Carnival Exchange Project Explores Similarities between Santiago de Cuba and New Orleans

Diaspora Exchanges Solutions, a consulting company that specializes in developing cultural, academic, and professional exchange programs and projects in and pertaining to Cuba and other emerging markets around the world, will host the Carnival Exchange Project, a cultural exchange opportunity for the cities of Santiago de Cuba and New Orleans in collaboration with the Arts Council New Orleans, the official arts agency for the City of New Orleans.

Through dialogue, workshops, performance artist exhibitions, and collaborative projects, participants will build a rich and unique relationship between these two unparalleled cities. The project is divided into two parts.

For the first leg of the program, a dozen people will travel from Santiago de Cuba to New Orleans will serve as cultural representatives of their city, during the New Orleans Carnival Season, from Feb. 22 to March 2. The group includes the All Starts Dance Company from Santiago de Cuba, as well as representatives from Cuba’s Ministry of Culture. During this New Orleans leg of the program, there is limited space for public participation. For more information, visit

Among other activities, members of the Cuban delegation will parade with the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club on Mardi Gras Day, says Abril Sutherland.

Part two of the program takes place July 22-July 29, when a delegation of New Orleans artists and cultural representatives will travel to Santiago de Cuba to participate in Santiago´s Carnival. The group is comprised of a New Orleans brass band led by trumpeter Troy Sawyer, Mardi Gras Indians from one or more Indian Nations, members of Zulu Social Aide and Pleasure Club, and leaders from the New Orleans arts community, to name a few.

In both legs of the program, participants will engage in people-to-people cultural exchange activities, including visiting cultural sites, interactive music and cultural workshops, surrounding the Carnival culture

Dillard University Announces Ninth Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala Award Recipients

The Dillard University Department of Athletics has announced the winners of its 9th Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala. The Gala will take place on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 in the atrium of the Dillard Professional Schools and Sciences Building.  Each year, Dillard Athletics in conjunction with the ASK Billy Ray Hobley Foundation recognizes individuals that have demonstrated a commitment to service to their community and representing the ideals the Billy Ray Hobley lived by.

Each year the event raises thousands of dollars for scholarships and serves as the kick off for the Allstate Sugar Bowl Bleu Devil Classic Weekend, featuring men’s and women’s basketball match-ups against Dillard’s longtime crosstown rival, Xavier University.

Single tickets the 9th Annual Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Gala cost $125. Tables of six (6) are available for $750. To purchase tickets or to make a contribution to the Billy Ray Hobley Scholarship Fund, visit For more information please call 504-816-4953.

Dillard University Athletics honors the memory of Billy Ray Hobley while celebrating the contributions and achievements of alumni, community leaders and student-athletes each year through this gala.

Hobley was a native of Quincy, Fla., who played basketball at Dillard from 1973 to 1977. In 1975, Hobley scored 612 points in 27 games, averaging 22.6 points per contest. In the same year, he was named Offensive Player of the Year. He eventually played for the Harlem Globetrotters until 1998. After retiring from the Globetrotters, he returned to Dillard as an assistant men’s basketball coach, becoming interim head coach in 1999 and the full-time head coach in 2000, when he led the Bleu Devils to a 22-11 record and a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship. Hobley died July 31, 2002, suffering a heart attack while playing tennis.

“The Gala is an important fundraiser for student scholarships as well as a great celebration of the legacy of one of our most notable former athletes,” says DU Athletic Director Kiki Baker Barnes.  “We are so proud to shine a light on these outstanding individuals who contribute so much to society and to reward some exceptional students who have shown exactly what a student-athlete should be.”

Dillard is proud to congratulate the following award recipients: Legacy Award — Ronald Henderson, ‘63, and Walter Tillman, ’67; Blue Flame of Excellence Award — Alvin Gentry, head coach for the New Orleans Pelicans since the start of the 2015-16 season; and Billy Ray Hobley Endowed Scholarship Recipients — Keona Favis is a senior basketball player from Shreveport and Patrick Thompson is a junior basketball player from Geismar.

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