Somos NOLA



By Ana García

Click aqui para español- >VIVA LATINO AMERICA

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed in the U.S. from September 15 through

October 15. How much do you know about Latin American / Hispanic countries?

Here are some cool facts about these beautiful nations.


Costa Rica

Capital: San José.

What country is “Pura Vida”, and its typical breakfast is “Gallo Pinto”? Costa

Rica, located in Central America, is one of the most biodiverse countries in

the world and is one of the few countries in the world with no army.




Capital: Mexico City

Mexico has the largest square plaza in the world and the second most

visited Catholic sanctuary in the world.

Its capital city has over 170 museums, which makes it the second city in

the world with the largest number of museums.

The meteorite that wiped out dinosaurs millions of years ago hit the

Mexican Yucatan Peninsula.


El Salvador

Capital: San Salvador

The delicious “pupusas” are known throughout Central America

but are originally from El Salvador.

It is the smallest country in Central America and is home to the

largest soccer stadium in Central America, the Estadio Cuscatlán.



Capital: Guatemala City

The Mayan ruins of Tikal are today for this country, what the great pyramids

they are for Egypt, a national symbol. The national bird is the quetzal. The coin is named after the bird. Lake Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America.



Capital: Belmopan

The song “La Isla Bonita” was written as a lament for the people of Belize and was later reworked by Madonna for her album in 1986. It has the most recently established capital city in in Central America, founded in 1970.

Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state, represented by a Governor General.





Capital: Managua

Félix Rubén García Sarmiento, better known as Rubén Darío, is one of the most recognized poets in the Spanish language.

Lake Nicaragua is Central America’s largest lake.

Granada is the oldest city in Latin America. It was founded in 1524.



Capital: Tegucigalpa

Honduras’ native dance, Punta, was declared by UNESCO as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

Honduras is home to the second largest coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef.

The Archaeological Park of Copán houses a Hieroglyphic Staircase that contains the largest written text in the world. Built in 755 AD.



Capital: Panamá City / Ciudad de Panamá

Besides having one of the 7 wonders of the world, The Panama Canal, this country has spectacular flora and fauna.

The territory was controlled by the United States between 1903 and 1977.

It is the only country in the world where you can see the sunrise in the Atlantic Ocean and the sunset in the Pacific from the top of its highest point, the Barú volcano.


Dominican Republic

Capital: Santo Domingo

Merengue and bachata are unique Caribbean musical genres heard around the planet and deemed world heritage.

The Dominican Republic is the site of the oldest colonial settlement in the Americas and home to Christopher Columbus’s first New World landing point in 1492.It is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region.



Capital: La Habana / Havana

This country is known all over the world for its famous cigars and for having one of the most popular Latin singers of the 20th century, Celia Cruz ... “¡Azúcar!”

Cuba is home to the bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world.

Its main music genre is son Cubano, which is a unique mix of instruments like bongos, trumpets, keys and the tres guitar.


Puerto Rico

Capital: San Juan

Casa Bacardi is the largest rum distillery in the world. It is so large that more than 70% of the rum sold in the United States comes from this country.

Puerto Rico has the largest shopping center in the Caribbean, Plaza las Americas.

The remains of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León are found in a tomb inside the Cathedral of San Juan.



Capital: Bogotá

Colombia is recognized worldwide for its delicious coffee, and for its music such as cumbia, vallenato, and salsa. Traditional meals include the Bandeja Paisa, Sancocho, and Pandebono.

It has a naturally occurring Rainbow River, the Caño Cristales. The river’s vibrant water and unique colors are found in no other streams on Earth.

90% of the world’s emeralds come from this Colombia.



Capital: Caracas

This country is known for having the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, which was Disney’s inspiration for the creation of one of his films “UP.”

NASA declared Lake Maracaibo the thunderstorm capital of the world.

Canaima National Park is a jewel of natural splendor comprised of some of the oldest landforms on earth. It is one of the largest national parks in the world.



Capital: Lima

In this country you can find 12 examples of UNESCO world heritage sites and more than 100,000 archaeological sites: being Machu Picchu, one of them.

It has the highest sand dune in the world: Cerro Blanco in the Sechura Desert.

It has the tallest flower in the world, the Puya Raimondi plant that is only found in the high peaks of the Andes.



Capital: Quito

Ecuador is known for its enchanted islands, The Galapagos, its location in the middle of the planet, its famous pasillo music, and its delicious fried food.

Ecuador is home to the closest point to outer space on Earth: the Chimborazo volcano.

The Panama hat comes from artisans who reside in the cities of Cuenca and Montecristi.

Capital: Santiago
Chile is recognized for its wines and for being the host of one of the greatest cultural events such as the Viña del Mar Festival. Chile is alsoknown for the great poets Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda.
It is home to the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on the planet.Its national liquor, Pisco, is a type of Brandy produced in the Chileanregions of Atacama and Coquimbo.

Capital: Asunción
Paraguay is a country where 90% of its population is bilingual. Its official languages are Spanish and Guaraní. It has one of the most important and extensive ecosystems in the world, the banana plantation, which is shared
with Brazil and Bolivia.The ”Tereré” is the national drink, named a cultural heritage. The Paraná River, which runs through Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, is the second longest in South America after the Amazon.

Capital: La Paz
This country has the largest salt flat in the world: The Salar de Uyuni is so big that it can be seen from space. Beneath the salt flat is the world’s largest lithium deposit. La Paz is unofficially the highest capital city in the world. The official capital is Sucre but the working capital (the seat of government) is in La Paz. Lake Titicaca which straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia is the world’s highest navegable lake.

Capital: Montevideo
Known for its delicious dishes such as chivito and asado and also for hosting the first soccer World Cup in 1930. Uruguay’s national anthem is the longest in the world with more than 102 music bars and a duration of 6 minutes. The capital city, Montevideo, is located on the Río de la Plata that separates Uruguay from Argentina.




Capital: Buenos Aires

Tango, the most sensual dance, was born in Argentina.

The famous Río de la Plata is of great economic and social importance.

Argentina is home to the highest and lowest points in the southern hemisphere.

The first animated film was created in Argentina in 1917 by Quirino Cristiani, who inspired Walt Disney during his tour in Latin America.



Capital: Brasilia

Samba music is recognized as the national cultural heritage of Brazil. The national soccer team has been the only one to attend all the World Cups.

60% of the Amazon rainforest belongs to Brazil. There are more than 400 airports in this nation.

Rio de Janeiro was once the capital of Portugal, which means that it was the only European capital city located outside of Europe.



Capital: Madrid

Flamenco is one of the symbols of the Iberian country. The famous Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was the author of the first modern novel in history, Don Quixote de la Mancha.

Tapas are a national gastronomic pride. Madrid has the oldest restaurant in the world, Botín restaurant, recognized in Guinness Records. Spain is the only European country that has a border with an African country.


The Entrepreneurial Spirit of The Jalice Brothers

The Entrepreneurial Spirit of The Jalice Brothers

By AnaMaria Bech

Click aqui para español- > Los emprendedores hermanos Jalice

Some things are just evident. The Cuban-born brothers have each other’s back. Their parents moved the family from Guantanamo to New Orleans when Rene was 15 and Javier was 8. They grew up in the Greater New Orleans area and integrated into their new country. But their Cuban roots are still very present.

Their entrepreneurial spirit showed early on. Right after high school, Rene began to work in sales and, in his ‘20s, was a top-performing sales representative at mobile stores. His manager gave him an idea to open his store, and with an old computer and second-hand furniture, he opened his first mobile store Wireless City on Magazine street. He included his then 16-year old brother in the business, and soon after, they had multiple stores in the Greater New Orleans area. That was the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey. Nowadays, they are still in business, and although they are in constant collaboration, their paths are much different.

Javier has focused entirely on his professional career as an attorney. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of New Orleans, Javier expressed an interest in attending Loyola University’s Law School. “Rene told me not to worry about the cost of school and that he would pay for it.” “It was just for motivation,” Rene says when asked if he fulfilled his promise to his younger brother. But it worked.

With over seven years of experience, mainly in employment and corporate law, the bilingual attorney is growing his independent practice, Jalice Law Firm. “The ability to work for me and wanting to assist clients in different areas of the law pushed me to accomplish the goal of opening my firm.” Jalice Law Firm’s main office is located at 3500 N. Hullen St. in Metairie, although Javier meets his clients wherever they need him.

Rene has been a role model for Javier, who admires his boldness and fearless attitude in life. When the wireless business was winding down, Rene quickly decided to purchase a business and came across Down the Hatch, an Irish neighborhood bar and grill located on 1921 Sophie Wright Pl. in the Garden District of New Orleans. His passion for cooking led him to own a restaurant. Nine years as its owner, Rene has improved the place. “I changed the menu, looked for the right team, remodeled, added a Cuban touch to it, and made it family-friendly.”

Now and then, Rene sprinkles some of his Latin flare with Latin nights, down-packed soccer watching parties, and if you have the Irish luck, you may even get to enjoy a taste of the whole pig roasted in traditional Cuban style. You may even run into one of Cuba’s best artists who have made a required stop at Down the Hatch when visiting New Orleans.


Thanks to Rene’s vision, Down the Hatch offers something unique to the regular customers, families enjoying a nice meal at the patio, the late college crowd, or during a special private event. You can enjoy your favorite sports at Down the Hatch, a delicious, varied menu, and great drinks.

Following a strong business ethic and relying on each other, the Jalice brothers continue to grow their respective businesses. The success of the two brothers makes their immigrant parents very proud. As Javier said, “we are fulfilling the very reason why they moved here from Cuba, for their children to have a better future.”

Rene follows a straightforward business approach that Javier has grasped and that all entrepreneurs should follow: “There is no failure. If someone else is doing it, I can do it, too.”

Norma Castillo’s Legacy

Norma Castillo’s Legacy

By Ana Isabel Gil

Click aqui para español- > El legado de Norma Castillo

With courage and determination, Norma Castillo learned everything about a bakery in just six months. She learned how to make cakes, desserts, bread, and many Cuban treats. She is a native of Villanueva, Honduras, so there was some controversy when she won the award for the best Cuban sandwich in New Orleans, right after Katrina. 

Norma is the first name that comes to mind for Latinos who are looking for a special occasion cake or a traditional treat of Latin American cuisines like her famous tres leches dessert or her guava pastries.

She remembers lovingly the encouragement her late husband gave her to get her bakery. At 47 years old, when she stopped fearing failure, she did it. That idea was present since her former employer and mentor, Don Tomas, approached her when she worked at the casino to offer her a job running his bakery. She excitedly answered yes. Don Tomas, who is no longer with us, gave Norma a chance to start over.

In 2003, she opened the doors to Norma’s Sweets Bakery in Kenner. She opened her second location in New Orleans about 12 years ago with her son José Lorenzo, who helps her run it.

Last year, she moved her business in Kenner to a spacious and modern space a few yards from the original premises. Norma’s International Market & Bakery reflects the growth of her business and her brand. Her youngest son, Manolo, helps to manage it. 

Customers who have known Norma for over fifteen years describe her as “a fighter and a woman who works very hard to achieve what she wants.” Others say they admire her and consider her a role model that many in the Latino community should follow.

Norma is proud of her accomplishment, but most importantly, she feels fulfilled for building a legacy to leave to her children and grandchildren. She hopes they will carry on the family business and will remember her for it.

The key to having a prosperous business, according to Norma, comes in two steps:  

Plan: “When you have a plan, you always have to get organized, learn and do it.” If you have a clear idea and know what you would like to do, you must get into a business you have learned everything about, know how to do it, and manage it.

Action: “It is important to find good employees and treat those who help you in the business well. When they see their workplace as their own, they take good care of business.” Norma stresses the importance of doing things with honesty and working on something that one enjoys.

The Rosa Cousins: EDG El Agresivo & South 25 Entertainment

The Rosa Cousins: EDG El Agresivo  & South 25 Entertainment

By Cody Downey

Click aqui para español- > Los primos Rosa: EDG El Agresivo y South 25 Entertainment

After years of not talking with one another due to fighting within their family, cousins Kevin and Axel Lola La Rosaa met up once again while Lola was on Spring Break from Full Sail University. They reconnected through music when Kevin showed a song to Lola. Upon finding out that his cousin made the single, Lola was shocked.

“Before I left, he just did hip hop and rap, and he was just mumbling like all these other dudes,” Lola Rosa said. “When he came home and played the reggaeton track, I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is it.’ I asked, ‘Would you like me to manage you?’ and we’ve been working ever since.”

With Lola now in charge of South 25 Entertainment, armed with both a bachelor’s and master’s in Entertainment Business, and Kevin becoming reggaeton artist EDG El Agresivo, the Honduran-American cousins are working to make a name for themselves in the music industry.

Growing up listening to plenty of different music types, Kevin said that he was inspired to begin a music career of his own after seeing how others were doing the same.

“I had just seen friends who were recording, and I felt that maybe one day I could do that,” he said.

Now, Kevin is known as EDG El Agresivo, a shortening of Edgardo’s middle name and adding “The Aggressive” as “something for the ladies.”

His first official single, “Sufrimiento,” was released in March 2020. The single is produced by Bless the Producer, who served as a producer on fellow reggaeton artist Ozuna’s debut album “Odisea.”

Kevin says his music is inspired by his past relationships, which helps him make what he calls “sad pop music.”

“[My exes] They broke my heart, so that’s how it inspired me to write heartbreak songs,” he said. “Everything comes from the heart.”

Joining an already competitive industry with many others out there, Lola said that his cousin is different from other Latino artists because he is from New Orleans.

“We want to incorporate our red beans and rice culture with our arroz and frijoles culture,” he said. “We’re not Latinos from Miami; we’re not from PR [Puerto Rico], we’re not from Texas or Mexico. We’re from New Orleans with our big Central American population here, and that’s what is going to make EDG El Agresivo stand out.”

They highlight that they are from New Orleans by making the city prominent in their videos and content.

“Everything we’re doing we’re not outsourcing. We’re not going out of state to shoot; we’re not going to the beach in Miami with a bunch of hot girls to film,” Lola said. “Everything is going to be Louisiana. It’s literally going to be in people’s faces.”

The launch of his entertainment company South 25 Entertainment, was something Lola had in his head since he was a child. Within his place of power, he is glad to have the freedom for his cousin to write what he wants without push back.

“It’s just really about having creative control. I don’t want anyone to tell my cousin you can’t release that song,” he said. “With us, if we hit a blow, that’s our loss, not a billion-dollar corporation’s.”

However, the collaboration between the pair has meant more for them than just business. Lola and Kevin have rekindled their relationship after growing up apart due to their mothers not speaking to each other. Axel says that this project brought the two of them closer together.

“We never hung out, we never argued, we never really did anything but see each other now and then for the holidays, and that’s it,” he said. “But now, we’re always texting; we’re always communicating. I feel like, even though he is my baby cousin, he’s more like my little brother.”

With Kevin’s new single, “Amor Ciego,” coming out around Valentine’s Day and their continuous hard work, the Rosa cousins feel that they will succeed together being the yin to the other’s yang.

“He’s not educated. I’m educated. I don’t know how to write music. He knows how to write music,” Lola said. “But, for a music business entity, it takes not just an artist, but it takes someone behind the artist to carry them.”

30 Films to celebrate Hispanic Heritage (Part 3)

30 Films to celebrate Hispanic Heritage

By Cody Downey

Click aqui para español- >  30 películas para seguir celebrando la herencia hispana (Parte 3)

A great way to explore our culture is through film. Though Latino and Hispanic representation in Hollywood has been lacking, many films have focused on Latino life and history. Movies portray from historical dramas, family comedies, stories during the Mexican revolution to the activist movements during the 1960s.

I have created a list of 30 films that include Latino and Hispanic representation. We will describe five movies per month. To make this list more interesting, I decided to stray away from the typical films that are usually suggested, such as “La Bamba,” “Selena,” and “Stand and Deliver.” I hope you find a new favorite and broaden your scope of films.


This list doesn’t even cover everything, such as the films of icons such as Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez, and Andy Garcia or films released outside of the United States. Make it a point to watch some of these films or maybe come up with a list of your own. Either way, find a unique way to honor our history and keep it alive.

A Walk in the Clouds (1995) - Alfonso Arau

World War II veteran Paul Sutton, played by Keanu Reeves, runs into Victoria Aragon, played by Aitana Sanchez-Gijon. Paul pretends to be Aragon’s husband to escape resentment from her family.

“A Walk in the Clouds” is one of the rare romantic films that are more than a cheesy love story, also providing commentary on issues of class and expectations for women. The film was one of Latino Academy Award winner Anthony Quinn’s last few films before passing away in 2001.

Real Women Have Curves (2002) - Directed by Patricia Cardoso

Ana Garcia, played by America Ferrera, graduates high school. Her teacher Mr. Guzman, played by George Lopez, encourages her to believe that she can get to college. However, Ana comes into conflict with her mother, played by Lupe Ontiveros, who believes that Ana should work at her sister’s textile store instead of attending college.

“Real Women Have Curves” has been praised by many for its portrayal of Latina women and body positivity discussions. The film also introduced the world to America Ferrera, who would star in “Ugly Betty,” for which she later won an Emmy.

The Perfect Game (2009) - Directed by William Dear

In 1950s Mexico, Angel Macias, played by Jake T. Austin, convinces former St. Louis Cardinals member Cesar Faz, played by Clifton Collins Jr., to help form a Little League baseball team. The team manages to compete against the other teams despite facing racism and troubles with their visas.

“The Perfect Game” tells an inspiring true story that appeals to the underdog in all of us. The film features a cast of young actors who would become more famous later on, including “The King of Staten Island” actor Moises Arias and “Pair of Kings” actor Ryan Ochoa.

The Book of Life (2014) - Directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez

Manolo, voiced by Diego Luna, is caught in a bet between Mexican rulers La Muerte and Xibalba, voiced by Kate del Castillo and Ron Perlman. Xibalba kills Manolo after he confessed his love for Maria, voiced by Zoe Saldana. Now trapped in the Land of the Remembered, Manolo must find a way to make it back to Maria before she accepts a proposal from their friend Joaquin, voiced by Channing Tatum.

Outshined by the 2017 film “Coco,” “The Book of Life” brings together a cast of stars from both American and Mexican films to tell this tale of fighting for love despite the odds. The film was famous in its day and got nominated for Best Animated Film at the Golden Globes that year.

Sergio (2020) - Directed by Greg Baker

Brazilian U.N. Special Representative in Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello, played by Wagner Moura, goes to Iraq to negotiate American troops’ withdrawal during the country’s 2003 invasion. However, things become dangerous for Sergio after terrorists attack their base.

“Sergio” tells the real-life story of Sergio Vieira de Mello and his fight to promote peace and independence in the region. “Narcos” actor Wagner Moura tells this story giving an outstanding performance and giving the character life.


30 Films to Keep Celebrating Hispanic Heritage (Part 2)

30 Films to Keep Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

By Cody A. Downey

Click aqui para español- > 30 películas para seguir celebrando la herencia hispana (Parte 2)

One of the best ways to explore our culture is through the media of film. Though the amount of Latino and Hispanic representation in Hollywood has been lacking, many films have focused on different parts of our life and history. From historical dramas to family comedies to stories during the Mexican revolution to the activist movements during the 1960s, these films show it all.

I have created a list of 30 films that include Latino and Hispanic representation. We will describe 5 movies per month. To make this list more interesting, I decided to stray away from the typical films that are usually suggested such as “La Bamba,” “Selena” and “Stand and Deliver.” I hope you find a new favorite and broaden your scope of films.

This list doesn’t even cover everything such as the films of icons such as Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez, and Andy Garcia or films released outside of the United States. Make it a point to watch some of these films or maybe come up with a list of your own. Either way, find a unique way to honor our history and keep it alive.

  1. Zoot Suit (1981) Directed by Luis Valdez
  2. The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1983) Directed by Robert M. Young

Based on a true story, the film follows the titular Gregorio Cortez, played by Edward James Olmos, who becomes a folk hero after killing a sheriff in self-defense after a translation error. Gregorio soon goes on the run to avoid capture all the while inspiring those along the U.S.-Mexico border.

  1. Born in East L.A. (1987) Directed by Cheech Marin
  2. The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) Directed by Robert Redford
  3. El Mariachi (1993) Directed by Robert Rodriguez
  4. Blood In Blood Out a.k.a. Bound by Honor (1993) Directed by Taylor Hackford

After leaving his violent and racist father, bi-racial Miklo, played by Damian Chapa, moves in with his cousins Cruz, played by Jesse Borrego, and Paco, played by Benjamin Bratt and joins their gang. However, a murder will set each of them on different paths with Miklo going to prison, Cruz becoming an artist, and Paco becoming a police officer.

Though there are many Hispanic and Latino gang movies, “Blood In Blood Out” differs from most by presenting different views on how circumstances can affect who a person becomes. The film helped influence the careers of all of its lead actors including Bratt, who was later nominated for an Emmy.

  1.  Mi Vida Loca (1994) Directed by Allison Anders
  2. I Like It Like That (1994) Directed by Darnell Martin
  3. My Family (1995) Directed by Gregory Nava
  4. A Walk in the Clouds (1995) Alfonso Arau
  5. Fools Rush In (1997) Directed by Andy Tennant
  6.  The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (1998) Directed by Stuart Gordon

Five Mexican-American men put their money together to buy an ice cream white suit that each could never afford on their own. As the men agree to take turns wearing it, they discover that wearing the suit makes their dreams come true.

Despite having a somewhat cringey performance by Italian-American Joe Mantegna as a Mexican-American, “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” presents a silly, magical story of how men get the chance to achieve dreams they wouldn’t have been able to. The film even features an otherwise mostly Latino cast with actors Clifton Collins Jr., Esai Morales, Gregory Sierra, and Edward James Olmos.

  1. Girlfight (2000) - Directed by Karyn Kusama
  2. In the Time of the Butterflies (2001) Directed by Mariano Barroso
  3. Real Women Have Curves (2002) Directed by Patricia Cardoso
  4. Chasing Papi (2003) Directed by Linda Mendoza
  5. Maria Full of Grace (2004) Directed by Joshua Marston
  6. Goal! The Dream Begins (2005) Directed by Danny Cannon
  7. Walkout (2006) Directed by Edward James Olmos
  8. Nothing Like the Holidays (2008) Directed by Alfredo De Villa
  9. The Perfect Game (2009) Directed by William Dear
  10. A Better Life (2011) Directed by Chris Weitz

Illegal immigrant and gardener Carlos Galindo, played by Demain Bichir, is trying his best to provide his son Luis, played by Jose Julian, a better life than what he has. However, after his truck is stolen, Carlos and Luis try to find it without seeking any other help.

“A Better Life” presents a gripping story about a man trying to provide his son with things he never had. Bichir would be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance, and to date, he is the last Latin American actor to be nominated in that category.

Una vida mejor (2011) - Dirigida por Chris Weitz

  1. The Book of Life (2014) Directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez
  2. Spare Parts (2015) Directed by Sean McNamara
  3. Hands of Stone (2016) Directed by Jonathan Jakubowciz
  4. Lowriders (2016) Directed by Ricardo de Montreuil
  5. El Chicano (2018) Directed by Ben Hernadez Bray
  6. Miss Bala (2019) Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
  7. Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) Directed by James Bobin

In this adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon series, Dora, played by Isabela Moner, is sent to live with her cousin Diego, played by Jeff Wahlberg, in Los Angeles after her parents, played by Michael Pena and Eva Longoria, go to find the lost city of Parapata. However, Dora will have to go and find them after they are kidnapped by another group searching for the city.

“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” brings the iconic series to both screen and live-action with a majority Latino cast. The film provides a nice viewing for the young ones in the film all the while showing them a young Latina traversing the jungle and being heroic.

30.Sergio (2020) Directed by Greg Baker

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1983) - Directed by Robert M. Young

Based on a true story, the film follows the titular Gregorio Cortez, played by Edward James Olmos, who becomes a folk hero after killing a sheriff in self-defense after a translation error. Gregorio soon goes on the run to avoid capture all the while inspiring those along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Guillo, el armadillo”

“Guillo, el armadillo”

Click aqui para español- > “Guillo, el armadillo”

A book that inspires children to find their unique talents.

As a local Spanish teacher, mom, and author, Andrea Olatunji has always strived to connect with her community. When schools closed this past March, she found herself teaching six classes from home while helping her five-year-old son with his, and also promoting her recently published book “Omar, el jaguar”. 


Looking for ways to help others in her situation, she created a Youtube channel where she reads books for children in Spanish; she participated in storytime events with her book at Children’s Hospital, The Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University, and UNICEF, among others.  And, on top of that, she finished working on her second book, “Guillo, el armadillo,” which will be published this October.

Andrea, tell us about your book? What is it about?

This is the second book in a series that depicts animals that are native to the Americas. The first one is “Omar, el jaguar”, a story about a jaguar that learns to celebrate diversity. “Guillo” is the story of an armadillo, a popular and protected species in my home country, Uruguay. Guillo wakes up on a Monday ready to start school. He is excited and can’t wait to learn new things. However, as the week goes by, he grows increasingly disappointed because he can’t meet the challenges proposed each day by the teacher. He is either too short, too slow, or simply unable to accomplish these activities. By the end of the week, he is convinced that he does not have any talent and he is reluctant to come back to school. Eventually, however, his talent unexpectedly reveals itself.


Which other autochthonous animals are depicted in your books? 

The books include a sloth, a toucan, an anaconda, a pink dolphin, and a condor, among others. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about these animals and their environments, and about the reasons why some are in danger of extinction, along with deforestation in the Amazon forest. 


Where did the idea for “Guillo, el armadillo” come from?

It is inspired by my students. In my twenty-plus year journey as a Spanish teacher, I have always enjoyed using projects to enhance my student’s learning experiences. One of my favorite activities is called “Mi Talento” (My talent). Here students need to teach their classmates and teacher something they know how to do well. Most of my students loved to show off their talents, but there are always a couple of children who seem intimidated by the challenge. When talking with them, they would tell me “I don’t have a talent. What can I teach?”. This puzzled me. Guiding these students in the process and then seeing them empowered by the discovery of their talents is what inspired me to create “Guillo, el armadillo”.

What makes “Guillo, el armadillo” a special book?

Its empowering message: to believe in yourself and discover your unique talents. As a teacher, I wrote it thinking about those kids who are learning the language. Thus, the vocabulary is simple and repetitive, enabling children to remember it easily. 

This is a book specially designed so a child with basic knowledge of the language can understand it. This enables the educators to teach in context and to elaborate as the child progresses. Finally, parents that do not speak the language have found the vocabulary intuitive, which together with the illustrations, has enabled them to understand the story.


The book’s illustrations are fun and eye-catching. Inspired by Panamanian “molas” (colorful fabric panels made by the local Kuna women), and the work of Uruguayan artist Carlos Paez Vilaró, the animals are full of detail and intricate shapes. Yet, there is a simplicity to them. The backgrounds are reminiscent of something that young children do a lot: cut and paste. This tissue paper collage gives the illustrations a nice 3D effect. Finally, there is a guide to accompany the book, which comes with lesson plans, printables, project ideas, and guiding questions.

How have teachers and parents reacted to your books so far?

“Omar, el jaguar” has become an asset in many teachers´ curricula during this pandemic. 

Also, several parents that were now teaching their kids at home considered it as an option to help their kids continue practicing their Spanish.


When will “Guillo” be available?

I am doing a crowdfunding campaign from September 15th till October 15th to get funds to finish editing this book and print it. This is a costly process, so I need help. 

This campaign is an “all or nothing”. This means that if I don’t meet my desired goal, then the project does not get funded and I won’t be able to print my book. But what I like about it is that people do not just give money to a cause; they get to purchase exclusive rewards. For example, they can pre-order signed copies of the book for less including shipping; they can get a class package that includes an author virtual visit, etc. It is a great way to get help and at the same time give back.

Where can people join this campaign?

I invite those interested to subscribe to my website www.cuentacuento.com for information about the campaign. I also give my subscribers first dibs into the rewards and they get opportunities to participate in discounts and giveaways. I can also be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Whitney Plantation

The Whitney Plantation 

By AnaMaria Bech

Para español hacer clic aquí ->La Plantación Whitney

Last Summer, I took out-of-town visitors to the Whitney Plantation Museum when I heard it was the only museum in Louisiana with an exclusive focus on the lives of enslaved people. Most of the tour took place around the grounds of the plantation complex, which has over twelve historic structures. It was a very hot day and I was in agony. My distress was null in contrast to the pain that I could hear within the stories of life in the sugar plantation and the difficult conditions endured by enslaved people. Hearing their names, seeing them engraved on the memorial walls, and even finding their relation to known local descendants put everything in perspective and made it feel too real and present. Perhaps one of the hardest thoughts was when I heard that when slavery “officially” ended, many workers decided to stay at these plantations because there were no other worthwhile alternatives for them.

Recently, our world has been protesting and questioning more than ever the systemic racism that continues to hurt the quality of life of Black Americans and other people of color. 

It is important to educate ourselves and understand the past, and how it has shaped our current society. When you visit the Whitney Plantation in Wallace, Louisiana and take one of their accurate historical tours that talk about the culture, life, and operations of New Orleans plantations and the history behind the Atlantic Slave Trade, your eyes will be open to seeing that slavery is not such a distant entity. A tour is not enough, but it can be the beginning of an educational journey so that we can all understand better and become advocates for a fair society for Black Americans and others who face injustices.

“The Wall of Honor is a memorial dedicated to all the people who were enslaved on the Whitney Plantation. The names and the information related to them (origin, age, skills) were retrieved from original archives and engraved on granite slabs. So far, more than 350 slaves were identified on official records.” - Whitney Plantation Museum

  • Published in Somos NOLA

Pontchartrain Conservancy

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Announces Rebrand to Pontchartrain Conservancy

Brand refresh communicates progression and expansion of the environmental organization’s work and mission

Para español click aquí -> Pontchartrain Conservancy

NEW ORLEANS (June 24, 2020) — The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF), a leader in coastal sustainability, water quality, and environmental education for more than three decades, has rebranded as Pontchartrain Conservancy effective immediately. The comprehensive rebrand, which includes a new website, logo, and tagline, aims to communicate the nonprofit environmental sustainability organization’s expansion from a singular focus to the entire Lake Pontchartrain Basin and Louisiana coast.

LPBF was founded in 1989 by scientists and community leaders to confront Louisiana’s coastal crisis of diminishing water quality and land loss. Over the past 31 years, the organization has successfully worked to protect, restore and sustain Lake Pontchartrain, facilitating programs for coastal sustainability, water quality, and education. LPBF has also worked to transform confusion and fear surrounding Louisiana’s coastal crisis into understanding, advocacy and activism for environmental sustainability.

“The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation has become a beacon of success for other environmental organizations around the country who look to our scientists as experts in environmental preservation,” said Pontchartrain Conservancy Executive Director Kristi Trail. “However, there has been much confusion as to who we are and what we do, and a lack of awareness regarding our successes and current programming. We’re proud that this new brand identity will showcase the accomplishments of our organization and garner continued support of our critical work.”

Pontchartrain Conservancy will carry on LPBF’s more than three-decade legacy and host of strengths — its depth of scientific knowledge, understanding of the pertinent challenges affecting the basin region and proven track record in finding practical solutions.

In 2006, LPBF restored Lake Pontchartrain as a healthy economic and recreational resource for the region. As the decline of Louisiana’s coast has visibly accelerated, Pontchartrain Conservancy has extended its focus to include coastal sustainability. The organization created and coined the renowned Multiple Lines of Defense strategy for coastal restoration and storm protection in 2006. Pontchartrain Conservancy’s new tagline, “Science for Our Coast,” aims to communicate this success and continued work.

The New Canal Lighthouse Museum will continue to function as both Pontchartrain Conservancy’s headquarters and education center. The Education Department will carry on its mission of promoting awareness and activism through public outreach initiatives and the development of innovative environmental curriculum to educate students from grade school through college, as well as teachers. Pontchartrain Conservancy’s Water Quality Program will continue to monitor, trace sources of pollution, assist in the correction of failing wastewater systems and advocate for green infrastructure and watershed management.

“As our region faces increasing environmental threats and challenges, our organization’s programs have never been as vital to Louisiana, and to the nation, as they are today,” Trail added.

For more information, visit Pontchartrain Conservancy’s website at scienceforourcoast.org.

VN Creators Camp

Registration is NOW OPEN for the VIVA NOLA Creators Camp!

The VIVA NOLA Creators Camp is for young creatives who want to learn the basics of professional video making and hosting! We have a 3-hour morning session for ages 8-11 at 9a.m, and a 3-hour afternoon session for ages 12-14 which starts at 2:00p.m. The camp will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Metairie and will begin on July 6th. Limited spots!

Registration $25 

Week 1 July 6th: $150/ Early bird $140

Week 2 July 13th: $150

***Registration Fee waived if you register before June 30th***

¡Registración abierta AHORA para el VIVA NOLA Creators Camp!

Este programa es para jóvenes creativos que quieren aprender las básicas de realizar videos profesionales y presentar. Tenemos una sesión de tres horas en la mañana para edades 8 a 11 que comienza a las 9a.m., y otra en la tarde para edades 12 a 14 que comienza a las 2p.m. El camp es los lunes, miércoles y viernes, y empieza del 6 de julio. Cupos Limitados

Registración: $25

Semana 1, Julio 6: $150/ Precio especial $140

Semana 2, Julio 13: $150

***Registración gratis si te inscribes antes del 30 de junio***

VN Campers Registration

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Campers Name

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Please let us know your email address.


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Are You Hurricane-Ready?

Are You Hurricane-Rready?

Click aqui para español- >¿Está preparado para huracanes?

The State of Louisiana is urging its residents to have a hurricane plan that is updated to deal with the pandemic. This information can be found in more detail in getagameplan.org and in ready.nola.gov.

Understand that your planning may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies. Home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies; however, that may not be an option for everyone. If in-person shopping is your only choice, take steps to protect your and others’ health when running essential errands.

Protect yourself and others when filling prescriptions by limiting in-person visits to the pharmacy. Sign up for mail order delivery or call in your prescription ahead of time and use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, if available.

Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters, including potential shelters for your pets.

If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, or bar or liquid soap if not available, and two cloth face coverings for each person. Face covers should not be used by children under the age of 2. They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.

When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet, about 2 arms’ length, from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.

If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Know what emergencies or disasters are most likely to occur in your area and have an emergency kit pre-assembled.
  • Inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time: work, daycare and school, faith organizations, sports events and commuting.
  • Refill prescriptions so that you always have a seven (7) day supply.
  • Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
  • Know the difference between different weather alerts such as watches and warnings and what actions to take for each.
  • Learn about your community’s warning signals and frequently monitor television, NOAA radio, Internet and mobile apps.

 >> Don’t wait until the storm approaches to download your apps.

  • If there is a chance you will have to evacuate, turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
  • Listen to local officials and be ready to evacuate. Know your evacuation routes and emergency shelters and checkpoints. Notify someone outside the disaster area of your plans.

Online Education Challenges for ELL students

Online Education Challenges for ELL students

By Cody Downey

Click aqui para español- >Obstáculos en educación en línea para aprendices de inglés

Since the closure of schools on March 16, education has moved online. The closure has posed a real change of pace for students, especially to those with limited English proficiency, commonly referred to as English Language Learners (ELL).

According to the most recent statistics from the Louisiana Department of Education, 4.08% of students have been identified as having limited English proficiency. Out of all the school districts, Jefferson Parish Public Schools and New Orleans Public Schools have some of the highest English Learner populations with 17.99% and 6.61%, respectively.

With the move to online education, schools had to work harder to keep these students learning and engaged. New Orleans Public Schools advised their schools to connect with their students and families and work with them to change their instruction plans as needed. “NOLA Public Schools continues to work with and support schools as they implement their continuous learning plans,” NOLA-PS said. “Schools have planned to address the needs of all their students, including their ELL populations.”

With approximately 3,000 English Learners in their district, schools have had to reach out more than ever before to ensure the continuation of education.

At Sophie B. Wright Charter School, Charter Director Sharon Clark said her school has been constantly reaching out to their 40 ESL students. They have provided meals and sent numerous messages to provide equipment.

“We made sure that our students had computers and internet hot spots. If the students could not come and get the needed items, we brought the items to them,” Clark said. “We are a family at Wright, and every student counts.”

According to Clark, all students that were in the ESL program graduated, and were able to pick up their diplomas. “We are proud of all of our students and will do anything we must to make sure that they are successful,” she said.

In Jefferson Parish, the school district had to make similar arrangements to provide education and accommodations to their 9,025 English Learners.

According to Executive Director of Language Equity and Acquisition Karina Castillo, the school district transitioned into online learning for these students by assigning ESL staff to online classrooms and reaching out to individual students.

“Providing individualized accommodations for each student is our goal,” Castillo said.

However, the transition has not been completely easy for English Learners. Kathy Hall, an ESL teacher at Marrero Middle School, said that the biggest struggle for these students is access to technology and to the internet. According to Hall, the extent of some English Learners’ access to technology is their smartphones.

“Google Classroom and many of the programs being used are not compatible with proper functioning on a cellphone,” Hall said. “Even those who do have access to computers or Chromebooks still were not trained in how to access and use the Google Classroom features and tools.”

Along with this, Hall said that for English Learners, learning can be even harder when they need a more face-to-face or hands-on type of instruction. “They are already limited in English, so trying to communicate online in English [and assess] what it is that they do not understand in order to receive the help they need, sometimes seems or feels insurmountable,” she said.

Castillo echoed the same problems by saying that access to technology was the biggest challenge. However, she said that there has been a lot of good work done on the district’s part in trying to help these and other students.

“Since our buildings have closed, we’ve served around half a million grab & go meals to children, provided online learning resources to families, distributed over 70,000 printed learning packets, and have loaned over 5,000 Chromebooks to families,” she said.

With the end of the school year, Castillo said that the district will be looking to students and their families to help them move forward.

“As we plan for next school year, we are seeking input from families on how the pandemic has impacted them, how we have helped and where we can improve,” she said.

A Message From Thelma Ceballos-Meyers

**Attention State Farm Customers**

**Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, we are taking the following temporary safety measures to ensure the health of our customers and team.   Please call our office 504-366-1155 we are here to assist you by phone or email**

State Farm is committed to the health and safety of our customers & associates and minimizing interruptions to our customers while continuing to provide the personalized service you expect.  With so much uncertainty about COVID-19 Coronavirus, we are working hard to do our part to slow the spread of this virus by maintaining social distance and limit contact. Our goal is to keep you safe, as well as keep our employees healthy so we can continue to serve our customers.

Our office is open and we are here to serve you on the phone or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We are happy to assist you over the phone and can come to your car to assist you with your needed transaction.

***We continue to serve our customers in multiple ways during this time:

Make a payment


·         Please call our office and we can take a credit card or Electronic Fund Transfer payment over the phone. (No fee to pay by phone)

·         By Paper Check: please leave check in our locked mailbox, call us and let us know it is there.

·         By Cash: please have exact change or money order.  Please obtain a money order if possible. We will come to the front door and obtain your cash and provide you a receipt.

Report a claim

·         Please call our office (504) 366.1155 or call State Farm claims at (800) 782-8332.

Talk to a customer representative

·         To discuss your account or make changes, Please call or email us and we will respond back to you as soon as possible. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

24 Hour Good Neighbor Service

·         Contact us by phone after hours and our 24 hour Good Neighbor service can assist you. You can make a payment, file a claim, manage your account balance or ask a question.

On line: StateFarm.com

State Farm mobile app (Brochure on table) 

·         Manage your policies or accounts online or by our State Farm mobile app. You can pay your insurance bill, file and track a claim, or connect with us.  If you need assistance setting one of these up, please call our office and we will be happy to assist you over the phone. 



If you are sick, please call us.  Please do not come into the office.       

***We appreciate your patience and understanding under these uncertain times for our community, country and world***

Thank you for your business & the trust you have placed in our office!  Thelma Ceballos Meyers, Agent




If you think you may have the coronavirus and want to get tested, figuring out where to go can be confusing and challenging. Medical facilities and doctors offices ask that everyone call ahead so they can make arrangements to protect others when people come in for testing.

Call your primary care physician if you are concerned and showing symptoms. If you do not have a primary care physician, contact the Louisiana 211 Network by dialing 2-1-1 to be connected to the nearest community clinic. The Louisiana Department of Health recommends testing for any patient with fever, respiratory symptoms and a negative flu test. Testing is not recommended for asymptomatic patients. Any physician can order testing based on their clinical judgement. Testing is being conducted by the state public health laboratory and some commercial labs. The state lab tests samples of high-priority patients, which include:

  •       Hospitalized patients with a severe respiratory illness with no other known cause
  •       Patients with recent onset of similar fever and lower respiratory symptoms who are associated with others with a suspected outbreak of COVID-19
  •       Health care workers with direct contact to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case with recent fever and lower respiratory symptoms
  •       Homeless patients with suspected COVID-19
  •       Patients with suspected COVID-19 who are associated with a high-risk exposure setting such as a long-term care facility or a correctional facility

State lab results are typically available within the same day. Results times may vary at commercial labs. For more information, contact the Louisiana 211 Network by dialing 211 or by texting LACOVID to 898-211, or visit the Louisiana Department of Health's coronavirus website.


Department of Labor -Employee Rights

DOL’s Wage and Hour Division remains available to assist employers and employees alike with questions they may have regarding employer obligations and employee rights, particularly as they relate to the FLSA and FMLA.   If you have questions, feel free to contact the Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243) or 504.589.6171.  We also established recently a virtual call center (VCC) to increase the number of staff available to answer calls live, so callers may reach a representative outside of Louisiana. Regardless, those staff members are equally trained and available to offer assistance to the public.

In addition, you may find the following resources helpful as you navigate the COVID-19 situation. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

 Disaster Relief Lending Small Business Administration Assistance 

Process for Accessing SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Stress, Anxiety, and Emotional Support During Emergencies


Feeling stressed, anxious or depressed is common among human service clients, staff, and children during emergencies. The Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year national hotline that provides immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any emergency. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the U.S. and its territories.


Unemployment Benefits

Workers can apply for financial assistance and SNAP benefits (food stamps) through the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which has loosened eligibility requirements to help workers affected by COVID-19.

For more information, visit laworks.net.


Gig Economy Fund New Orleans Business Alliance


  • The New Orleans Business Alliance is awarding between $500 and $1,000 to musicians, drivers, and other gig workers affected by COVID-19. Must be an Orleans Parish resident.


MusicCares COVID-19 Relief Fund

The Recording Academy is giving financial assistance to musicians whose livelihoods have been jeopardized by the pandemic.


Jefferson Parish Schools Grab and Go Meals

Meals will be provided weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Grand Isle School), beginning March 18. Families can pick up the first round of printed learning packets in the grab and go meal line March 18-20. New packets will be available March 30 through April 2.

Families can go to any of the 14 locations to pick up a free Grab and Go meal and at-home learning packet, even if the site is not their home school.

The grab and go locations are:

  • Bissonet Plaza Elementary: 6818 Kawanee Drive in Metairie
  • Emmett Gilbert School: 435 S. Jamie Blvd. in Westwego
  • Fisher: 2529 Jean Lafitte Blvd. in Lafitte
  • Grand Isle School: 149 Ludwig Ln. in Grand Isle (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at this location)
  • Gretna Middle: 910 Gretna Blvd. in Gretna
  • Hazel Park Elementary: 8809 Jefferson Hwy. in River Ridge
  • Marie Riviere Elementary: 1564 Lake Ave. in Metairie
  • Marrero Middle: 4100 7th Street in Marrero
  • Meisler Middle: 3700 Cleary Ave. in Metairie
  • Riverdale High: 240 Riverdale Drive in Jefferson
  • Terrytown Elementary: 550 E. Forest Lawn Drive in Terrytown
  • Truman School: 5417 Ehret Road in Marrero
  • Woods Elementary: 1037 31st Street in Kenner
  • Worley Middle: 801 Spartans Drive in Westwego

Meals will be offered to any child age 18 and under (21 and under for special education students) regardless of whether they are a Jefferson Parish Schools student. Printed learning packets will be available for students in grades pre-K to 8th. Children must be present with an adult to receive a meal and learning packet. Meals will include lunch for that day and breakfast for the following morning. The printed learning packets are intended for families who do not have internet access to the resources available on the district website. High school students are encouraged to use the digital coursework linked at jpschools.org. 

The grab and go service will include pick-up lines outside the school for families to drive through or walk up. In order to avoid creating a large crowd, it is important that families immediately leave campus after receiving their meal and packet. 


COVID-19 Child Nutrition Programs Available for Families

  •       Beginning Wednesday, March 18, NOLA-PS, in collaboration with many charter school leaders, the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD), local non-profit organizations, faith-based partners and private businesses, will launch a full-scale Citywide Feeding Program.


  •       This program will consist of 43 Community Feeding Distribution sites across New Orleans that ensure families can easily access breakfast and lunch during this prolonged school closure. The 43 sites consist of schools, NORD facilities and local business locations


  •       Students do not need to be present to receive meals. Parents or caregivers may pick up meals on behalf of the students within their household. 


  •       Child nutrition resources are available to those under 18 years of age* and those who currently attend a public school. 


  •       Students over 18 that are enrolled in public K-12 schools, including students with disabilities through age 22, are also eligible for free meals at open sites. 


  •       Eligible families who are unable to access food resources this week should call United Way’s 211 information system which has the latest information about finding the Second Harvest food pantry nearest you.


If you’re in Orleans Parish, dial 211 for assistance

Homer Plessy 721 St. Philip St., New Orleans, LA 70116 9:00am –12:00pm

Beacon LightInternational Baptist 1937 Mirabeau Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122 9:00am –12:00pm

Ben Franklin HS 2001 Leon C Simon Dr, New Orleans, LA 70122 9:00am –12:00pm

Bethune 2401 Humanity St, New Orleans, LA 70122 9:00am –12:00pm

Coghill 4617 Mirabeau Ave., New Orleans, LA 70126 9:00am –11:00am

Foundation Prep 3121 St Bernard Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 9:00am –12:00pm

John F. Kennedy 6026 Paris Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122 9:00am –12:00pm

Living Faith Church 4339 Eastern St, New Orleans, LA 70122 9:00am –12:00pm

NORD Commission (Milne Playground) 5420 Franklin Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122 9:00am –12:00pm

Pierre A. Capdau 5800 St. Roch Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112 8:30am –1:00pm

USPS Parking Lot (Old Prep Space) 2067 Caton St, New Orleans 9:00am –12:00pm

Save-A-Lot Parking 4726 Paris Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122 9:00am –12:00pm

ReNEW Sci Tech820 Jackson Ave, New Orleans, LA 701309:00am –12:00pm

Martin Luther King ES* Starting Monday, March 23rd*1617 Caffin Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 9:00am –12:00pm

Abramson Sci Academy 5552 Read Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70127 9:00am –12:00pm

IDEA Oscar Dunn 12000 Hayne Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70128 9:00am –12:00pm

KIPP Morial 7701 Grant St, New Orleans, LA 70126 9:00am –12:00pm

Livingston 7301 Dwyer Rd., New Orleans, LA 70126 9:00am –12:00pm

Mildred Osborne 6701 Curran Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70126 9:00am –12:00pm

ReNEW Dolores T. Aaron 10200 Curran Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70127 9:00am –12:00pm

ReNEW Schaumburg 9501 Grant St, New Orleans, LA 70127 9:00am –12:00pm

Sarah T. Reed HS 5316 Michoud Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70129 9:30am –12:00pm


NORD After School Meals

NORD, in partnership with Share Our Strength /No Kid Hungry Louisiana will offer hot meals starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 4-6 PM at all of our rec centers except Annunciation Rec Center to youth ages 18 years old and under.  In addition, New Orleans Public Schools will also offer meals.  Please visit https://nolapublicschools.com/covid19/nutrition for locations and times

Behrman Rec Center 2529 General Meyer Avenue 4-6 PM

Cut-Off Rec Center 6600 Belgrade Street 4-6 PM

Gernon Brown Rec Center 1001 Harrison Avenue 4-6 PM

Joe W. Brown Rec Center 5601 Read Blvd.4-6 PM

Lyons Rec Center 624 Louisiana Avenue4-6 PM 

Milne Rec Center 5420 Franklin Avenue 4-6 PM

Rosenwald Rec Center 1120 S. Broad Street 4-6 PM

Sanchez Multi-Service Center 1616 Caffin Avenue 4-6 PM

Stallings St. Claude Rec Center 4300 St. Claude Avenue 4-6 PM

St. Bernard Rec Center 1500 Lafreniere Street 4-6 PM

Treme Rec Center 900 N. Villere Street 4-6 PM



Both Comcast and Spectrum recently put out press releases announcing their offers, and the details of each are slightly different.

Spectrum is offering free Wi-Fi and broadband access up to 100 MBPS to any household with K-12 and/or college students that doesn’t already have Spectrum. Installation fees will be waived for these households, and anyone wishing to enroll will need to call 1-844-488-8395.

Comcast is expanding a service they already offer for low-income families called Internet Essentials. The service, which is normally $9.95 a month, will be free for new customers for 60 days and is 25 MBPS. People hoping to sign up for the services can call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

Both internet service providers are also offering free access to their Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. 

Cox isn’t providing free internet, but they are offering service at a discount for 60 days. New customers to their “Starter” package will pay $19.99 for 50 MBPS for 60 days. Their offer is valid through May 15.


DIAPER BANK. Hispanic Resource Center. City of Kenner

The Diaper Bank of the Hispanic Resource Center from the City of Kenner will be open to the public, CALL before you come to find out if we have the size your baby needs and what appointment is available. Diapers will be provided by APPOINTMENT ONLY every 30 mins to avoid crowds: (504)469-2570. PLEASE COME AT THE TIME ASSIGNED. Don't line up, don't come in large groups, DON'T BRING PEOPLE WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT. FOR THE WELLNESS OF ALL, FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS, DO NOT EXPOSE YOURSELF, OR EXPOSE OTHERS. Please call for appointments: (504)469-2570.



Fidelity Bank is committed to making banking easier for our clients across Southeast Louisiana. Beginning today, March 17th, 2020, through June 30th, 2020, Fidelity Bank has made the decision to waive;

Any late payments and negative credit reporting for loan clients that would have incurred fees.

All early withdrawal penalties on certificates of deposit.

In these unprecedented times, it is vital to reaffirm our commitment to our customers, clients, and community. For over 111 years, Fidelity Bank has been #hereforgood. We plan to be here for many, many more.

INFO bankwithfidelity.com/notice-details.html


UNITED WAY COVID-10 Community Response and Recovery Fund


United Way Worldwide has established a COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. This Fund will support communities struggling in the wake of the new virus, through local United Ways and the 211 network, the go-to information resource in times of crisis. Every year, 211 call specialists answer 12 million requests by phone, text chat and email to connect people with disaster, food, housing, utility, health care resources and more. There is no other network in the country that has a similar pulse on America’s needs. 


Senate passes coronavirus package as Treasury proposes rescue with emergency checks

  • Published in Somos NOLA
  • Written by

Hispanic Complete Count Committee

Hispanic Complete Count Committee

U.S. Census 2020

El conteo del 2020 U.S Census (Censo Estadounidense) comienza el 12 de marzo. Cada diez años, el mayor desafío para el censo ha sido verificar que ciertas comunidades no estén representadas adecuadamente en el conteo. La comunidad hispana es una de estas comunidades. Por esta razón, el Censo de los Estados Unidos nombró el primer Comité Hispano de Conteo Completo en el estado de Louisiana. Este grupo está comprometido con la tarea de interactuar con la comunidad hispana para informar sobre la importancia de hacerse contar, sobre la seguridad de la información proporcionada a la entidad y para incrementar así los niveles de participación en el censo.

El Comité Hispano de Conteo Completo es un grupo conformado por líderes comunitarios y organizaciones interesados en el resultado de este esfuerzo. Las organizaciones locales que se han unido para apoyar el censo de 2020 en Louisiana son la Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Louisiana, Puentes New Orleans, la Fundación de Herencia Hispana (HHFNO), VIVA NOLA Magazine, Jambalaya News, Telemundo / KGLA, el Apostolado Hispano de la Arquidiócesis de Nueva Orleans y la Administración de la Parroquia de Jefferson.

El objetivo del comité es ayudar a la comunidad a comprender que el conteo tiene un gran impacto en la asignación de recursos que cada área recibe para familias y niños. Otra área de enfoque para el comité es aclarar que la información solicitada por el censo de los Estados Unidos no incluye preguntas sobre ciudadanía o estatus legal. El comité también alentará la participación al explicar que la información presentada es confidencial y no se comparte con otras instituciones federales.

“Somos conscientes de la importancia de educar y llegar a la comunidad hispana para lograr la mayor participación posible. Solo tenemos una oportunidad cada diez años para que se nos cuente, lo que determina la representación política, los fondos para educación, atención médica, infraestructura y otros programas comunitario“, dijo Mayra Pineda, presidenta y directora ejecutiva de la Cámara de Comercio Hispana de Louisiana.

El comité trabajará en una campaña de información pública, eventos de concientización y participación en varios eventos comunitarios.

Si tiene preguntas o desea obtener más información, comuníquese con Mayra E. Pineda 504-885-4262.

Krewe of Red Beans

Krewe of Red Beans

By AnaMaria Bech

Click aqui para español- > Comparsa de Frijoles Rojos

The Krewe of Red Beans began in 2008 - and launched the first “bean parade” on Lundi Gras 2009. Each year, Krewe members begin working on their suits after Halloween passes. On the best Monday of the year (Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras) they parade through the streets of the Marigny and Tremé. 150 Krewe members parade alongside thousands of “unofficial” paraders - and everyone is welcome to make their own bean suit and join in on the fun!

The idea of the Krewe of Red Beans Parade was to take inspiration from different elements of New Orleans culture: making a suit like an Indian and Second Lining like a Social Aid and Pleasure Club… and of course, to celebrate the culinary tradition of Red Beans on Monday!

Friends and friends-of-friends were recruited in 2008 and they began working on their first suits. From those first 25 members (and 1 or 2 spectators) to now three parades and around 10,000 spectators, the Krewe of Red Beans has grown into a loved Lundi Gras tradition.

Red Beans Parade - Frijoles! 2020 Lundi Gras - Krewe of Red Beans and Krewe of Mayahuel parading together in “Red Beans Parade”. The original Red Beans parade (Marigny) will be a little more Caribbean and Mexican this year, as they welcome the Krewe of Mayahuel, a Mexican folkloric krewe that celebrates Mexican traditions, and a Caribbean band created by musician Cole Williams.

Red Beans Parade - 2pm Lundi Gras Day - 725 St. Ferdinand (Marigny Opera House)

And the newest sub-krewe, Feijao (beans in Portuguese)- a “Brazilian/cajun” parade is taking off this year in Bywater. Feijao starts on Lundi Gras Day at 2pm at Bud Rips Bar. All are welcome!

Dead Beans Parade --Dead Beans was launched in 2018, and it parades near Bayou St. John with music by Panorama Brass Band and Bon Vivant! The Dead Beans wear suits inspired by any mythological or folkloric tradition that deals with death, mortality, or the afterlife, or paying homage to someone who passed. This year’s theme is mythical or extinct animals.

The Krewe of Red Beans welcomes everyone in the community who wants to participate. Just make your own costume and join one of the parades. For more information, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.redbeansparade.com

Photography: Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee

Acción de gracias

Acción de gracias

Acción: Hecho, acto u operación que implica actividad.

En los Estados Unidos existe el día de “Thanksgiving” que ha sido traducido, en su mayoría, a Día de Acción de Gracias. Con los agites del mundo moderno y la facilidad con la que obtenemos nuestras necesidades básicas, tomamos todo por hecho, deseamos más, estamos inconformes, y la mayoría del tiempo nos enfocamos en lo que nos hace falta.

El Día de Acción de Gracias es de gran relevancia en la cultura estadounidense, y nos sirve como una pausa para Compartir en familia y recordar todas las razones que tenemos para agradecer.

Obed es un niño de 12 años que a pesar de sus dificultades siempre se muestra agradecido. Obed, quien está bajo el cuidado de su madre, ha pasado por más de diez cirugías en el cerebro por hidrocefalia, ha pasado por una cirugía de corazón, y ahora batalla con un tumor en su pierna que será operado con urgencia.

Angélica Rivera de Colmex Construction recibió una llamada acerca de la situación de Obed y la necesidad de una rampa de acceso para su residencia. La historia de Obed la conmovió profundamente, pero fue cuando Rivera conoció en persona a Obed que su corazón le exigió acción. “Lo que más me llamó la atención de Obed cuando lo conocí fue su actitud positiva frente a la vida. A pesar de todos sus problemas y las cosas difíciles por las que ha pasado, es un niño que irradia alegría”.

Rivera y su familia inmediatamente se pusieron manos a la obra. Home Depot se sumó a los esfuerzos luego de escuchar brevemente la razón del proyecto, y donó cerca de $2,000 en materiales. El sábado pasado fue el día de la obra. “Para mi fue una sorpresa muy especial ver que todos los integrantes del equipo llegaron el sábado a ayudar”. Rivera había hecho un llamado para quienes quisieran donar su tiempo para esta causa y sin cuestionarlo, 14 integrantes de Colmex Construction, incluyendo personal de oficina, llegaron al sitio para donar su trabajo en su día libre y construir la rampa para Obed.

Acción: Una llamada, una respuesta, una visita, un compromiso, una donación, una construcción en equipo. La suma de estas acciones consiguió algo tan simple como una rampa. Para Obed, esa rampa facilita movilidad en la silla de ruedas. Para

Obed, también es de gran impacto en su vida, sentir el cariño y el apoyo de una comunidad que no lo abandona.

Obed quien se prepara para la cirugía del tumor en su pierna pronto, en este día de acción de gracias tiene un pequeño motivo más para seguir siendo esa persona positiva, que aprecia la vida y se muestra siempre agradecido.

Recordemos ser más como Obed y tener en cuenta los miles de motivos para agradecer hoy y cada día. ¿Por qué agradeces en este día?




By the NOLA READY Team

Click aqui para español- > NOLA READY

Each year in New Orleans, hurricane season lasts from June to November.

Tropical weather begins with a low-pressure area of circling winds over water. A system can develop into a tropical depression, tropical storm, or a hurricane. Dangers include high winds, heavy rain, tornadoes, flooding, and power outages, which means you should insure your property for both wind and flood damage. You’re probably no stranger to these storms. Still, it’s important to make a plan with your family in case a storm comes our way. This guide offers the basics. There are extra things to consider during an emergency for seniors, young children, people with medical needs, and pet owners. Call 311 to sign up for the special needs registry if you are elderly or have medical or mobility needs. Find more information on ready.nola.gov.


Make a “home kit”

Clean & secure your property

  • Remove debris from gutters • Clear debris from catch basins • Prune trees & shrubs • Bring outdoor furniture & decorations inside • Secure or bring garbage bins inside • Prepare for power & water outages • Fill bathtub with water to clean & flush toilets • Turn fridge to its lowest temperature. • Charge electronic devices. • Preserve cell phone battery life.
  • If you need power for medical equipment, call 311 to register your special needs.

Stay safe & informed

  • Bring pets inside. • Lock doors & windows • Close curtains & blinds. • Stay inside until officials say it’s safe. • Call 911 in an emergency. Call 311 for information. • Storms can be scary for kids. Talk about what’s happening & entertain with games & toys.


Make a “go bag”

Plan your route

Know where, how & with whom you’re going. • Leave with a full tank of gas & plan that it could take four times longer than usual.

Use City-assisted evacuation if you can’t evacuate on your own

  • During a mandatory evacuation, go to an evacuspot. Five of them have extra help for seniors.
  • If you can’t get to an evacuspot because of medical needs, you might be eligible to be picked up from your home. Call 311. • Buses will take you to a shelter outside the area & will bring you back when it’s safe. • Bring only 1 carry-on sized bag per person. • Pets should have an ID collar, leash, medications & a carrier.

Clean & secure your property

  • Remove debris from gutters & downspouts. • Clear debris from catch basins. • Prune trees & shrubs. • Bring outdoor furniture, decorations and garbage bins inside.

Mardi Gras Love

Mardi Gras Love

By Christopher Ard

Click aqui para español- >Amor de Mardi Gras

Most people come to New Orleans to “see the Mardi Gras” and anticipate an overabundance of drinks, color, flesh, music, and food. However, for those of us who are from here, we know it’s more than that. Family, for example, is a large part of carnival. If anything, spending time with family and friends is what we’ve been doing all winter throughout the Christmas holidays…so we’re just extending the holidays by a few weeks. Carnival also marks the beginning of spring—more daylight, warmer weather—and love.

Here in the United States, we are lucky enough to celebrate carnival AND Valentine’s Day—that day set aside for love, lovers, liking, lust, longing, and several other words beginning with the letter ‘L’. So, with carnival and Valentine’s Day happening at the same time, there must be a carnival love story—and there is! Keep in mind that I’m writing this the Tuesday before Valentine’s Day, so love is on my mind.

In 1871, the Russian Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich Romanov was on a tour of North America. At some point in his travels he met an actress named Lydia Thompson while she was in a play singing a funny song called “If Ever I Cease to Love.” Rumor has it that Alexei fell in love with Lydia. One of his last stops on his tour was New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Miraculously, Lydia showed up in town as well. There was a new daytime Mardi Gras krewe called “Rex” that year. The city was excited to know that the Grand Duke was in town and everyone had heard the rumors of their love affair. So, throughout the parade, every band would play the song “If Ever I Cease to Love,” to put a smile on the Duke’s face.

If ever I cease to love, If ever I cease to love, May the moon be turned to green cream cheese, If ever I cease to love.

Of course, Alexei was 21 years old, so the love affair didn’t last too long. Both he and Lydia went their separate ways, but the song remained. It became the official song of Mardi Gras and has been played during every carnival season since 1872, much to the confusion of most tourists today.

In my opinion, this story captures the essence of carnival in New Orleans—excess. Carnival is great already, but now I introduced some extra information, like a Russian Duke and an actress. It’s details that aren’t really needed to have a great carnival, but it just makes it that much MORE impressive.

And that’s carnival. There’s too much drinking, too much food, too many parades, too much music, too much dancing…all in celebration of life and love. I hope you all have a great carnival season and indulge in too much of everything because, if you’re anything like me, it’ll make for an extremely relaxing and peaceful Lent.

Happy Carnival!

Are You From Here?

Are You From Here?

By Christopher Ard

Click aqui para español- >¿Eres de Aquí?

When I purchased my home in New Orleans’ 8th Ward a few years ago, my neighbors came out to meet me. They were kind and very welcoming, and eager to find out the answer to their question, “Where you from, baby?”

Now, understand that I’m a born and raised New Orleanian, so, I knew exactly what they meant. However, I also have some very distinct Native American characteristics, so I understand the confusion I cause when my response is, "I’m from here." Inevitably, hearing this response leads to “Yeah, but where you really from?”, which then leads to my answer, "The Lower 9th Ward. Tupelo Street." This answer generally satisfies most New Orleanians.

You see, the from here question isn’t really about my appearance; it’s about whether I’m a New Orleanian—a REAL New Orleanian. But what is a real New Orleanian? And if you weren’t born here, can you ever become a REAL New Orleanian?

In this article, I’ll attempt to give instructions on how to become a REAL New Orleanian. This first thing to understand: NO ONE IS REALLY FROM HERE.

We are a port city, no different than New York, London, San Francisco, or Singapore. We are constantly evolving, changing, expanding and shrinking. Without the influx of new people and ideas, we would not have jazz, shotgun houses, Spanish architecture, jambalaya, or even individuals like me who embody the variety of ethnicities that have created this city.

With that said, here is my version of what you need to do to become a New Orleanian.

You must experience a life-altering event with your community.

Hurricane Katrina dispersed most New Orleanians to every state in the nation. Nearly half a million people were scattered about the country, without a home, away from family, not knowing if everyone got out...for months. Those of us who experienced this have been linked together for the rest of our lives, much like military veterans who develop camaraderie while fighting in a war zone, or like passengers who survive a plane crash. Let me be clear, I hope you never have to experience strife while living here--a flood, a hurricane, or even a shooting--but when you do, if you do, you automatically become a New Orleanian.

Forgive us our sins.

Please ignore the current New Orleanians’ sense of ownership over our town and culture. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was the largest city in the country with the largest native-born population. After the hurricane, we became extremely protective of what’s left of our city. We turned our attention to symbols that weren’t too popular like the fleur-de-lis, searching for a sense of belonging or a connection to what we lost. If you want to become a REAL New Orleanian, start by accepting current New Orleanians for who they are--attitudes, cultures, beliefs, accents...all of it.

Don’t try to change us; just add to it.

Understandably, racism, sexism, poverty, the failing school system are all things that needed to change. Everything else can always be improved upon. I grew up in the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard. My Christmas’ dinner featured gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp stew, AND Mexican tamales. You see, we didn’t choose one or the other. We had both. Don’t move here and start a Philly cheesesteak restaurant. Mix it up! Try something new. Make us the envy of the country, not a mirror image of Brooklyn or another city.

Love us, but don’t use us.

We get it. The rest of the country is just Cleveland. The United States of Generica can be boring, repeated, capitalist, copied, and the rules are out of hand. So, you found refuge here, below sea level, with the rest of us. Real New Orleans will take you in. It’ll love every inch of you, imperfections and all. It’ll sacrifice its drainage system to your refuse, its neutral grounds to your SUVs, its balcony polls to your bike chains, all with the intent of you loving her back.

Part of that love is honoring her traditions. There’s a reason for Carnival, for Mardi Gras, and for St. Joseph’s Day. And no, it’s not so you can put more glitter on and get drunk. I’m not asking you to become Catholic, but I am asking you to temper your needs to contribute to the tourism machine. You don’t need to party every day. When you do, you neglect New Orleans. You contribute to the exploitation of her culture and the demise of everything we hold dear.

If you want New Orleans to survive, you must do the work. If you want to live somewhere simply to drink and be selfish, go someplace terrible like Las Vegas. You won’t harm a thing there. So, those are my basic instructions for becoming a REAL New Orleanian.

You see, it’s not up to me, or any other person born in New Orleans to decide whether you are FROM here. I believe some people are already born with New Orleans in them. If you’re lucky, you’ll live here at some point and let your New Orleans show.

First, we are a city of historical conformity, of tradition, of family, and of love, all of which takes work. Second, we know how to take a break every now and again, don a mask and some color, and give thanks that we live here. But this is all the opinion of a guy who was born in Metairie—take it or leave it.

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