Mothers’ Day Second Line Tradition

Discusses the value of the tradition and the organization’s role in non-violence.


Desegregation Orders

Desegregation Orders

From the article: 

Desegregation order: a federal court order that requires a school district to implement specific policies and practices in order to desegregate all schools within the district

Yes, we still have desegregation orders in Louisiana.  In fact, out of the state’s 69 local school districts, roughly 40 are still operating under desegregation court orders.  The majority of these orders have been in effect for over 40 years. 

New Orleans Schools Four Years After Katrina: A Lingering Federal Responsibility

New Orleans Schools Four Years After Katrina: A Lingering Federal Responsibility

Linked PDF is a report done by the Southern Education Foundation ( focused on findings about school systems in New Orleans in the years following Hurricane Katrina. It discusses the new structure of schools, student performance, and community involvement among other topics. 

SEF’s Vision. We seek a South and a nation with a skilled workforce that sustains an expanding economy, where civic life embodies diversity and democratic values and practice, and where an excellent education system provides all students with fair chances to develop their talents and contribute to the common good. We will be known for our commitment to combating poverty and inequality through education.

SEF’s Timeless Mission. SEF develops, promotes, and implements policies, practices, and creative solutions that ensure educational excellence, fairness, and high levels of achievement for all students. SEF began in 1867 as the Peabody Education Fund.

New Orleans: Been in the Storm Too Long

WATCH the video; link embedded at the bottom.

For the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Tavis Smiley Reports visited New Orleans, capturing the mood and spirit of the city’s courageous residents five years after the levees failed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Tavis reflects: “We see two sides of the city—the tourist areas that have been redeveloped with federal funds, and the devastated neighborhoods where everyday people have taken it upon themselves to get their homes rebuilt, their schools reopened, and their lives back.”

For the program, Tavis reunited with Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme, who spent five years chronicling the people of New Orleans as they struggled to recover and rebuild their city.

Watch New Orleans: Been in the Storm Too Long on PBS. See more from Tavis Smiley.

Hard Time: A Special Report

Hard Time: A Special Report

From the article, which focuses on Tallulah as a prison in need of massive reform:

”It’s incredibly perverse,” said David Utter, director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. ”They have this place that creates all these injuries and they have all these kids with mental disorders, and then they save money by not treating them.”

In a recent interview, Cheney Joseph, executive counsel to Gov. Mike Foster, warned there were limits to what Louisiana was willing to do. ”There are certain situations the Department of Justice would like us to take care of,” he said, ”that may not be financially feasible and may not be required by Federal law.”

From their wakeup call at 5:30 A.M., the inmates, in white T-shirts and loose green pants, spend almost all their time confined to the barracks. They leave the barracks only for marching drills, one to three hours a day of class and an occasional game of basketball. There is little ventilation, and temperatures in Louisiana’s long summers hover permanently in the 90’s.

The result, several boys told a visitor, is that some of them deliberately start trouble in order to be disciplined and sent to the other section of Tallulah, maximum-security cells that are air-conditioned.

Guards put inmates in solitary confinement so commonly that in one week in May more than a quarter of all the boys spent at least a day in ”lockdown,” said Nancy Ray, another Justice Department expert. The average stay in solitary is five to six weeks; some boys are kept indefinitely. While in the tiny cells, the boys are stripped of all possessions and lie on worn, thin mattresses resting on concrete blocks.

The crowding, heat and isolation are hardest on the 25 percent of the boys who are mentally ill or retarded, said Dr. Hudson, a psychiatrist, tending to increase their depression or psychosis.