Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sorry, Fort Jackson: Wildlife rehab center moving tonight

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 10:49 PM

According to plan, considering Tropical Storm Bonnie gets uncomfortably close. From Unified Incident Command:

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Buras, LA, which is providing medical care to oiled wildlife, will relocate to a larger facility in Hammond, LA early Friday morning. The transport will occur overnight in order to minimize stress on the animals.

The current Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Facility is located in a hurricane evacuation zone and subject to damage from tropical storms and hurricanes. Moving the facility to the Hammond site eliminates the risk of evacuation in the event of a storm and reduces stress and potential loss of life of the birds.

Initially, the Hammond Bird Rehabilitation Facility will be capable of handling approximately 1,000 birds. Capacity could increase to as many as 2,000 to 3,000 birds.

When it was announced earlier this month that the move was imminent, I was writing a story ("The Volunteers of BP's America") about volunteering in Port Sulphur as birds came in and were sent to Fort Jackson, where they're cleaned, or, if they're dead, catalogued. Now, instead of a 20-minute drive to the Buras facility, the animals that come to Plaquemines will have to make a two hour trip:

Tom Buckley with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says he doesn't anticipate any problems relocating that far from the docks.

"It's obviously a little bit further away," he says. "Right now it's in the No. 1 top hurricane evacuation zone, so moving it to Hammond will get it out of that evacuation area, and it'll be a stable, more secure facility."

The new facility will have climate-controlled housing, more space for a larger volume of birds, and "state-of-the-art equipment," Buckley says, "rather than the rubber buckets and the other things (wildlife handlers) have been forced to use — but which they've used excellently. But this'll be better and more efficient for them, and I'm sure for the birds, too."

Pickup sites in Plaquemines Parish, like the one at the marina in Port Sulphur, will remain in use. "Plaquemines Parish will continue to be an important location for receiving, stabilizing, and transporting animals from impacted areas," the Unified Command release said. Wildlife branch director Rhonda Murgatroyd said the branch "is grateful to Plaquemines Parish officials and residents for their assistance, and we appreciate their continued support as we move."

But that distance could mean rescued birds may sit in oil for several hours before getting cleaned. To Port Sulphur, VOO carrying oiled birds navigate a network of bayous and inlets bleeding into the Gulf — a trip that already takes more than an hour.

On July 7, Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser said moving the facility is "unthinkable." He doesn't understand why it's moving, and why there won't be any cleaning operations near the parish. "If they would embrace more volunteers and people from all over the country to help, a greater volume of these birds would be cleaned at a faster rate," Nungesser said.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Relief efforts for families underway

Posted By on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 11:09 PM

As fishermen, oystermen and shrimpers bite the bullet, so do the restaurants depending on them — and so do their families who can't live without them. Organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank are there to help. Second Harvest estimates 47,656 households may need assistance as a result of the BP oil disaster, and last month the organizations distributed hundreds of emergency food boxes throughout St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes.

But family pets also need help. Today, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) delivered 12 tons of dog and cat food to Belle Chasse at the Plaquemines Parish Department of Health and Animal Control to be distributed to coastal residents. According to HSUS Louisiana director Julia Breaux, the Plaquemines Parish Animal Welfare Society has seen an increase in relinquishment of pets since the disaster began — some pet owners can longer afford to care for their pets. HSUS' delivery included 24 pallets of dog and cat food, or about 24,604 pounds of food.

A statement from HSUS included this quote from Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser: “As we work to protect our marsh and wildlife during the oil spill disaster, we can’t forget our pets. Plaquemines Parish residents are known for being pet lovers. We don’t want people who are directly affected by this tragedy to have to choose between feeding their pets or feeding themselves. We want to thank the Humane Society for their thoughtful donation during this difficult time.”

For those that are looking to help with relief efforts, Second Harvest needs donations of nonperishable food items (which can be dropped off at its warehouse at 700 Edwards Ave. in Elmwood). The group also seeks volunteers (call 729-2849 or email volunteernow@secondharvest.org for more information) and donations — for $1, the group can feed a family of four (call 734-1322 or visit the website to donate).

Find more information about HSUS' Gulf efforts and how to help on its website.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just 'cause it's for a good cause doesn't mean it can't be fun

Posted By on Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 1:19 AM


Many of you know Chef Who Dat (note: click here for essential viewing) and the cavalcade of characters that inhabit section 641 of the Superdome. Here's the Chef before last season's Monday Night game versus Atlanta:


chef crazyness


Like many (if not all) stadium secions, the season-ticket holding patrons at "Cafe 641" have developed a tight-knit community that's led to silliness, some bike crawls, and now, a cancer fundraiser with a twist. Per the e-mail I received today:


A Cafe 641 patron and season-ticket holder, Sean Niehus, is raising money for St. Baldrick's, a foundation that raises money for children's cancer research. Sean has agreed to shave his head at the annual St. Baldrick's shave-a-thon AND to grow a mustache. To help him raise money, we're auctioning off a pair of tickets to the 2010 Saints/Bucs game in Section 641, Row 40, Seats 13-14.


I like how not only is Niehus shaving his head, but that he's also growing a mustache in the tradition of Cafe 641's Patron Saint. Check out his picture, going from long blonde hair to a shaved head and a mustache would be a stark transformation. Gotta give to a guy willing to do that for a good cause.


Bid's can be made on the tickets on eBay here or you can donate directly to St. Baldricks by clicking here. And yes, that is Chef Who Dat in a wedding dress on that eBay listing. Not sure how that will help with the bidding.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Orleans Could Always Use More Nationally-Acclaimed Heroes

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Derrick Tabb Hero


Photograph by Greg Rhoades


OK, I know I promised to be done with the VooDoo posts but I forgot about this one and, seeing as how it's an ongoing story, it doesn't really count.


Anyways, if you know anything about brass band music in this city you should know that Derrick Tabb, the snare drummer for Rebirth, was featured on CNN's Heroes segment for his Roots of Music foundation. The kids that Tabb has worked with over the years were out in full force at VooDoo, performing every day of the event and even finding time to do some marching.


If you were wondering who all those people with blue signs were that said "Vote Derrick Tabb" and maybe dismissed it as some politician, well, shame on you. This is to make Tabb CNN's Hero of the Year and everyone should cast their vote immediately. You can vote as many times as you want until 6 a.m. on Thursday November 19. There will also be a tribute to all the Heroes on CNN on Thanksgiving night.


Rock the vote, New Orleans.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

The Roots of Music Founder Nominated as CNN Hero

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 1:55 PM

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Derrick Tabb, founder of The Roots of Music — a music education program for middle school students in New Orleans — has been nominated as one of 10 nominees for CNN’s Hero of the Year Award. Tabb, who is also snare drummer for the Rebirth Brass Band, will receive $25,000 as part of the nomination. On November 26, CNN will broadcast “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” and as part of the celebration, the hero of the year will be announced, who will receive an additional $100,000.

In a recent interview with CNN’s Larry King, Tabb said the program has 103 participants and another 400 kids on a waiting list. If you would like to cast your vote for Tabb, visit this site.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

The Best of New Orleans: Post K-Volunteers

Posted on Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 7:07 PM

Today at Gambit everyone is hustling to put together the 2009 Best of New Orleans issue.  It is hard to believe that 4 years ago as we were putting the 2005 issue to bed, we logged out of our computers that Friday afternoon, completely unaware that we would return to 3923 Bienville caked in mold.  The last email I read that day simply alerted the staff  “we were watching the storm”.  

And today the memories are still unavoidably real (the view out my office window is a boarded up house that is leaning toward the right, it’s next door neighbor was just knocked down last week).

In my opinion the "best" thing to come of the storm were the thousands of volunteers who came from all over the world to help rebuild New Orleans.  And four years later, thankfully they are still here- visiting and living.

The St. Bernard Project (SBP) has played host to many of those volunteers and next week they will be launching their 4NOLA campaign; to commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane “K” and keep the cause alive as they continue to fundraise and build homes to help residents return.  The 4NOLA campaign will include a 24-hour build and a kick-off party at House of Blues.

If you want to get your hands dirty

The SBP 24-hour build will begin on August 28th at 4 p.m. and will finish with a moment of silence on August 29 at 4 p.m.  Call Gretchen at 504-723-6837 to volunteer.

If you would like to rebuild a home without sweating and a cocktail in hand

Attend the Saturday night fundraiser (8/29) at House of Blues.  The ticket price includes open bar and musical performances by Kermit Ruffins, Spencer Bohren and more.   The event’s fundraising goal is to completely fund four homes, a cost of $60,000.  Ticket Cost: $75.  Call the SBP office at 504-277-6831 to order.

And as a testament that the rest of the country is still thinking of us, 100 additional 4NOLA fundraisers will be taking place across the country throughout the next year coordinated by past SBP volunteers.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday morning news dump

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Rising Tide

Rising Tide 4, the annual conference of bloggers and others concerned about the Crescent City, will be held Sat. Aug. 22 at the Zeitgeist. Gambit's "Suspect Device" cartoonist, Greg Peters, designed the striking poster, and the keynote speaker will be Harry Shearer. More details on the Rising Tide blog as they get finalized.

• A rep for Arnie Fielkow emails a statement from the councilman this morning:

My family and I continue to discuss our future and my professional plans and I anticipate announcing a final decision on or before Labor Day.

Clancy DuBos is on a plane today, but he has confirmed with NOPD Crisis Intervention Unit director Cecile Tabo that she will not be runnng for the District A council seat being vacated by Shelley Midura. Tabo told him, "You can look for me possibly in 2014, when all the kiddies are off to college and, hopefully, life is dandy."

Lutherans, Lutherans everywhere! And, boy, are they excited to be here for a week to do public service. Here's a nice story from a Wisconsin newspaper about their mission.

Cliff's Crib blogger Clifton Harris reviews last night's CNN special Black in America 2, and finds it an improvement over the (depressing) original.

• The federal minimum wage goes up to $7.25/hour tomorrow (it's currently $6.55). Not surprisingly, a writer for The New York Times approves and a writer for Bloomberg sees gloom and doom. Perhaps more interesting is this piece from an org that calls itself Business For a Fair Minimum Wage:

“A minimum wage increase at this time could be the most important factor in powering our economy out of the recession,” said Camille Moran, owner of a paralegal service and Christmas tree farm in Louisiana. “The higher the wage an employee receives, the more income he or she has to purchase goods and services for their family, which is indeed ‘the best medicine’ for our economy.” More than 8% of workers will be affected by the minimum wage increase in Louisiana.

• The hideous story about the local baby killed by rats plays out elsewhere, with a similar instance in Ohio.

• Newsbusters is the latest to take up cudgels regarding Arianna Huffington's policy about not paying her bloggers:

In any case, it all makes me wonder how many HuffPo bloggers are realizing that “the exposure” does them no real good at all if there isn’t any actual, real reward in it for them? Further, how many are becoming irked that Arianna Huffington is pulling in millions of dollars in investment cash and advertising fees made on the backs of the thousands of those bloggers that toil for free on a daily basis?

• ...and local rockers Rotary Downs are currently previewing songs from their upcoming CD, Chained to the Chariot. Listen here.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hip-hop and St. Roch

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 11:15 PM

The local chapter of Volunteers of America is sponsoring a community beautification project tomorrow in the 1800 block of St. Roch Avenue. Starting at 9 a.m., the 200-person group -- with the assistance of 50 volunteers amassed by two area hip-hop collectives, the Soundclash and Large Marge Music Group -- will lead residents in repainting the perimeter fence of the St. Roch/Sampson Playground, a former FEMA trailer park. Among the volunteers are New Orleans MCs Truth Universal and Dee-1, and DJ EF Cuttin is set to soundtrack the event. No definitive word on whether this woman is scheduled to attend:

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