Friday Spotlight: The Roots of Music

roots_kids._romain_beaxisA bit of a departure for today’s spotlight…

“We were thinking about a lot of stuff with rebuilding, and getting our lives back together – getting the lights back on, getting the economy back up. But we didn’t think about our children, we didn’t think about what the children need to get back to their normal life.” ~ Derrick Tabb, Roots of Music founder

As a North Louisianan, I realize that I’m probably a bit late to the party (as usual – see “Shreveport Mardi Gras”), but it was only a few months ago that I first got to experience a tiny slice of the amazing work that The Roots of Music organization has been doing  in New Orleans since 2007. I heard a small Roots of Music ensemble perform at the state capitol prior to the inauguration of Governor John Bel Edwards and was excited to learn about how the group uses music education to connect, mentor, and empower middle school age youth from low-income households all across New Orleans. Derrick Tabb, New Orleans native and snare drummer for the Rebirth Brass Band, co-founded Roots of Music along with Allison Reinhardt to fill the void created when many schools discontinued marching band programs after Hurricane Katrina, especially at the middle school level. Read the rest of this entry

Write for the Daily Kingfish!

WideFlagThe Daily Kingfish needs more contributors to be the vibrant outlet for original political analysis that it can and should be. Because there’s only so much time in a day, I am limited in how much I can write. We’ve had a few good contributors thus far, yet we need more. Ideally, we need a few folks willing to write on a regular basis. Read more on what we’re looking for!

Tax Reform & the TFSCBTP

buddy-roemer1Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer recently penned a guest column in the Advocate calling for sweeping tax reform in Louisiana. His lamentations about the problems were quite familiar to anyone who has been paying attention to the state’s budget crisis lately.

Our university system is antiquated and built on the principle of quantity, not quality.

Our economic conditions are not diverse and innovative.

We are dependent on individuals for spark, rather than on systems. …
The working poor are in ruins in Louisiana, underfinanced and underappreciated.
Our kids are leaving the state to find jobs and opportunity.

On and on it goes. Things are a fraction of their true value: newspapers, television stations, law firms, partnerships, car dealerships.

Read the rest of this entry

Weekend Reading: Idiocracy Rising?


Candidate Trump and “President Camacho”

In the unfortunate case you haven’t seen it, Idiocracy is a 2005 Mike Judge film (maker of Beavis & Butt-Head, King of the Hill, and Office Space) that depicts a future America that has gone off the rails. The country has been overtaken by anti-intellectualism, or more accurately, the population has been dumbed down to a ridiculous extent. In this fictional dystopian future, the country has elected a professional wrestler as President, and commercialism and advertising have become the only things anyone cares about. An “Average Joe” who awakes from a 500-year suspended animation experiment is suddenly the smartest man in America, by far. If you think this doesn’t sound so far from today’s reality, you aren’t the only one. Even one of the show’s writers is there with you.

But how much truth is there to this? Are we really becoming a society of anti-intellectualism?  Read the rest of this entry

Friday Spotlight: People Acting for Change and Equality (PACE)


I’m a proud 2016 New Leaders Council Louisiana fellow and was thrilled when we kicked off our 2016 Institute in my hometown, Shreveport. One of our special guests during the weekend was former Shreveport mayor (and current State Representative for District 4) Cedric B. Glover, and in his remarks to our cohort he highlighted his December 2009 executive order protecting LGBT city employees from employment discrimination as a point of personal and professional pride – a bright spot for concrete progressive action in a very conservative corner of the state. Four years later, in 2013, the Shreveport City Council adopted the Shreveport Fairness Ordinance prohibiting discrimination against all LGBT city residents in employment, housing, and public facilities, making Shreveport only the second city in Louisiana to legislate specific protections for LGBT citizens.

These tangible policies are impressive and important. But the story of progress toward LGBT rights in Shreveport isn’t really about executive orders and city council ordinances. It’s about effective organizing and people power – specifically, the work of People Acting for Change and Equality, or PACE.  Read the rest of this entry

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