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EBR Community Check-ins (Weeks 31-37)

Updated: Dec 12, 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 #37

"Our Kids, COVID, and School Safety"

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad

Mr. Adam Smith (Interim Superintendent, EBR Schools)

  • Our intent is to be open. Committed to having face to face instruction in the spring.

  • We’ll take school closures case-by-case

  • Had to close three schools because of staffing, or because of a teacher’s children being exposed, not through community spread

  • Most cases have been from adults, fewer from students

  • We always consult with LA Health Dept., constantly reach out to partners at OLOL to make sure we’re in the right direction

  • School will go full virtual in the event of a school shutdown

  • We promised parents that we will offer a robust virtual platform. Maybe 11,000 kids (mostly 11th and 12th graders) chose virtual. Virtual learning is not for every kid

  • Students will return Jan 5th for the spring semester, employees Jan 4th.

  • Committed to have virtual and face to face

Chris Meyers (CEO, New Schools for Baton Rouge)

  • Public schools were behind where private and charter schools were at the beginning of the pandemic

  • Want to make sure no kid in our city has to go to a D or F school again

  • Most of the charters are back in person after going immediately virtual in spring

  • Time to look forward while also confronting our reality

  • We’ll have testing in the spring - while accountability may be paused, it’s important to know where our kids are so we can understand ways to address this year’s learning loss

  • We have more than 3 dozen D and F schools, how do we use this opportunity to take real steps moving forward?

  • Innovative ideas discussed with Mr. Smith to get resources to kids that need more, who may be more behind

Dr. Sarah Barlow (Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs, BRCC)

  • Several things are happening for the spring, much like the fall semester we’ve been focused on safety and containing numbers. We’ve never gone over a 50% capacity in any of our spaces. We will continue that way in the spring.

  • Technical education will continue to be offered at 50% capacity

  • There will continue to be a hands-on component for those courses where it is required for certification with the rest virtual

  • Launch of three semester technical diploma

  • Nursing and Allied Health programs will continue with the practice of the safe space PPE requirements

  • We have partnered with a lot of our healthcare providers in the area to explore clinical opportunities and we have been able to increase our capacity for the nursing program in the spring

  • Primarily online for general courses

  • 20% of students said they wanted back onsite, built cohorts to allow students to come in after self screening to engage with instructors

  • In person done in a hybrid model one or two days a week

  • Enrollment for that has not picked up, exploring the opportunity to change the model for spring

  • Typically enrollment is in online classes

  • For the system level, others are noticing a vocalization of a desire to return but not represented in the numbers of attendance

  • We are engaged in learning instruction with our corequisite model as well allowing students to complete english and math concurrently, helping students with speed of completion, which has been successful

  • We have provided student services virtually with a virtual student center back in March, and we have continued to evolve that service with Zoom, chat, drop-in advising sessions, financial aid - a positive shift that came from the pandemic

  • Have also moved academic support, counseling and disability services to virtual as well

  • Everything we did face-to-face is available in some virtual manner

  • For those students with technology access issues we have loaned Chromebooks

  • Trying to support the whole student intellectually, emotionally, and academically

  • The spring is fluid, the enrollment has grown over the last few weeks

  • A few initiatives in place to help students facing hurdles for enrollment

  • Have multiple terms, allowing students who have uncertainty about the spring to choose a semester that fits their schedule

Donald Andrews (Dean of College of Business, Southern University)

  • Similar approach as BRCC

  • Have about 450 students receiving diplomas this commencement (using social distancing)

  • Basically tried to make all accommodations we can while providing quality education to our students

  • It’s been a fluid environment

  • We’ve taken advantage of this, our faculty have learned new skills and participated in training to make sure students have a good digital experience

  • Some students prefer traditional

  • We have traditional, hybrid, and online

  • It’s been somewhat challenging in terms of the physical facilities to ensure we are within CDC guidelines

  • We have hybrid where students can come in for traditional instruction but also participate in a digital component

  • We have a real issue with the digital divide

  • We have provided computer technology to our students as a result of the CARES Act

  • Our library has done a great job providing laptops to students, and a lot of students are using cell phones

  • Issues with broadband especially for students in rural areas

  • How do we help those left behind because of the digital divide?

  • Opportunities as far as companies recruiting our students

    • “The Last Mile” - companies looking for students with background in academic programs with supply chains, logistics, big data, certification and badges, IBM Skills Academy, Artificial Intelligence, design thinking - revamping our curriculum because we don't’ think we’re going back to the way we used to be. Time to adapt to it!

  • The digital divide is real and we have to make sure our facilities are available basically year round

  • We have to invest in the future if we want BR to be competitive!

  • Speaking mostly for the College of Business but we’re all moving in the same direction

  • Return for the Spring 2021 semester on January 13th and classes start January 20th

  • Still have Mardi Gras holiday despite Mardi Gras being diminished

  • Career Fair will be held January 24th

  • Lots of interest by major corporations to reach out to the HBCU community - lots of increased opportunity for students

Dr. Judith Rhodes (Director Social Research & Evaluation Center, LSU)

  • COVID Surveillance - COVID-19 protocols will continue for the spring

  • LSU has a daily symptom checker which every student, faculty member, and professor must check out every day

  • If someone has a positive test, there is contact tracing

  • Wastewater testing is being done with scientists at the national forefront

  • We know in the dormitories where COVID hot spots are, hoping to expand to the rest of the university

  • Opened up the labs with all protocols continuing to the spring

Dr. Tyrslai Williams (OSI Director of Research, Education, & Outreach Programs, LSU)

  • As far as courses for the spring semester go, we’re offering hybrid, face-to-face, and virtual options dependent on the preference of faculty members and the students

  • Not much has changed as far as an academic calendar

  • Same thing internally with employees, up to your supervisor if you’re virtual or in-office

  • Those in-office are on very segregated schedules to prevent build up

  • Programming has taken on a hybrid model, students weren’t adjusting to virtual as well

  • Offering drive-up services for students

  • Had an in person movie night for Upward Bound students (socially distanced, allowed to bring families)

  • Undergraduates may do this format as well

  • As to the Wastewater Analysis - LSU College of Engineering and School of Veterinary Medicine have been doing this

  • 350-500 students on campus centralized on housing and then move forward

Dr. Girard Melancon (Executive Director for the Office of Workforce Education, BRCC)

  • BRCC Workforce Solutions has definitely expanded

  • Starting in January, the first quarter of 2021, 20 courses will be offered one time at a reduced rate for our skilled craft programs (usually around $900, now around $300) through Reboot and reprogramming of dollars through CARES

  • Training with Ochsner and OLOL, OLOL just hired our nursing students with a 600 sign on bonus

  • At Acadian we have a lot going on - additional VR equipment coming to our sites for our VR lab that ExxonMobil built, moving towards Life Sciences and Automotive Studies

  • Looking forward to building out that structure through federal dollars

  • North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative open house - focus on welding, electrical, millwright, and pipefitting crafts free of charge (thanks to ExxonMobil and contract partners!)

  • If y’all know graduated high school students who went through welding programs in high school, we’d love to include them in the advanced welding component!

Shalonda Simoneaux (Executive Director for School Leadership, EBR Schools)

  • I work mostly with high schools and cannot speak on K-8.

  • I want to thank our secondary partners with LSU and dual enrollment with Southern, BRCC, CTEC, automotive and HVAC students

  • At CTEC we have the hours to still provide face to face

  • We connect further with our schools

  • Most of our 11th and 12th graders are virtual, many of them because they are in the workplace during the day

  • Some of them are choosing work over academics for obvious reasons

  • We need business partners and managers could come together to help the kids still graduate and make money

  • Want kids to help families but still graduate!

  • Virtual is also helping adjudicated youth

  • Our kids need internships, volunteer hours over the holidays

  • Social emotional learning activities have been so needed so we’ve kicked that up

  • We are looking for opportunities outside of academics (see Futures Fund Tech Academy for teens below)

  • Worried about the gaps during COVID

  • Three programs at McKinley, Glen Oaks, and Tara focused on opportunities for volunteering and work

Coalition Questions

Gwen Hamiton (NSBR): Thank you all for the work of a lifetime in a time that we have never, ever imagined. My concern continues to be what are we thinking about as we’ve identified the challenges for students in low performing schools in North EBR that we will do differently in the spring semester after school? I have since March of last year been following five families so that I can truly understand what the challenges are. Access to technology, parents at work with no adult present at home or a grandparent who doesn’t have a clue...It’s really difficult for kids who are not showing up virtually or in person. There is a sense that truancy in this environment has been exacerbated. What are we thinking about as we move forward?

Shalanda Simoneaux: With truancy at the high schools, we’re working with Child Welfare and Attendance, doing a lot of home visits (especially at the beginning of COVID) because truancy was an issue before COVID. We’ve been reaching out to a lot of community partners to help us find our kids. Getting them technology once we find them has been a triumph not a challenge, it's just finding families and getting them engaged. Once we have them, the technology and the food is not an issue, it's’ just getting them. The win for us in challenging areas has been the partnerships we’ve formed to help find our families, especially for our older 9-12 kids. It's been different things - some are taking care of younger kids. Different departments have helped us but community and business partners have helped us a lot. It’s been very complicated but we are handling it from different categories. Can’t speak to K-8 but that’s how it is for high schools.

Chris Meyers: We as a community can look forward - we are one of the most decentralized educational choice environments in America. We have four or five school systems. 30 charter schools. We’re one of the top communities in America where kids are in private schools. There’s no entity that can say where all the students are and how they are all doing. This is one of those moments where in collaboration we can put together things that help families facilitate choices they’re going to make in education while also solving things like food, technology and the digital divide. We want to help expand a universal enrollment platform for families. When you apply to college, there’s an app. Why not the same thing for our schools? Hold schools accountable. Our community led by leaders like you all in the nonprofit sector can solve some of these issues.

Reverend Anderson (PREACH): Two questions, one for LSU about the wastewater system testing and if that would ever be scaled up because of the issues around such a big population.. Second question was specifically around transportation. Most speakers were talking about opportunities for students, how are most incorporating transportation issues during and after COVID?

Judith Rhodes: Wastewater testing is city wide, I do not know about specific campuses but I can find out.

Tyrslai Williams: The main focus is in LSU because that’s part of the project. We saw cases rise at Phase 2 until the mask mandate and that was indicated by the study.

RA: Is any of that data being published?

TW: All of the data has not been written up yet because they are writing up a comparison but I will share what we have right now

Casey Phillips (Walls Project): Rev. Anderson you may want to reference data at LA Department of Environmental Quality, being that businesses and residents have to apply for stormwater drainage permits there and they work directly with DPW on the local level.

Dean Andrews: Poverty is real in our community and I want to thank Gwen for her concerns following those families. Our students at SU that can concentrate on their studies and have a stable family background do extremely well. Our students who have concerns about their a lot of cases the students in college are really the hope of that particular family and the family may have other family members not doing well so they take on that responsibility. They have jobs, social lives, lots of barriers they are dealing with. We are criticized sometimes for our graduation rates but if you look at some of our students, they may come back after stopping out for any number of years. We’re not talking about individuals who aren’t smart or intelligent, they just have lots of weight attached to them. Look at providing them with additional programs and opportunities to help. I was very lucky growing up (in the MS delta on the LA side in one of the poorest places in the country) but I happened to be lucky enough that I lived next door to a retired school teacher. I was lucky that she worked with me when I was 2-3 years old giving me an advantage other kids didn’t have. Having school 12 months a year, we have to think outside the box and look at what schools are doing outside the country. We’ve got to understand what other communities are doing in terms of investing in education. With the school-to-prison’re going to pay whether you like it or not, better your taxes go to education. Sometimes jobs prevent students from getting a 3.0 because they are dividing their time, basically trading between their future income and their present income. We’ve got to be more or less leaders in making that change happen. We’ve got to have some floor to provide for all our students. We can’t do it on the cheap.

CP: Being that BRCC, LSU, and SU are starting places for the workforce in some way, I would love to hear from you all, if you could give an avatar of the person falling through the cracks in the higher ed system. Our boot camp’s largest enrollee is a 40 year old African American single mother. Who is the individual in the system that’s failing them?

Girard Melancon: On the workforce side our students are very similar to the single mother, may have more older men than women being on the craft side. Allied health care has more younger women and women with children. Social fabric is not really there for many of our students. The nature of work has changed dramatically. There was a huge underemployment before COVID (50% of graduates working jobs not up to credentials). The nature of work with the gig economy has changed dramatically. We talk about our students similar to being offshore - you have to go where the work is. Hard thing to coach students, mentors, and families. Petrochemical is growing tremendously in East Texas, we talk about those opportunities and how to produce yourself. Circling back to Reverend Anderson, anybody targeting prisons and jail release? BRCC with First Lady Edwards focused on trustees of the system before COVID (the workforce of the prison system). Last ones to get a workforce development program. A lot of them are transitioning out. Great program with Chancellor Smith we’re hoping to start up. The Partnering with Technology and Entrepreneurship Clinic through the SU Law Clinic. Not all students deal with this but there are some.

Pat LeDuff (CADAV): I wanted to agree with Dr. Melancon. We have to keep our children in mind when talking about change - there’s no system for children after school that’s universal right now. Parents are still going to work, older children having to monitor younger children, and we’ve got to get a hold of that. We’ve got to do learning year round and make it so working parents have carved out time planned for a structured environment for our students. We should demand that every school is an A school. Where is the person at these A schools like BRMHS who says this is working, saying let's make sure it's happening at every school by any means necessary? It should be duplicated in every school. We’re detrimental to our own selves, we have the answer right there.

GH: We say “resources” and that becomes the answer but we have to have a strategic, actionable plan to deploy resources to specifically identified needs of children in low performing schools. We continue to stop at “we need more money”. We have to build the case for “we need more money”.

Kellyn LaCour-Conant (Baton Roots): Incentivizing kids in schools, how feasible is that? Future’s Fund hosts end of term raffles if you build attendance you can win big prizes. Could that be something to help with retention? With BRYC I’ve been mentoring a couple high school students and it's been rough hearing their accounts of things. Teachers are struggling, too, having to adjust. We have to offer support to students and teachers. Futures Fund and BRYC have done a great job transitioning to virtual, having parent contact available, making sure mentors have student and parent numbers to call directly if they aren’t present. We’re in constant contact not to reprimand but because we care.

Jennifer Carwile (TBR, Big Buddy): We’re talking about families that we probably have no understanding of their experience. I wouldn’t know how my little buddy lives if I hadn’t been with her for the last ten years. My little buddy wouldn’t last a week at BRMHS because she doesn’t have the family support for education, it’s better for them to get their fast food paycheck.. Replicating BRMHS isn’t going to work for the kids falling through the cracks. Getting down there and really seeing what the barriers are will be the first step before coming up with a solution that’s actually going to work.

Emily Chatelain (Three O’ Clock Project): We are expanding our holiday feeding program. Our goal is to reach all the kids that wouldn’t be caught by EBR’s virtual feeding. We’re expanding to feed through the two weeks kids are out of school as well as the first week of January. If any of you know of families with kids in need, prior it was a partnership with after school programs but with some funding we have been able to expand a bit.

Nadine Mann (EBR): EBR over Thanksgiving break had over 7,600 students sign up to receive food boxes to their homes. 5 frozen breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. 152,000 meals served during the Thanksgiving week to EBR kids. The delivery can crossover to the Central kids because we’re under a summer feeding program for funding purposes, meaning it does not have to be limited to EBR students as long as the delivery is within EBR parish. We’ve planned the same thing for Christmas break. There is an icon on our website to register students. I will be contacting news orgs and sending out robo texts and emails. Still doing the virtual meals, parents can sign up this week. 1,800 EBR students classified as virtual learners receiving meals.

Tristi Charpentier (Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation): Ms. Pat was talking about looking at other schools and someone else said we have to get the schools rated higher before we can ask for more money, so I wanted to see how many millions we are investing in our schools:

EBR: $41.25

Baker: $43.2

Central: $56.13

Zachary: $67

Ascension: $61.59

Livingston: $67.75

Shavon Knighten (AMI Kids): Job recruiter for AMI Kids, what we do here is help youth ages 16-24 obtain GED and other certifications. My primary role is to get them jobs because these are low income students.They’re going to be your best employees! We’re teaching them job interview skills, job skills, etc. Looking for partnerships and speakers to give students encouragement and motivation. Transportation has been one of the biggest issues so far. They’re eager to learn. It's just difficult to get here. Working on a hybrid model and so far most of them like in-person learning. If anybody has any suggestions, can send speakers, let me know.

D’Adario Conway (Ascent Project): [Previously out with COVID] Emily has been very consistent with our delivery at Ardenwood and the kids absolutely look forward to the delivery of the boxes. Janele is scheduling a stakeholders meeting for next week. I’m the people’s strategy lead for the Ascent project neighborhood branch. Meeting next week to get an update on everything amid COVID 19. We are entering the implementation phase. We have set the program up, built trust, and now it’s time to connect residents to our partners. Now that I’m feeling a lot better I’ll be contacting many of you probably next week.

Rodneyna Hart (Capitol Park Museum): The Museum is open to field trips. Not sure if that’s allowed but all school trips, as long as they’re scheduled ahead of time, are free. 1-5 ratio of chaperones, also free. We are part of this community. We aren’t just a resource for a field trip but we want to be a part of the community. I’d love to come speak with the kids. Know you are supported with our institution.

CP: Artists and creatives, if we continue to approach the problem with the same prism of solutions, we’ll do the same thing over and over. I encourage artists to use their creative brains to come up with solutions. If you’re interested in new voices, African American voices, women’s voices, look out for the New Church. It’s going to be a real source of power for this community. There’s very few voices that have been marginalized more in the business community than african american creatives.

Lindi Spalatin (McMains Children’s Developmental Center): One of the things we are working on here is trying to get accessibility in not just the schools but where our kids are going for entertainment. Still working with Knock Knock to make their programming accessible to the kids we service. As we talk about accessibility to education and food, not all accessibility looks the same. Kids with physical and developmental disabilities you can AND can’t see. On our donor side we’re trying to do donor education to make sure we have accessibility and the world sees kids for who they are and what they bring to the table and that we don’t have to expect kids to change for the world that exists around them.

Helen Frink (Office of Mayor-President Broome): We are starting to shift our attention to the summer and spring for the Mayor’s Youth Workforce program. What I really want to do this year is get as many programs around the city on a similar track so we can coordinate programs. If you’re interested in getting involved or working with a program that helps train and get kids into the workforce after graduation we’d love to collaborate.

Community Announcements

Philip Smith (BRCC): Please join us for a panel discussion focused on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Community Colleges in a COVID-19 Environment on Thursday, December 17 at 11:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, and individuals can click here to register and attend.

Elizabeth Perry (LSU Health/OLOL): We are actively hiring LPN and RN staff at Our Lady of the Lake North clinics (formerly LSU Health North Baton Rouge). I am happy to connect any graduating nursing students seeking employment in 2021.

Susan Rogers (Empower 225): We offer a Virtual Education Learning Center for 6th- 12th grades. We operate the center from 6:30am-2:30pm at our Dream Center located at 4829 Winbourne. Please contact

Manny Patole (CCBRP): Interest in learning more about the Co-City/BBR Community Land Bank/Trust program and how you/those in your community can participate, please email me. I will be hosting a community info webinar in January 2021.


Zoom Chat

08:29:30 From Sarah Barlow : Good Morning--Happy to be on the call.

08:29:39 From Sarah Barlow : Sarah Barlow

08:30:04 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Good morning everyone

08:31:33 From rodneyna -capitol park museum : Good morning all, Rodneyna Hart here from Capitol Park Museum please let me know how I can support our community efforts.

08:35:23 From Shavon Knighten - AMIKids BR : Good Morning! Shavon Knighten here from AMIKids YouthBuild Baton Rouge! Please let anyone youth ages 16-26 who are looking to obtain their HiSet/GED or just to get certified in Construction, contact me!!

08:36:16 From Chris Spalatin : Good morning everyone. Such an important topic today. My company is partnered with EBR Parish to provide school meals to kids at home. The program is going really well so far. Please reach out with any questions Also, last week's call was so inspiring, we are in talks with WBR about staffing through a worker release program. I'm very interested in any information on how to do this in EBR and throughout the state. Thanks!

08:38:16 From Shavon Knighten - AMIKids BR : Also looking for some community leaders to speak with the students as well. Motivational, leadership skills, advice. etc. Shavon Knighten

AMIkids Baton Rouge

Job Recruiter

5555 Beechwood Drive

Baton Rouge, LA 70805

P: 225.341.3568

C: 225.281.2293

08:43:15 From Casey Phillips : In addition to our distinguished speakers welcome the opportunity for the education warriors on this call to make their voice heard - Shalonda, Gwen, Dominique, Kathleen, Phil, and Shavon the floor is yours before we open up to questions. Please ping me in the chat if you would like to share your perspective post SU + LSU update

08:47:40 From Pat LeDuff : so awesome!!! we need that information

08:48:11 From Kellyn LaCour-Conant : Congratulations to all our fall graduates!

08:51:32 From Elizabeth Perry : We are actively hiring LPN and RN staff at Our Lady of the Lake North clinics (formerly LSU Health North Baton Rouge). I am happy to connect any graduating nursing students seeking employment in 2021.

08:53:01 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Thanking for saying that. Year round education is important!

08:57:21 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Is waste water testing going to be expanded to all campuses in East Baton Rouge Parish?

09:04:34 From Philip Smith : Please join us for a panel discussion focused on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Community Colleges in a COVID-19 Environment on Thursday, December 17 at 11:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, and individuals can click here<> to register and attend.

09:05:04 From WELCH, KELLY S : Thank you for all you do Dr. Melancon! It is ExxonMobil Baton Rouge's sincere pleasure to work with you to bring workforce opportunities to NBR!

09:06:18 From Girard Melancon : Please connect with me at 225 907 3887 cell or email

09:07:39 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : And the elephant in the room is transportation.

09:08:06 From Tyrslai Williams : @Alexisanderson, the wastewater testing has been happening in various parts of East Baton Rouge Parish for the last several months. They are only recently adding the residence halls for the LSU project.

09:09:36 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Thank you. Is there a way to target the systems of our jails and prisons?

09:09:38 From ssimoneaux : Shalonda Simoneaux High School Executive Director cell 225-337-6487 office 225-922-5528

09:10:28 From Pat LeDuff : yes!! students at home alone with parents at work as young as k-3

09:12:51 From Pat LeDuff : yes- older students monitoring younger students while doing their on online studies

09:12:59 From Kellyn LaCour-Conant : Is there any potential for new attendance incentive programs? I remember pizza coupons for good grades in grade school, maybe something a little meatier would be encouraging to older students. Future Funds offers raffles for students that I believe are really popular. Casey could probably speak to this more than I.\

09:14:14 From Pat LeDuff : awesome idea

09:14:28 From Dominique Dallas : Agreed!

09:15:03 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : I like a system that knows where every child is wholistically.

09:17:58 From D'Adario Conway : Not sure if we have the capacity for this, but is there an opportunity to create an even more non-traditional learning in the evening or night?

09:18:33 From Pat LeDuff : We should demand duplication of efforts of the A schools in EVERY failing school with any means Necessary - the community can assist with the MEANS we just need to know what they are - every school should bee an A school

09:19:13 From D'Adario Conway : Are we aware of more learning hubs for virtual students for parents that are working?

09:21:10 From Manny Patole (He/His, CCBR) : It is easy to judge when we do not understand the circumstances behind decisions.

09:21:20 From jennifer carwile : Thank you to Pat LeDuff for inviting members of Together Baton ROuge to join on this call- I would like to join on future calls. Many of our member institutions could provide valuable input on how virtual learning is affecting families. I personally have a Little Buddy that currently has 3 different families with a range of children living in one house, and all of the high schoolers also working at fast food jobs. Learning this year is very slim. I am also a member of First Methodist, where we have formed pods of 10 kids eacb for families with working parents where the child comes to the church , logs into class and had a pod leader that facilitates the virtual learning throughout the day

09:21:33 From Pat LeDuff : They are parents or caring for parents or siblings of dead or in prison while studying

09:22:54 From Susan Rogers : We offer a Virtual Education Learning Center for 6th- 12th grades. We operate the center from 6:30am-2:30pm at our Dream Center located at 4829 Winbourne. Please contact

09:23:37 From Pat LeDuff : Yes - year round education! parents work year round - students should go year round

09:24:00 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Absolutely. They have to support their families financially.

09:24:29 From Esperanza Zenon : We need education more than ever, yet it is always on the budget chopping block when state's budget falls shory

09:24:44 From Esperanza Zenon : *short

09:25:22 From Manny Patole (He/His, CCBR) : +1 Donald Andrews and how we all will pay at some point and we should pay for the positive development over the negative result. So many are pennywise, pound foolish when it comes to education but are willing to invest millions in policing and prisons.

09:25:27 From Kellyn LaCour-Conant : Baton Rouge Youth Coalition has done a really impressive job of transitioning their curriculum to a virtual setting, maintaining student retention, and providing additional support during COVID. Their program leaders would be great additions to this conversation.

09:26:02 From Kellyn LaCour-Conant : That's it Manny. Need to shift that investment and cut off the school to prison pipeline.

09:26:33 From Chris Spalatin : Totally agree Manny! We're spending the money anyways. Why can't we take a deep a step back, and come up with some compassionate, effective and empowering policy changes?

09:26:39 From D'Adario Conway : Yes, BRYC has been awesome!

09:27:03 From D'Adario Conway : We appreciate your passion and completely understand Dean Andrews!

09:28:30 From Judith Rhodes : LSU is working to retain students. This is a link to the fall freshman retention metrics. They are monitoring subgroups as well.

09:28:52 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : That's right. And we have to address it.

09:29:02 From Emily Chatelain : Agree, Pat. That is what I am seeing, none of the after school programs we work with are operating, still.

09:30:30 From Pat LeDuff : yes ma’am

09:30:30 From Patrick Tuck : According to LACAL, 250,000 students on after school program waiting lists statewide.

09:30:57 From Tyrslai Williams : So true! The need for student programs is something we are seeing a need for more and more at the graduate student level at LSU. Parents are entering programs and need after school support for students so they can continue their lab work. Would love to support any efforts toward this @patleduff

09:33:14 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : In the middle of this pandemic we have students serving as health support for family members with COVID-19.

09:34:30 From Pat LeDuff : yes teachers are parents, too! They have children that are students, their kids get sick, they are caring for parents as well. How do we assist them

09:35:23 From Pat LeDuff : duplicate the success model along with the barrier resources

09:36:31 From Kellyn LaCour-Conant : @PatLeDuff increasing teacher support programs would inevitably lead to better outcomes for students. Are there existing teacher support resources out there that could be revamped or expanded under COVID?

09:36:36 From jennifer carwile : How do we contact the feeding folks?

09:36:51 From Leslie Clay : Yes how do we contact the feeding folks?

09:37:34 From jennifer carwile : especially if kids attend Charter schools-

09:37:49 From Emily Chatelain : - to connect families!

09:37:51 From Pat LeDuff : we can be intentional about bringing up the school standards in communities where there are barriers

09:38:02 From rodneyna -capitol park museum : that’s outstanding

09:38:03 From jennifer carwile : thanks Emily

09:38:18 From Pat LeDuff : Awesome!!

09:38:19 From jennifer carwile : And Pat- we really need a vigorous conversation!

09:38:22 From Tristi Charpentier : Pat's comment about what's working elsewhere and someone else's comment about investment and asking for more got me wondering about the millage rates for the local systems:

EBR: 41.25

Baker: 43.2

Central: 56.13

Zachary: 67

Ascension: 61.59

Livingston: 67.75

09:38:39 From Patrick Tuck : Have to hop off great work everyone!

09:39:10 From Tyrslai Williams : I have to head out, but a great meeting as usual! Have a great weekend, everyone!

09:39:50 From D'Adario Conway : Yes, thank you Emily! Our families at Ardenwood Village look forward to these meals!

09:40:12 From Manny Patole (He/His, CCBR) : Interest in learning more about the Co-City/BBR Community Land Bank/Trust program and how you/those in your community can participate, please email me. I will be hosting a community info webinar in January 2021.

09:40:31 From Emily Chatelain : That's awesome D'Adario! I'll be there next Friday distributing.

09:40:34 From Manny Patole (He/His, CCBR) :

09:40:57 From Pat LeDuff : There you have it Ladies and gentleman

09:41:34 From D'Adario Conway : Sorry Casey, I lost connection momentarily. I missed your comment

09:42:49 From Helen Frink : Shavon we need to connect I run the youth employment program for the Mayor’s Office that is very in line with your role at AMI

09:43:49 From jennifer carwile : have to run, but look forward to joining again next week-

09:43:54 From Aishala Burgess : Shavon, we have a few programs that your kids may be interested in...I will email you a flyer

09:44:29 From rodneyna -capitol park museum : I can speak and get other museum and gallery folks to speak.

09:44:51 From Emily Chatelain : Casey that is amazing! We're chatting with Boy Scouts to start delivering healthy meals to the kids at these housing authorities. (Thank you JAN!)

09:45:31 From Casey Phillips : Awesome Emily!

09:49:47 From Manny Patole (He/His, CCBR) : I have to leave. Thank you all for a great call once again and keeps me going. As a reminder: Interest in learning more about the Co-City/BBR Community Land Bank/Trust program and how you/those in your community can participate, please email me. I will be hosting a community info webinar in January 2021.

09:50:16 From Chris Spalatin : Hi Manny, Would love to chat with you on this and a million other things!

09:50:41 From Manny Patole (He/His, CCBR) : Have a great weekend, everyone. Happy Holidays and Chag Sameach for those who observe.

09:52:06 From Donald Andrews : Donald R. Andrews, Dean College of Business Southern University Baton Rouge 225.921.3890

09:52:28 From D'Adario Conway : DAdario Conway 337-296-1769

09:52:55 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Exactly thank you for saying that!

09:53:05 From ssimoneaux : Thanks so much everyone for the great information. I look forward to continue the school system engagement and connection with you all. It truly is helpful to our staff. Happy Holidays and contact me anytime between Friday calls.

09:54:03 From Lindi Spalatin : If anyone would like to talk to me or our team about ways to create more accessibility please feel free to contact me

09:54:21 From Aishala Burgess : We definitely would like information Helen

09:54:28 From Helen Frink :

09:55:12 From Pat LeDuff : Thank You Casey!!! You ROCK!

09:56:42 From Helen Frink : right!!!

09:57:13 From Leslie Clay : You are amazing Casey - this coalition is so all encompassing. Just an amazing job every week.

09:57:40 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Yes they were powerful!

09:57:54 From Karla King : Inspirational meeting - It Takes A Village. The wheels are turning as so many caring people are involved. Thank you Casey and all involved.

09:58:31 From Kellyn LaCour-Conant : Would love to bring CATS onto future calls to discuss possibility of comped student fare cards during COVID so students can more easily access virtual learning and support centers.

09:58:58 From Aishala Burgess : Thank you!

09:59:01 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Thank you Casey


Week #36 - Special Topic

"The Louisiana Prison Industry"

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad

Jan Ross (Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation)

  • The foundation was created in 1986 following the sale of their business with general areas of focus

  • In the early 2000s Mr. Wilson went to a church service and heard the testimony of a formerly incarcerated man who said his success was due to participating in release programs while incarcerated, creating a strong support system for when he was released, and having a strong faith center

  • Mr. Wilson realized that with the foundation’s general areas of focus on human services these were the people we were already trying to support and added prison reentry in 2004 as one of the foundation’s main areas of focus (human services, education, and healthcare)

  • At that time other funders looked down on the decision but that has luckily changed, much more awareness and support of prison reentry programs now

  • First large scale initiative ($3 million to prison reentry) to reduce recidivism rate and reduce cost to the community related to successful reintegration

  • In 2015 the state was spending $17,000 per inmate, $700 million each year

  • Louisiana ranked #1 per capita in the world with about 40,000 people incarcerated

  • Of those incarcerated 95% of those will come out and return - what can we do to prepare recognizing that 36% of formerly incarcerated will return to prison within 3 years of exiting

  • Justice reform saw momentum building

  • In 2016 the state convened the Justice Reinvestment Task Force to explore the drivers of mass incarceration and work on policy solutions

  • In 2017 the legislature passed the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment package with 10 bills approved to save the state millions (which happened!)

  • Through our PRI (Prison Reentry Initiative) the goal was for partner agencies to stay engaged with participants all through the 3 years of initial reentry for that benchmark for success

  • Assisted 531 formerly incarcerated through that benchmark

  • Employers hired 204 returning citizens and identified and made changes to their workplace policies to support the formerly incarcerated

  • At the end of 2018 the incarcerated population had dropped to just over 32,000 and the state realized savings totaling $29 million in two years (invested in pre release and community programs)

  • Momentum continues to build! It is people speaking up, people advocating that help to educate us all.

Tristi Charpentier (Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation)

  • Grantees brought together 4 times a year to meet and talk, to step out of day to day work, and help realize barriers and address them with the state

  • Making small changes have big impact

  • Communication is critical - sometimes the most efficient isn’t the most effective

  • Importance of boots on the ground

  • Sometimes we think we have to have robust evaluation programs but we don’t need to go to major lengths to see if your program is effective - How many people are meeting milestones? Meeting milestones helps individuals be successful. The needs for prison reentry are all interconnected. If you can’t get stable housing, you can’t get a job. If you can't get a job, you can’t pay for housing, and so on. How can we holistically address these needs for individuals?

  • The LA Prisoner Reentry Initiative is through the state - what they were doing wasn’t really working. Needed to be evaluating individuals as they come through, give them what they need while they’re incarcerated, get a reentry plan together 6 months before release so that the individual has a plan and can meet their needs

  • Getting the LA Prisoner Reentry Initiative off the ground has been slow - but something this large scale takes time and we don't want to inadvertently harm people as they come out

Reverend Alexis Anderson (PREACH)

  • The person that points out that the emperor is naked is not the problem - I am pointing out the issues because solutions do not occur by not acknowledging them: not talking about reentry, not what jail time looks like...but why this matters to each and every one of us

  • One of the most interesting things about this work is that if you’ve never been touched by our criminal system, you don’t see what the point is. The truth is in LA we have a user pay system. Mass incarceration is an industry in LA and by far the largest - not just jails, prisons, bail bonds, predatory lending, judges...across the board. Because it competes with other industries it is hurting LA from an economic development point of view.

  • Look at the stories that have been in the headlines in the past few days:

    • Department of Justice is investigating the Department of Corrections (yet again) for keeping people beyond their sentences

    • Sexual assault cases at LSU

    • EBR Parish is finally doing a medical RFP after 43 deaths in prison

    • Ongoing with Alton Sterling

  • The point - there is never going to be a day in EBR Parish when our issues with policing and mass incarceration aren’t front page news and going not only national but international

  • User funded system - we pay for courts by fines and fees. If everybody woke up and decided to never do anything bad the criminal justice system in LA would collapse. It is not funded through general funding or a general’s by us doing something wrong even if we have to create something for us to do wrong

  • We have made an industry of criminalizing poverty and mental health, and civil offenses to generate that income

  • The Baton Rouge City Court (misdemeanor court) has over 100,00 outstanding warrants and the 19th JDC traffic court has over 30,000 outstanding warrants as we speak...there aren’t even 500,000 citizens in EBR Parish

  • We have created a network where we’ve continually ask law enforcement to do things that have nothing to do with their actual safety duties

  • We end up paying out millions of dollars in lawsuits due to bad acts, legislation, police contracts

  • A lot of the conversations being had have been about economic development, or how to build a bridge for people to grow. Every company thinks about its brand and its branding. In our state if you google EBR Parish, the prison pops up! Not Southern with the only nursing PHD program in the state, not OLOL, not LSU, not the amazing scientists, artist, authors...the prison. That’s our brand.

  • Look at two recent incidents:

    • Trader Joe’s incident

      • The company chose to partner with civic activists to host an event recognizing that a bad thing happened. Closed down their store, offered employees to be part of a community event instead of inviting hundreds of police.

  • LSU incident with a young lady from New Zealand

    • How will LSU address the headlines of what they knew, when they knew, what they’re going to do? They have not said. We have made international news with this.

  • We recruit worldwide for our universities. But if someone doesn’t feel comfortable coming here, they’ve got lots of other places to go where these issues don’t exist.

  • The dividing lines of our highly segregated parish are on Florida Boulevard. The reality is ⅔ of this parish (North BR) has been treated like it's a bad place to put a business, build your home, or educate your children.

  • If you want to bring your family here, what’s going to happen to your child if they have special needs? Those struggling with behavioral health are one of the highest classes of people who end up engaged with the criminal justice system

    • We have an embarrassing school to prison pipeline

    • Segregated, limited, privatized education system

    • Unmatched level of policing in schools in EBR

    • Children as young as 5 being introduced to the criminal justice system

  • Wage suppression - we have something called Prison Enterprises( ) (inmate labor). Paid between zero and $0.20 an hour and supposed to somehow pay fines and fees. We have 32 law enforcement agencies that operate here in East Baton Rouge and deposit detainees to the EBRPP. The education requirement for most of those jobs is a high school diploma. Peopleimpacted by the criminal justice system cannot compete for living wage jobs. The criminal system has suppressed wages to the point where reentry prisoners are deemed unattractive.

  • Regulation - those outstanding warrants, fines and fees...policy makers keep finding out new ways to get money. Fines and fees are regulatory. Companies wanting to come here will find trouble recruiting because individuals can’t pay off fines to get licensure.

  • If you are an educator, you deal with the criminal system every day. Every nonprofit is working with what we call Isaac (IIncarceration stigmatized, asset attached captives) families. Once you get in, you can’t get out. This is a system that feeds off of the poor, those struggling with substance abuse and mental health. It is not an equitable system. Less than 10% of people ever coming in will get a court date and they will plead just to get out of jail.

Further Discussion and Questions

Casey Phillips (CP): That is a staggering number of people with warrants - seems one proactive thing to do with non profits is to make sure people check if they have warrants and remediate that. How can you check?

Reverend Anderson (RA): DOJ is investigating the DOC because our systems don’t talk to each other. We have four different courts and a huge number of municipalities...You can get tickets through any of these municipalities. The warrants come when people don’t show up in court. You can check the sheriff's site, local police depts, the DMV - but the systems do not talk to each other. The Coalition has been partnering for over two years to address these issues. The 19th JDC Traffic Office recently partnered with the Coalition to join us at community events and educate the community on traffic as we as assist people come and see if they have outstanding warrants outside of the courthouses. Part of what people have to start doing is voting and advocating to their elected officials.

Tristi Charpentier (TC): You could be serving time in prison and be getting out and then realize you’ve got a detainer in another parish and you've got to go back to jail again

RA: Inmate warrant alignment program ( ) was supposed to work to align these things but when someone is already incarcerated they often don't have documentation with them and must rely on family to bring those documents to them about 6 months before they get out

CP: You mentioned two different revenue streams: something must have happened in the 80s/90s to create fines and fees culture and then the $17k per inmate figure. At the end of the day, are the rural sheriff offices and prison being funded through tax dollars or through federal dollars and fines and fees?

RA: Fines and fees are everything in the rural parishes. They can’t support operations without them. Municipalities and local governments can’t run deficits. If you can’t get it through sales/business/property tax, fees become the default. You can create that revenue stream. If you look at EBR’s budget, there is a revenue line item for fines for tickets. This is proactive in the future budget with more than $1 million projected revenue for traffic tickets. EBRP designates 55.2% of their total budget for items considered public safety.

TC: Yes, the $17k per inmate figure is the actual cost for the state prisons paid by our income taxes. The court system is what’s funded by the user pay system. Local parish sheriffs are also paid a certain fee per inmate per day to house inmates post-conviction through income taxes. Ordinarily, jails are to be used for individuals pre-trial.COVID has halted all kinds of work. The state has convened a Commission on Justice System Funding. In testimony, the state Supreme Court could not figure out how all of the different courts and districts are being funded...All on different systems that are not talking to each other. Reps from the local public defender's office also testified that in the list of fees/fines someone gets when they go to trial, there is a conviction fee that is paid to the public defender's office - so the office is incentivized to lose your case because they get extra money. The death penalty costs us millions each year because every time someone is sentenced to death, it goes through the full appeals process.

RA: In the sheriff’s budget there is a line called canteen cost. The overwhelming number of people in jail are poor and do not have a bond attached to them. They are charged for things like going to the doctors - those costs come out from the families because the people being held don’t have a way to generate income. And look at the holidays - anyone arrested Wednesday before Thanksgiving didn’t see a judge until Monday. It takes less than 24 hours of incarceration to begin losing assets you have worked years to build...There are situations where the bonds are ridiculously low but if you don’t have family or friends to help you can’t get out. For people struggling with mental health, their incarceration locks them out of the services they need. So many consequences for the way we operate. We pinpoint this in the wrong place. Why are we building a system that requires this kind of loss of human capital when we don’t have to? We have to push back on metro council members, on state legislatures, on the bills they’re passing

Jan Ross (JR): Re: jail funding, those municipalities without much ability to raise funds means those incarcerated are in jail with no programming, no interaction, no education, no health care, no mental health services...95% of those people are coming out angrier, unhealthy, undereducated, unstable...what can we do? Some of the reform has reduced the number of the inmates but that means that there’s less state inmates going to local jails which is an income source for those municipalities. Quality of treatment to the person, impact of ancillary departments. It’s a cycle.

RA: Budgets are moral documents. They are documents we sign off on and allow other people to do in our name. Do a deep dive into our budgets. We’re accountable for those things. If we’re not working at the lowest levels teaching kids to read these budgets, participate in programs, teach defensive of the things most frightening to me was the 17 year old boy( who earlier this year had a police officer put a knee on him. What most people didn’t realize is that chase was started because the driver (not the 17 year old) didn’t have his seatbelt clicked. And that led to a high speed chase in a residential area. When I say let’s start at the beginning, I do mean the beginning. Traffic is a gateway drug here. In Southdowns there isn’t a cop on every corner looking for expired license plates and inspection stickers. In certain areas of North BR, there is. It ends up being racialized and stigmatized. We have to lose the mindset that we need law enforcement to do everything. We need to be thinking about all of this differently. What would happen if we put BREC or the library in charge of civic youth education? Until we take the hat of law enforcement off and put on the hat for community standards, it won’t get better. The United Way is partnering with the Coaliton about bail’s entirely possible to stop dumping law enforcement on every little thing.

TC: We’re hearing a lot nationally about defunding the police... and there are a lot of misperceptions. My understanding is that we’re not talking about abolishing police departments. We have expected police officers to be mental health professionals, educators...they’re not trained for that. Some of the money going to police departments could be going to mental health professionals, education, etc. The Bridge Center for Hope will be opening soon and that’s their intention - to have a place for police to bring someone having a mental health crisis.

CP: When it comes to policy change the Us Vs. Them mentality doesn't work. We have to facilitate a dialogue at the state level with the Sheriffs' and District Attorneys' Association to get a better understanding of the system.

RA: One of the things the coalition has done is co-convening a Domestic Violence Specialty Court Workgroup with the 19th JDC. Part of the work has been to made huge outreach to those communities not normally at the table such as the immigrant community, LGTBQ+ community, etc. Solutions are going to come if we are all in there working together. They need to know what we care about and we need the chance to talk to these judges and public officials to see how the sausage is made. We are often afraid to reach out and come to their offices, but they are supposed to do that! Believe in education and that longer trajectory - you don’t have to like what you believe in but we aren’t leaving. I’m a preacher, saying no to me doesn’t have much of an impact!

CP: How do we get people to see on paper here’s how we can subsidize the revenue you’re making from these speed traps and hidden fines and fees in rural parishes….how do we de-incentive and refocus on their real function? Is there the political will to push through criminal justice reform that is similar to the bipartisan effort on the national level here in Louisiana?

RA: One of the things that has not been done well is that we have not framed this as we are all in this basket together and we need to all have incentive to get this done. Until we all become committed and give our policy makers permission to do something different...we have to step back from individual stories and cases and let everybody see they’ve got skin in the game. People at the table already have skin in the game but they don’t want to change it. The conversation is always about reentry but it has to be about no entry - how do we keep human capital out of these systems? Prevention works way better than restoration.

TC: We have five year olds being expelled because we have an overly punitive system. To the point about single cases fueling our system, that’s a big part of why our criminal code is so convoluted. There’s one statute saying one thing and another saying another and all those statues carry different sentences.

Girard Melancon (Director for Workforce Education, BRCC): Do you see a difference between appointed and elected judges?

RA: Part of the problem is that when they’re appointed they’re appointed by elected officials. So many people have no idea what the appellate court does. Judges touch every part of people’s lives and they just don’t know it. There are groups that follow everyone in the judiciary system and make sure they are following standards...that could be something we initiate as a student project for example. People don’t understand how impactful judges are. When you don't know what you’re picking from, it doesn’t matter who’s picking.

JR: It’s very dependent on the personality of that judge and how they relate to that person before them.

TC: I don’t think people know enough about who they’re picking for their judges or even their city council. Judges in some cases also have their hands tied because of mandatory minimums.

RA: DAs have the power though. Not many people actually get in front of these judges, except to have bond set and to accept a plea. The DAs have the real power. One of the problems with getting people excited about the courts is that people imagine the sexy, attractive Hollywood courts. It’s not that. It’s grimy and convoluted. People get bored with it and don’t want to learn it.

TC: We say we believe in innocence until proven guilty but we treat individuals as guilty until proven innocent. And we have two systems - those with means and those without.

Patrick Tuck (4-H Louisiana): Can you speak to youth development and where it starts?

RA: I can’t think of anything that works better. We have a lot of the tools we already need. Most kids in different generations are criminalized for the dumb things they do as teenagers. But when children have real after school focused activities, they are less likely to get into difficulties. But in communities that are marginalized, those programs are the first things pulled from those communities. There’s a concept called 360 schools which means the building belongs to the community. When the school day is over, the community owns the space. We know it works but we don’t use it and when we do we put it in the areas that can already afford it. We treat kids as urban kids but think about how much of our space - especially Scotlandville and Baker - is rural/suburban - so much opportunity for partnerships for teaching kids.

Rinaldi Jacobs (CADAV): When the flood happened in 2016, we all came together to deal with the issue of people clearing titles to get loans from FEMA. Out of that coalition came legislation which allowed people to clear cessations with a simple affidavit. That has moved the needle so far so fast. Can that kind of coalition be brought to the table to handle some of the minor issues of criminality?

TC: Yes, we can absolutely get coalitions together. Also wanted to comment on driving school. When I was in high school, we had driver’s ed in PE. At some point we decided to privatize that. How many families cannot pay for that?

CP: And on top of that there are different policies across the board on traffic stops, so how do you know what to do?


CP: We will schedule Part Two of this conversation in January and invite the Louisiana District Attorney and Sheriffs' Association to join the conversation.


Education Links from Reverend Anderson:

08:31:45 From Tristi Charpentier : Times-Pic Series from 2012 - Louisiana Inc. -

08:32:11 From Tristi Charpentier : HAWF Prison Reentry Initiative Report -

08:32:17 From Casey Phillips : Education Links from Reverend Anderson:

08:37:55 From Pat LeDuff : awesome work!!

08:45:21 From Anita White : Don’t see the materials Tristi said she’d put in the chat.

08:45:59 From Tristi Charpentier : Nothing else - Times-Pic Series from 2012 - Louisiana Inc. - Prison Reentry Initiative Report -

08:50:38 From Adonica Duggan : Apologies for the flashing light, The Shaw Center is testing our fire systems this morning but nothing is on fire.

08:51:02 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : Q: how has the recent pandemic impacted speedy trials and delayed release/impeded due process... or to what extent. it has impacted the system here in NYC where 1/20 of cases have been tried as compared to last year.

08:57:58 From Jen Tewell (she/her) : Powerful and disturbing. Thank you Rev. Anderson for the reality of the state and EBR.

08:58:38 From Pat LeDuff : so sad

09:01:26 From Pat LeDuff : My God,Help us!

09:02:07 From Pat LeDuff : great job Rev. Anderson - You Rock!

09:02:12 From Adonica Duggan : Thank you, Rev. Anderson

09:02:18 From Anna TBF (she/her) : thank you Rev. Anderson

09:02:41 From Chris Spalatin : Thank you Reverend Anderson

09:02:43 From Kellyn LaCour (Baton Roots) : Yakoke chitto Rev. Anderson. Powerful points and reminders that all of us are impacted by the prison industrial system even if we ourselves have not been incarcerated.

09:03:09 From Kevin Guitterrez : thank you for your advocacy and for being real, Reverend Anderson

09:04:15 From Rodneyna : You are so increadbily imactful. My family has been directly a product of this system and environment. I apprecate all of the work that you are doing.

09:05:50 From Pat LeDuff : yes Rev Anderson- You Make it Real !

09:06:12 From Pat LeDuff : let’s invite them to this call and the DA

09:07:35 From ktriche : I worked for the Department of Educations with the "special school district" that worked with prisons and juvenile detention centers and your words were spot on.

09:09:49 From Chris Spalatin : I've only been in Louisiana for about a year, so I have somewhat on an outsiders perspective. From a national standpoint, JBE made waves when he passed the bipartisan criminal justice reform in 2017 which was modeled after other Southern states. Is the consensus that this has resulted in real positive change? He appeared to be able to run on this during his reelection campaign in 2019 despite vicious attack ads from Landry and the Republicans. How can we get more out of JBE's admin now? Is this an issue where we can only expect to persuade and motivate liberals/Democrats?

09:12:29 From Kellyn LaCour (Baton Roots) : Signal boosting youth led justice advocacy BR for the People :

09:14:00 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : that behavior (sherriffs that wait at traps) is also seen in rural counties in New York. I feel that is a national issue and a part of rural/Urban divide which is not spoken about.

09:17:02 From Jacquelyn Craddock : Go Tristi!

09:17:30 From Kellyn LaCour (Baton Roots) : PREACH

09:19:15 From Donald Andrews : we are talking about an economic development process that is built on exploitation of low resource households. The education system is in need of a major review. We need to build a high performance education system to catch the problems will kids are young rather than when they commit a crime and go to prison where it costs much more.

09:20:47 From Chris Spalatin : Totally agree Donald. We can fix this. We pay so much money to encourage businesses to come, and then keep paying them after they're already here. Why can't we push that money to teachers and schools?

09:21:16 From Ava Smith : Good morning, thank you, Rev Anderson and all those that speak out about our criminal justice system. What are we doing about this problem? I am so tried of hearing about the problem and nothing changes. The DA office, the laws, the mindset needs to change and I am sad to say it will not happen in my life time.

09:22:45 From Elizabeth Perry : This is fantastic information! Thank you for taking the time to stand up and bring this to our attention. I have witnessed my foster children being directly impacted by this industry. Innocent children not being reunited with their parents because their mother or father are incarcerated over a holiday is gut wrenching.

09:22:48 From Susan Rogers : thank you for some very enlightening information. This is certainly information that our community needs to know.

09:23:01 From Chris Spalatin : Are there any states in US that are doing this well? Are there any other countries we can look to?

09:23:02 From Anita White : Thank you, Jan for asking the question I was thinking of. Where do I, as an individual, begin?

09:23:19 From Carl Motsenbocker : Thank you for the information.

09:23:31 From Adonica Duggan : We say that in education too, budgets are a statement of your priorities

09:27:27 From ktriche : This is so enlightening and so very sad.

09:27:52 From Chris Spalatin : We can do this!

09:27:58 From Pat LeDuff : yes it is - so sad

09:28:16 From Ava Smith : Thank you Donald, we need trade schools, some kids will not succeed in regular school curriculums.

09:28:33 From Pat LeDuff : we can do this

09:30:46 From Pat LeDuff : yes!!!!

09:31:16 From Pat LeDuff : good plan - let’s work together to change this

09:31:28 From Chris Spalatin : Thank you!

09:31:34 From Dominique Dallas : Thank you!

09:31:35 From Judith Rhodes : Thank you. Truth to power!

09:31:35 From Leslie’s iPhone : thanks to all!

09:31:44 From Leslie Clay : Thank you.

09:33:33 From Kelli Rogers : Thanks so much everyone!

09:33:47 From Dustin LaFont@FYB : Thank you. This was the most enlightening conversation I've had on this call to date. Rev. Anderson needs to do a TED talk!

09:34:34 From Adonica Duggan : That is a big part of our culture to not question people in authority and as a result we have created electeds who are not used to being accountable or questioned. We have to fix this in so many areas.

09:34:55 From Chris Spalatin : This is wonderful

09:35:04 From Anita White : Thank you.

09:37:11 From Emily Chatelain : I've participated in the Nola Gives... and BR Gives was SO much more involved, helpful, supportive etc. Props

09:38:13 From Pat LeDuff : on behalf of Scotlandville CDC and CADAV / Thank You!

09:38:36 From Pat LeDuff : 225 Give was Awesome!!

09:39:17 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : I can ask.about that math exercise with the Criminal Justice Reform group at NYU Marron institute of Urban management

09:39:25 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : If you would like

09:39:51 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : email me at

09:40:11 From Pat LeDuff : can we please continue this in our next meeting?

09:40:57 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : if we continue in the next meeting I can see if Richard Hahn or someone else can join as well

09:42:33 From Lindi Spalatin : Wanted to let you know that McMains Children's Developmental center had a GREAT 225 Gives. We were blown away by the support of the community.

09:42:50 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : I have to leave but want to work with Rev Anderson on this further and others

09:42:59 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : inspired conversation today!

09:43:06 From Pat LeDuff : invite a DA, judge/ police chief / sheriff allow them to agree disagree or explain

09:45:39 From Pat LeDuff : we should not allow this

09:45:54 From Aishala Burgess : This was great Casey, I have to jump off! If you would like DA for a call in January, let me know.

09:46:48 From Casey Phillips : Thank you Aishala!

09:47:26 From Aishala Burgess : You're Welcome! Enjoy the rest of your day!!!

09:53:29 From Anita White : Tell it like it is, Rev. Anderson!

09:53:51 From Pat LeDuff : yes- Amen Sister

09:57:41 From Pat LeDuff : Yes! Yes! Yes!

09:58:12 From Ava Smith : Back in my day it was called reform schools

09:59:19 From Ava Smith : Preach, Rev Anderson

09:59:23 From Pat LeDuff : Banking establishments will come as well

10:03:18 From Kelli Rogers : I was waiting to ask this question!!

10:03:31 From Kelli Rogers : And now it costs $650

10:03:54 From Pat LeDuff : that’s right - let’s push to bring it back

10:04:34 From Pat LeDuff : sounds great

10:04:42 From Anita White : Thank you! Couldn’t tear myself away!


Week #34 Topic

“Food Insecurity Coalition (EBR) Update"

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad

Katie Pritchett

(Capital Area United Way)

  • Food Insecurity Coalition Baton Rouge (FIC) is a collection of over 100 individuals working towards the common goal of making EBR Parish a more food secure environment comprising philanthropic organizations and funders, service providers, distributors, growers, etc.

  • Recently entered into partnership with CPEX and Urban Footprint around very specific new data insight tools they have created

  • These tools provide updates every two weeks with a snapshot of our community related to food security and what it means to each parish (economic stress, health indicators, and other such demographics to come up with an insecurity index)

  • The coalition will use this data in meetings moving forwards to see what space we are working in, where the gaps are, and what trends are present (i.e., where are we seeing less food distribution, where are people more secure, etc.)

  • What are the next iterations of the tool? Adding lifestyle measurements, job and wage data, how often individuals grocery shop, mental health factors, and so on

  • Recently took a deeper dive into state programs

    • Monica Brown gave us insight into state programs that help with food security, financial assistance and cash programing, how people access assistance, etc.

    • What are the barriers?

      • If you do online enrollment, it's a 7-10 day turnaround while mail-in is around 30 days. That three week difference can be a game changer.

      • Lots of different documents needed - without a driver's license or access to work history or a pink slip, you could be stopped from receiving the benefits you need

  • If you are an organization with the capacity or willingness to set up a computer in your lobby or office so people can access applications for these programs, helping those who need assistance through the application process would be one of the biggest supports to our community!

  • Things we are working on for 2021:

    • A comprehensive calendar for EBR Parish for distribution events

    • How to share data points

    • Joint funding - what’s one or two things we’d fund collectively as a coalition if we had the funds available?

    • Policy work and joint programing

Jan Ross

(Huey & Angelina Wilson Foundation)

  • We are working more collaboratively than ever before and bringing in partners who aren’t typically at the table

  • The FIC Philanthropy and Funders workgroup focus on bringing funds from national sources so we aren’t taxing local funding

  • There’s always that need to leverage local support with national funders

Manny Patole

(Co-City BR)

  • The coalition has short, medium, and long term goals - we are coordinating efforts and policy changes that will structurally change things while addressing people who are hungry now

  • Ideas include wraparound services in central locations, food trucks, and furthering understanding of the policy issues that must be addressed to streamline these services

Korey Patty

(Feeding Louisiana)

  • Across the state what we’ve seen over the last five or six months is a significant increase in the use of SNAP benefits to put food on the table

  • $150-170 million dollars rolling in to the state each month

  • What are the opportunities that DSFS can use as advocates to make the program more accessible and functional?

  • There are particular populations needing easier ways to use the program - namely seniors, those without access to technology, and college students

  • For the FIC Data and Policy Group and Feeding Louisiana we are looking at longer term issues and policies that can be addressed to make these things more accessible

Casey Phillips

(Walls Project)

  • There’s a lot of room for everyone at the FIC. In the short term there’s some really cool concepts like community food trucks and fridges - we’re trying to create the case for support, to create a doc that can be used across the coalition.

  • With Work Group A we are writing grants and forging relationships with funders for 2021. On the funding side, the money’s going to be the last thing that comes. The mission can’t happen without it even though it’s not the point of the coalition. We are working hard behind the scenes to get the grants and meet deadlines.

  • Work Group B is working to cover a lot of ground for the steps between seed to mouth. If you’re a practitioner, you’re in Work Group B because we need to find ways to work together non traditionally. In the median term service providers have to figure out ways to take innovation to those systems already in place.

  • With Work Group C, it’s very clear with the data where we’re going and once the data is aggregated and updated in real time we will address systematic policy long term. Work Group A long term will lasso funding and involvement in the community while B works to continue telling the story in a compelling way. Not only strengthen each other’s work but hold each other accountable.

Chelsea Morgan

(American Heart Association)

  • Working with LSU and Southern - met with LSU Dining this week as an extension of the NEA Our Town Meeting conversations. Spoke about opportunities for 2021 and getting the resources of LSU involved with our coalitions.

  • LSU is working on a swiping program so students with meal plans can share them with others who cannot afford it. W

  • ith COVID rising again LSU is trying to wrap up for the semester as soon as possible but we continue to have conversations.

Elizabeth Perry

(LSU Health/OLOL)

  • Partnered with Bethel AME Church in 70802, an area which really needs help. They do food distribution days the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. They have a small house next to their church designated as a food pantry.

  • A great avenue for our partners with Top Box, Baton Roots, and so on. All of our partners have jumped in but we do lack when it comes to contractors and getting assistance for repairs and home maintenance.

  • We want to be able to offer more emergency events and basically make it a full food distribution facility. Grants are few and far between - it’s not really the application time right now.

  • If anyone can assist in connecting affordable contractors or available grants, it would be greatly appreciated. My email is

Helen Frink

(Office of the Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome)

  • There is a Food Bank distribution (the last large one of the year) looking to serve 1-1200 households at Cortana Mall this Saturday November 21.

  • Begins at 8 AM but lines start much much earlier! Encourage anyone with programs or opportunities to get involved - we’d love to plug and elevate those from the Mayor’s office.

  • We are here to help connect community members to these events.

Courtney Scott

(CAO - Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome)

  • First, early voting starts today (Friday November 20)! Second, Safe, Hopeful, Healthy is moving from research and development to implementation over the next 30-45 days.

  • In the development of SHH we're moving the needle forward on work already being done and building more collaboration to work towards developing peace and prosperity in the community through Four Key Pillars:

  1. Prioritize Community-Based Public Safety - Interrupting the cycle of violence, taking initiative not focusing on law enforcement but giving youth opportunities and resources to make choices in their lives

  2. Expand Health In All Policies - health inequality and mitigating the risk of racial violence and building support.

  3. Stabilize Youth, Family & Community - when we support these three, we are building solutions that aren ot only sustainable but have capacity to build over and over again.

  4. Create Equitable Community Development through community revitalization. We have to make sure the neighborhoods have sustainable ways to build and grow and uplift.

  • When we talk about SHH it starts with collaborative work. Annie E. Casey Foundation has joined our work. Build BR and Mid City Redevelopment Alliance are also bringing in national partners.

  • Health EBR helps with access to food and care. This program will develop a team that will have a Program Director and Coordinator hired in January.

  • We will implement a Baton Rouge street team that will have outreach workers and high risk interventionists (individuals form 70805 and 70802 who will go to PD to support violence response on the ground) working towards a continuum of support for our community.

  • Keep in mind: Where are we duplicating efforts and where do we need to disperse energy?

Community Announcements

Manny Patole - In November of 2019 we unveiled the Imagine Plank Road Plan for Equitable Development, a transit-oriented, community-led vision of a revitalized Plank Road. We are excited to announce that Baton Rouge has been selected to receive a $5 million JPMorgan Chase 2020 AdvancingCities grant to implement the Plank Road master plan. The partners make up the Baton Rouge Collaborative and aim to:

  • develop a grocery-anchored mixed use development with over 40 affordable housing units on the new bus rapid transit line;

  • renovate a 3,500 sq. ft historic building into a Food Incubator that will provide commercial kitchen space, deliver fresh food and offer job training;

  • provide financial and technical support to 15 new and existing minority-owned businesses;

  • upgrade 15 building facades along the Corridor;

  • transform a 4,000 sq. ft vacant lot into a community pocket park; and

  • preserve housing affordability through the formation of a Community Land Trust

On December 3 The Myrtlelawn EcoPark Community Webinar is a showcase of the schematic design plans for Build Baton Rouge's land bank property located on 4258 Plank Road. The project, led by Co-City Baton Rouge's Manny Patole, engaged LSU's Professor Kathleen Bogaski's Fall 2020 Landscape Technology class to incorporate community and stakeholder input into their vision for the site. During the webinar students will present their designs.The Myrtlelawn EcoPark project is part of a larger collaborative effort between Build Baton Rouge, and Co-City Baton Rouge (an applied research partnership developed by the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University and Laboratory for Governance of the City as a Commons, based at Georgetown University) to co-create economic revitalization and urban regeneration projects within the Plank Road neighborhood.

Rodneyna Hart - Capitol Park Museum will do a free outdoor movie event on the lawn Sunday. If you would like to come please feel free to join. The movie will be Black Panther.

Chris Spalatin - I work for a Food Service Provider called Focus Foods. We operate out of Celtic Studios. Please reach out if you have any needs

Shavon Knighten - AMIkids YouthBuild Baton Rouge would love to connect and potentially partner with any organizations to help give our youth/young adults in the program to gain employment opportunities, internships, mentorship, volunteer initiatives, etc. Please contact me at (


Zoom Chat

08:32:23 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : In November of 2019 we unveiled the Imagine Plank Road Plan for Equitable Development, a transit-oriented, community-led vision of a revitalized Plank Road. We are excited to announce that Baton Rouge has been selected to receive a $5 million JPMorgan Chase 2020 AdvancingCities grant to implement the Plank Road masterplan.

08:32:56 From Leslie Clay : Can I have the link to the 11 oclock. Thanks

08:33:10 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : The partners make up the Baton Rouge Collaborative and aim to: develop a grocery-anchored mixed use development with over 40 affordable housing units on the new bus rapid transit line; renovate a 3,500 sq. ft historic building into a Food Incubator that will provide commercial kitchen space, deliver fresh food and offer job training; provide financial and technical support to 15 new and existing minority-owned businesses;upgrade 15 building facades along the Corridor;transform a 4,000 sq. ft vacant lot into a community pocket park; and preserve housing affordability through the formation of a Community Land Trust

08:33:55 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : To register for the webinar:

08:36:03 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : To register for the webinar:

08:36:15 From Leslie Clay : Thanks Manny.

08:46:28 From Donald Andrews : Is there any thought to developing community gardening programs.

08:46:39 From Pat LeDuff : great job!

08:47:53 From Katie Pritchett/CAUW : @donald Andrews...I know this has been discussed in terms of the service providers at the table that are participating. We have also recruited a volunteer or two to help with those gardens.

08:47:56 From Helen Frink : correct!

08:48:18 From Helen Frink : as with all Food Bank events, community members should arrive early to get in line

08:48:52 From Jan Ross - HAWF : Does the food giveaway on Saturday include college students?

08:49:01 From Pat LeDuff : consider ages 90 til death not having to Recert - most likely their conditions and work status won’t change

08:49:24 From Chelsea Morgan : Yes, Jan, this is open to any students in EBR. Some college students will be volunteering as well.

08:49:48 From Chris Spalatin : For kids on school breakfast and lunch, are there any programs in place for them to receive meals during the Thanksgiving and winter breaks?

08:49:54 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : Q: Does LSU/Southern have a food insecurity program for their community? Ie extra money on their commissary account, etc

08:49:57 From Tyra Banks : I have 4 live chickens to give away if you know anyone raising organic chickens

08:50:31 From Chelsea Morgan : Yes, Manny. I can come off mute and give an update on a conversation that we had with LSU Dining this week.

08:52:19 From Emily Chatelain : Sodexo is doing something to help fight food insecurity on college campuses. I believe Chartwells (Compass Group) is the food provider for LSU... could ask if they have any programs like this one linked?

08:52:22 From Katie Pritchett/CAUW : If any of you want to learn more about the application process for the state programming, this handout was shared with the coalition.

08:52:52 From Emily Chatelain : Well... jinx Chelsea :) that article links to a swipe program Sodexo is doing

08:52:53 From Carl Motsenbocker : Good to hear. Yes LSU Dining is Chartwells.

08:54:09 From Jan Ross - HAWF : Emily will you discuss what you know of food distribution for EBRPSS.

08:54:40 From Jan Ross - HAWF : especially over Thanksgiving week

08:54:43 From Karla King : A side note for healthy eating - homemade smoothies offer a way to pack a lot of nutrition into a take-away cup. For instance, this morning I put a small banana, cooked sweet potatoes and yellow squash from last night, fresh kale, water, few cubes of ice and a teaspoon of beet powder. My smoothie maker is an inexpensive $16 one.

08:54:50 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : NYU Dining is Chartwells as well. We have the swipe program up here, with emergency $75 cash if students need and the FREEdge for students to put food in for others to share

08:58:08 From Elizabeth Perry : I received a request from a local church for a construction grant. They host a food pantry twice per month. If anyone can assist in connecting affordable contractors or available grants, it would be greatly appreciated. My email is

08:58:42 From Chelsea Morgan : Awesome - thanks, everyone. Continuing to get all partners on how they can fold into all this great work. We can make sure that Cheramie with LSU Dining gets these articles and great resources. It is likely that all of Chartwells is trying to get this across all their campuses with this need. They do also have a food pantry on campus that our organizations can support as well. Just had a baseline conversation with her to get her up to date on the work of Geaux Get Healthy and FIC - helping to identify their resources and how they can help.

08:59:08 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : @Elizabeth, I believe BBR has a few contractors on file they have used for Roof rehab and other projects.

09:00:30 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : CAUW FTFICW

09:01:57 From Carl Motsenbocker : The LSU Food Pantry has needs such as food items, and volunteers to assist them. They recently moved to the first floor in the Union and have a great demand for food.

09:03:57 From Elizabeth Perry : Thank you, Manny!

09:04:48 From Helen Frink :

09:05:48 From Tyra Banks : I need help finding the grant Courtney spoke about. a few weeks ago

09:06:41 From Casey Phillips : Carl, I recommend that the LSU Food Pantry reach out to Ashley (AJ) at CAUW for corporate volunteers with their partners.

09:08:36 From Elizabeth Perry : Our graduating participants are very interested in helping with Mayor Broome's the Safe, Hopeful, Healthy plan. They have experienced a small part of our great coalition and they want to help in their community!

09:09:48 From Pat LeDuff : I’m interested!

09:09:52 From Helen Frink : Tyra and others, if you’re interested in applying for the grant or participating in Safe Hopeful Healthy please send me an email and I am happy to connect you!

09:10:32 From Tyra Banks : Thanks

09:10:47 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : I think we need a full presentation on this! :-)

09:11:00 From Elizabeth Perry : Thank you, Helen!

09:11:17 From Shavon Knighten : Shavon Knighten with AMIkids YouthBuild Baton Rouge. I would love to connect and potentially partner with any organizations to help give our youth/young adults in the program to gain employment opportunities, internships, mentorship, volunteer initiatives, etc. Please contact me at (

09:11:21 From Helen Frink : you can also contact

09:11:48 From Helen Frink : we have been talking about this so much she has the elevator pitch DOWN

09:13:01 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : FYI for December 3 The Myrtlelawn EcoPark Community Webinar is a showcase of the schematic design plans for Build Baton Rouge's land bank property located on 4258 Plank Road. The project, led by Co-City Baton Rouge's Manny Patole, engaged LSU's Professor Kathleen Bogaski's Fall 2020 Landscape Technology class to incorporate community and stakeholder input into their vision for the site. During the webinar students will present their designs.The Myrtlelawn EcoPark project is part of a larger collaborative effort between Build Baton Rouge, and Co-City Baton Rouge (an applied research partnership developed by the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University and LABoratory for GOVernance of the City as a Commons, based at Georgetown University) to co-create economic revitalization and urban regeneration projects within the Plank Road neighborhood.

09:13:08 From Rodneyna : Capitol Park Museum will do a free outdoor movie event on the lawn Sunday. If you would like to come please feel free to join

09:13:10 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : I will send out flyers soon

09:13:36 From Rodneyna : We will be playing Black Panther!

09:13:44 From Elizabeth Perry : Add your veggies to your mac-n-cheese friends!

09:13:45 From Chris Spalatin : I work for a Food Service Provide called Focus Foods. We operate our of Celtic Studios. Please reach out if you have any needs

09:14:06 From Pat LeDuff : Happy Thanksgiving

09:14:41 From Karla King : Sure thing Casey! Just an alternative fun way for kid's to eat.

09:15:30 From Leslie Clay : Happy Thanksgiving!!!

09:15:36 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : Thanks everyone for grinding on this! Keep pushing the needle.

09:15:52 From Manny Patole (CCBR) : Happy Turkey Day! Be safe, mask up, keep our pods healthy

09:15:53 From Helen Frink : early vote!!!!


Week #33 Topic

“Diversifying Our Economy"

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad

Andrew Fitzgerald

(Senior Director of Business Intelligence / Baton Rouge Area Chamber)

  • When you’re as reliant on oil and gas as Louisiana is, you feel every bump in the industry that they feel. Ensuring you have a mix of industries contributing to economic success of your community is key - focusing on the major industry that brought you here but also help grow smaller emerging industries

  • With COVID, BRAC has been able to see which industries are resilient despite the 2 quarter recession

  • Which of those industries are a good fit here?

  • BRAC has picked up two industries since COVID - Life Sciences (Bio Pharma) and Technology

  • Do we have the assets and resources to draw these companies into Louisiana?

  • We have two wonderful universities, Pennington Biomedical, the Health district, etc. as well as two growing university computer science programs, Apprenti, lower costs than Silicon Valleys in Portland and Salt Lake City... all good incentives

  • The oil and gas industry that has been shouldering the load forever doesn’t have to determine the fate of our economy alone every time oil and gas prices go up

  • How do we pick what we diversify into?

    • Look around nationally and see what did well pre-COVID

    • What was resilient during COVID

    • How are we doing in Baton Rouge?

  • We’re a community with a myriad of health concerns so we would certainly benefit from health trials

  • In the healthcare workforce, RNs often hop from hospital to hospital with bonuses for relocation positive workforce and how it can help us recruit companies

  • In reality the best thing for the community and the hospitals would be training more nurses internally

  • Training a better workforce would be more effective than competition

  • Starting at a low income healthcare job to work towards a higher wage job through internal training

  • Willingness to work together on the vendor and workforce side is a huge positive

  • Baton Rouge looks like the place to be in many areas, but on the public sector side we are in desperate need of change to help further incentivise and nurture a diversified economy

Tyra L. Banks

(Innovation & Partnership Catalyst / MetroMorphosis)

  • Metromorphosis works through a strategy with small businesses called LaunchBR

  • How does the recent Shell plant closure affect small businesses? There is trickle down effect as small businesses are connector spots that serve not only employees but the members of the community

  • Heavily includes the input of procurement officers to increase diversity so small businesses are not relying on folks in their immediate vicinity to continue generating revenue

  • Who are opportunities going to? In communities with lots of segregation and inequality, people of color, especially women, struggle to maintain small businesses. Black businesses and Asian, woman owned businesses took the hardest hit when COVID began

  • We need to make sure they have the capital and resources to sustain business

  • Two major bookends at MetroMorphosis:

    • Technical support, coordinating services for small business (free, non-judgemental coaching and technical assistance) and training opportunities (everything from personal finance, how to use the library’s free business resources, free technology business account)

    • Strategy and support for procurement officers

      • Systems are presently set up to assist the people who have always been a part of them, leaving women, people of color, and veterans out.

  • Both strategies are extremely important for strengthening the economy and creating relationships that help businesses thrive while preventing stagnancy

  • What to do next?

    • Put this into action!

    • If you know a small business that might need help and support, connect them to us! We are continuously seeking out relationships with small businesses

    • Buy black, buy woman, buy minority, buy veteran. Your purchasing power has a direct impact. Explore supplier diversity!

    • Advocate for systemic change. When the legislature is viewing things that affect these people, fight for them. Their fight is your fight because it directly impacts the entire community.

  • We can't rely on the big fish to increase supplier diversity. We have to make those decisions every day to invest our dollars in the most unemployed sectors of society, in electing the right people, in purchasing goods and services from places that employ people within their own communities.

Questions & Comments

Q: Casey Phillips - What does the economy of Louisiana look like in 2050?

A: Andrew Fitzgerald - There will no longer be a “tech sector” - everything will be the tech sector. Tech is integrated and will continue to be integrated into many aspects of the workforce. Automation will be an issue. Fewer plant jobs will be needed. There will likely be a rise in service industry jobs. Manufacturing will still be strong - companies aren’t just producing fuel, but the rubber in tennis shoes, the foam in mattresses, etc. The plastic and chemical industry will still be going strong. We will have a population spike as those in coastal communities find their community unsustainable. We’ll see an influx in in-state migration. You’ll need homes, restaurants, bars, etc built.

Dr. Girard Melancon

SAVE THE DATE! BRCC and ExxonMobil invite you to the North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative Virtual Open House on Wednesday, November 18 at 6:00 p.m. NBRITI provides training courses in welding, electrical, millwright, and pipefitting crafts at no cost to qualifying participants. Register today at

Kelly Welch

We are working at Exxonmobile to bring projects to BR that make us more competitive so we are less reliant on crazy oil prices. We are working to preserve jobs and support small businesses. The supplier diversity is an effort we are pushing hard. In 2019 alone we spent $9.5 million with black, woman-owned, LGBTQ+ suppliers. Concerning dirty oil, we are voluntarily reducing VOC emissions by 10%, meaning all emissions from furnaces. Talking about our cogen facility, we spent $11 million to help reduce greenhouse emissions by 50%. There’s no EPA requirement, but we know it’s the right thing to do for the BR community.

Tre Nelson

Hospitals have looked at how to operate in a way we never did before when it comes to suppliers. There are a lot of opportunities for larger organizations (banks, hospitals, etc) to purchase local and diversify our supplier chain. When we created our diversity council in the hospital we looked at areas of focus, including the supplier chain. That’s a very large task for organizations to look for diverse suppliers and Metromorphosis helps highlight businesses to patronize. We’re at a place of collaboration we’ve never seen before.

Heidi Howat Wendt

We do have a large supply chain department in New Orleans that has an emphasis on doing work with local suppliers while keeping in mind the scale. We hired our first Chief Diversity Officer for the entire Oschner system earlier this year. Regarding education and pay grade improvement, we started MA Now to provide certification training through Oschner, BRCC and the Mayor’s office as a joint effort to train and then hire MAs. We have an MA to LPN program in New Orleans that will be starting in BR as well.

Elizabeth Perry

The Lake has FranU courses centered around healthcare to help offer a more flexible work/school schedule to students. We focus on racial disparities as well as food insecurities through the Geaux Get Healthy and EatFitBR programs. Through the mayor’s office we as healthcare systems have been able to put the competition away and work together as an entire parish.

Dean Donald Andrews

In terms of assets we have in BR, we have two Land Grants and need to do more in terms of generating education on our ecosystems. If we want to bring high paying jobs into our community we have to address K-12 education, racial tension, and high crime rates if we want to attract higher paying jobs into our community.

Manny Patole

It’s very easy to lose sight of the social and economic factors in the sustainment of a city. How do you not only use tax incentives but also address the services like education, transit, housing and access to healthcare? Everything’s interconnected and focusing on one does not mean you can ignore the others.

Reverend Alexis Anderson

If you google EBR, what comes up is the prison parish. We are the mass incarceration capital. We have the largest mass incarceration industrial complex. The entire ancillary system holds that up. If you are known as a community that is not accepting of people from around the world, people aren’t going to come here. There are other places you can go with better education. Planning and prevention is better than recovery. We have lots of areas we need to be looking at - most economic development systems have three core baskets. One is constantly raising the floor. In this parish we have a huge number of people coming from our prison system being locked out. At any given time 25-30% of the workforce is unemployable because of this. We have to remind people that if oil and gas are 25%, 75% of the market is everybody else and we’ve got to continue to address that 75% and get them what they need. You can’t keep making the workforce unemployable. You have got to be wanted to come into a space!

Gwen Hamilton

When we talk about the importance of K-12 education, early childhood and pre-K must be included in the larger discussion of education!

Leslie Clay

The Protecting Our Communities from Flu and COVID-19 Town Hall has been moved to Tuesday November 17 from 11 AM to 12:30 PM covering Region 2 here. Everyone’s COVID numbers are going up and we need as many people to get their flu shot as possible.

Kelly Welch My thanks to Andrew for acknowledging that we must still nurture the industry that has sustained LA for decades. My thanks to Tyra for speaking of opportunities to support local and diverse small businesses because we are very excited to continue our concerted efforts in this space. Mentioned that we spent $9.5M in 2019 with NBR minority owned businesses and that are actively looking to increase that amount for 2020 and future years. Let the group know that we are also concerned about the multiple plant closures/idlings we’re reading about around the state, and that we are currently fighting to bring our corporation’s investment dollars to Baton Rouge with projects that will preserve jobs in the community and make us more competitive with our sites in Texas so that we aren’t as vulnerable to depressed oil and gas markets. Addressed Rev. Anderson’s comments in the chat about dirty industry to let the group know that their voices are heard and that the project we’re currently working to bring to BR – which they’ll soon hear more about – will voluntarily reduce our refinery’s VOC emissions by 10% (the current amount of VOCs emitted from all of our refinery’s furnaces and flares) IF the project is approved for Baton Rouge. I also mentioned another project that will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions at our cogen facility.


Maggie's List - compilation of Black owned brands, banks, etc by author Maggie Anderson

Zoom Chat

08:35:24 From Tyra, LaunchBR : Andrew was my FIRST call when I stard working with small businesses at MetroMorphosis

08:47:51 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : FYI - The stock market is not the economy, small business is!

08:48:29 From David Summers : On Purpose!

08:49:38 From Jeremy Pleasant : Thanks Tyra. What are some of the sites/resources available for minority, veteran, black, women owned businesses?

08:51:18 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : Developing industry 4.0 is a great idea but not at the expense of your current tax base. Build a Community and Economy for your current residents AND residents you want to attract. Do not leverage tax breaks to bring businesses in, does not work long run: AND

08:51:42 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Louisiana's petrochemical industry has been in flux for over 30 years and yet tax incentives for dirty industries continue to be a priority. With our low literacy and high reentry population wouldn't it be a more effective model to find clusters of future technologies to invest in growing their businesses in partnership with the community. Why do we continue to throw roses at companies that devalue our communities and not support the small and emerging business sector which actually provides the bulk of new jobs and is a good community long term partner.

08:53:11 From Girard Melancon : SAVE THE DATE! BRCC and ExxonMobil Baton invite you to the North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative Virtual Open House on Wednesday, November 18 at 6 p.m. #NBRITI provides training courses in welding, electrical, millwright, and pipefitting crafts at no cost to qualifying participants. Register today at #mybrcc #workforcesolutions

08:54:12 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : +1 Rev Anderson, Business will come and stay if there is a local base of employment (which means educated youth through higher education), a critical mass of amenities, and inclusive communities (in addition to many other factors). A diverse local economy is a stronger local economy.

08:55:50 From Donald Andrews : Hello Casey, the Chamber has done a lot with respect to case studies such as visits to Austin, Cincinnati and other regions to make comparisons and to learn what other communities have done to move their communities forward. Andrew pointed out the assets to attract new industry such as life sciences and information technology. Which is great, the only problem is every other community would like to have these industries. With two land grant universities we should also look at strategies to grow our own in incubating high tech or STEM science businesses. One of our major weaknesses is the quality of life and do highly educated individuals want to live here compared to other locations such as Austin, Nashville, etc. We have high poverty rates in Louisiana and we need to address the quality of K-12 public education especially in the low income minority community.

08:56:44 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Mass incarceration by far is the largest employer in this reason. If you google East Baton Rouge the parish prison comes up. We are in the national news every single week for one type of mass incarceration situations. If we don't get this situation and our education situation under control.

08:57:04 From Tyra, LaunchBR : List of businesses:

08:57:41 From Kevin Guitterrez : thanks, Trya

08:58:29 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : Q: In addition to Tyra/LaunchBR, what are the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to address this inequity to increase the number of minorities/women who own production-related businesses, understand who is at scale and help those increase scale to compete with other business.

08:59:49 From Rinaldi Jacobs Sr : Sorry for joining late Casey. we are trying to see who is doing a 85 unit apartment called Capstone at Scotlandville. mentioned in the paper it is not the SCDC

09:01:07 From Manohar Ramkumar Patole : @ Andrew, thoughts on R7 (Restart, Relaunch, Refocus, Reconnect, Reskill, Reshore, Resecure) on helping manufacturing communities not only recover from the current pandemic-related downturn but to leverage transformational innovations to enable them to reverse decades of struggle, compete effectively in the global economy, and re-establish America’s manufacturing leadership and bringing that to BR and greater LA

09:01:24 From Jen Tewell (she/her) : Thanks all - I have to go for another call. Have a great weekend!

09:01:35 From Rinaldi Jacobs Sr : Medical Coding can start at 40K working from home

09:01:51 From Casey Phillips : Heidi & Elizabeth up next

09:02:19 From Casey Phillips : Then Kendra, Dean Andrews, Manny, Rev. Anderson

09:03:23 From Casey Phillips : Andrew 2050 projection, Tyra closing comments and Leslie Clay announcement

09:04:11 From WELCH, KELLY S : ExxonMobil Baton Rouge 2019 Diversity Spend: $141M in LA; $115M in BR; $9.5M in NBR. Targeting more for 2020!

09:05:44 From Casey Phillips : See you Girard, will circle back

09:11:46 From Rinaldi Jacobs Sr : how could someone become a PPE supplier for medical community?

09:11:53 From Pat LeDuff : yes, for sure the most awesome part about all of this is the collaboration for our local and State’s Success

09:11:58 From Casey Phillips : Great question Rinaldi

09:14:40 From Pat LeDuff : Yes/ Provide a place to live for their families- only a JOB will fix this

09:15:44 From Rodneyna - Capitol Park Museum : HI everyone, I am Rodneyna Hart, a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, and now the Division Director at Capitol Park Museum. I would love to continue conversations with all of you in the near future. My goal is to open the doors wide to our community. I have to go but my cell phone is 225-229-3389 and email, Thank you for including me in this room of such amazing voices.

09:17:23 From Dominique Dallas : I appreciate this collaborative energy at the top of a FriYay! Everyone have a great weekend! Thank you!

09:17:41 From WELCH, KELLY S : Also! Applications being accepted TODAY (today is the last day to apply) for an EMBR Complex Process Technician Job. Go to to apply. Please share!

09:19:53 From Manny Patole (he/him, Co-City Baton Rough) : FYI - Many retailers are asking for remote/home-based order processing fulfillers with paid training. Indeed, SimplyHired, ZIpRecruiter have hundreds of posts. I know it isn’t a career but can help people with some temporary income

09:20:13 From Tyra, LaunchBR : I was on a call with leaders in WI and they were pointing to our prison-employment stats. LITERALLY it is a black eye on LA

09:21:05 From Leslie Clay : That is the truth.

09:21:29 From Pat LeDuff : so TRUE!

09:23:30 From Pat LeDuff : you are correct- it is what it is

09:25:07 From Kevin Guitterrez : yes, Gwen!

09:25:09 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Absolutely! Good point, Gwen!

09:25:13 From Tyra, LaunchBR : Amen Rev. Anderson!!! And I am a fan of yours. Thanks to Rep. Ronnie Edwards for introducing us.

09:25:31 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : I miss her everyday!

09:26:07 From Pat LeDuff : Yes, for sure ages 3-5 / that’s the foundation

09:26:19 From Pat LeDuff : Yes!

09:27:16 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : That is true!

09:29:20 From WELCH, KELLY S : Note that our refineries (crude oil) still provides feedstocks to chemical and plastics plants.

09:30:38 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Runoff Election December 5th! Please remind everyone this is important!

09:31:10 From Pat LeDuff : Early voting next week

09:31:13 From Heidi Howat Wendt : We are still doing COVID Community Testing somewhere in the region 5 days a week

09:31:38 From Tyra, LaunchBR : I agree Justin!!!

09:31:45 From Leslie Clay : I have to run. Another call. This was GREAT. Thanks so much everyone.

09:31:59 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : So proud of my neighbor! Way to go, Dustin!

09:32:01 From Tyra, LaunchBR : I meant Dustin- not sure how that happened

09:32:03 From Pat LeDuff : congrats!!! Justin

09:32:05 From Raymond A. Jetson : Much respect to Dustin!!!

09:32:16 From Casey Phillips : Welcome to the group Chris & Lindi!

09:32:28 From Girard Melancon : Great Job Dustin!

09:33:05 From Pat LeDuff : Dustin. keep going !!

09:33:46 From Dustin LaFont@FYB : Thank you for the kind words. Our youth are a driving force for good! Looking forward to building together.

09:34:12 From Kevin Guitterrez : Appreciate each of you and looking forward to continuing to engage!

09:36:24 From Kelli Rogers : Thanks everyone!!


Week #32 Topic

“Safe, Hopeful, Healthy with Mayor Broome"

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome

  • We are working to capitalize on federally allocated CARES act dollars for the S.M.A.R.T. initiative. These dollars are prescribed to improve situations that have evolved during the pandemic.

  • We must recognize the moment we’re in from a public safety standpoint and respond to it with strategic decisions that give us a long term strategy to be a healthy community. 

  • Take a comprehensive all encompassing approach to address the issues facing our community

  • Dedicate funding as prescribed to interrupt the cycle of violence, revitalize neighbors, strengthen families, prioritize access to care, and more

  • Target youth through mentorship programs and connect residents to neighborhood-based public benefits

  • Address the ongoing cycle of violence by engaging messengers from 70805 and 70802 neighborhoods, areas where we see the highest rate of violence

  • All of these efforts are informed by data from BRPD and public health data

  • Use analytics to determine which segments of our community will have the greatest benefit from this programming in order to maximize resources

  • Four pillars of focus:

    • Prioritize community based public safety

    • Stabilize youth, family, and community

    • Expand health in all policies

    • Create equitable community development

  • We are meeting with leaders nationally and locally to see strategies that have worked

  • Currently hosting community meetings centered around these four pillars

    • Next meeting is Saturday November 7 at the River Center Library

  • For us to succeed in a pandemic, it takes us working together! We’re seeing an uptick in crime, violence, and domestic violence and obviously there is a direct correlation to the pandemic. In the CARES funding they explicitly allocated dollars to address this violence and community impact will propel us forward.


Q: Casey Phillips - How does the initiative address the interconnected drivers of poverty?

A: When looking at our focus with Safe, Hopeful, Healthy, we touch the areas that are part of the pipeline that affect communities negatively. One of the goals is to connect with the education system, identify and uplift physical and mental health in all policies, create equitable community development (transportation, affordable housing)....when we address these issues, it helps us develop the formula for addressing crime in our community. We desperately need the buy in of organizations like the ones on this call! We want to build on the work that many organizations are doing. We want to connect the four pillars and the dollars needed to get the work done.

Q: Gwen Hamilton - Early last year, Chief Paul said something haunting - “We have got to stop growing criminals”. As we move into the next administration, early childhood education becomes a part of SPEAK so that children, who we know learn at a very early age, have the opportunity through Head Start but we must push to better coordinate to provide high quality education that begins at Pre-K. Lack of quality education has been one of the number one problems we’ve had in 70802.

A: We need to improve our communication and pull in thought leaders in the process. We implemented the cradle to K program to put a spotlight on early childhood development (0-3 years). Head Start starts a little later than psychologists tell us children need that early development. We have to make sure this early development is connected to Head Start - that doesn’t happen in all of the cities across our state. We are in a unique situation to craft and improve these programs.

Q: Dean Andrews - We know that D and F schools are traditionally in low income communities. How can you as mayor make a change knowing how paramount it is for communities to have quality education. You as a political leader can only do so much - we on the ground must do the work to create the desire for radical change. How can we as a coalition work towards this goal?

A: As mayor, it is possible to convene meetings with stakeholders and leaders in the community to discuss education. You on the ground can break down the barriers that often exist to help us move forwards towards the common goal of quality education for all students. Unfortunately education is often politicized which does not help the students. We need a shared educational goal - for example, the Capital Area Promise informs students on higher education and career paths to elevate the academic and educational growth of our students.

Q: Pastor Jeremy Pleasant - When you’re talking about Safe, Hopeful, Healthy, how can that help address food insecurity and how can the people on this call help move that forward?

A: We have been addressing food insecurity through the Mayor's Healthy City Initiative as a conduit for improving the problem. We’ve received some multi-million dollar grants from some community partners which we’ve used to pilot programs to bring food to the 70805 zip code. With food insecurity we talk about our students, when they’re out of school and how they access food, our overall community being able to go to grocery stores. The faith based community has their pulse on hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout their parishes and can serve with us as a conduit for congregants challenged specifically with food insecurity.

Q: Ted Holmes - Is there currently an effort being made to address the digital divide? With COVID, we are seeing the impact of the lack of internet access for our students and families. From neighborhoods with no infrastructure to families who can’t afford it, there are various obstacles that impact our PK-16 students. How can we work with your office to address this with business and industry in EBR?

A: We are on a good trajectory with Telemedicine, we just have to invest and prioritize further development.

Q: Connor Deloach - One of the profound things that has come from the pandemic are the calls and collaboration. How do we ensure that funding like this continues to promote these collaborative efforts and comprehensive long term approaches to address change?

A: There is serious pressure to sustain long term relationships with funding. CARES helped continue efforts with Walls, Top Box, etc. We have to change cultural awareness and lean into resources, tell the truth about our constituents’ situations, and work collaboratively. We can get more results, we can share more data, and we can get more national dollars to make this work. We want to help organizations become sustainable and ourselves move towards being less of an anchor and more of a supporting arm.

Q: Jan Moller - My question concerns the minimum wage. Baton Rouge and other cities are forbidden by state law from establishing a local minimum wage. But the city can set a strong example by raising the pay of its lowest-paid workers, and requiring city contractors to pay their workers a living wage with good benefits. Is that something you would prioritize in a second term?

A: Getting support from the community is welcome and we need your advocacy, for instance advocacy for contractors’ wages, more than we can push the needle on our own. Move BR was brought in under Mayor-President Broome and we have successfully brought in a DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) certification program and have moved up from 10% to 30%. The minority certification is so important - a lot of small businesses can’t take the time to get certified by DOTD, the state, etc. A single certification will be very helpful to spurn on business. BR Pop and Tyra Banks have worked towards DBE procurement from $12-18 million. These things are happening behind the scenes but there are some major moves being made to put money into the community and move the community forward. DBE dollars help create diverse communities, industries, businesses. Legislation around it needs to be thought about from the theory of abundance and not scarcity. 

Courtney Scott

  • Safe, Hopeful, Healthy will help break down silos and connect the dots

  • RFP of $5 million received with $3.2 million allocation of CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds

  • We have some lists and criteria from HUD due to the pandemic 

  • There’s a NOFA (Notice of Funding Allocations) with a category called Public Service

  • Typically the cap is 10% but because of COVID, HUD has increased that allocation meaning we have more dollars to put on the ground to respond to our community. It has been increased to 100%. 

  • How do you define Public Service?

    • Carrying out job training to expand the pool of healthcare workers and physicians

    • Providing testing diagnosis at a fixed or mobile location

    • Increasing capacity to target infectious disease

    • Providing equipment and supplies to address areas outside of public service

    • Delivery of meals on wheels and feeding services to 

    • Employment services

    • Crime Prevention and public safety,

    • Youth services and services to senior citizens

    • Services for homeless citizens

    • Community educational campaigns

    • Community based technical programs designed to address neighborhood blight safety


For further information on Safe, Hopeful, Healthy -

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and Build Baton Rouge announced this week the award of a $5 million grant to implement the Plank Road Master Plan. 

The grant award will be administered to the City-Parish and Build Baton Rouge by JPMorgan Chase’s 2020 Advancing Cities Challenge. The five-year initiative supports comprehensive solutions to complex systemic challenges facing communities across the country. 

Plank Road was once a thriving commercial corridor in East Baton Rouge Parish, and unfortunately, the former epicenter of Baton Rouge has faced disinvestment. The residents deserve to live in a community marked by growth and opportunity, and our Plank Road Master Plan lays the foundation to comprehensively address the challenges facing this region of our parish. This investment from Advancing Cities moves Baton Rouge closer to achieving peace, prosperity, and progress for all of our residents.

The Challenge Fund is now up to $400K!  You’re getting this information before we’ve even had a chance to update the website. The executive team is making a strong push over the next two weeks to get that number even higher.  This is the pot of money available to you, our nonprofits participating in 225 GIVES! The following are now live on 225GIVES under Nonprofit Resources:

  • Nonprofit toolkit

  • 10/22 Nonprofit Training Recorded Presentation

  • Additional Value-Added Training Topics & Dates


  • Nonprofit Registration Deadline – November 5th

  • Please thoroughly review profile pages and make edits if needed. 

  • We will be adding a training on Monday, November 23rd at 11:00 a.m. titled 225 GIVES – The Final Countdown.  This session will provide an overview of what to expect for Early Giving, Giving Day (Dec.1st), and Post Giving Day items.

  • Get involved on social media! Follow @225Gives on Instagram and Twitter. Facebook has the most content -

  • Email with questions

Looking forward to November and watching #225GIVES come to life!

08:37:54     From Helen Frink :

08:38:07     From Casey Phillips : Thank you Helen for the link

08:40:02     From Helen Frink :

08:41:34     From Casey Phillips : Please put your questions for the Mayor in the chat

08:43:17     From Casey Phillips : Sydney you’re next

08:46:53     From Donald Andrews : While you are not directly responsible for education. As change in the economy continues to advance the need for quality educational outcomes is paramount. If we look at the location of D and F schools they are in the low income community. How do we move to uplift these schools and provide these students an opportunity for success.

08:51:30     From Coletta Barrett : Adverse Childhood Experiences impact learning.  This is the space that healthcare can enter into and work collaboratively.  The Children's Hospital and Healthcare Centers in Schools are already working in this space, MORE work to be done

08:53:12     From Jeremy Pleasant : Mayer Broome. Looking at a key indicator of poverty, food insecurity. What do you see as some of the biggest barriers of those in hunger, accessing existing services? How does Safe, Hopeful, and Healthy currently address this? How do you imagine community partners can recognize and address some of these barriers?

08:53:16     From Elizabeth Perry : The Cradle to K initiative is a fantastic program! I had several foster children go through the program. On behalf of my these children, thank you for the great work with this initiative!

08:53:32     From Tyra Banks : Excellent job Mayor!

08:55:52     From Sydney Epps, LSU : Education is politicized because uneducated people are easier to manipulate. Let's start VERY early and create a norm of college completion.

08:56:40     From Connor Deloach : Casey has built a platform(s) for continued collaboration and communication among the various different groups and people working to create change. I am curious what measures or processes the city has in place to ensure that funding like this continues to promote collaborative efforts over a single minded approach?

08:56:51     From Ted Holmes : Is there currently an effort being made to address the digital divide? With COVID, we are seeing the impact of the lack of internet access for our students and families. From neighborhoods with no infrastructure to families who can’t afford it, there are various obstacles that impact our PK-16 students. How can we work with your office to address this with business and industry in EBR?

08:58:02     From Jan Moller (he/him/his) : Thank you for your leadership Mayor Broome. My question concerns the minimum wage. Baton Rouge and other cities are forbidden by state law from establishing a local minimum wage. But the city can set a strong example by raising the pay of its lowest-paid workers, and requiring city contractors to pay their workers a living wage with good benefits. Is that something you would prioritize in a second term?

08:58:51     From Tyra Banks : I live in 70805 and we finally have fresh fruit at our corner stores and Family Dollar

08:59:13     From Adonica Duggan : I have to jump for a 9 a.m. but would love to discuss more on the digital divide issue in a future call. Thanks for the partnership of such an amazing group of community leaders.

09:01:49     From Coletta Barrett : J Daniels with Public Housing Authority would be a great conversation starter for the Digital Divide … one partner and approach...

09:02:00     From Mayor Sharon Weston Broome : I’m going to have to jump off in about 5 minutes.

09:02:52     From Casey Phillips : Thank you Mayor, if you have time to address the digital divide question that would be a gift.

09:03:48     From Rinaldi Jacobs Sr : would this include WiFi for better telemedicine for the HUD grant

09:03:49     From Mayor Sharon Weston Broome : Jan, I am focused on raising the salaries of CP workers.  I have just raised the minimum salary to $10hr.  The goal continues to be a livable wage.  Welcome your input in how we can move this forward.

09:04:08     From Judith Rhodes : Thank you and good luck! I have another appointment. Stay safe everyone.

09:04:17     From Casey Phillips : Thank you Judith

09:05:16     From Helen Frink :

09:05:39     From Helen Frink : copy me as well!

09:05:46     From Mayor Sharon Weston Broome : Broadband expansion is a top priority.  Needed to attract new businesses and sustain existing businesses.

09:06:07     From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) : Here's the link for the NOFA:

09:07:59     From Jan Ross - HAWF : Must disconnect - heading out to start the weekend early.  Thank you Casey.  Best of luck Mayor Broome

09:08:27     From Shavon Knighten, AMIkids : Thank you Mayor Broome for your continued Leadership!

09:12:37     From Connor Deloach : Thank you Courtney

09:13:54     From Coletta Barrett : Communicate, Collaborate and Coordinate efforts and service

09:14:23     From Tracy White : Thanks so much, Casey! Perfect example. This has been an informative call. Thank you, Mayor Broome and Courtney.

09:14:28     From Courtney Scott : definitely the way to go

09:14:56     From Ted Holmes : That’s awesome Casey. I’m glad to have been invited to this call.

09:15:15     From Tracy White : Hopping off for another call. Thanks again!

09:16:21     From Jeremy Pleasant : Gotta run to my next meeting. Thank you for the invite.

09:17:00     From Helen Frink :

09:17:55     From Helen Frink :

09:17:55     From Coletta Barrett : BRAC is focused on Procurement opportunities for inclusive and local efforts

09:18:11     From Shavon Knighten, AMIkids : I have to hop off. Great conversation! Have a great weekend!

09:18:45     From Emanuel Boo Milton : Wow. Thats great

09:19:17     From Tyra Banks : Yes Courtney

09:19:32     From Rev. Alexis Anderson-EBRPPRC : Will that certification process be digital?

09:20:05     From Tyra Banks : Thanks for recognizing our work. It could not be done without folks like BRAC and OLOL and Blue Cross etc

09:20:30     From Helen Frink : Please copy me on any outreach to these members of the admin

09:21:21     From Rinaldi Jacobs Sr : very good for.a.seamless certification.  makes it easier for the minority businesses

09:23:43     From Coletta Barrett : Our community's ability to work together is unique.  The TRUST we create by connecting and working together makes current and future collaboration easier!

09:24:50     From Connor Deloach : couldn’t be happier about it!

09:25:38     From Rev. Alexis Anderson-EBRPPRC : Absolutely

09:25:45     From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) : "you don't have to bbq together on Sunday's to get work done"

09:25:49     From Connor Deloach : 100%

09:28:18     From Coletta Barrett : You cannot give what you do not have... taking care of oneself is NOT SELFISH... it is selfless...  filling our cup lets us pour into anothers...

09:28:57     From Connor Deloach : Quick plug since Casey brought up Top Box. We are now offering 50% discount for anyone utilizing SNAP benefits on all groceries purchased for free home delivery

09:29:38     From Tyra Banks : Amen

09:29:57     From Rev. Alexis Anderson-EBRPPRC : Remind everyone that this is not the only election.  If people need to register please encourage them.  Voting is powerful in every election all the time!

09:30:24     From Elizabeth Perry : Prayers coming your way, Boo!

09:30:25     From Jen Tewell (she/her) : Grief Recovery Center offers free virtual or in-person COVID-19 support groups and we're launching a free virtual holiday series Nov. 10.

09:31:20     From Emanuel Boo Milton : @Elizabeth Thank you ! Receiving all of the prayers

09:31:22     From Foundation for EBR System : Yeay!!!

09:31:28     From Rev. Alexis Anderson-EBRPPRC : Yes was so excited to hear that!!!

09:31:29     From Emily Chatelain : !!

09:31:33     From Coletta Barrett : Stay Safe...

09:31:42     From Emanuel Boo Milton : Thats great!

09:31:45     From Foundation for EBR System : Big turn - thanks partners!

09:32:24     From Connor Deloach : Thank you as always Casey! Great seeing everyone.

09:32:32     From Rev. Alexis Anderson-EBRPPRC : That's wonderful!

09:32:48     From Coletta Barrett : Casey Phillips - true servant leader

09:34:43     From Sarah Walsh, IBM : I am working the polls thanks to this call!

09:34:54     From Rachelle "Ray-chel" Sanderson (she/her) : Thank y'all so much for hosting this space! This was my first meeting and it was energizing!

09:34:57     From Jen Tewell (she/her) : Y'all are incredible. Thanks!

09:36:07     From Sydney Epps, LSU : We purposely restrict voting...

09:36:20     From Emanuel Boo Milton : Helen is GLOWING !!!! Hey :D

09:36:20     From Sydney Epps, LSU : thanks everyone!

09:36:22     From Lou Guthrie : My first call too, and what an exciting group of people.

09:36:26     From Casey Phillips : Thank You Sydney!

09:36:42     From Sydney Epps, LSU :

09:36:51     From Sydney Epps, LSU : see you all again soon

09:37:04     From Sydney Epps, LSU : Philly to BR!

09:37:43     From Sydney Epps, LSU : remember: cultures are not costumes 🥰

09:37:54     From Sydney Epps, LSU : take care

09:38:59     From Helen Frink : 2254275005

09:39:01     From Aishala Burgess : Thanks Casey!

09:39:46     From Foundation for EBR System : I assume United Way would have a tie with Salvation Army

09:45:03     From Foundation for EBR System : walkinCasey’s motto: “Connecting us for work, protecting us from spam“

09:45:23     From Kelli Rogers : Thanks so much everyone! Have a great weekend!!

09:45:24     From Foundation for EBR System : great call!

09:46:01     From Karla King : Thanks everyone - next Friday!


EBR Community Check-In Week #31 “Food Insecurity Coalition (EBR) Report Out"

Meeting Notes Prepared by Helena Williams

Katie Pritchett (Capital Area United Way) Main focus Data - utilizing data to tell the story of food insecurity

  • Subgroups

    • Federal & Philanthropic Funding

    • Service Providers

    • Data, Evaluations, & Policy

  • Determining the why, what we’re doing, how we’re impacting the community

Key data points as it relates to food

  • What are we already collecting?

  • What should we be collecting?

  • Barriers

    • Food Insecurity is the tip of the iceberg

      • Usually additional factors

        • Transportation

        • Childcare

        • Health access

  • A holistic wrap around the people serviced

  • Data insight tool to better tell the food insecure story

  • Meeting 2x in Nov and 2x in Dec

Jan Ross (Angelina & Huey Wilson Foundation) Workgroup A:  Federal & Philanthropic Funding

  • As providers, how do you obtain access to funding? 

    • Data - creating evidence towards the need and the success

    • Case for support creation

    • What are you looking for?

    • How can we package this info?

    • Showing a collective action as a case for support is more attractive to multiple funders

Edy Addison (Capital Area United Way) - Workgroup B: Service Providers

  • Serving Food Insecure People

    • Direct food distribution

    • Services to connect to food (SNAP, etc)

    • Growing Food

  • Newly defining the types of people who are food insecure

    • Not fitting into the typical programs alignments for “food insecure”

  • What data are we all tracking and similar metrics of success

  • What data can we commonly track, what are we willing to put forward, what new metrics can we record to show we’re doing this cohesively?

  • How do we make buying local produce apart of the system?

Manny Patole - Workgroup C: Data, Evaluations, & Policy

  • Short term goals

    • Understanding the overall landscape of food insecurity in BR

      • Data we have, missing, and who’s working in this space

    • Medium-term goals

      • Serving as a way of finding services

      • Securing resources to better serve the community

    • Longterm goals

      • Leveraging data and evaluations to make longstanding policy changes

  • Focusing on what services are happening and who they are servicing

  • Technical side creating a rosetta stone to develop what we’re missing in data and support to create short term solutions to get food out to people right now

Tyra Banks (MetroMorphosis) - Work Group B

  • LWS(?) purchased local convinces stores

    • Pipeline having local growers - opportunity to connect

Kelli Rogers (Geaux Get Healthy) Work Group B

  • Top Box corner store initiative 5 stores right now

  • Food deliveries, and transportation something continued as a focus for GGH

Traci Vincent (Chef / Geaux Get Healthy) Work Group B

  • Beyond data

    • What’s going on in the city

    • Policy changes to take place down the road

    • Recognizing where the gaps are and filling them in

Korey Patty (Feeding Louisiana) Work Group C

  • Looking at longer systemic issues around food insecurity

  • Helping foodbanks and typical systems

  • Problems, challenges, and opportunities to address food insecurity locally

  • Introducing the group to the large-scale programs and the policies programs like how much food they can get

  • Recognizing all of the barriers that exist around accessing those basic needs

  • Talking with practitioners

    • What are you doing, where are you doing it, what data are you collecting already?

    • Comparing group data and telling a story

    • What’s missing from creating a more impactful story?

      • Geography - specific zip codes focus (concentrated poverty and food insecurity)

    • Where services are to paint a bigger picture

    • Needing food asst. but have additional challenges

      • Job instability, access to transportation, childcare, safe home environments, stressors, traumas, barriers to access

        • Data around the physical and mental strain of poverty

    • Expansion of partnerships around communication and destigmatization of food access

    • Programming to creatively expand access in non-traditional delivery partners (schools, buses, healthcare centers)

      • Not just for picking up food but to understand the long term impacts of the factors they are specifically monitoring AND food access

    • Providing resources and food today, tomorrow but also how do we change the landscape around food insecurity

Chelsea Morgan (American Heart Association) Work Group B

  • Encourage by the work

  • Longterm goals

  • Recent discussions of short-term goals to share the need to our community

  • Intention of the working groups have shown that and not lose focus because of how many people have the need

Patrick Tuck (4-H Louisiana) Work Group C

  • Policy around the school gardens to make sure leftover food makes it into the system

Dr. Nadine Mann (EBR Schools) Work Group B

  • Feeding face-to-face

    • 4k - 16k meals-per-day breakfast and lunch

    • prior pandemic 30k meals (lunch) 20k (bfast)

    • working on a plan to target the home kids

      • currently, they can stop by schools on Wed to take home a weeks worth of food

    • Proposal for home delivery to the state agency

      • 1 box once a week to get 5 days worth

Emily Chatelain (Three O’Clock Project) - Work Group B

  • Serving a few meals to a few in-person after school programs

  • Most after-school programs are 100% virtual

  • Not funded by the state

  • Piloting for 8 weeks

Leslie Clay (Family Health & LPHI)

  • Oct 28 - Tele-town Hall Regions 1 & 2

    • Topic: COVID and the Flu

Sharmayne Rutledge (EBR Schools)

  • Highschools returned this week

  • Virtual support program is underway

    • 3-4 teachers extending services K-12 to help meet the needs of the virtual learners

    • Homework flyer

Reverend Alexis Anderson (PREACH) 

  • CAUW - Prison Reform Coalition

    • Incarcerated families and persons incarcerated can take advantage of the stimulus check

    • Jail is 85-90% pre-trial all of their bills and obligations remain

      • For-profit places - incurring many expenses for all access

    • Isaac Families - Using money to post bond, now responsible for raising children as parent is incarcerated

    • Nov 21 - Flyer

Adonica Duggan (New Schools For Baton Rouge)

Education as a Civil Right is Tuesday March 28 - Keynote speaker John King

Pat LeDuff (CADAV)

  • Betty’s Hope Bus - Warrick Dunn

  • Revisit the bus idea

  • Transportation - Bringing Cats to the meetings to where stops are not working for the people

08:30:46 From Manny Patole : (Pure Fun and 1980's appreciation) -

08:32:51 From Esperanza Zenon : Sorry I missed ya'll yesterday.

08:33:46 From Casey Phillips : No problem at all Esperanza, will give you a full download when we catch up next

08:38:34 From Casey Phillips : Good Morning Dr. Rutledge! If you have any EBR Schools updates to share please let us know - will give you the floor 08:48:21 From Casey Phillips : Myra, the FIC would love to get your farmers and community partners from Scotlandville and Mid City engaged. Can we connect to discuss, next meeting is 11/4

08:48:30 From Anna TBF : Tyra — we can talk about this!

08:48:55 From Anna TBF : Talking with Baton Roots right now about how we can get local produce in the stores

08:49:26 From Kelli Rogers : Great!!  Didn't see that you were on Anna.

08:49:47 From Manny Patole : Also we are seeing that the cut-off metrics from FDA or SNAP etc do not really capture who is really food insecure either acute or chronically

08:50:38 From Chelsea Morgan : I'm encouraged by the collaboration and thoughtfulness that our leaders have taken to set up this coalition. The intention is not lost among the large number of organization at the table. Thank you CAUW, Casey and all workgroup leaders! 

08:50:55 From Manny Patole : How can we properly identify who is insecure, when are they insecure, understand the underlying issues and the related issues like mental health, access to transit/mobility/ age cohorts, etc

08:51:49 From Manny Patole : @Korey, can you mention the three observations from our meeting (FIC Pearls of Knowledge)

08:54:39 From Esperanza Zenon : I have a 9am meeting so I have to leave

08:55:02 From Jen Tewell (she/her) : Can y'all share how to join the group c for this coalition?

08:55:35 From Katie Pritchett : Hi Jan, you can send me an email and I can add you to the roster and meeting invites. 

08:55:36 From Casey Phillips : Jen, drop your email in the chat for Katie to include you in the CAUW Zoom invite.

08:55:50 From Manny Patole : @Jen (and everyone) if you are interested in joining the FIC you can let us know and your email. We can then sort you into where you like to work.

08:55:58 From Jen Tewell (she/her) : - thanks!

08:58:40 From Manny Patole : The FIC is not looking to crown the market with another org doing the same thing. Rather, we are looking to help understand and bridge the gaps in erradicating FIC in EBR through coordinating work, understanding and influencing policy, and helping to destigmatize the issue. In addition we want to have a greater understanding who is being served, where, is the work being done enough for those with acute and chronic hunger issues in those areas.

08:58:43 From Casey Phillips : Themes from Work Group B:

1.       Geographic data is really key to showing the need and help paint the picture of where services are being delivered, where people live, etc.

2.       Understanding additional stressors for food insecure people and how to meet their needs with access: literacy, transportation, mental health, etc. when trying to address basic needs. Paint the whole client picture.

3.       Being able to expand partnerships and leverage non-traditional partners in elevating food insecurity and pair that with program expansion. Moving from point of understanding food insecurity is an issue only to how do we support folks supporting with these issues by providing access, resources, talking about issues, reduce stigma.

09:01:25 From Walls Project to Casey Phillips (Privately) : Patrick has his hand raised 09:04:10 From Family Health : Hey there Casey

09:04:45 From Myra Richardson : ^I’ll get with my teams and shoot you an email

09:05:13 From Casey Phillips : Thank you Myra!

09:05:54 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : What is the support system for families without POV?

09:08:38 From Casey Phillips : You’re up next Dr. Rutledge

09:15:09 From Danielle Mack : Very helpful resource. I will along to others. Thank you for sharing Dr. Rutledge.

09:15:23 From Casey Phillips : Thank you Danielle

09:15:36 From Anna TBF : We are running a new program for SNAP users to get up to $20 off their groceries

09:16:05 From Emily Chatelain : Rev Anderson - someone linked me to this organization this week: "Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Information Center of Louisiana"

09:19:03 From Casey Phillips : Adonica, we will close with your announcement

09:20:22 From Myra Richardson : *raises hand

09:20:33 From Casey Phillips : Got you Myra

09:20:56 From Kelli Rogers : raising mine too

09:28:59 From Manny Patole : I have office hours with a student (speaking of education and making time for our students). 

09:29:32 From Manny Patole : Thank you to all who are working on the FIC and those who are interested, we are ever growing and looking for folks who want to move the needle.

09:31:37 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : Yea!!!!!!

09:32:56 From Family Health : Thanks so much for hosting and per usual great call.  Have a great weekend everyone.  

09:33:06 From Family Health : Leslie from LPHI

09:33:08 From Casey Phillips : Thank you Leslie!

09:35:02 From Jen Tewell (she/her) : Thank you for this work! I look for to this meeting every week. I have to sign-off. Have a good weekend y'all!

09:36:08 From Korey Patty : Excellent point, Traci. Food insecurity impacts folks across socioeconomics for myriad reasons.

09:36:18 From Tre Nelson : Great work everyone!

09:36:22 From Pat LeDuff : can we get CATS to partner with us -? let’s invite them to a future meeting- we have been working to get that stop moved since the closing of EKL Hospital

09:36:59 From Pat LeDuff : great idea!!

09:37:54 From Casey Phillips : Theo is included on every coalition invite. Would be great to have him more engaged weekly but know he is a busy human.

09:38:03 From Emily Chatelain : I have to jump off but we can help with this - storage, food, etc. - when we kicked off our delivery over summer I reached out to every food truck owner in the city as a start

09:38:15 From Casey Phillips : Thank you Emily!

09:41:52 From Casey Phillips : Betty’s Hope

09:42:13 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : What about the Council on Aging but has a tons of vans and does food delivery everyday?

09:42:34 From Pat LeDuff : yes!!!  I remember

09:42:41 From Pat LeDuff : let’s do it

09:43:18 From Pat LeDuff : it worked and the kids loved the bus

09:43:19 From edy addison- cauw : I have to hop off- have a great weekend everyone.

09:43:34 From Kelli Rogers : Thanks everyone.  Have a great weekend!

09:43:34 From Rev. Alexis Anderson : EBRPL has the mobile book truck.

09:44:37 From Patrick Tuck : Thanks all! Great meeting as always!

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