features

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

Who's still thinking about Christmas in spring? The New Orleans Department of Sanitation, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Guard. This generation-long partnership comes together for the annual Christmas tree drop. Christmas trees are picked up curbside after the new year, packaged into bundles, and dropped via helicopter into a local wetlands area to build back land mass. The National Guard uses it as a training exercise, and the nearby wildlife refuge Bayou Sauvage gets a coastal restoration project.

Eve Abrams

The YMCA of Greater New Orleans is taking steps to reduce the burden of diabetes by offering a Diabetes Prevention Program, so that people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes don’t.

When you think YMCA, what comes to mind?

Volleyball, helping kids, swimming, gymnastics, the gym, the song.

One of Lafayette’s rising stars, blues rocker Lane Mack, released his self-titled debut earlier this month, and it hit No. 2 on the iTunes blues charts.

After his son was born, Mack says he wanted to record a collection of his own songs rooted in the blues and Cajun music he was raised on.


Eve Troeh / WWNO

Crowds filled the Fairgrounds as the 46th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival started its annual seven days of festing.

From a homegrown showcase for local talent, Jazz Fest has grown to include top national pop stars (which the festival officially calls “guest artists") alongside New Orleans' favorite jazz, blues, rock, gospel, hip hop, brass band and other talent. The nonprofit Jazz and Heritage Foundation has produced the festival in partnership with international production company AEG since 2004.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

It's been five years since the 2010 BP oil spill. On the day of the actual anniversary, a march and rally took place in the Central Business District to commemorate the people and places impacted by the spill. Marchers went from Lafayette Square to Jackson Square, dressed in all black to represent the 210 million gallons of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

It’s not easy finding a job, especially one you really love. It can be even harder for those with physical and mental disabilities.

An organization in St. Tammany Parish aims to help people gain independence through work.

Eve Abrams

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services helps people tackle civil legal issues for a stronger, safer, better life.

James Welch is a staff attorney at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, and two days a week he works at a place called Single Stop.

“We have so many students who come in here when they just need a rest, a place to come where no one is snarling at them,” laughs Welch. “Unfortunately, it’s tough. This is like an oasis.”

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Five years ago an off-shore explosion killed 11 workers and created a massive 210 million gallon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. There have been questions ever since about how the accident could have been prevented and how to improve off-shore safety standards.

Carl Moore started working on off-shore supply boats back in the 1980s.

On weekend afternoons, Craig Adams Jr. plays for tourists on the streets of the French Quarter.

He gigs with different bands, bringing whatever's needed: trumpet, trombone, saxophone — he plays six or seven instruments in all. There's a white plastic bucket on the sidewalk so people can drop in cash as they browse the T-shirts and Mardi Gras masks.

Craig is 18, and there's music in his blood: "I had my uncle, my grandfather, and my dad to teach me." His father, Craig Adams Sr., leads a group called the Higher Dimensions of Praise Gospel Band.

Principal Nicholas Dean looks at his scarred, broken office door with resignation.

"Time to get a new lock," he says.

Over the weekend, a person or persons smashed into his office, found the keys to the school van and drove off in it.

It's another day at Crescent Leadership Academy, one of New Orleans' three second-chance schools for students who have not been successful elsewhere.

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