Rising Tide 7.5 - Moira Crone and "The Not Yet"

Technical issues prevented me from liveblogging Moira Crone's discussion and reading of her New Orleans based science fiction novel "The Not Yet," but I was glad I got to focus on the presentation without the distractions of typing in the highlights.

This wasn't just a discussion of her book. Though those in attendance got to dig deep into this fascinating and poignant work, the whole of the presentation served as an examination of New Orleans' place in the popular culture of America as a city existing in the three feminine characterizations of muse, nurturer, and prophet, in the three tenses of the past, present, and future.

Just like the book, I'll be thinking about conversation for a long, long time.

Live Blogging RT7.5 - Young Audiences

Young Audiences has been established for around 50 years to help bring arts into classrooms and schools in New Orleans. Started running after school programs after Katrina. Employ 280 artists in all disciplines, doing work in Jefferson, Orleans, and St Bernard Parish.

In some schools, teaching artist is the one of the most constant individuals at school over several years, with so much teacher and administrator turnover.

Funded by the state for after school programs. Out of 75 organizations that hold the grant, Young Audiences is one of the "exemplary" ones, and is one of the only organizations focusing on the arts.

Interesting relationships with school reform going on. Educational philosophy touted as success locally isn't the same as what most individuals consider scholastic achievement. YA addresses skill development for foundational education types. Uses arts as a vehicle to help develop critical thinking, problem solving, curiosity, and study practices that help students in music and academically.

YA has been granted a charter in Jefferson Parish to scale up educational model. Charter model allows school to hire artist professionals to teach in the school. Will make educational planning between teaching artists and academic educators. Will be a full academic program.

Will there be a focus on teaching creationism as science? No. Same laws that allow some charters in Louisiana to teach creationism allow YA to designate science - centric curriculum for science classes.

State budget funding has affected YA, as a grant receiving organization. Has had to work harder to find external sources of funding to make up shortfalls and provide same level of service to students in after school programs. Have diligently worked to build a cash reserve so teaching artists are not affected by funding changes.

Is school being chartered by Jefferson Parish as a type 1 school, authorized by school district. Only recruiting in Jefferson Parish. Won't be official until March 5, because contract has not been signed.

Special education services? Legal requirements, but also intending to spirit of the law. Will open up to every student, total transportation, planning and budgeted for full commitment for every child attending. Start up funds come from the state. YA has committed funding. Has applied for grant funding for external services.

Board has been convened. Board members and YA board members will not be the same.

Have experienced significant success with at risk students who participate in arts in after school programs. Those students are able to participate more fully in academic settings in the classroom because the artistic expressions are involved.

 Will not be shutting down any YA programs to focus on the charter school. These are separate entities. Hoping charter will be able to strengthen case for bringing arts into schools. Unique thing.


Live Blogging 7.5 - Musician's Clinic

Bethany Bultman with New Orleans' Musician's Clinic

Where do you get your healthcare? That is the key point. While NOLA was the birthplace of American music, it is usually a place where musicians go to an early grave because of lack of healthcare services.

Thanks to Phish, the keyboard player's father was a doctor, Dr. Jack McConnell, was brought to the stage at Jazzfest one year, and was inspired to help found a clinic. Met Sybil Morial, sister to the mayor of New Orleans. Met chancellor of LSU, Daughters of Charity, and Jazz and Heritage Foundation.

Before Katrina, clinic was underwhelmed. Usually seeing musicians who never received healthcare over the whole course of their lives. Clinic was lost after Katrina.

Clinic was reestablished, now sees 2700 patients, and is expecting Federal designation as a live in clinic in the coming year.

What is going on in healthcare in Louisiana is absolutely worse than any 3rd world country. Don't hear anything about it because the governor is very secretive, has replaced everyone on board of governors of LSU, not one department head at LSU medical center can speak out because they all work for the state. Bultman can speak out because she isn't worried about credentials or career, she's not a doctor.

Part of what Musician's Clinic does is help people look at their lifestyles and what damage that could do to health. Another part is helping individuals navigate byzantine health care system in Louisiana.

New billion dollar public LSU hospital is currently being privatized. Currently, Medicare can help pay for treatment, but with governor not participating in Obamacare, clinic may not be able to keep patients on their rolls due to the state not taking advantage of the Federal funding. Clinic is "gathering nuts for the winter" because they do not know what they are going to be able to do. Will not be losing staff, and will still do what can be done to treat patients, but so many public clinics that New Orleans depends on may not be able to continue operating.

Looking to partner with Daughters of Charity to create Musician's Clinic "Jr" to provide more assistance, so they can treat minors.

Youth Orchestra families participate in Musicians Clinic and are able to take advantage of the wealth of services available. Looking forward to Clinic being able to provide service for minors.

If you have friends who are eligible: audio engineers, writers, actors, if they would like to be patient, tell them it is now or never.

Live Blogging RT7.5

Good morning, we're getting started here in room 252 of the Healing Center.

Laura Patterson presenting for the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward.

Started in the Lower 9th, but grew beyond the capacity of the community center. Because so many students came from Arise Academy, they relocated to the school.

Work with primarily K - 8 students, with a special interest in local music. Focus is on string instruments, because those were the instruments they had available initially. In addition to traditional music instruction, this includes techniques on improvisation, which is a vital part of local music.

Modeled after the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra Program, and are partnered with the Harmony Program.

Goal is to help students through high school and into college if that is their chosen routes.

Assessment of student achievement indicates participation in the orchestra helps students with grades.

Number of performances on the books, and have several upcoming. Including Spring gala at Cafe Istanbul on April 21 from 6 - 8. Community members interested in supporting the program are encouraged to attend.

Little bit of press coverage: "Miracle on St. Claude" article in the Times-Picayune on Christmas Day.

Have a Twitter (YouthOrchL9thW) Feed and Facebook account, trying to build social media community to help spread the word about involvement and recruiting volunteers. Web and graphic design support appreciated.

March 21 Cocktails for a Cause at the Rusty Nail - fundraiser. 5-8pm

Fatima - youth mentor. Tulane student, participant in Harmony Project. Helps mentors with Youth Orchestra , playing violin since 9 years old. Being a part of the Harmony Project helped her become more disciplined due to practice scheduling, and socially through participation with ensemble groups. Developed lifelong friends who shared dedications. Even though she isn't majoring in music, it is something she is passionate about, and development of artistic side helps students become well rounded.

Wrap up: project is completely free of charge. Started with 9 students, now at 42.

Looking for volunteer academic tutors, volunteer staffers for March and April fundraisers, volunteers to help develop social media presence.

Not a classical music organization. Focus is on regional music, regardless of musical instruments used.