Rising Tide 6 Lineup

Rising Tide 6 brings you two halls of programming at the University Center at Xavier University of Louisiana on Saturday, August 27, 2011, including:

David Simon, creator and executive producer of HBO's New Orleans drama Treme. He is a former journalist for the Baltimore Sun and writer and producer of acclaimed programs such as The Corner, The Wire and Generation Kill.

Richard Campanella, professor at Tulane University, geographer, and author of six critically acclaimed books on the physical and human geography of New Orleans: Bienville’s Dilemma, Geographies of New Orleans, Lincoln in New Orleans, New Orleans Then and Now, Delta Urbanism, and Time and Place in New Orleans.

Social Media, Social Justice Panel – Cherri Foytlin, contributor to the Bridge the Gulf project; Jimmy Huck, Jr., Executive Committee member of Tulane University’s Center for Public Service; Jordan Flaherty, author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six; Stephen Ostertag, creator of PublicSphereNOLA; and moderated by Bart Everson from Xavier's Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Louisiana’s Coastal Health Panel –Moderated by Alex Woodward, writer for Gambit, panelists include Len Bahr, founding editor of LACoastPost; David Hammer, staff writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune; Ann Rolfes, founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade; and Drake Toulouse, blogger at Disenfranchised Citizen.

New Orleans Food Writing Panel - Guests Peter Thriffley and Rene Louapre of Blackened Out and Offbeat Magazine will join Todd Price, author of A Frolic of My Own to discuss the eating out in New Orleans and writing about it, and the new generation of great online New Orleans food writers.

Brass Bands Panel featuring Lawrence Rawlins, band director of Roots of Music; Alejandro de los Rios, producer of the Brass Roots documentary; members of the TBC Brass Band Edward “Juicy” Jackson, Joe Maize and Sean Michael Roberts; moderated by writer Deborah Cotton; followed by a performance by the TBC Brass Band.

Rising Tide is also proud to announce the addition of Tech School to this year’s lineup. Tech School will offer a second stage of panels devoted to hands-on, how-to style social media and blogging topics ranging from improving your photography, advanced Wordpress techniques, the latest in web strategies and online tools. Presenters for Tech School include FSC Inter@ctive, the Louisiana Bloggers Network, Neighborland, Invade NOLA, Ben Varadi and more.

You can register for Rising Tide 6 at Eventbrite. Lunch catered by J’anita’s. Books and published materials by Rising Tide panelists and speakers, as well as New Orleans literature, will be available at the conference courtesy of Octavia Books.

Rising Tide 6 attendees from out of town can get guest rates of $69.00 per night at the Marriot Courtyard in the Warehouse District.

Reserve your hotel accommodations for Rising Tide by August 4th

Remember, the preferred hotel Rising Tide 6 is the Marriott Courtyard at 300 Julia Street in the Warehouse District. Rooms are $69.00 per night, but only through August 4, so reserve today by calling 504-598-9898 or 1-888-236-2427 and ask for the Rising Tide Group Rate.

Rooms should include air-conditioning, so it won't get too hot!


Mark LaFlaur: Make Levees, Not War

Mark LaFlaur is a freelance writer and editor living in New York City with his wife, Janet Cameron, who also works in book publishing. A two-time graduate of LSU, Mark moved from New Orleans in 2001 to get married, well before Hurricane Katrina, but just in time for September 11. (He was living in Berkeley at the time of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.)

He has worked in book publishing in New York and San Francisco and as an encyclopedia and dictionary editor for Charles Scribner’s Sons, Oxford University Press, and Wiley-Blackwell. His work has been published in the Village Voice and Los Angeles Times Book Review, and about 100 articles have been published in reference and trade books by Macmillan, Oxford, etc. (His unpublished novels are another story.)

Mark founded the blog Levees Not War in late 2005 after hurricanes Katrina and Rita as a way of trying to keep national attention on New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast’s struggle to recover from disaster. “We do not want to live in a world without New Orleans,” he says, “and we do want to live.” Levees Not War focuses on infrastructure, war and peace, the environment, and progressive politics.

On Sept. 24, 2005, the weekend of Hurricane Rita and a month after Katrina, Mark and Janet attended a 300,000-strong antiwar mobilization in Washington, D.C. There they and several dozen other individuals and groups, including Code Pink, carried homemade signs saying MAKE LEVEES, NOT WAR. “We probably all thought we were being clever and original,” Mark says, “until we saw everyone else’s signs, all saying the same thing.” Thus the name.

Mark and Janet visit New Orleans as often as possible (several times a year when lucky) and hope to someday be able to buy a place in New Orleans so they can split their year between there and New York, “livin’ the dream” of “Share Our Wealth.” Rising Tide 6 will be Mark’s fourth conference, and Janet’s second.


Meet Sophmom

A long-time marketing and communications professional, Atlanta-based Sharon Allison Barnhart was part of the team that deployed the first offline promotion (it was direct mail) used to drive an online interaction in 1997. During the years that followed, her family's business, a boutique agency pioneering interactive marketing, deployed dozens of creative offline national promotions customized to drive targeted online traffic and were among the first marketers to use the internet to create and measure direct communication between brands and consumers.

In early 2005 she joined a friend's construction industry start-up, which has since grown to perform complicated environmental and asset recovery deconstruction projects all over the country. As Communications Manager she writes or oversees the company's qualifications documentation, bids and proposals. She also manages the company's project reporting compliance as well as maintaining its entity status, registrations and industry licensing in multiple states and the federal Central Contractor Registry.

In 2002 she began posting online as Sophmom when the oldest of her three sons was a college sophomore in North Carolina, and in June of 2004 she began blogging under that name. By August 29, 2005 when her middle son was scheduled to start his sophomore year at Loyola University New Orleans, she had been writing about parenting a college student in New Orleans for over a year and very quickly began interacting online in what was the beginning of the post-flood NOLA Blogosphere. She attended the first Geek Dinner in July of 2006 and the first Rising Tide the following month. Since Rising Tide 3, she's served on the organizing committee, setting up and monitoring registration and managing the sign-in table at the conference.

She is part of the team that blogs, tweets and posts to Facebook for and as Rising Tide. In between conferences, she spends as much time as possible among New Orleanians, in fact as well as virtually.

Her various social media profiles are aggregated on her about.me page although she's most easily found posting as Sophmom on Twitter.

For five weeks every summer, she manages a men's baseball team.


Meet Val McGinley

Val McGinley was raised Yankee and decided to go to college as far away from home as possible. When Tulane sent an acceptance letter all those years ago, she decided to move to New Orleans, sight unseen, as an 18-year-old freshman. She married a fellow Tulanian (from the borderlands of Cincinnati, OH) and despite having some aspirations to moveto other parts of the U.S. or world, they could never quite leave New Orleans, even when New Orleans didn’t want them to stay.

Val has worked at Tulane since 1995, traveling around the western hemisphere making grand plans and running programs in the hope that the general populace will learn that there are more countries than the U.S., Canada and Mexico (all the land south of the U.S. border, right?) and that more languages than English are spoken in North and South America.

She’s a die hard, naturalized New Orleanian since both of her children were born in New Orleans, including her youngest on Halloween, 2005, eleven days after returning from exile (there was no way in hell this Yankee/New Orleanian was going to give birth in Texas). She actively follows local politics and school reform issues and is a regular tweeter, which is all she seems to be able to fit into her rather overcrowded schedule. Val serves on the boards of the Partnership for Youth Development and the World Affairs Council of New Orleans. Having organized too many academic conferences to count, she was crazy enough to volunteer to help with Rising Tide. Val has been a huge help with programming and was invaluable last year at the registration table.

Timothy M. Ruppert, P.E., M.ASCE

Tim Ruppert has been active in the planning and presentation of the Rising Tide Conference since 2008. He presented twice at the conference: "In Levees We Trust" in 2007 and "Why Can't We Get Some Dam Protection for New Orleans" in 2010.

Tim is a registered Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering in the state of Louisiana. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Economics from the University of New Orleans. Tim is currently a Supervisory Civil Engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, leading a team of project engineers and technicians engaged in the planning, design and construction of billions of dollars of flood risk reduction work in the New Orleans area.

Tim is member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He is a past president of the ASCE New Orleans Branch and ASCE Louisiana Section. Tim was chair of the 2006 Louisiana Civil Engineering Conference and Show, an annual seminar and trade show attended by more than 500 engineering and construction professionals from throughout the state.

Prior to joining the Corps, Tim was a partner at Morphy, Makofsky Consulting Engineers, a local civil and structural engineering firm. His work there earned the company an Award of Merit from the American Concrete Institute, Louisiana Chapter in 1998.

Tim served as a photo journalist and intelligence specialist for six years in the Louisiana Army National Guard. He is a graduate of the Defense Information School, and his writing has appeared in Stars and Stripes Europe. Tim was honorably discharged in 1986. His awards include the Army Service Ribbon and Cold War Recognition Certificate.

Tim served on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association (NOSHA) for several years. Prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Tim was a regular contributor of letters to The Times-Picayune on the topic of separation of church and state.

Tim and his wife of 24 years live in New Orleans with their daughter. Although he has blogged infrequently since 2010, Tim chronicled his family's return to New Orleans and his experiences in the Post-K city at Tim's Nameless Blog (www.timsnamelessblog.blogspot.com). Samples of his blog appeared in the anthology, "A Howling in the Wires," published in 2010.

Meet Kelly Leahy

Kelly Leahy has been oversharing on the internet since 2000, when she registered her first domain. Though originally from Vermont, she moved to New Orleans eleven years ago and in that time bought a house, got married, and gave birth to two towheaded girls. Her compulsive need to put everything in writing led her to paid positions with Weblogs Inc., Blogging New Orleans and other online blogging companies. Her writing can currently be seen in print in NOLA Baby & Family Magazine as well as on her current blog, Good Children. When not shouting commands at her daughters and navigating the ways of the New Orleans public school system, Kelly enjoys her work with a New Orleans clinical child psychologist and volunteering for the NOPD Crisis Unit. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Social Work at Tulane University.

This is Kelly's first year on the planning committee for Rising Tide though she has been a long time admirer and attendee. She is working on vendors and sponsorship for the conference.

Rising Tide 6 Official Hotel

Thanks to Mark LaFlaur of Levees Not War, we have an official hotel! We're shacking up at the Marriott Courtyard at 300 Julia Street in the Warehouse District. Rooms are $69.00 per night.

Here is the link to the hotel.

To make reservations, call 504-598-9898 or 1-888-236-2427.

Tell them you want the Rising Tide Group Rate.


Alli deJong: Came to Volunteer and Fell in Love with New Orleans

Alli deJong is originally from Michigan, via Chicago, and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Alli is one of those wonderful young people who came to New Orleans to volunteer after Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood and never wanted to leave. She likes hockey, riding a bicycle for transportation, the National Park System, eggplant fries, and college football. She dislikes airport security, pollution, microwave popcorn, and truck nuts. Alli is a member of the Krewe of Mama Roux and lives in Bayou St. John.

Alli serves as stage manager for the conference and organizes our food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana. Here is a picture of Alli in front of Mount Rainier. Enjoy.


Lance Vargas: Keepin' It Real

Lance "Varg" Vargas is a found object folk artist, graphic designer and blogger in New Orleans. He started his blog The Chicory in 2004 as an arts and culture Web site before altering the design and format into a blog in October 2006.

Before moving back to New Orleans in 2004, he was an Entertainment Editor (and infrequent Executive Editor) at La Jolla Light, a 90 year old weekly newspaper in La Jolla, California for six years covering the Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla Playhouse and D.G. Wills Bookstore. He also began a San Diego literature and social commentary site called Asunder Press in 1999. In San Diego he also wrote for: Revolt in Style, The San Diego Troubadour, and three cover stories for the Gay and Lesbian Times.

Varg began making and selling found object folk art in 2008 while renovating his Algiers Point home. His inspirations are humanism, soulful and spirited living and a disdain for waste or anything uppity. He is a member of the Jackson Square Artists Association committee.

He has been a graphic designer since 1999 and currently has a Web design business called Varg Visuals with more than a dozen clients in greater New Orleans.

His wife is Romy Kaye, a jazz and blues vocalist and a Standardized Patient Coordinator at Tulane School of Medicine.

He is the son of Ken and Caral, a sailor and a social worker.

He loves folk tales, astronomy, amber spirits, minor chords, pulled pork and the months of October through April.

He has been an organizer and the Web master for the Rising Tide Conference since 2008, and is the over-worked chair and sole member of the Keepin' It Real committee.


Meet Miss Malaprop

Mallory Whitfield is a proud resident of New Orleans. She grew up in nearby Gulfport, Mississippi, and witnessed the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures firsthand. Mallory is dedicated to helping New Orleans and the Gulf Coast rebuild and become better than ever. She created her blog Miss Malaprop in August 2006 as a place to showcase unique, hand crafted and independently made products and small businesses, document her personal mission to live a more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible lifestyle, to talk about what’s going on in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast and to showcase NOLA and Gulf South-based artists and businesses. In March 2010, she launched the Miss Malaprop online store to offer even more unique handmade & eco-friendly goods.

Mallory designs recycled clothing and accessories, including everything from reconstructed denim skirts and cozy neckwarmers to outfits made from recycled FEMA blue tarp. One of her blue tarp creations won 3rd place in Etsy’s Upcycling Contest in 2007 and was featured on Boing Boing. She also won honorable mentions in the Worn Again Recycled Fashion Shows in 2008 and 2009 and was asked to be a judge for the 2010 event.

In addition to writing for her own blog, Mallory has also written for a variety of publications and websites, including Antigravity Magazine, Etsy Momentum, StyleList.com, Blogging New Orleans, and Southern Flourish Magazine. She is a proud founding member of the New Orleans Craft Mafia.

Mallory joined the Rising Tide conference krewe this year. She is the programming chair for Stage 2 and is also working with our vendors.


Xavier University of Louisiana

Did you know that Xavier University is the only historically black Catholic university in the United States? Well, I didn't know that. Xavier has a rich and impressive history, and Rising Tide 6 will feature a short presentation about it.

We are honored to have Xavier as our host for Rising Tide 6. We are going to try our best not to do anything that will result in the conference not being invited back.

Bart Everson, multimedia artist at Xavier's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and famed "Editor B" at B.Rox, is a welcome addition to our planning committee this year. Bart has brought a fresh perspective to the planning of the conference and has been a helpful liaison between us and the folks at Xavier. All you students can thank Bart for being the one who came up with the idea of a student registration for the ridiculously low price of $18.00.

We Couldn't Do It Without...

...the people who pay the bills. Rising Tide 6 is lucky enough to have some very generous corporate and academic sponsors. So far, we have Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Dirty Coast, Gambit Communications, Abita Beer, Old New Orleans Louisiana Rum, and Artist, Inc., with negotiations still going on with a bunch of others.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the conference, a panel, a speaker or any aspect of our efforts, please contact Kelly Leahy, our sponsorship chair. Kelly can be reached at kleahy @ gmail.com.

More information about sponsorship levels can be found on our website. We can also work out a custom-designed sponsorship package for your company.

While we appreciate our corporate sponsors, the majority of our operating fund is provided by registrations from our wonderful audience participants. Registration is by far our largest source of income. We try hard to keep the price low enough for the conference to be accessible to almost anyone. This year, we are offering a student registration for $18.00, which is less than what it costs per each individual participant. I think the $30.00 regular registration, which includes lunch, is one of the best deals around.

Rising Tide NOLA, Inc. is a non-profit Louisiana corporation. No one makes any money from the conference. We are all volunteers and there is no paid staff. Any money left over after the conference expenses are paid is used to put on the next year's conference. One of our goals is to put on more than one event during the year, so some funds may be used for a future Rising Tide event.