Workers at the Starbucks on Maple voting on whether to form a union

At the Maple Street Starbucks on Thursday morning (June 2), amid patrons with baby strollers and sleek laptops, union organizers and supporters held a “sip in” for the coffeehouse workers. Those workers are holding a union election this Friday and Saturday. If the vote passes, the store at 7700 Maple St. will be the first unionized Starbucks in Louisiana, part of a spate of newly unionized Starbucks across the country. At the sip-in, the organizers invited supporters to sit in the cafe and hold signs for the workers to boost morale in anticipation of the upcoming election.

Lusher Charter School will be renamed The Willow School

After decades of heated controversy that boiled over in recent years, the Lusher Charter School board has chosen a name to replace that of avowed White supremacist Robert Mills Lusher. The highly ranked public school educating kindergarteners through 12th-graders will become The Willow School. The name is a nod to the Willow Street building where the school began educating students in 1917 and where the elementary students are still educated. The Orleans Parish School Board renamed the building itself for Dr. Everett J. Williams Jr., the first Black superintendent of the city’s public school system. Robert Mills Lusher was a Reconstruction-era state school superintendent who promoted and instituted racial segregation in public schools.

Lusher halts its renaming process after threat of Open Meetings Law litigation, The Lens reports

The Lusher Charter School board suspended its renaming effort after an attorney for a group of Lusher parents, alumni and students warned of pending litigation over alleged violations of the state’s Open Meetings Law, The Lens has reported. The board had formed a study group that met privately to come up with names to replace that of Robert Mills Lusher, an avowed segregationist and Confederate official, but received public pushback on the recommended names at a recent board meeting, where board members voted to form another study group.

Lusher board puts off name change, rejects naming school after Jeanne Marie Lusher 

After years of controversy and debate, the board governing Lusher Charter School officially voted on Thursday to change the school’s name to … something to be decided. 

At an emotional meeting that lasted almost four hours with 90 public comments, the Lusher board voted against renaming the school after pediatric oncologist Jeanne Marie Lusher. The four board members who opposed keeping “Lusher” in the name were Alysia Loshbaugh, Rachel Wisdom, Kiki Huston and George Wilson, while the two members willing to consider it were Brenda Bourne and Gary Solomon.  

“We are not the name. We are the community. We are the students. We are the faculty,” Wisdom said.

Viewpoint: Charter school is perpetuating Robert Mills Lusher’s racist legacy

By Corinne A. Williams, guest columnist

The pandemic along with the racial reckoning in our country and, most recently, Hurricane Ida have all put New Orleans’ kids in a position to experience a collective trauma — much like people my age experienced after Hurricane Katrina. In addition to traumas already thrust upon them, children attending Lusher Charter School are attuned to many internal school-related traumas. Their school leaders have put their best interests last for one of the simplest things that they have control over: the name of their school. Lusher Charter School is named for Robert Mills Lusher, a Confederate tax collector, segregationist and unabashed member of the Crescent City White League. By today’s standards and any anti-racist standard, Mr. Lusher would be someone who should be unequivocally rejected as a person to name anything after.

Registration is open for Grow Dat Youth Farm produce boxes (sponsored)

Sign up to pick up a box of produce at the farm each week. 

The CSA program is Community Supported Agriculture, the Farm Share initiative is an opportunity for customers to enjoy chemical-free, fresh produce while investing in the Grow Dat farm and youth leadership program. This locally grown produce box runs for 29 weeks and allows flexibility for pick up at their farm located in City Park. SNAP registration is also available, reach out for more information. 

“We envision a vibrant New Orleans where youth and adults transform their communities, their environment, and themselves by engaging in the meaningful work of growing healthy food”

The Farm Share initiative is a way for the community to become “member-investors” who receive a portion of the farm’s harvest every week. For decades, CSAs have supported small-scale farmers and strengthened local food systems. Members experience the seasonal fluctuations of the farm’s produce, a process that teaches consumers more about the natural cycles of food production. 

Deep rooted values with a love for the City and the land that serves it. Making a commitment to New Orleans by championing sustainability, youth leadership, inclusion & multiculturalism, and food justice.

Viewpoint: Lusher parents send letter to school officials decrying ‘racism within our school community in matters symbolic, structural, and everyday’

The parents of students at Lusher Charter School sent a letter Monday (July 5) to the school’s Advocates for Arts -Based Education Board and the administration calling for a name change and for greater transparency. The action comes after a reported exodus of faculty members and the exit of Principal Steve Corbett, who is set to become CEO of Audubon Schools. The following was sent with the signatures 175 Lusher parents. Dear Members of the Board, LCS administration, and LCS Community,

We are parents of students who attend LCS, and collectively have decades of experience with LCS. We are dismayed with the administration and board’s response to student and faculty calls to confront racism within our school community in matters symbolic, structural, and everyday.

Palmer Park gets a new name: Marsalis Harmony Park

The City Council voted Thursday (July 1) to change the name of Palmer Park to Marsalis Harmony Park. The new name for the park, located where the Carrollton and Claiborne avenues meet, was chosen with input from community members, who eventually settled on “Marsalis Unity Park” at a meeting of multiple neighborhood associations early last month. “Marsalis Harmony Park” was the second most popular name discussed. Palmer Park was named after the Rev. Benjamin Palmer, a prominent Confederate and vocal defender of slavery. The park’s new name honors the late renowned jazz musician and educator Ellis Marsalis, whose family still lives in the neighborhood.

School superintendent proposes new names for Uptown school buildings

New Orleans school Superintendent Henderson Lewis has proposed names to replace school buildings named after slave owners and segregationists across New Orleans, including eight school buildings in Uptown neighborhoods. The superintendent’s recommendations were submitted to the Orleans Parish School Board, which will have the final say in a July 29 vote. This current renaming wave is one of many in the city’s history, as community members have advocated for name changes for decades. The Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020 reignited the movement for schools named after slave owners or segregationists to be renamed. 

Orleans Parish School Board has the authority to change only the physical name on any school building they own. However, the charter boards of the schools within those buildings do not have to change the name of their academic program. 

Henry W. Allen 

Lewis chose musician and educator Ellis L. Marsalis Jr. to replace the Henry W. Allen for the school building at 5625 Loyola Ave.