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Friday, November 19, 2010

Ramp It Up! fundraiser: fashion for a cause

Posted By on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Former mayoral candidate, handicapped accessibility advocate and comedian Jonah Bascle can add another feather to his cap: fashion show promoter. This Saturday, Nov. 20, his Ramp It Up! fundraiser features a fashion show by designer John Delgadillo, along with performances by burlesque troupe Crescent City Cupcakes and dance troupe Iron Maidens, and live music by White Bitch and Manwitch. Proceeds will go toward the expense of building wheelchair ramps for local businesses.

"People say businesses should pay for the ramps themselves, and they probably should," says Bascle, who ran for mayor on a single-issue platform of making streetcars handicapped accessible. "But we decided to just build the ramps and give them to (businesses) for free."

Bascle continues to tangle with the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to make the St. Charles streetcar line handicapped accessible. "It's kind of frustrating. It's an ongoing thing, because the RTA is unwilling to do it. It's extremely slow, one thing after another, talking to lawyers, things like that," Bascle says.

By building the wheelchair ramps, which cost about $120 each, Bascle sees tangible results from his disability activism, one business at a time. "I'm not going to wait for them to do it," Bascle says. "I figured it is better, instead of complaining, to actually do something."

Ramp It Up! starts at 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20 at The Big Top Gallery (1638 Clio St.,569-2700). Admission is $7.

Jonah Bascle is making New Orleans a more handicapped-accessible place to be.

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