In January, Brazil was filled with news about “rolezinhos,” little outings. Rolezinhos are get-togethers organized on facebook. Primarily, they have offered way for low-income youth, who are also often people of color, to hang out, flirt, and shop in malls. But in early December roughly 6,000 youth came out to a rolezinho in São Paulo, and the event was accompanied by rumors of theft and mass muggings, although only three people were reportedly arrested. This blog post by Rio Gringa, offers an excellent review of the course of events and the debates around the gatherings. Repression by mall administrators and police, including pre-emptive arrests, led Amnesty International to call the response to the rolezinhos discriminatory and racist. Solidarity rolezinhos were planned and held in different parts of Brazil, including Recife. Public Radio International´s The World gave me an opportunity to cover this phenomenon for them, and to talk about the class and racial tensions that the rolezinhos are revealing as Brazil heads into the final months of preparing to host the World Cup.
On a visit to London this summer, a buddy of mine, Matt Davis, mentioned that London’s Science Museum has a cockroach tour. That is, one can go to the museum and experience something similar to Gregor Samsa’s transformation into a bug by donning a cockroach costume. DW was planning a special edition focusing on climate change education, and they thought the story engaging enough to publish. You can listen to the audio version or read the text one.
This summer, the Institute of Development Studies and Oxfam released the initial results of a four-year study on the impact that food-price volatility is having on people in ten developing counties. I had the privilege of crafting a podcast to summarize those results and to make them accessible to those who prefer to absorb their information aurally. Thanks to Naomi Hossain of IDS and Richard King of Oxfam for their support with this project.
Last fall I spent some time at the Tulane Towers Learning Center near the intersection of Tulane Avenue and Broad Street in New Orleans. Jerome Jupiter generously allowed me the freedom to talk to staff and students at his program, New Orleans Providing Literacy to All Youth (NOPLAY). The result is my article on the work they are doing to help people who are not enrolled in traditional schools earn their General Educational Development (GED) certificate. The Crisis, the magazine for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), published the story in its current edition.
Before leaving New Orleans, I produced a radio piece for AARP’s Primetime Postscript. The announcer made the typical mistake with my name, but I still enjoy the story tremendously. The piece features the bluegrass music and voices from a regular Monday night at the Hi-Ho Lounge on St. Claude Avenue, one of my favorite places and events in the city. In an earlier posting on this site, you can see several photos from another bluegrass night, and if you look at those while you listen to the story, you can have a real multi-media experience.
In October, David Baker, my editor at The Louisiana Weekly asked me to cover a story of neglect in a low-income housing development, The Estates, that had been built where the Desire projects used to stand. The Housing Authority of New Orleans, which is in receivership due to mismanagement, had issued a repair deadline of November 30th to the private company managing The Estates. After that piece came out, The Lens asked me if I’d be willing to do a follow-up story for them. After publishing the piece online last Friday, The Advocate picked it up for their Sunday edition.
This week I interviewed Malcolm Suber of CDC 58:12, a community organization based in the Desire area that is now serving residents of the community that replaced that project. The privately managed community, The Estates, is overseen by the Housing Authority of New Orleans. Residents have been dealing with leaks and water for some time, but Hurricane Isaac exacerbated the situation. Listen to his comments here.
Late this spring I responded to a call for pitches from a new podcast that examines how the legal system intertwines with our everyday lives. The producer was intrigued by my description of the issues facing the Vietnamese community on the Gulf Coast related to the BP oil spill and its aftermath. This piece is the result. The amazing sound design was done by Kaitlin Prest. Julia Barton offered exquisite editing assistance, and numerous people from the New Orleans area helped me find the interviews for this story. Special thanks go to Daniel Nguyen and Grace Scire.
This is a story I did for Marketplace. It aired on the evening show October 9th. According to Realty Trac, Florida currently has the second highest foreclosure rate in the country. But advocates in Louisiana and Mississippi say rising insurance rates are pushing up foreclosures on other parts of the Gulf Coast.
Louisiana is losing land faster than any place on Earth, but the economic realities of international trade are bringing pressure onto officials to compromise on the location of a critical sediment diversion. The diversion would be the first specifically planned to move sediment from the Mississippi River into the surrounding wetlands, recreating the natural flooding process that built the river delta. The Lens generously allowed me to research and write this story for them. You can read it here.