Today marks the second day of our J-Term journey, and so far we’re off to a good start. After arriving in New Orleans yesterday morning we checked into our hotel, the Park View Guest House, and then began our busy schedule of meetings.
Our first stop was lunch at Guy’s PO Boys, and then we were off to the New Orleans Federal Building. Our time at the Federal Building began with a presentation from Lieutenant Sue Kerver of the U.S. Coast Guard. Lieutenant Kerver explained the duties of the Coast Guard, its involvement with the BP Oil Spill, and her own personal experiences in relation to the oil spill. We also met with Andrea Taylor and Drew Banta, who handle the coastal activity in the local governor’s office. We wrapped up our first day with dinner at Commander’s Palace, where we were joined by Mark Schleifstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Today we had an early morning meeting with John Devaney of Devaney Communications. Devaney provided some great insight on the public relations side of the oil spill. From the power of social media to Louisiana’s methods of response to the BP oil crisis, Devaney covered the ins and outs of the damage control that was desperately needed after this major natural disaster.
Next, we headed to Loyola University, where we heard from professor Robert A. Thomas and Steve Peyronnin, the executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.
Professor Thomas shared a presentation on Louisiana’s trilogy of man-made disasters, which covered concepts such as coastal wetland loss, Katrina flooding, and the oil spill’s ultimate impact on the coastal wetlands. Steve Peyronnin discussed the role of nonprofit organizations in the oil spill.
Following our time at Loyola we had a yummy lunch off the golf course in Audubon Park, then we headed back to the hotel, where we met with Ariella Cohen, co-founder of http://www.thelensnola.org. Cohen discussed her career in journalism, and gave her perspective of New Orleans as a native New Yorker.
Tonight we’re having dinner with Dickie Brennan of the Brennan restaurant family at Bourbon House in the French Quarter.
PS- Tonight marks “Twelfth Night” in New Orleans, a.k.a the beginning of Carnival season! Happy celebrating!