There’s still time to donate to the Holiday Food & Fund Drive hosted by District 98 and Second Harvest (sponsored)

District 98 Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman and Second Harvest Food Bank host Third Annual Food & Fund Drive! 

Representative Aimee Adatto Freeman is excited to announce the Third Annual District 98 Food & Fund Drive for Second Harvest kicked off this week. Donations are accepted until Friday, Dec 23, at 200 Broadway St., Suite 212. Community members are encouraged to support with food and funds to help feed families in need across Louisiana. Click here for a list of most needed items.

Every dollar collected up to $125,000 is matched, thanks to the Goldring Family Foundation and Atmos Energy. A donation box will be outside Rep. Freeman’s office at 200 Broadway St, Suite 212.

InspireNOLA Schools announces Kevin Barnes, Jr. as Chief of Staff (sponsored)

InspireNOLA Charter Schools is proud to announce that Kevin Barnes, Jr. has joined the organization as Chief of Staff. He most recently served as the Managing Director of Engagement and External Relations at KIPP New Orleans Schools, which is part of the national KIPP Foundation, the nation’s largest charter school network. InspireNOLA Chief Executive Officer Jamar McKneely said, “As we approach our 10th anniversary, I couldn’t think of a better person to help continue our commitment to this city. Kevin is a proven leader and is dedicated to bringing diverse stakeholder groups together while bolstering the creation of a positive learning environment for our students.”

Chief of Staff (CofS) Kevin Barnes, Jr. said, “It brings me great joy to continue to advocate for the young people of New Orleans as I join the leadership team of one of the highest-performing school networks in our city. I am excited to work alongside some of the most talented educators in the region.

Louisiana’s first Green House® Project community, to be unveiled at Poydras Home (sponsored)

Poydras Home will soon become Louisiana’s first Green House® Project community. Our Oct. 27 speaker, Susan Ryan, Senior Director of The Green House Project, will unveil Poydras Home’s new care model to come in our newly renovated campus. With the completion of the Poydras Home Reimagined expansion in early 2023, we will become Louisiana’s first community to offer this revolutionary care approach. The Green House Project model represents the highest quality of life for residents, focusing on the fundamental principle that each resident should be the central decision maker in his or her daily life.

InspireNOLA Charter Schools launches citywide youth initiative to combat gun violence Oct. 12 (sponsored)

A student-led initiative that focuses on decreasing gun violence across the city. The city we all know and love is now the “Murder Capital for the U.S.,” and it’s time that we, as leaders across the city, act quickly to change this narrative. Recent reports suggest that youth in New Orleans are at the forefront of the current violent crime wave that has inflicted our city. InspireNOLA, a local charter school network in New Orleans, is refuting the new title with its latest initiative — NOLALove. A youth-driven and community-wide call-to-action, NOLALove is our response to the increased crime and lives lost to senseless gun violence ravaging the city of New Orleans.

Second Line Arts Collective: Music Education from Recess to Record Deals (sponsored)

In 2016, professional musicians Darrian Douglas and Gregory Agid were perplexed. New Orleans is a world renowned music city- Why were so many local musicians struggling to make ends meet? They soon discovered that many artists were lacking business skills and too often were depending on playing endless gigs to pay the bills. 88% of musicians they surveyed had zero music business exposure throughout high school or college. They decided to change the narrative by founding Second Line Arts Collective, a music education nonprofit for aspiring artists to grow their industry skills and knowledge base.

Employees at the Maple Street Starbucks will be first in Louisiana to unionize

The polls closed for the Maple Street Starbucks union election at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday (June 4), and 15 minutes later, the count was announced. The workers at the 7700 Maple Street location had voted overwhelmingly to unionize. With the final count 11-1 in favor of forming a union, this Starbucks will be the first in Louisiana to unionize. A total of 14 votes were cast, but two were contested. 

The Maple Street coffeehouse joins more than 100 Starbucks stores nationwide that have unionized in the past seven months, since a Buffalo, New York, store became the first in December 2021. The Maple Street Starbucks workers will be a part of the national union known as Workers United. 

Reporters, supporters and off-the-clock baristas waited for the results outside the polling place across the street from the coffeehouse, as the temperature soared over 90 degrees.

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.