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.
I proposed this story to Marketplace when the RESTORE Act was being debated as part of the Transportation Bill. A number of people provided critical help to me in getting this story off the ground, particularly Scott Eustis of the Gulf Restoration Network, who tapped into his rolodex, and Susan Bergeron of the U.S. Geological Survey, who did the same. I also have to credit Oluseyi Fayanju of the Environmental Defense Fund whose blog post gave me the initial idea for the story. You can listen to the story here. It starts at what is approximately 16:15 into the podcast.
This spring, Louisiana’s legislature approved the most sweeping education voucher program in the country. The program has been excoriated from a range of quarters as lacking in accountability in terms of the educational standards in the schools receiving state voucher dollars and as potentially defunding an already struggling public school system. My article for New America Media, which was published as students began the school year, highlighted the voucher program’s shortcomings for students with special needs.
This is a photo essay that began in my mind when I lived in the Bywater and would bike by the door to this barber shop. Its obvious age and its position at an angle to the street intrigued me. A few weeks ago, I finally went to see if I could take some pictures. Michael Williamson gave me some wonderful suggestions on how to improve the work, and here is the result. I owe many thanks to the graciousness and patience of Nat Williams and Michael Butler, in particular, who let me hover around their chairs as they worked, but also to those who let me photograph them: Steven Portis, Andrea Washington, Wayne Wright, Kevin Morgan, Elijah Rashid, Alex Williams, Darryl “Twin” Sullivan, and Laura Mosely.