Mar 212019

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

There are many excellent health care providers in the New Orleans area. One stands out for its almost 200-year commitment and unique wrap-around services – the Daughters of Charity. First at the now-shuttered Charity Hospital and today through 10 neighborhood health centers including one located at 3201 S. Carrollton, the Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans, or DCSNO, strive to eradicate health care disparities by providing affordable, high-quality care to children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

More than 50,000 patients received services at a DCSNO clinic last year for primary or preventive health care, pediatrics, dental, optometry, chronic disease management, prenatal care, behavioral health, onsite laboratories and pharmacies. The uninsured, underinsured or the working poor make up 65 percent of DCSNO’s client base. Fees are based on a patient’s ability to pay, which means that most pay little or nothing. Through the Seton Medication Fund, 514 patients who met specific criteria received prescriptions at no cost in 2018.

What makes DCSNO different is their focus on the whole person. A DCSNO staff member will treat your child’s stubbed toe, but they will also address what “social determinants” might be affecting your family’s overall health care habits. Armed with a $1.5 million grant from UnitedHealthcare, DCSNO hired 15 community health workers who assess whether a patient’s lack of housing, food, employment or even excess stress is presenting barriers to receiving adequate care.

Staff attempt to “close the gap” by connecting patients with vital services that may help curb these various challenges. In addition, young children (infants to 5-year-olds) receive free books making literacy promotion an integral part of pediatric primary care. Also popular is DCSNO’s Diabetes Institute, which offers special resources and tools. Its Heart Smart program targets hypertension reduction, proven to extend lives.

The Daughters of Charity created a foundation whose leaders raise the funds necessary to support its strategic direction. “Our clinics do a wonderful job of providing affordable comprehensive primary health care to a growing number of people in our community. I am grateful that my service on the foundation board has helped to further that mission,” said Robert Angelico, president of Liskow & Lewis. By supporting the Daughters of Charity, we are giving hope that no person who needs health care or essential medication goes without it,” said civic activist and board member Lisa Fitzmorris Clement. “With our help, the Daughters of Charity are able to keep the promise they made 185 years ago to serve New Orleans’ health care needs.”

The Daughters of Charity Foundation will hold their eighth annual Keeping Our Promises Gala Saturday, March 23, at the National World War II Museum’s U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, 1117 Calliope St. Last year the event raised more than $100,000 which helped underwrite health care services for those living below the poverty level. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, LCMC Health and the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and Assistance Foundation will be honored for their vision and work to promote healthy communities. Tickets are available online via or by calling 212-9544.


Thursday, March 21, is a busy night for political fundraisers with two marquee events. Gov. John Bel Edwards and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond are co-hosting an Italian feast for City Councilman Jared Brossett at Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, 715 St. Charles Ave. from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.  Brossett, who will not be able to run for re-election because of term limits, is building his campaign kitty for a future race – perhaps for the at-large seat currently held by Jason Williams. Williams is expected to run for district attorney in 2020.

Supporters of Richmond have put together a cocktail reception for him this evening at the Asian-deco Ohm Lounge, 601Tchoupitoulas Street which also begins at 5:00 p.m.  Richmond is now the fourth ranking Democratic leader in Congress. Announced and unannounced candidates for the fall 2019 legislative elections are expected to mix and mingle at both fundraisers.


Fans of Dress for Success have the opportunity to sip and shop tonight from 5 until 7 p.m. at two Magazine Street businesses: Kendra Scott and SABA, both in the 4700 block of Magazine. Kendra Scott will feature complimentary champagne while donating 20 percent of all sales to the charity. SABA is offering “sips and bites” with 15 percent of bar sales benefiting Dress for Success. Dress for Success’ 10th annual Suits & Salads Luncheon is set for May 10. Co-chairs include Martine Chaisson Linares, Tracee Dundas, Aimee Gowland and Arie Roth Kaller.


As part of the new LA Ratify ERA Coalition, which has come together to lobby for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by the Louisiana Legislature this spring, supporters Susan Hess, Joyce Corrington, Barbara Kaplinsky and Yvonne Mitchell Grubb are hosting an ERA Unhappy Hour  Friday, March 22, from 4 until 6 p.m. in a private home. Tomorrow marks the 47th anniversary of Congress passing the Equal Rights Amendment.  Thirty-seven states have already ratified the legislation. Senator J.P. Morrell has proposed an ERA ratification resolution which would make Louisiana the 38th state. The Georgia legislature will also consider ERA ratification this year.


Julie Schwam Harris, the chief lobbyist for women’s issues in Louisiana, is inviting interested individuals to a Town Hall meeting Wednesday, March 27, to discuss a wide range of topics that impact women and their families. Meetings are being held around the state this month under the banner “Women on Wednesday.” The Women on Wednesday New Orleans Town Hall will be held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 5212 S. Claiborne, from 6 until 8 p.m.

Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Councilwoman-at-large Helena Moreno, City Councilman Jared Brossett, former City Councilwomen Stacy Head  and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, Foster Campbell, former Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, and former Sheriff Charles Foti.

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