‘Spy Boy Dow,’ celebrating Black Masking Indians, premieres tonight at Film Festival

Dow Michael Edwards — a lawyer from Uptown New Orleans who grew up loving the Black Masking Indian culture — is headed for a big screen debut in the short film “Spy Boy Dow.” The film directed by Carl Harrison Jr. follows Edwards’ suit-making process in preparation for Mardi Gras Day. This is Harrison’s second project to be accepted into the New Orleans Film Festival in three years, and it premieres at The Broad Theater tonight (Oct. 18). The birth of Spy Boy Dow
“The Spy Boy is first in the front… he is ahead looking for trouble.

NOLA Vegan Café: Former social worker brings plant-based cuisine to Leonidas

At the corner of Leonidas and Spruce sits the Community Commitment Education Center, a public space for neighborhood engagement, summer programs for children, and now a plant-based restaurant. Formerly Stella’s Coffee House, the kitchen space at 1923 Leonidas St. is now officially home to NOLA Vegan Café, which opens today, Oct. 1. The café is the work of Uptown’s Sonya Brown, a social worker and chef known for her vegan popups.

Uptown Public School Series: Excellence, Rigor, and Diversity of Options

In the third part of our ten-essay series by parents of students at public schools Uptown, Celeste Sparks writes about her children’s experience at Andrew H. Wilson Charter School. Uptown, like New Orleans as a whole, has many public school options for families—from college preparatory schools to three different language immersion programs, from a Montessori program to a technology career pathway school. In this series, we hear from parents themselves on why their child’s school is right for them. Part of the Family: Why My Children and I Love Andrew H. Wilson Charter School
By Celeste Sparks, Parent

I have three children and I love them so much. Trinity, the oldest, is in fourth grade.

Award named in honor of activist Felicia Kahn

The New Orleans Coalition is holding the Felicia Kahn Citizenship Award Dinner on Thursday, Sept. 26, to honor the legacy of political activist Felicia Schornstein Kahn, who died June 21, 2018, at the age of 91. Kahn fought long and hard for equal rights, civil rights and the Democratic Party. At age 90, she was the second-oldest delegate to the Democratic National Convention, her 10th convention. She was among the inaugurating members of the New Orleans Coalition, one of the city’s first integrated political organizations.

Kingsley House unveils Patrick Taylor statue

Kingsley House has unveiled a new sculpture, “Pointing the Way to a Better Future,” in commemoration of the late New Orleans philanthropist, Patrick F. Taylor. Taylor pushed for the Lower Garden District agency’s expansion before his death in 2004, and whose foundation was a significant donor to its newest facility. The dedication ceremony on Friday included remarks from Phyllis Taylor, widow of Patrick F. Taylor, representatives from the Mayor’s Office and City Council, before the statue was unveiled by Kingsley House children. Kingsley House, headquartered at 1600 Constance Street, has facilities throughout the metro area. The statue is at its Lower Garden District location at 901 Richard Street.

Danae Columbus: New PRC exhibit celebrates Pontchartrain Park

The Preservation Resource Center opens a new exhibit tonight on the history of Pontchartrain Park, the city’s first suburban-style subdivision for middle-class and affluent African-American residents. Featuring historic neighborhood ads and newspaper clippings, information about architectural style and neighborhood design, as well as incredible personal family photos and stories from some of Pontchartrain Park’s founding residents, the exhibit is being mounted as a celebration of a joint submission to the National Register of Historic Places. The PRC and the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association collaborated on the application for designation. “Pontchartrain Park was our Mayberry,” said neighborhood association president Gretchen Bradford, referring to a 1960s American television program that epitomized life in a small town. “I have lived in the Park my entire life; it’s the only neighborhood I’ve ever known.”

The concept for an African-American subdivision came from local civil rights activist Rosa Keller.

Uptown Public School Series: Diversity, Community, and Warmth at Hoffman

In this second of our ten-essay series by parents of students at public schools Uptown, Anna Derby and Rodolfo Machirica write about their children’s experience at John W. Hoffman Early Learning Center. Uptown, like New Orleans as a whole, has many public school options for families—from college preparatory schools, to three different language immersion programs, to a Montessori program, to a technology career pathway school. In this series, we hear from parents themselves on why their child’s school is right for them. Diversity, Community, and Warmth at Hoffman
By Anna Derby & Rodolfo Machirica
We have two young children: Gabriel is three years old, and Elijah is four months. Both as educators and as parents, we care deeply about where we send our kids to school, and we know these early years matter.

Ashé Cultural Arts Center announces new executive director

Ashé Cultural Arts Center’s board of directors, Efforts of Grace, has appointed Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes as the new executive director of Ashé. She will take her post Jan. 1, 2020, succeeding founding executive director Carol Bebelle, who will retire from the organization at the end of December. Ecclesiastes was selected after a rigorous search, said board President Beverly Guillory Andry.  “Ms. Ecclesiastes comes to the organization with vast experience and knowledge in the field of culture and arts, as well as an understanding of its transformational power in the community,” Andry said. Efforts of Grace is the sponsor of Ashé Cultural Arts Center, a leading community-based cultural arts organization.

Uptown Public School Series: Excellence, Rigor, and Diversity of Options

The Right School for CJ
By Christopher Dobney, Parent
In the first essay of this ten-part series by parents of students at public schools Uptown, Christopher Dobney writes about his son CJ’s time at Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics & Science School. Uptown, like New Orleans as a whole, has a wealth of public school options for families – from college preparatory schools, to three different language immersion programs, to a Montessori program, to a technology career pathway school. In this series, we hear from parents themselves on why their child’s school is right for them.  My son Christopher, or CJ, is eleven years old. He and I are close.

City launches affordable health care initiative for hospitality workers

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), in partnership with 504HealthNet, have launched a program to provide New Orleans hospitality workers access to high-quality, affordable health care at over 50 sites around the city. The new Healthy Hospitality Initiative debuted on Tuesday, August 6, after tourism and health care agencies collaborated with hospitality workers over the past year to ensure the program addresses their needs. The initiative includes a new website, extended clinic hours, and a dedicated team that works directly with the city’s hospitality workers. There are 17 participating health care organizations, operating 58 clinic sites, and one hospital system with five sites that are a part of this initiative. Here are the Healthy Hospitality Initiative sites in the Uptown area:

Daughters of Charity (Carrollton)
3201 South Carrollton Ave.