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The Rising Tide #RT8 live cast is on the air


Rising Tide this Saturday at Xavier!

#RT8 Keynote speaker Gen. Russel Honore is making news.

Former panelist Zack Kopplin doing the same.

Panels on Charter School Accountability, Creating Community for Writers of Color, and Beyond Tourism/Beyond Recovery.

Plus Tech School, an "unconference," lunch, and all kinds of fun for only $20 if you register today!


Rising Tide 8 is this Saturday.  Tell your friends.  Tell them to bring theirs.

Rising Tide 8 poster


LT. General Russel Honore to deliver the keynote for Rising Tide 8

Rising Tide is pleased to announce that LT. General Russel Honore will deliver the keynote address for its eighth annual new media conference.

Honore commanded the Joint Task Force responsible for coordinating military relief efforts in areas effected by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans. His leadership in 2005 provided a stark contrast to failures by FEMA and other government entities. Currently Honore is a Senior Scientist with The Gallup Organization and a CNN Preparedness Contributor. 

His latest book is "Leadership in the New Normal."

This year Honore has spoken on preparedness topics related to the Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster as well as the Flood Authority's coastal erosion lawsuit against oil and gas companies.

Register for Rising Tide 8 here. 

More conference schedule information here. 


Charter School Access & Accountability panel

The panel on Charter School Access & Accountability will focus on the following question:

Are charter schools in New Orleans more or less responsive to democratic principles than our old School Boards, and how can we address the access and accountability issues for the present and future of New Orleans?

As 80% of our public schools are now Charter Schools, the business of covering charter schools has moved from weekly Parish-wide school board meetings to a variable number of meetings by a much larger number of Boards, which leaves the coverage up to more flexible news organizations like The Lens and Uptown Messenger.  Charter schools and these  reporters often tussle over the exceptions to open meetings laws, public records requests and other access issues.  Do parents have similar issues? What is the parent’s recourse if they are not happy with how their charter school is run?


Scott Sternberg is an attorney at the firm of Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer. Among many other clients he works for The Lens and Uptown Messenger, and represents clients before the Louisiana Board of Ethics and other governmental entities. Sternberg has worked with the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, among  other good government groups.  Sternberg is married to an educator and consequently holds some teacher-oriented views on education policy.


Steve Beatty is the editor of The Lens news website. He originated the Lens’ Charter School Reporting Corps, which covers boards that govern over 75 schools in Orleans Parish. This year the Corps won The New Orleans Press Club’s first place award for Community News.  Beatty has three children who attend charter schools.

Jaimme Collins is an attorney at Adams & Reese who regularly represents charter schools.
In 2013, Collins received the National Diversity Council's Glass Ceiling Award for her diversity efforts and leadership in the workplace. In 2011, she received "Women of the Year" honors from New Orleans CityBusiness. Collins is a member of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans— an agency which is dedicated to offering free mental health services exclusively to children.

Marta Jewson is a freelance journalist who covers charter schools for The Lens and Uptown Messenger. From 2010 to 2012 she served as an AmeriCorps member with Project Homecoming while working as a freelance reporter. After interning at Gambit, Marta began reporting for The Lens’ Charter School Reporting Corps in the fall of 2011. She began reporting for Uptown Messenger in the fall of 2012, and Mid-City Messenger in January 2013.

Aesha Rasheed is a consultant and researcher who formerly reported on education for the Times Picayune. In 2007 Rasheed created the  “New Orleans Parents Guide,” an essential resource for information on public and charter schools in New Orleans. She also founded the New Orleans Parent Organizing Network, which supports parents in their effort to organize for quality public schools. This summer Rasheed was recognized with a Point of Light award for her work to improve education in the city.


Announcing: Rising Tide 8 Panel Discussion

The eighth Rising Tide Conference will take place on September 14 on the campus of Xavier University. Register today at http://risingtidenola.com/

Beyond Tourism Beyond Recovery

In a recent editorial, Governor Bobby Jindal became the latest in a growing string of commenters to call New Orleans “America’s Comeback City.”   Since 2007, its population has grown faster than that of any other American city. And over the course of its long recovery from disaster it has largely bucked the trend of national economic downturn.

As the recovery period draws to a close, how is the city preparing to maintain this momentum? According to the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, “the New Orleans area has experienced notable growth in knowledge–based industries, including higher education and insurance services, while maintaining older industrial strengths.”  In 2012 New Orleans led the nation in business startups per capita.  The New Orleans Business Alliance has completed a strategic plan to take advantage of these assets and build a stronger more diverse economy as the city moves forward.

But even with these developments in progress, New Orleans remains as reliant as ever on tourism.

Tourism has been the city’s traditional calling card and remains so through the recovery.  But its dominance is not without consequences. Tourism wields tremendous influence on the city’s business community, on its politics, and ultimately on the day to day life of its residents.

Residents often complain that the city prioritizes the needs of the tourism business over those of neighborhoods with regard to streets, lighting, transit and other basic infrastructure.   Meanwhile, within those neighborhoods, businesses dedicated to fostering New Orleans’s trademark cultural cache can create livability issues for nearby residents who have to deal with the noise, litter, and other inconveniences associated with city’s famous amusements.

Finally, the very act of turning the city’s unique cultural heritage into a set of mass produced touring experiences can diminish the authenticity of that very culture.  Is it worth it? According to a recent Loyola University study, the average salary in tourism and hospitality is only $26,000.

Can we do better by the waiters, cooks, musicians, artists, tour guides and the like who support the “cultural economy”? Does the industry  have too heavy and influence on the city’s major land use and infrastructure decisions?  How do we balance the demands of the tourism industry with the needs of neighborhoods and those of us who just like to live here?  And is the city doing enough to diversify its economy beyond tourism as it moves beyond recovery?

Moderated by Charles Maldonado: Staff Writer at The Lens
Charles Maldonado is The Lens’ government accountability reporter, covering the city of New Orleans and other local government bodies. He previously worked for Gambit, New Orleans’ alternative newsweekly, where he covered city hall, criminal justice and public health. Before moving to New Orleans, he covered state and local government for weekly papers in Nashville. In Knoxville, Tenn., Maldonado received numerous awards for his reporting of a billion-gallon coal ash spill at a Tennessee Valley Authority power plant. A native of Detroit, Maldonado and his wife are expecting their first child.
Kevin Fox Gotham, Ph.D. is a professor of sociology and associate dean of academic affairs in the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University in New Orleans. He has research interests in urban redevelopment, real estate and housing policy, tourism, and post-disaster recovery and rebuilding, and sustainability studies.
He is the author of several books including: Race, Real Estate and Uneven Development (2014 SUNY Press), Authentic New Orleans: Race and Culture in the Big Easy (2007, New York University Press), and Critical Perspectives on Urban Redevelopment (2001, Elsevier). His new book (co-authored with Miriam Greenberg), Crisis Cities: Disaster and Redevelopment in New York and New Orleans (Oxford University Press) will be released in early 2014.
Brice Miller is a New Orleans jazz trumpeter and cultural engagement and public humanities specialist. For many years he taught jazz education for New Orleans Public Schools and created K-16 music and art education programs. He is presently an assistant director with Community Affairs at The University of Alabama, specializing in intercultural and diversity issues on campus, community/scholarly engagement and outreach using the arts and public humanities.
As a jazz artist and performer, Miller has enjoyed a phenomenal career as a musician and entrepreneur, traveling internationally since age 17. He is also the leader of Mahogany Brass Band, one of New Orleans’ only young brass bands maintaining the legacy of the tradition while still pushing the genre forward. Miller has performed at Carnegie Hall on three separate occasions, Kennedy Center, festivals throughout Europe including Umbria and North Sea jazz festivals, and Tivoli Gardens in Denmark to name a few.
Miller is a two-time graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, where he earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education and a Master’s in Educational Administration and Leadership. Miller works for The University of Alabama Crossroads Community Center, an initiative of the Office of Community Affairs.  He is an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. candidate at The University of Alabama with a concentration in community and scholarly engagement using the arts and public humanities.
Meg Lousteau is the executive director of the Vieux Carré Property Owners, Residents and Associates (VCPORA), a non-profit neighborhood advocacy group formed in the 1930s to protect and preserve the French Quarter. Lousteau also serves on the board of the Historic Faubourg Tremé Association, and on the PRC’s Property Advisory Committee.
Lousteau earned a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans’ College of Urban and Public Affairs. She worked as assistant director of the Preservation Resource Center’s Operation Comeback program, and later became founding executive director of the Louisiana Landmarks Society. After Katrina, Lousteau became involved in real estate and renovations. However, her love of preservation and advocacy lured her back to the non-profit world, and in November of 2008, she accepted a position as the first executive director of VCPORA.
Robin Keegan is a professional planner at GCR Inc. with over 18 years of experience in housing, economic development, community planning and housing program design. She is currently managing the New Orleans Economic Development Plan for the Business Alliance and spearheading housing recovery efforts in New York post-Hurricane Sandy. Before joining GCR, Keegan served as Director of Real Estate Planning for the Housing Authority of New Orleans and Executive Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, overseeing $14 billion in funds for housing, infrastructure and economic development initiatives.
Keegan earned an M.S. in Planning and Preservation from Columbia University and a B.A. from Macalester College. Before moving to Louisiana, Keegan provided economic development consulting services in New York, serving as Deputy Director for the Center for an Urban Future and Project Manager for the New York Industrial Retention Network. She has served as Adjunct Professor in Economic Development at Columbia, instructing on economic development through the arts.
Mark Romig serves as President and CEO of the New Orleans TourismMarketing Corporation (NOTMC), the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency. He is an established public relations and marketing professional and is accredited (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America. Romig has been involved in a variety of historic and milestone events throughout his career, including the development of the Hotel Inter-Continental New Orleans, the 1984 Louisiana World’s Fair, and the wildly successful Idea Village New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Romig was recently tapped by the Saints to succeed his father Jerry as the Stadium Announcer for the home games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He was Co-Chair of the Media & PR Committee for the New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII Host Committee.
Romig is a member of the Board of Trustees and Board Secretary for Xavier University of Louisiana and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. He currently serves as a member of the New Orleans City Park Board of Commissioners and on the board of directors for Covenant House New Orleans. Romig taught public relations courses at Tulane’s University College for several years.
Romig graduated from Brother Martin High School and attended the University of New Orleans, where he received his B.S. from the School of Business Administration (School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration). He was named the school’s outstanding alumnus in 2012.