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Blacks ‘Left Behind’ in New Orleans recovery

New Orleans, LA--Aerial views of damage caused from Hurricane Katrina the day after the  hurricane hit August 30, 2005.

As Gulf Coast residents and policymakers celebrated the recovery of the Crescent City on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Saturday, August 29, advocacy groups challenged the narrative of a resilient and better New Orleans by launching, a website that shows that post-Katrina progress in New Orleans still hasn’t reached poor Black communities.

Judith Browne Dianis, the co-director of the Advancement Project, a multiracial civil rights group, said that, 10 years ago, the Advancement Project was on the ground in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, working with communities to protect the rights of survivors.

“Ten years later, the city of New Orleans wants to sell us a bag of bad goods, telling us that the city has gotten better, but unfortunately the recovery and the reconstruction has been uneven and African American families have been left behind,” said Dianis.

On the a telephone call with reporters to discuss the launch of, Dianis described a landscape dominated by charter schools, dispossession, destruction and gentrification and new businesses that catered to a “new class of wealthier, White residents,” as Black New Orleanians face severe disparities in education, employment, housing and the criminal justice system.

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Musicians bringing New Orleans flavor to the Dakota



Are you ready to party New Orleans style? Then there’s nothing like the real thing, baby. And since we’re in the midst of some steamy New Orleans like weather here in the Twin Cities, why not mix it up with some equally hot New Orleans music, right? New Orleans musicians will represent the Crescent City in fine form this week as the Rebirth Brass Band returns to the Dakota on Thursday, July 24 for two lively sets at 7 and 9 pm.  

Move Your Body, the outfit’s latest recording from Basin Street Records, is currently receiving some excellent airplay on jazz radio. Continue Reading →

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President Obama visits St. Paul to promote transportation budget

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Reportedly Barack Obama’s approval rating in Minnesota is at its lowest since he became president over five years ago. But based on the loud, enthusiastic reception he received last week during a stop in St. Paul, his popularity apparently has not yet wane. “We love you,” said someone from the overflow crowd. “I love you back. Continue Reading →

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Peyton Manning five-time MVP?

Peyton Manning is doing it again — he is assaulting the NFL record books. Sunday, he threw five touchdown passes in Denver’s 35-28 win at Kansas City. The Broncos rallied from 21-7 to win it and complete a two-game sweep of the Chiefs. The Broncos now have control of the AFC West at 10-2. Manning has now thrown 41 touchdown passes this season. Continue Reading →

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Web series addresses stereotypes about African Americans



By Charles Hallman
Staff writer


Angela Tucker two years ago pitched her series idea on challenging racial stereotypes of Blacks. The third season of Black Folk Don’t premiered December 2 on, the National Black Programming Coalition (NBPC) website. “Season three is going to spark conversations in homes and offices around the country as well as online,” predicts Black Public Media Digital Media Director Nonso Christian Ugbode. “People take sides and even question the audacity of the assertions that are raised in the show.”

A writer, director and producer, Tucker wrote on her blog a couple of years ago that she prefer “[regular Black] people that had original points of views and were articulate” rather using “being Black” experts. “At first, we were going to reach out to people via social networks… Continue Reading →

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When it comes to health, place matters

By Dr. Brian Smedley

America’s Wire Writers Group 


The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is an achievement Americans can be proud of. Making sure that all our brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren have proper health insurance makes us a stronger, more prosperous nation. Amid this important change, however, we cannot ignore the work that remains to be done, especially in communities of color. Insurance cards are not enough. To become a society with better health — not just better health coverage — we must also look at the role “place” plays in the lives of minority communities. Continue Reading →

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Ruby! The Story of Ruby Bridges: Play about civil rights-era child hero re-created in new staging



It isn’t often a figure from African America history is still around once his or her accomplishments finally are celebrated. A spectacular exception, of course, is President Barack Obama. Not nearly as famous but nonetheless a hallmark is the triumph in 1960 of little six-year-old Ruby Bridges, documented as the first child of color to set foot in a segregated elementary school. She attended William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans and, in those days, it wasn’t a simple matter of being enrolled and showing up for the first day of class in a pretty dress with your pencils all nicely sharpened as you get ready to learn your reading, writing and arithmetic. White hatred of Black people was even worse than it is today and savagely overt in the South, such that this innocent’s mom and dad, Lucille and Abon Bridges were, by request of the NAACP, taking her life in their hands. Continue Reading →

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Ravens vs. 49ers an all-Harbaugh Super Bowl


NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans braces for Super Bowl XLVII, the first Super Bowl in that city since the horrific storm Hurricane Katrina. This is the 10th time the NFL has brought the world stage of the Super Bowl to New Orleans; the last Super Bowl held here was Super Bowl XXXVI, New England 20—St. Louis 17. Much of New Orleans is not happy with the NFL, because the league came down so hard on their beloved Saints with the now-famous bounty gate scandal. Commissioner Roger Goodell should carefully go about his business this week with security watching his back. Continue Reading →

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NFL ‘final four’: Not much has changed


We have gone from the New Orleans bounty gate to general managers, head coaches, coordinators, player suspensions, and a record number of players fined for hits with helmets leading to tragedies like players losing their lives. One Kansas City Chiefs player murdered the mother of his child, then took his own life. The very next weekend, a Dallas Cowboys player driving his car while drunk killed his passenger, teammate Jerry Brown, who was sober. Once the NFL regular season ended December 30 and the 12 qualifiers for the Super Bowl XL VII tournament were set, eight NFL head coaches were fired: Arizona, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, San Diego and Kansas City. Also, five general managers were sent packing. Continue Reading →

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Pastor celebrates 50 years of ministry


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Alphonse Reff, Sr. accepted the call to ministry in 1962. “I thought I could do some other things other than [being a minister],” admits the reverend, adding that ever since he took “a whipping from God, He whipped me into shape, and for 50 years I’ve been trying to tell the whole story.”

Both the community and his church, Wayman A.M.E. Church, where Reff has pastored for nearly 30 years, and others helped celebrated his 50 years in ministry during a three-day celebration last September. He received proclamations from both Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak among the best wishes expressed to both him and his wife Janice, who he married in 1963. “He has been a leader in the community for years now, and we are just grateful to see folk coming out and recognizing his leadership,” noted Rev. James Moody of Chicago. “It was just my honor to be here, to this great celebration and gathering with these wonderful people,” said AME Senior Bishop John R. Bryant, who was the featured speaker at a service given by the St. Continue Reading →

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