Inaugural Barbers and Beauticians Collective Fellowship Holds Graduation Ceremony

The inaugural Barbers and Beauticians Collective Fellowship recently concluded with a graduation ceremony at Gallier Hall. The program is one of four “interventions” overseen by the recently created Office of Gun Violence Prevention through its CURE Violence initiative.

Joshua Cox, director of Strategic Initiatives, and Patrick Young, director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, offered an overview of the Collective, which trains barbers and beauticians to leverage their unique position in their communities to engage residents and help resolve conflict and deescalate to prevent violent interactions in their neighborhoods. It is the first known initiative of its kind in the state.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell served as keynote speaker after an introduction by Brian Pierre Jr. Oliver Thomas of WBOK (1230 AM) served as master of ceremonies. Calvin Pep of CeaseFire New Orleans presented the certificates. NOPD Supt. Shaun Ferguson and Darlene Cusanza of Crimestoppers GNO also offered remarks, while spoken word artist Indie Wrytes offered a moving performance of her work, “STOP the Violence.”

The Spring 2021 graduates were: Dorian Baham (Picture Me Rollin’), Tobias Bolton (UnderCUTstruction), Raquel Dawson (The Candy Shop Nola), De’Jon Hardges (Picture Me Rollin’), Tanya Haynes (Friends Salon Nola), Edison Henry (Star Plus Barber & Beauty), Demetrius Twymon (Razor Kutz), Donnell Vaughn (Creative Hair Studio), Chirstopher Womack (Case Closed), and Jayden Womack (Case Closed).

The Office of Gun Violence Prevention also acknowledged the support of the New Orleans City Council, CURE Violence, WBOK, Roots of Music, Black Men Build, PJ’s Coffee, Gniche Catering, Urban League of Louisiana, David Lee Simmons, Sharmaine Russ, JOB1, Full Circle Nola, KeShawn Harris, Mike Franklin, and City of New Orleans staff.

City Officials Announce Relaunch of Solar for All NOLA

City officials recently announced the relaunch of the Solar for All NOLA program. Solar for All NOLA is a clean-energy initiative available to all New Orleans homeowners and small businesses through the benefits of rooftop solar. Solar for All NOLA supports Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s commitment to reduce energy costs for lower-income families and those on fixed incomes, while creating quality jobs and making our city more climate resilient. 

Since the program was first introduced one year ago, 450 more New Orleans homeowners and businesses are now enjoying the benefits of solar energy. 

“We are very proud of how well the Solar For All NOLA program did in its first year, during what was obviously a very challenging year,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We have all spent more time in our homes in the past year than any of us could have imagined, and we are proud to be able to offer our citizens the opportunity to not only do the right thing for their household budget, but also the right thing for the environment. Programs like the one provided by PosiGen and Solar Alternatives are helping to make housing more affordable and put New Orleans at the forefront of smart, creative, clean energy.”

The Solar for All NOLA 2021 initiative is being led by Forward Together New Orleans, a local nonprofit dedicated to making New Orleans a fairer, more inclusive place by forging partnerships between community organizations and the business and philanthropic sectors. Forward Together New Orleans is working with two respected local solar businesses, PosiGen Solar and Solar Alternatives, to provide free solar evaluations to all homeowners and small business owners interested in seeing if clean energy can save them money on their utility bills. 

Interested residents can contact the PosiGen and Solar Alternative teams directly to sign up for a no-cost solar home or business assessment, or they can utilize Forward Together New Orleans staff to assist them with this service. Visit or call 844-78-SOLAR for more information.

First Historical Marker for Louisiana Civil Rights Trail Unveiled at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant 

Local elected officials, community and business leaders filled the dining room of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in early May  as Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism unveiled the first of the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers. 

Markers across the state will honor Louisiana’s heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. The marker in front of the historic Dooky Chase celebrates and highlights the important roles that husband and wife, restaurateur Edgar “Dooky” Chase, Jr. and Chef Leah Chase, played by offering their restaurant as a safe place for leaders of the movement to meet, eat and strategize in New Orleans.

Fried Chicken Festival Returns in Fall, Moves to Lakefront

The annual National Fried Chicken Festival has announced a new home along the New Orleans Lakefront as the festival approaches its fifth-anniversary event taking place on Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24. The new location will provide festival goers with more than one million square feet of waterfront views, which is double the size of Woldenberg Riverfront Park’s 500,000 footprint. The festival’s footprint will span from Franklin Avenue to the Seabrook Bridge to ensure attendees are safe and able to socially distance themselves while enjoying the festivities. 

The free outdoor festival broke its attendance record at the fourth annual event in 2019 and brought over 183,000 guests out to Woldenberg Riverfront Park. The National Fried Chicken Festival will be the first event on the Lakefront since Back to the Beach in 2005, not long before Hurricane Katrina made landfall 16 years ago.  

“We’ve waited years for an event to return to the Lakefront, and we could not think of a better fit than the National Fried Chicken Festival,” said Louis J. Capo, executive director of the Lakefront Management Authority. “The Lakefront is a beautiful location to provide an unforgettable experience while also ensuring everyone can socially distance while enjoying great food, music and so much more. We’re honored to provide a space where citizens and visitors can come together to support local restaurants and enjoy everything they love about New Orleans.”  

This year’s FCF will feature more than 33 chefs and restaurants from across the U.S., a diverse line-up of entertainment and musical performances across two stages, new sponsor activations and several new upgraded guest experiences. 

Festival attendees can expect the return of the Best Fried Chicken Contest and Best Use of Chicken in a Dish Contest. FCF will once again honor a New Orleans culinary icon. Since its founding in 2016, FCF has been bringing food, music, family and festivities together in celebration of the classic southern dish. 

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