Women in Louisiana

Thursday, November 9, 2017

At mayoral panel, candidates plan a better future for New Orleans workers

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 11:01 PM

Mayoral candidates Desiree Charbonnet (left) and LaToya Cantrell addressed concerns of New Orleans workers tonight at a forum in Algiers. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • Mayoral candidates Desiree Charbonnet (left) and LaToya Cantrell addressed concerns of New Orleans workers tonight at a forum in Algiers.

At a wide-ranging forum Nov. 9 that seemed to touch on almost every social problem in the city, mayoral candidates LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet presented their visions for helping New Orleans workers share in their hometown's economic prosperity.

The forum at Algiers Auditorium, which was hosted by Loyola College of Law's Workplace Justice Project (WJP) and co-sponsored by several other progressive and civic-minded groups, was designed around a recent WJP report called "The State of Working New Orleans: The Industries That Sustain the Status Quo." The 13-page report laid out a clear picture of the strain felt by of New Orleans workers, many of whom struggle to afford even basic living expenses on their current incomes.

"The reality of workers' lives includes the stress of multiple jobs and rising living costs, made harder by a city that attracts wealthy visitors and demands welcoming hospitality," report author Erika Zucker wrote. "We cannot continue to move forward if so many are held back by poverty despite being employed."

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

This group wants to train Louisiana Democratic women to run for office

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 3:00 PM

  • Photo by ZRFP Photo

In a CNN report last weekend, journalists Mallory Simon and Kyung Lah documented record-breaking numbers of Democratic women who have expressed interest in running for political office. Here in Louisiana, a new group wants to bring that surge of progressive women candidates to electoral races statewide.

Emerge Louisiana is the local affiliate of Emerge America, which trains Democratic women candidates to effectively run for office. The local group currently is accepting applicants for its first class of trainees. The organization aims to shake up state politics by training women Democrats to be more competitive as candidates, even in more conservative-leaning rural areas.

"We see the success of women in New Orleans running for judicial positions ... [after the New Orleans mayoral runoff election] our three biggest cities [in Louisiana] will all have mayors that are women of color," Emerge Louisiana executive director Melanie Oubre says. "We just need to branch that out statewide."

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Friday, November 3, 2017

There's a sexual harassment and violence storytelling event Nov. 7

Posted By on Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 3:00 PM


People who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence are invited to share their stories at a Twelve Mile Limit open mic Nov. 7.

The event, hosted by Me Too NOLA, aims to raise awareness and demonstrate the prevalence of sexual misconduct. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three women and one in six men will become victims of sexual violence during their lives.

People who wish to speak at the event can sign up online. If you'd rather not speak but would like to share, there's an option to send an email to metooibelieveyou@gmail.com with the subject line "SHARE 11/7." Actors and volunteers will read those stories at the event.

The event begins at 7 p.m. Organizers suggest a donation of $10 to attend. Proceeds from the event benefit Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Report: Louisiana one of nation's worst states for premature birth

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 12:49 PM


Louisiana received a grade of "F" on March of Dimes' annual Premature Birth Report Card for its high rate of premature births.

According to the report, 12.6 percent of Louisiana babies were born prematurely in 2016.  The national average for premature births in 2016 was 9.8 percent, a number which has risen since 2015.

Babies born prematurely have a higher risk of several medical conditions, some of which are quite serious. According to the Mayo Clinic, premature deliveries can lead to long-term problems including chronic health issues, hearing and vision difficulties and cognitive impairments, in addition to complications immediately after birth.

Louisiana joins Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia and Puerto Rico with the country's highest rates of premature deliveries.

In the most recent local data offered in the report, preterm birth rates were highest in Caddo and East Baton Rouge parishes. In 2015 the preterm birth rate improved in Orleans Parish but worsened in Jefferson Parish, rising from 10.7 to 10.9 percent of deliveries in that parish.

In Louisiana, from the years 2013-2015, an average of 15.6 percent of babies born to black women in the state arrived ahead of schedule. This mirrors March of Dimes' national data, which found wide geographic and racial disparities in preterm birth rates across the U.S.

The organization said black women are 49 percent more likely and Native American women are 18 percent more likely to have premature deliveries, putting children of those backgrounds at risk.

These racial disparities also have widened since March of Dimes began collecting baseline data in 2010.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Report: John Besh Restaurant Group fostered climate of sexual harassment

Posted By on Sat, Oct 21, 2017 at 4:16 PM

John Besh.
  • John Besh.

It's a story that's been whispered about locally in the last few weeks, ever since it was announced last month that restaurateur and "celebrity chef" John Besh was splitting from Alon Shaya, whose Shaya restaurant (part of the Besh Restaurant Group) turned homemade Israeli food into a dinner ticket as hard to get as Hamilton.  But what caused the falling out? There had to be more to it than chef's egos.
In a blockbuster piece of reporting today, The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com's Brett Anderson laid out a picture of the Besh Restaurant Group as a company where sexual harassment thrived, citing 25 current and former Besh employees who claim that the "bro culture" was so commonplace there that women were systemically harassed — and revealing that the restaurant group, which included more than 1,000 employees, amazingly had no human resources department where the women could take their concerns:

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Monday, September 18, 2017

NOAF hosts annual 'sex ed bingo' night Sept. 20

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 1:00 PM


New Orleans Abortion Fund (NOAF) hosts its annual sex ed bingo night fundraiser at Bayou Beer Garden Sept. 20.

NOAF is the local organization which raises money to assist low-income women who need an abortion; its bingo night features four rounds of bingo (obviously), fun sex trivia, comedy performances and networking for people interested in women's health care issues. If you're a bingo fanatic it's possible to buy extra cards with an additional donation. There are prizes for game winners.

This fundraiser also spotlights the Hyde Amendment, the 1976 law that prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortion care in most cases — a regulation women's health advocates say disproportionately penalizes poor women.

Tickets are $20 and are available online. Extra bingo cards are $5. The event begins at 6 p.m.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

'Deafening Sound,' gallery show about domestic and sexual violence, opens at NOPA Sept. 9

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 2:15 PM


Photographer Annie Flanagan made the first image in her upcoming show about misogyny, domestic violence and sexual violence when she was 14.

She's been photographing one of her central subjects, a close friend who spent five years in an abusive relationship, for most of her life. "Deafening Sound," a show of photographs, artifacts and more documents that friend's experience and recovery. It also creates a larger narrative about gender-based violence and the experiences of American women.

"There's so much silence around rape, and there's so much silence around intimate partner violence," Flanagan says. "[The show is about] the deep roots of misogyny and rape culture in the United States."

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Here's some information about 'Black Women's Equal Pay Day,' which takes place July 31

Posted By on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 11:53 AM


Today is "Black Women's Equal Pay Day," or the day of the year black women must work to to earn the same wages as a white man earned during the previous year (2016).

"Equal Pay Day" recognizes pay inequity for all women and generally falls in spring, but today's date recognizes the stark differences in wages between white women and women of color. According to figures offered by the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), women in the aggregate make about 80 cents for every dollar made by a man, but black women nationwide make 63 cents — a loss of $21,001 a year, relative to men. And the gap is even larger in Louisiana, where black women make just 48 cents for every dollar made by a man.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Traveling exhibit featuring sexual assault survivors' portraits opens July 20

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 10:06 AM


Shreveport artist Mollie Corbett's exhibit "Outlier," a collection of portraits, stories and documentary film depicting sexual assault survivors, opens at New Orleans Public Library's main branch Thursday.

For this installation, Corbett identified and photographed 15 survivors from the greater New Orleans area. With her work, she hopes to dispel victim stigma and raise awareness of sexual assault, which many public health groups say is distressingly common: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys regularly find that as many as one in three women and one in six men have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A wry Roxane Gay talks Hunger and healing at Jewish Community Center

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 9:59 PM


Listening to Roxane Gay is a little like listening to the voice of the internet — dryly funny, pop culture-astute, versed in the latest controversies about avocados and the apocryphal sordid past of Lena Dunham's dog.

But where the internet is shallow, Gay has depth, which was on display in a wide-ranging conversation hosted by Octavia Books and conducted by emerging novelist Maurice Carlos Ruffin. In the cavernous yet disturbingly fluorescent auditorium at the Jewish Community Center July 12, Gay spoke about blackness, sexual assault, feminism, being from Omaha, tattoos, comic books, personal healing and the body image issues that are at the center of her recent, much-anticipated book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

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