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EBR Community Check-ins (Weeks 13-20)

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in EBR The Walls Project has been hosting weekly video calls with leaders of nonprofits, foundations, city-government, and local businesses from across the parish. The intention of these weekly community check-ins is to share information and resources to help the Baton Rouge community respond and recover from the pandemic. Weekly topics range from access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and safety to thought-leaders insights on equitable opportunities for youth enrichment, nonprofit financial solvency, surge in unemployment, and the disproportionate impact on impoverished neighborhoods in regards to accessing fresh food.


Week 20 TOPIC

EBR Food Insecurity Coalition Update


Kelli Rogers (Program Managers - Geaux Get Healthy)

  • We developed a collective effort to address the grocery gap

    • Started in 2018 in 70805

    • We found that the needs are not specific to one zip code

    • There are adjacent areas with similar demographics and needs

  • We administered the USDA food insecurity survey 

    • 1900 people

  • Average score increase of people we resurveyed went up by 1 point

    • 31% increased their consumption of fresh food 

  • We partnered with Baton Roots Farm, Top Box, and Grow Baton Rouge

  • We brought on two new partners: OLOL LSU North Health Clinic and American Heart Association

  • We make sure we’re providing the highest quality service 

  • GGH has done a good job of rolling together a group of partners who support one another

    • Everyone has a common agenda and shared measurements 

    • We have a backbone support organization that helps drive the work and move the coalition along

Korey Patty (Executive Director - Feeding Louisiana)

  • Our role is the food bank and the work they do with responding to hunger on the ground

  • Being able to talk about the larger scale issues of hunger and food insecurity 

    • What we can do as policy makers and decision makers to provide for the community

  • We’ve seen a significant increase in food insecurity across the region

  • Our partnership with feed america tracks food insecurity and data

  • We have one of the highest food insecurity rates in the country in LA

  • Our food banks on the ground are responding to increased need

  • It is imperative for us to talk about what the large scale interventions are 

    • We’ve looked at blueprints from other states as well

  • Some federal programs that we partner with and rely on do so much more as a large scale provider 

  • The outcomes that food security impacts as well is related to education and healthcare

    • These things are always interrelated

Emily Chatelain (Three O’clock Project)

  • We are a summer meal program and an after-school meal program

  • Normally we’d be creating supper menus and partnering with our after-school meal programs

  • Our mission is that right at 3PM when the school meals stop we solve the hunger issue for kids who don't have food at home or unhealthy foods at home 

  • We’re at over 6 million meals this summer

    • We normally do 300,000 meals a year

  • We’re based in Baton Rouge but we can do state-wide

  • We’re funded federally and reimbursed for the food that we serve as long as it meets federal meal patterns

    • Paid $3.50 per meal

Coffee Chat @ 9AM:

Rinaldi Jacobs

  • There's a group of us working with Southern University to bring a food incubator into North Baton Rouge 

Pat LeDuff (CADAV, Inc)

  • Is there anyone doing distribution after 4 PM?

    • “Top Box is doing weekend home deliveries right now.”  - Kelli Rogers

    • “We are planning with BREC a distribution with Zachary on Monday. If you think we should do it from 4-6 PM we can do that.” - Emily Chatelain

    • “We’ve been doing our distribution on Saturday mornings and we’ve seen a huge increase. It seems to be easier than on weekdays. We’ve done our third United We Feed distribution.” - CAUW

Emily Chatelain (Three O’Clock project)

  • Kids who live with older parents and grandparents weren't able to get these meals

  • We would love to partner with someone to help these people get meals and feed the family 

Korey Patty (Feeding Louisiana)

  • One thing we’re working on right now is looking at programs that exist already 

  • We are working with the Department of Agriculture to adjust the limit of the income so that more families that are technically above the poverty line can get fed as well 

Tristi Charpentier (Wilson Foundation)

  • United Way ALICE report is based on 2018 data so it does not reflect the pandemic numbers

  • I hear “we can’t raise wages” a lot, but they are based on 1970’s numbers so how can families afford household survival budgets


From Sharmayne Rutledge to Everyone: (8:52 AM) Please also consider supporting EBR's Foundation! From Korey Patty to Everyone: (8:59 AM) Please feel free to reach out! From Emily Chatelain to Everyone: (9:00 AM) Jan - website link? Would like to be on that email list From Kathleen Sarsfield to Everyone: (9:00 AM) Thanks Sharmayne: lil tweak to the above website: to help contribute to back to school and student tech assistance From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: (9:00 AM) Awesome Casey!!! From Adonica Duggan to Everyone: (9:02 AM) So grateful for the amazing lift they have taken on jumping in to fill a huge community need during the pandemic From Kathleen Sarsfield to Everyone: (9:04 AM) 6,000,000 meals this summer - amazing! From Tyrslai Williams to Everyone: (9:07 AM) Thank you! From Leslie Clay to Everyone: (9:07 AM) Sorry.  My data isn't good today. Waving. From DG Construction & Development Inc. to Everyone: (9:08 AM) Thank you from Tasha and Carolyn!!! From Leslie Clay to Everyone: (9:09 AM) Thanks Emily!!! From Tre Nelson to Everyone: (9:09 AM) Thank you for your incredible work! From Kelli Rogers to Everyone: (9:11 AM) Thanks, Emily for all your work and for your willingness to partner with Top Box and Geaux Get Healthy. From Patrick Tuck to Everyone: (9:14 AM) From Katie Pritchett to Everyone: (9:16 AM) Just a FYI...United Way release their new ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report yesterday! If anyone wants to see the new report, go to Unfortunately, more than 49% of the people in our capital area are considered ALICE which means they can't afford basic essentials needed day to day. From Casey Phillips (Walls Project) to Everyone: (9:17 AM) There is the East Baton Rouge parish specific data in the ALICE report 

From Leslie Clay to Everyone: (9:17 AM) Thanks for that info.  I do a lot of work in Zachary. From Jan Moller to Everyone: (9:18 AM) Addendum to the ALICE report: It’s based on 2018 data, so it doesn’t reflect the increase in hardship because of the pandemic. Still, very much worth reading

From Katie Pritchett to Everyone: (9:22 AM) There is a COVID data study supplement that is one our website as well all the way at the bottom.

From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone: (9:22 AM) Context: family of four is ineligible for SNAP at $32k, but it takes $69k for a family of four to earn enough to afford the ALICE household survival budget From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: (9:25 AM) speak the truth sister. the $600 added to the unemployment has proved more money works to provide for your own family From Sarah Walsh to Everyone: (9:26 AM) Where do we find the Alice report. Sorry if I missed it! From Katie Pritchett to Everyone: (9:27 AM) Email me for a hard copy if you need it in print

Although we encourage you to use the electronic version at From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone: (9:27 AM) Online you can drill down to parish or census tract as well as combine areas to get a sense of that

From Nikesha Rodrigue to Everyone: (9:29 AM) Aetna, Nikesha Rodrigue-  225-326-5559 Thanks Casey!

Rev. Alexis Anderson

The East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition (EBRPPRC) and our partners are pleased to share our newest campaign to encourage citizens to learn more about our criminal justice system and become more engaged with court elections starting with the August 15th Special Judges Runoff Election for 19th JDC and Baton Rouge City Court. Our campaign has 3 simple messages:

  • Judges have power

  • Judges are elected

  • Citizens have a superpower;  we elect judges

The Coalition has produced flyers and is engaged in a community-wide social media campaign to get out the vote.  As part of that campaign the Coalition is providing videos of the candidates' who participated in our community forums and the League of Women Voters Baton Rouge Chapter Voters Guide. To learn about the candidates:  East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition 19th JDC and City Court Judges Candidate Forum – June 8, 2020 East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition City Court Judges Runoff Candidate Forum – July 16, 2020 The League of Women Voters – Baton Rouge Voter Guide

Angela Dortsch

I’m Angela Dortch with FSG.  FSG is the largest lighting distributor & electrical services company in the U.S. The FSG Lighting Design Team has been providing lighting design consulting services for over 30 years all over the US and around the world.  With backgrounds in Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting Design we can interpret and execute the vision and design intent of our clients.

 FSG specializes in UV Air Disinfection.  This has been of tremendous interest from our customers, particularly with the revised CDC guidance that smaller microdroplets remain in the air much longer than was originally thought.  Attached is some additional education/information about UV Disinfectant Lighting.  The first  & second videos educate specifically about schools, the third one is about the hospitality industries.  Information on UV cleansing for bathrooms is included, as well.

The 300W Cello UV Disinfectant Lighting Sanitation Cart can cover up to 1600 square feet in 1 hours, 1200 square feet in 45 minutes, and 800 square feet in 30 minutes.  It has a remote timer reverse motion sensor.  We are offering 0% financing for 36 months for all 3 sanitation carts.

Please feel free to call, text or email me with any questions.  Our licensed degreed engineers can help you with a lighting design for the UV cleansing & health of your buildings.


The summer has offered little reprieve from the pressure felt on our networks. As COVID-19 swells across our Southern and Western states, flaring up again on the East Coast, 40% of Americans are facing possible eviction while millions remain unemployed and struggling to provide for their families. At Unite Us, that means our work with our network partners has never been more important.  We’re in it for the long haul. We hit the milestone of 200 team members at Unite Us this month! We remain committed to putting down deep roots in the communities in which we work, building community capacity, resulting in meaningful change. We're proud to continue to share actionable data to our networks so that partners can make informed decisions about closing gaps in services.  Together, let's continue to push upstream with a vision of healthy, equitable communities. Read our co-founders' call for national public health infrastructure. The perfect storm is here: more people than ever need social services, while the non-profit sector designed to help them is itself in grave danger and cannot sustain or meet the demand. And it’s just the beginning. It’s never been more clear that social care is as critical to people’s overall health and well-being as healthcare.

Check out our latest data blog post on entry points of care as critical COVID testing and contact tracing opportunities. As we took a deeper look at our national data, comparing the New York surge to the latest surge, we asked the question: Where are we seeing the most COVID mentions from individuals seeking help, and could this be a key for state agencies as they develop or improve their testing strategies?

Meet some our newest team members, rooted in the communities they serve!  When we hire locally, Unite Us invests in the people who care most about solving problems and building community health–because it impacts where they live and work every day. As they shared, "I'm guided by the work that we do because I know, ultimately, it benefits the larger community that I consider myself a part of." This unique approach sets Unite Us apart and ensures our networks are reflecting local needs and wants.


Week 19 TOPIC

Wrap Around


Tracy Smith (Healthy Blue)

  • Healthy Blue does coordinated care about wrap-around services

  • We are addressing the food insecurity for the most vulnerable

  • We want to assist those that are at risk

    • Currently doing outreach calls to assess the needs of our members

  • We do case management as well

    • We create health goals, plans, coaching, and support

    • We do mail-outs and coordinate care with their providers

  • There is a Healthy Blue app that helps you find doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies in your area

    • There is also a symptom checker

    • We try to decrease ER utilization 

  • We also want to address the health disparities 

    • Empower individuals to understand 

    • All of our literature is on a 4th-grade level 

  • We have 2 events coming up 

    • August 8: Total Team Takeover

      • Partnering with the mayor's office, big buddy, and Futures Fund

    • September 5: Back To School event 

      • Drive-thru supplying 600 back to school kits (10AM-12PM)

      • Top supplies that are used by elementary school kids

      • Middle and high school receive different tools such as calculators

Myra Richardson (Red Torch Consulting) 

  • I am a political science major at Southern University 

  • I’ve led several marches in the community and have been very critical of the systems in Baton Rouge 

  • A lot of our work focuses on bringing communities together and leveraging relationships that have been built

  • We work with black-owned business and specialize in project management and target marketing 

  • We recently hosted a drive-in movie night to collectively work with a group of black farmers to integrate them into the food chain

  • My personal brand is giving other people a platform to use as leverage 

    • All of my work is connecting people to different resources

  • We have a subscriber list of 150+ people in BR, with the mailing list, it’s a great platform to reach people for marketing and get them resources they need to receive 

Symphony Malveaux (Mid City Redevelopment Alliance)

  • Both of these women are amazing

  • As Myra said, the work they do is very fast

  • If you would like to work with these women, just talk to them and what you need

    • They will either help you or definitely find someone who can help you 

Kathleen Sarsfield (EBR School System)

  • Myra could you give a few examples of some of your work? 

    • “In 2016 we were able to bring 8000 people together for Alton Sterling. I was the Louisiana representative for the Women’s March in Washington and also organized the recent protests for George Floyd here in Baton Rouge. I have mentored and grown several black owned businesses such as Memphis Mac to increase their sales and visibility.” - Myra Richardson

Coffee Chat @ 9AM:

Kathleen Sarsfield (EBR School System)

  • There is a survey out for parents to fill out 

Pat LeDuff (CADAV, Inc)

  • What’s the plan? The survey is feedback from the community

  • Temperature checking for students and staff

  • Antibody testing

  • What is in place? Is EBR moving in this direction?

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project)

  • People are worried that there won't be enough PPE for everyone in these schools

  • Teachers are being asked to pay their own money to update their technology at home 

Isaiah Marshall (Star Hill Baptist Church)

  • Antibody test are the first line of offense to see if they've been exposed

  • The delay in the test is pretty wide and within that delay people are being exposed

  • Congress is looking to increase the budget for schools as it relates to testing

    • At some point there will be a shortage 

Jan Ross (Wilson Foundation)

  • Feeding has been a great concern

    • We are seeing what resources out there that can be used as a continuum 

    • Those who may be newly unemployed and need assistance

    • Those who are coming out of the hospital don’t have means or capacity to take care of themselves

  • How can we address these needs 

  • How do we bring in the fresh produce

  • After school care is still an issue

    • What is available to parents, is it all virtual or some in-person?

Tristi Charpentier (Wilson Foundation)

  • We are looking at the help for the nonprofit sector

  • We sent a survey to 300 nonprofits to see how it’s affecting them 

  • How can we help in capacity 

  • Some organizations will need to merge with other nonprofits because of funding

  • There are a lot of nonprofits that unfortunately will not make it through this 

Katie Pritchett (CAUW)

  • We are going to raise our ALICE report

  • Looking at individuals who are above the poverty level but are struggling to make ends meet

  • Our ALICE numbers have increased 

    • Looks at the number of people in LA who are in low-wage jobs

    • These jobs are not the ones who are the ability to work remotely and still gain an income

  • How do we get some of these people in jobs that have remote work and continued income 

Edy Addison (CAUW)

  • With funding we currently have we have shifted on focus based on needs that have evolved 

  • Our primary focus is ensuring students have a safe rich learning environment during the day

  • Income stability programs

    • We have narrowed down our focus on prioritizing food 

    • However we will continue to put forward our “United We Feed” effort

Reverend Alexis Anderson (PREACH / EBR Prison Reform Coalition)

  • The disaster we had last week with $600 unemployment is now gone

  • Our unemployment system in LA is scheduled to go into free fall in September 

  • We are concerned about 4 areas

    • Income insecurity issue that will run into a housing insecurity issue

    • When people come out of the criminal justice system they are at the bottom of the list

    • Low literacy and non-english speaking populations are being missed 

    • Poverty is criminalized 

      • Many of these people who get evicted will have to go into court cases without representation

  • We need to get these people the tools they need

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project)

  • Thank You Rev. Anderson for closing out this session with the quote that will motivate us all to keep working for the least of us:

  • “What good are Chromebooks in the hands of kids if they are living under the bridge due to their families being evicted and unemployed."

Week 19 Chat & Announcements:

From janross to Everyone: (8:42 AM)

Traci - what is the difference between a back to school backpack and a tool kit?

From Tracy Smith to Everyone: (8:43 AM)

The kits is designed like a briefcase made out of cardboard filled with school supply kits.  We have two kits--one with supplies for elementary and the other caters to middle/high school students From Patrick Tuck to Everyone: (8:44 AM)

Louisiana Revised Statute 47:305.24 student farmers From Patrick Tuck to Everyone: (8:45 AM) From Katherina’s iPhone to Everyone: (8:46 AM)

Traci where again is the school drive? location date and time From Tracy Smith to Everyone: (8:47 AM)

Back to school event is Sat, Sept 5 from 10am-12pm at BRPD Headquarters on Airline Hwy From Tracy Smith to Everyone: (8:48 AM)

Myra, I would love to connect! From Katherina’s iPhone to Everyone: (8:48 AM)

Myra please send me your email. thank you From Myra Richardson to Everyone: (8:49 AM)

Myra Richardson ///// ///// instagram: moveswithmyra

From Tracy Smith to Everyone: (8:49 AM)

Tracy Smith, Community From Summer Steib(she/her) to Everyone: (8:49 AM)

Myra, are you connected with the Black Women's Empowerment Initiative at LSU? From Myra Richardson to Everyone: (8:50 AM)

I have done some stuff with BWE @LSU From Anita White to Everyone: (8:52 AM)

Myra, would you be available to do a presentation about the Black businesses you work with? and your work itself? Women’s Week provides a platform for information to be distributed in a week-long concentration Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge. We’re virtual this year. October 9 - 15th. Would love to help you spread the word about Black Businesses in Baton Rouge and around the state. Anita White Tracy, Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge would love to work with you to spread the word about Healthy Blue projects through Women’s Week, Oct 9-15. From Manny Patole to Everyone: (8:56 AM)

@Myra, would like to coordinate on some events once COVID stuff is alleviated. Evictions too From Tracy Smith to Everyone: (8:56 AM)

Anita! Yes, I would love to connect. From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone: (8:58 AM)

Myra - regarding the resource guide - connect with Capital Area United Way about 211. From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone: (8:58 AM)

Tracy, are you familiar with the medicaid reimbursement work in feeding people that Healthy Blue is doing? From Tracy Smith to Everyone: (9:00 AM)

Chelsea, all reimbursements are found on the Medicaid fee schedule...I will see who is our direct point of contact that can assist you--let's connect after call. From Kathleen Sarsfield to Everyone: (9:06 AM)

Hi everyone. Kathleen Sarsfield here. I’m the (fairly) new Executive Director for the Foundation for EBR School System. If students need technology to participate in virtual learning, they can fill out a form here: That means internet connectivity as well. Everyone may already know, but Oschner-Pennington is doing a study and provides free testing around the city with 3-5 day results. I had an interview yesterday with Capital Area United Way and they just logged on. From Casey Phillips to Everyone: (9:16 AM)

Nonprofit Survey from Wilson Foundation - From Capital Area United Way to Everyone: (9:23 AM) From Emily Chatelain to Everyone: (9:26 AM)

Casey - I've been on the call on my cell but have to jump off. If anyone is planning on after school programs, Three Oclock Project can provide meals (kids 18 and under) just wanted to throw that out there before I jump off From Patrick Tuck to Everyone: (9:29 AM)

Must hop off. Much respect all. Here is our local AgCenter office contact: From Anita White to Everyone: (9:29 AM)

Rev Anderson, I hope you and your panel will provide a presentation at Women’s Week with Women's Council as you did in March. From Isaiah Marshall to Everyone: (9:36 AM) From Traci Vincent to Everyone: (9:38 AM) for information on UV-C lighting

New Schools For Baton Rouge:

After months of a nationwide search, interviews with finalists, and public debate, Baton Rouge finally has a new superintendent. We welcome Ms. Leslie Brown to Baton Rouge--her selection and first official day come not a moment too soon. The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is at a critical juncture; Ms. Brown will need all of her 41 years of experience as an educator to navigate the challenges ahead. As a community, we also must come together to support her, offer counsel, and at times, guide her through these challenges, to achieve our shared vision of a Baton Rouge that gives every child a world-class education. We offer five recommendations that will enable a strong start for the new administration and support the transformation of EBR:

  1. Prioritize student learning while keeping students, educators and families safe. In remarks since her selection, Ms. Brown rightfully named that the “health, safety, and emotional wellness” of Baton Rouge’s students, families, and teachers will be her top priority. That’s absolutely right. Successfully navigating a safe return to school, and adapting to spikes in COVID-19 cases, should be top of mind in decisions regarding the upcoming school year. Parents and teachers should be pleased to know that we have a superintendent who will be guided by data and facts when it comes to the virus. But we must also prioritize high quality instruction, whether conditions dictate virtual, in-person, or a hybrid approach. EBR is behind its neighboring districts, non-public, and charter schools as it failed to offer substantive learning opportunities for more than seven weeks last spring.

  2. Prioritize equity, especially as remote learning continues. In addition to struggling with instructional excellence last spring, EBR was comparatively slow to provide students with devices and roll out a remote learning curriculum this spring. Our kids - particularly our least-advantaged students - cannot afford to fall further behind their more affluent peers in neighboring districts. Our hope is that Ms. Brown draws on the lessons and experiences of other large districts who have had more success in implementing remote learning (Miami and New Orleans stand out as examples), and bring all stakeholders together to come up with solutions to make the coming year’s curriculum more robust.

  3. Navigate the coming budget challenge. While COVID-19 has hit local economies hard, reducing tax revenue and forcing cuts to public school districts across the country, EBR was already facing fiscal challenges and indecision on its loss of student enrollment to successful charter schools and large footprint of underutilized and aging facilities in the northern part of the parish. Ms. Brown will need to find a way to avoid damaging cuts, while also not abandoning her more ambitious initiatives. This will not be easy, and will require creativity, flexibility, and likely some difficult decisions. Those of us in the nonprofit space stand ready to support as she navigates these challenging budget waters.

  4. Bring Baton Rouge together. Over the past several weeks, debates over renaming Lee High School and the superintendent selection process have been starkly divided on racial lines. Baton Rouge needs more than a great educator in our next superintendent - we need a healer, a leader who is willing to listen, challenge their own biases, and move our city toward a more inclusive future. Ms. Brown has demonstrated those traits in the interview process. Now it’s time to put them to work.

  5. Seize the moment - don’t just be a caretaker. The coming school year will be challenging, and it will be easy to lose sight of the big picture as we navigate the uncertain day-to-day life during a pandemic. But we cannot compromise on the progress we’ve made as a district in embracing high quality charter schools as part of the solution and holding school leaders accountable for results, or fail to think big and offer bold solutions for the next phase of work. We have a tremendous opportunity to make Baton Rouge a shining example for urban districts across the country, but now we need to seize the moment.

Despite all the challenges we face, this is an exciting time for those of us who care deeply about Baton Rouge’s schools. After a yearlong search, we finally have a leader at the helm whose background and candidacy offer EBR maybe its last best opportunity to transform and deliver exceptional opportunities to students. We look forward to working with her to take our schools and our city to the next level.


Week 18 TOPIC

Post The Pivot


Sarah Walsh (IBM Corporate Social Responsibility) Speaker

  • We’re committed to creating opportunities for students and individuals in the community who are left out of the tech field.

  • With students we are committed to over 1,000 high paid internships for them to come gain experience at IBM

  • We want to create the same opportunity for adults

    • Skills Build

    • They can go on this platform and build skills to help them enter the tech workforce

  • We are running webinars weekly to teach job seekers about how to navigate video interviews 

  • We are also targeting the veteran population 

    • Webinars will be live through the end of the year, weekly

  • Open P-TECH:

    • Same as Skills Build but for kids

    • Teaches these tech soft skills

    • Students Ages 14-20

  • We have to familiarize ourselves with technology since everything it digitized now 

  • Go online and expand your learning, there are so many free courses/webinars

  • On your resume, keep track of everything you are 

Geno McLaughlin (Director of Community Engagement, Build Baton Rouge) Speaker

  • Philanthropic dollars are not equal in this city

  • I want to give the community the chance to build capacity

  • How are we building up these smaller organizations that are really impacting the community

  • I look at black-owned businesses and say how can highlight them and attract dollars to them

    • Hard for them to build capacity because investors don’t come to them 

  • Many nonprofits fall by the wayside because they can’t get funding 

  • I challenge business owners and corporations to donate to these efforts

  • How are we being intentional about helping these organizations

  • Larger organizations that serve young black people are all white run

    • The people who are always on the ground looking to help their population do not receive the same help to make a difference

  • Capacity is what’s needed within these organizations

Patrick Tuck (4-H)

  • We have a lag in volunteer engagement now that everything is digitized, how do you remedy that?

    • “We are looking into online platforms that we can use where our students can communicate virtually with volunteers.” - Sarah Walsh

Raymond Jetson (MetroMorphosis)

  • I think the most critical question is not simply “how do I move my work to a virtual platform?” but rather “what is my work in this season?”

  • We’ve embodied the digital platform in what we’re doing 

Gwen Hamilton (New Schools For Baton Rouge)

  • Have you identified a training curriculum for building capacity in the small organizations you speak of? 

  • Small businesses don’t have the capacity when it comes to government funds.

    • “I have not, but there is a real need. When it comes to government funds I think that’s something we can do and a training we can put together. There is a ton of training that needs to be done.” - Geno McLaughlin

  • There are very few risk-free philanthropic dollars out there

Manny Patole (Co-City BR)

  • One thing we're trying to do is figure out how we’re building up capacity and what capacity needs to be built up 

  • How do we create the curriculum to teach the curriculum?

    • People fail to realize how hard it is to be a teacher and teach these things 

    • I’ve contacted some organizations in the northeast about their work and how they’re bringing in cohorts of organizations

Pat LeDuff (CADAV, Inc)

  • When we speak with small businesses on how to build the capacity they always have to figure out how to set aside the time to attend these training sessions.

  • For a nonprofit that did take advantage of the RFP, the $25,000 we still haven't been able to acquire the dollars and still have outstanding bills. Is it realistic for organizations to take advantage of this?

    • “We want to address these issues in terms of environmental reviews.” - Geno McLaughlin

Coffee Chat @ 9:15 AM:

Anita White (President of Women's Council of Greater Baton Rouge)

  • We have an annual project

  • This year it is Women’s Week

    • We’re covering things from serious subjects to fun things as well

    • BREC usually gives us free classes as well as the YMCA

  • We want to help spread some information about the programs you all talk about

  • This week we are going completely digital 

Reverend Alexis Anderson

  • We have just launched a criminal justice show on Metro 21

  • The show is about helping the community learn about what’s going on in the criminal justice arena

  • So many people are having trouble navigating the system during COVID-19

  • We have a special election on August 16th

    • Strictly judicial

    • We are trying to get people to understand what the roles are and why there is a connection to why you should care about who’s the judge 

  • All of our courts are changing

    • This is a huge economic driver in our communities

Casey Phillips (Walls Project)

  • Thank you, Rev. Anderson, for your insights and for all the community announcements (ALL - see flyers below)

Week 18 Chat & Announcements:

From Summer Steib to Everyone: (8:28 AM) I am not connected to mic or a camera, so I am just listening today From Manny Patole to Everyone: (8:30 AM)

I will have to log off a bit before 9 for another meeting “Collaborate" From Sarah Walsh to Everyone: (8:43 AM)

Chronus IBM Program Manager, Education, Louisiana OPEN.PTECH.orgI forgot to mention IBM Apprenticeships in Baton Rouge! No Degree? No Problem! The IBM Apprenticeship Program creates new pathways to employment for candidates without an advanced degree. From Manny Patole to Everyone: (9:00 AM) Can I jump in quick before I have to leave to add to Geno’s point? From Andrea Roberts to Everyone: (9:01 AM)

I have to drop, sorry, but I would like to add that BREC is currently building a DBE program, and when we implement it, we will have a resource who will be working with small/disadvantaged businesses in the community to assist in educating them! From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone: (9:10 AM)

Here is the link to the survey Geno mentioned; From Helena Williams to Everyone: (9:11 AM) From patrick to Everyone: (9:13 AM)

Off my normal topic: Covid response dollars for kids with learning exceptionalities? From Sarah Walsh to Everyone: (9:15 AM) Anita White to Everyone: (9:19 AM)Women’s Week - delivering information about services in Baton Rouge area. Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge From Shavon to Everyone: (9:23 AM)

Thank you and welcome Shavon!

From Sarah Walsh to Everyone: (9:28 AM) Tara High’s Cy-Tech Magnet Academy, Apply Now! Incoming 9th graders From Casey Phillips to Everyone: (9:30 AM)

Next week we will begin planning ‘Wrap Around’ services together for kids this fall.


Patrick Tuck (4-H)

  • During the regular state legislative session of 2019, a bill was passed to expand the definition of a commercial farmer to include certain student farmers who meet specific requirements in relation to sales and tax exemptions.  Through the Act of 199 individuals under the age of 23 and meeting the defined criteria of a “student farmer” can now be sales tax exempt when purchasing:

  1. Feed and feed additives for the purpose of sustaining livestock;

  2. Seeds or plants to be used to produce food ordinarily used for consumption by humans or livestock;

  3. Fertilizer to be used to produce food used for consumption by humans or livestock.

  • This a great opportunity for our 4-H/FFA members who are raising and/or showing livestock and agriculture products to be able to save on some expenses.  Attached to this email is Form 1098 – Student Farmers Certification that the youth will need to complete and have signed by the 4-H or ANR Agent certifying that the youth is a member of the parish 4-H program. The current exemption certificate will be good until July 31, 2021.  LDR will update the certificate and provide LSU with an updated pdf yearly in each July for use in the coming school year. Also, the updated exemption certificate will be available for download on the LDR website.

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project)


Week 17 TOPIC

Balancing Learning & Safety In Schools. II


Tyrslai Williams, Ph.D. (Director for Office of Strategic Initiatives, LSU)

  • We have 4 programs in office that are running for different student levels (STEM)

    • Majority of the students are underrepresented

    • They still don't have access to internet or computers

  • Our reopening will happen on August 24th

    • Students will be in dorms, no more than 2 students in a dorm

    • Working on extending students capacity to stay 

    • We will stay for labor day, there won’t be a fall break 

  • We are trying to make sure students know they have a voice and can speak up about what they are comfortable with 

  • A lot of undergraduate students are not in Louisiana and it is difficult to support them when they cannot be in the labs

  • A lot of students’ parents are losing their jobs, we are trying to figure out better ways to make sure they have what they need

  • We are working on helping parents who are trying to instruct their students at home

  • At the high school level, our main goal is ACT prep and getting them ready for the collegiate level

    • We serve woodlawn and tara high, many of these student don't have laptops or internet access

    • It has been difficult getting information to these students and the help they need

    • Upward bound supports about 100+ students at a given time

David D’Aquin (Cox Communications, Public Affairs)

  • We have “Connect2Compete"

    • A program for qualifying families with kids on free or reduced lunch

    • $9 for high-speed internet at home

    • 95% who utilize say they feel more connected with their teachers 

  • We have a huge resource library that is our digital academy 

  • Once school starts we understand there are a few challenges

  • Hardware is another challenge, we have a partnership with “PC’s For People”

    • We give refurbished computers to people that are updated 

  • We’re working with school systems to talk about solutions quickly 

Gwen Hamilton (New Schools For Baton Rouge)

  • How are you identifying families and are there scholarships available to cover the $10/month to cover connectivity and how many families are covered?

    • “There’s a scholarship called “Every Child A King”. We ask families to self identify. We have had the district provide us data on who they feel would need the Connect2Compete service. We have really worked with other school systems to get this done. For privacy reasons EBR parish haven’t provided this information.” - David D’Aquin

Pat LeDuff (CADAV, Inc)

  • How do we get community broadband/ community hotspots where we have one location the community can get internet access?

    • “ We could discuss this with our Cox business division. We’ve worked with some housing/apartment complexes to create wifi networks there so it is doable. A whole area would be difficult but it can be done. But, we are trying to stray away from people having to gather.” - David D’Aquin

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project)

  • When you have 8-10 people in a home, does the hardware for the Connect2Compete compensate for this? Panoramic broadband routers?

    • “There’s always the option for higher speed. The Connect2Compete internet should be sufficient for several students in the home. We provide pointers on how to get the most out of your bandwidth. It’s all about placement of your router. If you have a situation where someone has to be a priority, we suggest you hardwire directly into the modem. If you have an aquarium don’t place the router near it.” - David D’Aquin

  • Thank you David! The success of EBR Schools virtual learning and after-school youth programs like Futures Fund can only be successful if teens are able to connect online with equitable access.

Coffee Chat @ 9 AM: Rev. Alexis Anderson (P.R.E.A.C.H)

  • At the end of this month the federal unemployment bonus is going away.

  • We’ll be looking at a huge eviction epidemic

  • CATS is running on a skeletal system

    • Families that don't have private vehicles are having difficulty getting around

    • CATS is only holding 9 people per bus

  • Libraries have been doing great work with social distancing

  • I wanted to see if anyone has worked with CARC or the Medicaid companies to provide resources other partners haven't been able to use

    • CARC is great because they get other corporations to donate computers that they aren’t using. CARC refurbishes them 

  • With the rate the state is going, people will lose income and ability to pay bills

    • These programs are also losing capacity

  • We are trying to get these kids who can’t get around closer to the tools they need

Tristi Charpentier (Wilson Foundation)

  • Louisiana Housing Corporation announced a rental assistance program

David D’Aquin ( Cox Communications, Public Affairs)

  • Learn Louisiana is on KWTV and they have teachers teaching lessons on television in Acadiana. This would be a good way to help as well.

Tyrslai Williams, Ph.D. (Director for Strategic Initiatives, LSU)

  • Mental health has been ringing very heavy on LSU’s campus

  • Students are recommended to find help off-campus b/c we are always overfilled

  • How can we better help these students, what are your initiatives to help these students?

    • “Metromorphosis is really focused on this with ‘Mental Health Matters’”. - Casey Phillips

    • “We’re working directly with the bridge agency.” - Pat LeDuff

    • “CAUW has a system where you can live chat with a mental health specialist.” - Capital Area United Way 

    • “LDH has two hotlines, one if for general support and the other if for those who have a mental health diagnosis.” - Judith Rhodes

Gwen Hamilton (New Schools For Baton Rouge)

  • The internet device availability connection for children has been on my mind since the start of the pandemic

  • We still ONLY have  anecdotal evidence of who needs and where its needed

  • We still need a data system that tells us this.

    • “Every EBR kid from K-12 will be getting a laptop. The true issue now is getting internet access. I cannot speak to private schools on this.” - Casey Phillips

    • “Internet access will have to become a utility.” - Pat LeDuff

    • “Charter schools have identified and provided the need to their students.” - Adonica Duggan

Pat LeDuff (CADAV, Inc)

  • Another barrier b/c they don’t have access to the internet is that they refuse the laptops.

  • They feel what is the point if they can’t access the internet 

Angela Robertson

  • It is a process of helping them migrate and move forward to feeling comfortable with receiving this help 

  • It's not just helping the child, it’s helping the child AND the whole family 

Dexter Jackson (MetroMorphosis)

  • The biggest thing we here is there's a lot of ambiguity around what schools looks like this upcoming year

  • This is especially true with teachers

  • Kids have no understanding of social distancing 

  • There’s a lack of concrete plans, even if there is it varies from school to school and state to state 

  • Some students will not get laptops b/c they’re worried they won’t get it back and the members of the family will use the laptop for things other than what it is intended for.

Pat LeDuff (CADAV, Inc)

  • Are you worried about them not putting enough emphasis on social distancing aspect?

    • “Yes I’ve heard these concerns. Many parents have told me it’s impossible. There’s zero way to actually social distance. Also gets in a household don’t necessarily go to the same schools who are doing the same practices..No one is addressing the issue that teachers have to go home to their children either. There are no concrete plans.” - Dexter Jackson

Dr. Reverend Anderson (P.R.E.A.C.H)

  • What about non-English speaking or immigrant students? How are we navigating this territory?

  • Is there anything they’re doing to handle after school programming?

    • “There have been no conversations about after school programs. With the immigrant population was that Hispanic and Latin populations wouldn’t attend anything because they were afraid it was a set up for ICE. We did do things where we invited those families in with us to have conversations and have translators. I haven’t seen much effort to reach out to that community from school levels during the pandemic. But a lot of the laptops have been given to the Latin community because they are underserved.” - Dexter Jackson

    • “Our president and provost are working to give international students at least 1 in-person class so they can remain enrolled at the university.” - Tyrslai Williams

WEEK #17 Zoom Chat:

From Casey Phillps to Everyone: (8:30 AM)

Greetings All. Please forward recommendations to be our featured speakers on our upcoming topics:

  • 7.24 - 'Post The Pivot' - how to adapt to the new normal and deliver programming this fall across the parish

  • 7.31 - 'Wrap Around' - how we can all coordinate services to offer every LMI family in the parish the resources they need

From Helena Williams to Everyone: (8:43 AM)

Discounted internet access offered from Cox: From Tyrslai Williams to Everyone: (8:46 AM)

Tyrslai M. Williams,

LSU/OSI Challenges: 

1. Internet access for parents and students in our programs. 

2. Supporting students who do not have access to laptops  

3. Supporting parents who are taking on the learning coach role in virtual learning. 

4. Supporting the rights and needs of graduate students through this return. From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone: (8:59 AM)

Louisiana Housing Corporation announced a rental assistance program yesterday: The Louisiana Emergency Rental Assistance Program launched Thursday, July 16. Renters may complete an intake form online at or via phone by dialing 2-1-1. Additional information is available by texting "LaRentHelp" to 898-211. For a list of additional resources, programs, and services available to homeowners and/or renters, visit our website at From Angela Robertson to Everyone: (9:02 AM)

EBR Schools announced on yesterday - there will be 1-1 technology for students. Each will be issued a laptop in order to support them with their academics for hybrid learning. From Eric Dexter to Everyone: (9:04 AM)

Thanks for the invitation. This is a lot of valuable info to share with the community. From Capital Area United Way to Everyone: (9:04 AM)

residents can call 211 to complete the intake for the rental assistance dollars CAUW explorers relocating Learn United- we do not have an open access channel in EBR. We were told LBP would be doing lessons on their channel statewide by end of summer. *explored replicating From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone: (9:08 AM)

Stressed about COVID-19? We're here to talk.If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, fear and anxiety about the uncertainty surrounding this public health emergency, there is a special Keep Calm through COVID Hotline you can call. This connects you to trained, compassionate counselors who can offer support and who can direct you to mental health and substance abuse counseling services.Call 1-866-310-7977 24/7Trained counselors available 24/7. All calls are confidential.Need a listening ear before a crisis occurs?The Behavioral Health Recovery Outreach Line connects individuals to real-time support to avoid, prevent or intercept a crisis from occurring. This line offers recovery support 24/7/365 for those with substance use, mental health, mental illness or co-occurring disorders. However, those with no prior history of substance use or mental illness can access these services any day, any time. Call 1-833-333-1132 to speak with a qualified support provider who can connect you to a trained specialist From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone: (9:08 AM)

I-CARE within EBR Schools has a lot of great resources for mental health, alcohol drug abuse and violence prevention program - Tanya Griffin From Pat LeDuff to Everyone: (9:09 AM)

TheBridge Agency- Nicole Scott

From Capital Area United Way to Everyone: (9:10 AM) to live chat with a mental health professional From Judith Rhodes to Everyone: (9:11 AM)

LDH OBH Calming COVID line for support - free and anonymous 866-310-7977 From Carolyn Evans to Everyone: (9:12 AM)

This is so much information that is so helpful. Thank you for hosting these meetings.  Thank you Dr. Williams and David for what you are doing. From Judith Rhodes to Everyone: (9:12 AM) Crisis Intervention Center at 4837 Revere Baton Rouge225-924-1431


Week 16 TOPIC

Balancing Learning & Safety In Schools


Adonica Duggan (New Schools For Baton Rouge)

  • Back in mid-April we started to think about how as a nonprofit we’ll be able to deal with distance learning challenges

  • We put together a cohort to do strategic planning with education partners

  • They gathered schools together and focused on what delivery looked like 

  • Our support at New School BR is providing resources and grants 

    • There is a fully virtual option at every school 

    • Most schools are leaning towards a hybrid model where some students will be in person, this is younger students, and others will do virtual learning 

  • Our big anchors of what we’ve been focused on is making sure we don’t shift the burden of education on the families

Dr. Sharmayne Rutledge (EBR Parish School Systems)

  • We are looking ar a continuous learning model for out pre-K through second-grade students

  • All high-touch surfaces will be cleaned daily with a deep clean day once a week (Wednesdays?)

  • This plan is not concrete but it is definitely fluid

  • Our students will have the opportunity to go to school two days a week in different groups

  • We are still considering a Mon/Wed + Tue/Thu option as well as M-Th option

  • We’ve changed the curriculum, many leaders are going through quality matters training courses

  • Ways the community can help 

    • Get the word out about the surveys, the more families who complete this, the more prepared we’ll be 

    • We are securing hotspots and connectivity for students and communities who need this, we need help identifying the communities who need this

      • This will help families on the day the schools are closed

Judith Rhodes (LSU/SREC)

  • All the parents are asking, on the days with the virtual learning, does EBR parish have provision for these students to go to school? People are really confused about what's actually going to happen

    • “Unless provisions are made for that student to come to school, that student cannot go to school on the “off” days. Once we have solid numbers we can allow partners to have signups for parents to register for the “extended day”. - Dr. Sharmayne Rutledge

Andrea Roberts (BREC)

  • We’re thinking we could be a facility partner. But, we haven't been approached about being a partner. What should we do 

    • “The task force would be Mr. Smith with EBR Schools, BREC has been mentioned as a potential partner.” - Dr. Sharmayne Rutledge 

Adonica Duggan (News School For Baton Rouge)

  • Is there a drop off date when you all will stop receiving surveys and move forward based on the information you have at the moment 

    • “We have not discussed a date but we are trying to decide when this will be. We’ve really pushed to say when we’ll communicate with the families. The next survey will be the signup. That’s when we’ll really know who’s coming back and who’s not.” - Dr. Sharmayne Rutledge

Girard Melancon (BRCC)

  • Everything went to virtual

  • In phase two we brought back hands-on classes for students to come back voluntarily 

  • Our classes are ongoing and we are positioning more in healthcare

  • The college is only focusing on hands-on activity for face to face which will follow the governors and CDC guidelines

  • Any classes that can be online will be for credit and non-credit courses

  • The Mid-city and Acadian campuses will be very quiet 

    • Mid-city will almost be a ghost town, most classes will be taught virtually

Coffee Chat @ 9 AM:

Luke St. John (MetroMorphosis)

Helen Frink (Mayor's Office)

  • The federal government has partnered with the mayor's office to provide a large scale testing event 

  • The last day to get tested is July 18th

  • There are 4 locations where you can get tested completely FREE

    • Open 7 days a week, 8 AM- 4 PM


  • We are really asking for you all to pick a day to encourage your staff members or community members to go to get tested. 

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project)

  • Is there a way to get a technology stipend to get the playing field even for kids who don’t have Chromebook

    • We have connected with ExxonMobil where we started with Brookstown and Istrouma middle, we asked who needed a hotspot and they were able to receive one. I don’t know if there is legislation on the books for this currently. We also worked with the Housing Authority to connect with students in high poverty areas to receive internet access. It’s important that every student has connectivity.” - Dr. Sharmayne Rutledge

Kendra Hendricks (Capital Region Planning Commission)

  • We are studying broadband access. I would like to get notes on the strengths/ weaknesses in the area.

  • Right now we know of our rural areas but would like to connect with everyone to do a regional broadband study to figure out what’s lacking. 

  • We are working on having a link and a mail-in ballot

    • We will have someone going out and gauging people’s perception on broadband and their perception of it 

Dr. Sharmayne Rutledge ( EBR Parish School System)

  • Principals take a list of families that they have and have not heard from on the surveys.

  • The families who have not been heard from receive a call and answer the 8 questions so we know how they can best be served 

  • For parents and families who don't have internet or social media are receiving calls

  • Our IT department has extended our connectivity at our 12 sites.

    • These are extending beyond the parking lot 

    • Families can receive connectivity in the area 

Leslie Clay ( LPHI)

Casey Phillips (The Walls Project)

  • BREC has accessible points within a 10-minute walk of every neighborhood in the city

  • BREC parks seem like a logical place to drop 5G wireless hubs so that students/families can access the internet for school as weather allows, spread out for social distancing safety and even sit in their cars if necessary.  The time is now to take bold action, implement a plan.

    • “Right now our wifi is largely accessible when you're near the building in the park. We are working on a plan to extend wifi when you’re outside of the building.” - Andrea Roberts



#GeauxGetTested Extends Hours for Weekend

Baton Rouge, La. – July 9, 2020 – Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced extended hours this weekend for the #GeauxGetTested initiative. Anyone age 5 or older can get a free COVID-19 test from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m., Friday July 10 – Sunday July 12. Since surge testing began on July 7, there have been 3,374 people tested for COVID-19 across all test sites. East Baton Rouge Parish is one of three locations in the United States selected for surge testing because the federal government has deemed Louisiana a hotspot in the recent resurgence of the coronavirus. Preregistration is easy. Go to People who pre-register can use the express line at the test site.

Geaux Get Tested:

It is not required to pre-register for a test but encouraged at The hours and dates of operation for all sites are 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., seven days a week. Test sites will open for 12 days, from Tuesday, July 7, to Saturday, July 18 (unless otherwise noted).

The sites are located at:

- LSU: Alex Box Stadium parking lot, Gourrier Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70820

- Southern University: F.G. Clark parking lot, 801 Harding Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70807

- Cortana Mall: 9701 Cortana Pl., Baton Rouge, LA 70815

- Healing Place Church: Mobile Testing Site, 19202 Highland Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810.

The Healing Place Church site will operate Thursday, July 9–Saturday, July 18, with the exception of Sunday, July 12.

- Lamar Dixon Expo Center: 9039 S. St. Landry Ave., Gonzales, LA 70737.

This site is supported by LDH, GOHSEP, and HHS.

The tests will be processed by eTrueNorth. Results should take 3-5 days. ​

Key Points:

- Testing is free. No insurance is required and there are no co-pays.

- Testing is convenient. Whether you live in North Baton Rouge, the southeast part of East Baton Rouge Parish, Gonzales, Mid-city or near LSU, there is a location near you.

- Wait times are short. The test sites are managed in way to make it quick and efficient for people to get tested.

- Time is limited. These test sites are available until Saturday, July 18. Get your free COVID-19 test now before it’s too late.

- Get your results in 3-5 days. eTrueNorth will process the tests. Test results will be provided by email notification and you will get a call if you test positive. Results will also be posted in the eTrueNorth patient portal.


In order to be tested at a #GeauxGetTested site, people must provide a telephone number and an email address. A photo ID is NOT required.


#GeauxGetTested is a partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Healthy BR, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Louisiana National Guard and the Louisiana Department of Health.

Contact Tracing

If you test positive for COVID-19, or if you were in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by contact tracers calling from 877-766-2130 — save this number in your phone. During that call, you can be connected to resources that are available to help you safely quarantine.

I​f anyone needs further information or would like a specific graphic or newsletter content for their staff, email lists, members, etc. they can reach Helen Frink, Community Outreach Liaison for Mayor Broome at or 225-427-5005


MetroMorphosis is holding a three-day listening session specifically for Black boys and men, July 14-July 16th. The purpose of the sessions is to create a safe space for participants to reflect on the realities facing AA males in light of COVID19 and the murder of George Flyod and others and to seek input and support for MetroMorphosis' s future work focused on AA males in Baton Rouge.


The New Orleans Saints and Capital Area United Way are creating a virtual experience for students in Louisiana around character and how to make the most of our time at home from COVID. Join us to discuss how to stay positive, support each other, and make great decisions for your life. Check out to learn more about the Saints & United Way program, Character Playbook.

Event Date: July 15th at 12:30 pm CST

Registration: Register for the event here: This is mostly to get an idea of how many students join, as well as, give them the opportunity to submit questions for the Saints. Students can still join even if they do not register.

ZOOM link to join the event: Please join at 12:20 pm to be prepared to start at 12:30 pm

Questions: Email


Baton Roots Lead Farm Manager

5509 Winbourne Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70805 (BREC Howell Park)