's been a haven for animals and anyone else that's looking forshelter," she says.

Down the street, John Brown, a retiree and avid golfer, is back in his duplex. Two years ago, he said he wasn't coming back, but he changed hismind.

"House comin' along pretty good," he says, adding, "It's on now, I'm stayin' for good."

Sitting in front of Brown's fireplace is a Tiger Woods model golf bag that he won. And he lowered a ceiling to create a room upstairs for histrophies.

Nowadays, the homes on Honeysuckle are furnished with the brand new stuff everyone bought with the insurance money: stainless steel refrigerators, flatscreen TVs, newly installed cabinets and refinished breakfast bars. It's the type of stuff that people in New Orleans call "Katrinkets."

The duplex that's attached to Brown's home is a different story - his neighbor hasn't done anything with the space.

But Brown has a larger problem. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer several years ago, and although he's doing well, Methodist Hospital never reopenedafter the storm.

"One problem was when I had my prostate problem, I had a little setback. I had to go all the way to Houston, Texas, after I had my procedure,"Brown says. "The emergency room wait was eight or nine hours. There's just no hospital in the east part of New Orleans for sure."

Lack Of Hospitals, Stores

The lack of a hospital in New Orleans East was the biggest problem the people on Honeysuckle talked about. That and the lack of stores. The Wal-Mart isgone, and there's only one supermarket open.

Lionel Bazanac, a telephone company installer who lives across the street from Brown, says the area is "not quite back yet."

"Friends moved away, never come back," Bazanac says. "Schools never opened up again. So we're still waiting for that normalcy to comeback, but we don't know if we'll ever get it."

Honeysuckle Lane resident Ernest Vincent Williams, a singer-songwriter who performs and records as Ernie Vincent, agrees. "Everything is not complete,but at least you're back in New Orleans," he says. "It's a start, beginning, you know."

Ernie Vincent, 67, says a lot of older folks won't come back to New Orleans East until there are services, a hospital, big stores.

"They're not gonna come back if they don't have some type of facility," he says. "Then the other side of the coin is if they'renot back, then the people who put the facility up say there's not enough people."

What's Wrong With The Recovery Effort?

By a conservative estimate, there are 60,000 people in New Orleans East. That's a little more than half the pre-Katrina population.

Cynthia Townsend, a widow working two jobs as a nurse's assistant, says she's tempted to move nearer to her five grandchildren. She wants to knowwhat's wrong with the recovery effort.

They all remember one study that said to let New Orleans East revert to wetlands. That's not city policy, but the slowness of things makes Townsendwonder.

"We really need to know what their intentions are - are you all working on our behalf, or are you not?" she says. "If you're not going tobe able to do it, then tell us that we can't live here. Put us out."

Her friend and neighbor, Jeane Wooten, says pretty much the same thing.

"What's the master plan? What are they going to do to bring residents to this area? The residents have been back," Wooten says.

She's a fourth-grade science teacher who retired from the New Orleans public schools a few years ago. That was before they fired the whole teachingstaff. She now teaches at a charter school just around the block.

"Why is the recovery taking so long? What's stopping the progress?" Wooten says. "And it's usually money, and it's usually redtape, and it's usually politics."

source: npr

New Orleans' news here

Edge's blog by Regina O'Numb

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