Out & About

Samuel J. Green Charter School

Samuel J. Green Charter School

Click aqui para español- >Samuel J. Green Charter School

Known as the “Jewel of Freret,” Samuel J. Green Charter School opened in 2005 as part of FirstLine Schools. Serving grades Pre-K - 8th, Green is working to provide more seats for children from all New Orleans backgrounds to learn together.

The mission of Samuel J. Green Charter School is to prepare 100% of students for college, careers, and a successful life. With a rigorous and creative curriculum, Green focuses on providing a strategic use of blended and personalized learning. This dedication to the individual needs of each student is why Green was recently recognized by the state as a top performer both in the city and statewide, with an “A” rating for student growth.

In addition to the academic curriculum, students at Green benefit from hands-on learning experiences daily through FirstLine’s nationally renowned gardening and culinary program, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans.

For more information, visit FirstLineSchools.org/Samuel-J-Green-Charter-School, call 504-304-3532 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The Carnival Exchange Program

The Carnival Exchange Program

By Angela Hernandez

Click aqui para español- >Proyecto de intecambio Carnaval

When it comes to Mardi Gras, local dance group Dile Que Nola, likes to celebrate it “a lo Cubano.” For the past three years, the rueda de casino group has worked to bridge the gap between New Orleans and Cuba through The Carnival Exchange Project.

According to Dile Que Nola’s Executive Director Nicole Goldin, the Carnival Exchange Project was created to celebrate and educate the community on Cuban culture. The five-day festival is not only geared towards education through dance but also as a means of cultural exchange between Cubans and New Orleanians. At the end of the festival, attendees parade on Mardi Gras day as one krewe during the Zulu parade.

"The project was an idea of my friend Abril Baloney. She has a company called Diaspora Travel Experiences and she has been hosting intercultural exchanges with Cuba,” said Goldin. Baloney’s idea for the first year was to bring a school from Cuba that would teach the Cuban folkloric dances. In return, New Orleanians would travel to Cuba to share their culture.

Although The Carnival Exchange Project’s inaugural year was a success, the festival hit a snag in its second year due to immigration sanctions. This made it difficult to bring one of the Cuban instructors. Sponsors also backed out, causing a financial strain, but the initiative continues.

Now in its third year, Goldin is hoping to bring instructors from Cuba if they can find sponsorships, and she encourages business owners, organization leaders and individuals to consider one of their different sponsorship levels to make the exchange with Cuba happen. The Carnival Exchange Project is a 501(c)(3) organization and the sponsorships are tax deductible.

If she can’t secure sponsorships, Goldin is determined to continue with the project and her alternative plan is to bring in Cuban nationals who reside in the United States or neighboring countries. “Regardless, we are going to bring Cuban talent, but ideally we would to give people from Cuba an opportunity to leave the island and share their traditions and dance skills with us,” said Goldin.

During the festival, attendees can expect several dance workshops and dance socials with the unique opportunity to truly get to know and teach one another. Instructors have been carefully selected not just because of their dance level but also for their ability to foster a sense of community.

There will be a daily beginners’ track for attendees who have never taken a dance class before. In preparation for the parade's choreography, Goldin plans on releasing the video tutorials in mid-December for those who are coming from out of state. Locals will be able to join in the practices in town at a location to be determined.

Those who would like to participate in the Carnival Exchange Project can buy their passes on their website at thecarnivalexchangeproject.com. Passes range from a $20 party pass to a $200 full experience pass.

You can find sponsorship information on the website and contact Nicole Goldin, by emailing her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2018 Azúcar Ball Press Release

2018 Azúcar Ball Press Release

The New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation (“NOHHF”) will host its annual fundraiser, theAzúcar Ball on Saturday, December 1, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans Hotel, located at 601 Loyola Avenue, in downtown New Orleans.  The theme for this year is Una Vez en Nueva Orleans (Once Upon a Time in New Orleans).Presented by Pan-American Life Insurance Group, the 2018 Azúcar Ball will start with a Patron Party at 7 p.m. followed by the Ball at 8 p.m., featuring the food from the best local restaurants, great Latin music and a silent auction of wonderful items.

Proceeds from the event provide scholarships to high-achieving high school Hispanic students in our community, who have demonstrated – through their academic record – the desire and ability to excel. Since the work and expense of this NOHHF fundraiser is put together by volunteers, almost every penny that is contributed (after the cost of the event) goes to scholarships for these outstanding young adults.

The NOHHF is a non-profit community organization that was founded in 1989 to cultivate and promote the Hispanic heritage of New Orleans and the Southern region. The Foundation provides talented Hispanic high school students with scholarships at some of the best private and parochial local schools participating in the NOHHF Scholarships Program.  The Foundation also grants one-year college scholarships to outstanding seniors from our local public high schools. Throughout the years, the NOHHF has awarded over 800 scholarships to high school students from our area.

President of the NOHHF Board of Directors is Ileana Suquet. Chairs of the 2018 Azúcar Ball Committee are Gracia-María Zaccaro and Rossana Bracho.  This year’s Gálvez Cup award will be presented to The Brennan Family.

Tickets and Sponsorships are available at www.501auctions.com/azucarball

For more information,  call 504-636-0107 or visit www.nohhf.org  

See attachment below.

 

 

Media

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Click aqui para español- >Día de Acción de Gracias

When it comes to celebrating holidays, there are many that translate well as they are universal holidays. And then, there are some that we adopt and make our own. Growing up in the United States I never realized that holidays such as Thanksgiving don’t exist in my parents’ countries. And yet my parents and grandparents came to this country and embraced this holiday for what it represents: The act of giving thanks and family.

For me, Thanksgiving means driving 5 hours to Houston to visit with my tios y primos. It means “estrenar” a new outfit even if all you are doing is chasing after your baby cousins or sitting in the living room chatting with your aunts. It’s the smell of pernil that’s been cooking for hours and trying to steal a spoonful of arroz con gandules when nobody is watching. Or finally, hearing my tio announce that the food is ready, but making sure that first we give thanks to God for all the good He has done for us.

And I can’t forget my second favorite part of the night, after eating, of course…we take pictures! Taking pictures can last over an hour as we make sure to take every group photo possible. First, the Hernandez and then the Posas, the Aranzazu and the Valladares. Now all the first cousins and now the new generation. It can be annoying, but at the same time my Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.

Local TV personality and DJ Felipe Estrada never celebrated Thanksgiving before moving to the United States. In fact, the first time he celebrated the holiday was while visiting family in Orlando, Florida when he was 15 years-old. Although the holiday was strange to him, he remembers trying sweet potato pie for the first time and really liking it. “At first I didn’t get it, but the following year I ended up understanding the whole concept,” said Estrada. Since his first Thanksgiving, Estrada’s family continues to celebrate the holiday as a fusion of his two cultures, stating that at his table there is always a turkey and the Honduran stape, sopa de caracol (conch soup).

EatenPathNola’s Nicole Caridad Ralston had a different experience while growing up in South Florida with her Cuban family. From a very young age, Ralston loved to help her mother in the kitchen. “Our menu was very different. We always had a turkey, but we also had congri, yuca, platano, so it was a mix,” said Ralston. Even now the food blogger loves to cook and volunteers to prepare the turkey in a mojo, whether she is spending time with her family in Florida or with her husband’s family.

It also never occurred to me how my Thanksgiving experience differed from that of my non-Latino friends. I recently had a non-Latino friend tell me that she thought it was so odd how we dress so fancy or how we eat so late. Another friend told me that he was shocked because his family tends to be distant, but he was surprised at how his Latino friend’s family made him feel right at home. I couldn’t help but laugh at how true some of these observations are and how strange my Thanksgiving traditions might seem.

While Thanksgiving might not be a universal holiday and our traditions vary from person to person, one thing is for sure: Thanksgiving has a universal message, one that everyone can relate to regardless of the cultural barrier. As humans, sometimes we can get so wrapped-up in our daily lives that we forget to be grateful. In some ways I think this holiday is necessary to slow down for at least one day to recount the good things in our life…and if it comes with a side of pernil and arroz con gandules, why not?

Redefining Office Space

Redefining Office Space

By AnaMaría Bech

Click aqui para español->Redefiniendo la Oficina

The co-working movement surfaced in San Francisco in 2005 as an idea to combine the independence of freelancing with the community and structure of an office space. These co-working spaces emerged to offer flexible alternatives while helping foster a professional community for entrepreneurs seeking something beyond a café or the isolation of working from home. The Shop is a comprehensive co-working development at the Contemporary Arts Center and it is designed to provide valuable business/cultural programming and services to tenants in addition to the features, amenities, membership packages, and benefits that form the cornerstones of a successful co-working space. “Many people enjoy having the flexibility to work by their own rules and vary their work environments, but what’s often missing from that is a sense of community,” says Pam Meyer, Community Director at The Shop at the CAC. “Current members regularly tell us that they’re more productive when they’re working around and able to connect with other creative, goal-oriented members." According to one ResearchGate report, people who belong to co-working spaces report levels of thriving at an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. Research conducted by organizational psychologist Craig Knight concludes that “empowered offices” -- in which workers can choose their conditions -- can increase productivity on cognitive tasks by 25 percent or more. One of the top benefits that people identify in terms of value is the focus on having a community that provides networking opportunities, which in turn helps them grow their business. Numerous members at The Shop have acquired new accounts, clients, financing, and more, due to their time spent working in the space. The need for a progressive workspace like this in New Orleans helped The Domain Companies drive the development of The Shop, which provides innovative design and competitive amenities like onsite car and bike parking; secure, 24/7 keyless access through a mobile app; a full kitchen with coffee and beer on draft; member events; local and company-focused discounts; and more. For Matt Schwartz, Principal of The Domain Companies, this alternative works “extremely well” for New Orleans, adding that the main goal for The Shop was “to give locals and visitors a place to congregate, share ideas, and in turn, foster a creative, entrepreneurial community. New Orleans is open to that. It’s a creative city with a ton of opportunity, already full of great ideas that we can build on.” The Shop is an innovative workspace. Located in the heart of the historic Contemporary Arts Center, The Shop features over 40,000 sf of award-winning, art-filled space curated to highlight local artists and designers, featuring both temporary and permanent installations; seven conference rooms equipped with the latest technology; private phone booths; and more. One of the more unique aspects of The Shop is the local, creative focus on the artwork and educational and cultural programming that connects members with what’s happening in New Orleans currently across the arts, business, local government, and more. To learn more about The Shop at the CAC visit the website or schedule a tour: https://theshopcac.com.

The Bean Scene

The Bean Scene's Shift Toward Latin American Cuisine in New Orleans

By Rachel Strassel

Click aqui para español->Consumo de frijoles

There’s no denying South Louisiana’s love for beans. After all, what’s Monday without red beans and rice? The bean business in New Orleans dates back to the 1850s, according to Vince Hayward, fourth-generation owner and CEO of the popular Camellia Brand beans.

Many New Orleanians will attest that the red kidney bean is king, but in the 13 years since Hurricane Katrina, it’s garnered some stiff competition from two other varieties— pintos and black beans. The consumption of pintos and black beans has increased significantly in the Crescent City following Katrina. This is due in large part to the cultural influence of the Latino community who came here post-storm to help rebuild.

Along with an “all-hands on deck” attitude, they brought family recipes and a cuisine heavy in pinto beans (Spanish for “painted”) and black beans. Local food personality Poppy Tooker describes New Orleans as a “city of two beans” (the red bean and the pinto bean). She says the community has especially embraced the pinto bean’s versatility, flavor and place on the table.

“Since most people didn’t have functioning kitchens following the storm, food outlets became gathering spots,” Tooker says. “Because beans were widely available and economical, it was easy to make a large pot to share with family, friends and neighbors.”

 With a wide array of ingredients at Latino markets throughout the city, locals have taken Latin American flavors and incorporated them into traditional New Orleans cuisine, as well. “We have been introduced to ingredients that come along with that style of cuisine,” Tooker said. “You find the flavors of the Hispanic kitchen showing up in surprising ways throughout the city.”

As they were for decades before Hurricane Katrina and in the 13 years since, beans of all varieties continue to serve an important role in the history and culture of New Orleans cuisine, Hayward notes. Camellia Brand distributes 18 varieties of beans, peas and lentils.

“Whenever I’m wearing a shirt with the Camellia logo, people stop me to talk about beans, to share memories or stories about their family, and ask for secret recipes,” he said. “Regardless of who you are, where you came from or what your background is, beans are most likely a part of your culinary heritage.”

NOLA Salsa and Bachata fest

NOLA Salsa and Bachata fest

By Angie Hernandez

Click aqui para español->NOLA Salsa and Bachata fest

The New Orleans Salsa-Bachata Festival is back for its second year this coming August. What started as a small festival held in an Uptown dance studio has quickly turned into the largest dance event in the state of Louisiana. However, this wasn't an overnight process for the festival's founder and president, Rubia Garcia. Garcia began dancing in 2003. At the time, Garcia found herself between homes. It was through a friend's cousin that she discovered salsa dancing.

After her classes, Garcia would crash on her friend's couch. A journey which started by merely finding a place to stay quickly turned into a lifelong passion. Since then, Garcia has trained in the Dominican Republic, has become a dance instructor, and has traveled and performed at major dance festivals across the country. Not only was her dance career thriving, but the dance community in New Orleans was thriving as well. In 2005 all that came to halt because of Hurricane Katrina. "Everything I knew and loved about our community changed literally overnight.

There were no more classes. There were no more socials. No more performances and training. No dancers, period. Everything and everyone was gone," said Garcia.

During the aftermath of Katrina, Garcia discovered a new love and passion for New Orleans. "When I moved back from the Dominican Republic, I knew I wanted to become a teacher, to work with the youth of my community, and play a role in the rebirth of our dance community. I knew then, one day, this festival would happen."

Twelve years later, Garcia was finally able to produce the first major Latin dance festival in New Orleans. The three-day festival will take place at Le Meridien Hotel from August 3rd to August 6th. Over 10,000 square feet of ballroom space will be dedicated to salsa, bachata, and kizomba for over 20 hours of nightly social dancing throughout the weekend.

The festival will also provide for a learning experience by bringing international dance instructors who will be teaching over 60 hours of workshops, private instruction, and many fun challenges. Festival goers can choose different workshops such as salsa on 1 or on 2, Cha-cha, Bachata, Kizomba, Zouk, Samba, Ladies Styling and Latin fusion, among others.

As far as skill level, Garcia encourages everyone to attend! Most workshops will be offered in a variety of skill levels from beginner's basics to advanced performance-based workshops. Garcia adds, "my advice to first-time festival goers is to be as open, as flexible, and as fearless as possible."

Although New Orleans may fall behind in terms of a well-established Latin dance scenes when compared to cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, Garcia is committed to putting New Orleans on the map. Garcia exclaims, "There are plenty of places that host these types of dance festivals. You can go to any major city in the world and find one. But in all the world, there is no place like New Orleans!"

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Publisher's Note

It’s 2019!

This is the first time we start a calendar year, and here at VIVA NOLA Magazine, we are so excited about what's coming in 2019. We are fully energized to take on the new year, especially because of new partnerships that are taking place.

Partnering with New Orleans institutions is a big deal for us because they are a testament of how the community in general has embraced our bilingual content, and how we are achieving our mission of connecting communities and crossing over markets. We begin this year planning a special event for late Spring that I think New Orleans residents will absolutely enjoy. I cannot wait to share the details as everything starts taking shape.

With that being said, there are many things that come up between publications, so I highly encourage you to connect with us via social media to stay in the know and find out what we are doing first. We are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as @vivanolamag, and on Instagram you can find us as @viva_nola. Our main goal for the year is to share and connect more with our audience. We will continue to work hard to become essential to our amazing community.

For now, let the King Cake season and the Mardi Gras countdown begin!

Looking forward to a fun 2019,

AnaMaria