features

New Orleans Municipal Court handles around 30,000-40,000 cases a year.
Cheryl Gerber / Unprisoned

Over the next several months, Unprisoned will look at how mass incarceration affects New Orleans — how people are doing time outside. We start at New Orleans Municipal Court with a vivid portrait of this front door to the criminal justice system.

Rickie Lee Jones.
MusicInsideOut.org

Rickie Lee Jones says she moved to New Orleans, in part, because she wanted to be around people. In Los Angeles, she was mostly around cars.

So far, so good. People from New Orleans — either real or imagined — are all over her latest effort, “The Other Side of Desire.” And one of Jones’ neighbors here even helped inspire a song on the album.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Rafael and Beth Salcedo have a mission — to help underage victims of human trafficking. They started a shelter to help young girls across the south.

George Porter, Jr.
MusicInsideOut.org

When George Porter, Jr. was a child, he wanted to become a Catholic priest. But an uncomfortably silent church retreat and an encounter with neighborhood blues musicians helped Porter find his musical calling.

He turned to funk and never looked back.

As the bass player for The Meters, Porter helped create a body of music in the 1960s and 70s that still resonates as some of the funkiest grooves ever recorded.

So what’s the secret to funk?

Veal sweetbreads at Doris Metropolitan, a contemporary Mediterranean restaurant in the French Quarter.
Ian McNulty

Go to enough modern restaurants and you can play a form of food trend bingo. Cauliflower and kale, short ribs and pork belly, a gourmet take on mac and cheese – they trace connected lines across plenty of menu. And why not? They’re all delicious when handled right and they’re all pretty accessible crowd pleasers too. It’s simple math. 

But then, look at a cross section of particular New Orleans menus, and you might spot a trend that doesn’t seem to add up.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge is between Slidell and Mandeville. Founded in the 1990s, it protects endangered birds and combats coastal land loss. It’s not just wildlife that thrives at Big Branch. The park’s volunteer program brings people of all ages and backgrounds together.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities in 2016 here. 

 

Mallory Falk / WWNO

Some cities have a range of programs for children with severe mental health needs: outpatient clinics, residential hospitals, therapeutic boarding schools. New Orleans isn’t one of them.

The city already had limited options when it shuttered its adolescent psychiatric hospital back in 2009. Now kids can receive some treatment in school or at home, or check into a hospital outside the city. But there's a new option for children with mental health needs.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Homelessness is a big issue in the New Orleans region, one that extends to the Northshore. Winter is particularly hard — shelters fill up, it is cold, and there is often nowhere to go. It can be especially hard for single men, and one organization is Slidell is trying to help.

Mark McVille has been homeless for two years. He has worked as a tugboat captain and construction worker, and was in the army for a while. He always had a pretty good job and had no problem supporting his kids.

Producer Scott Billington, with Irma Thomas and Dr. John.
MusicInsideOut.org

There’s a good chance that the name “Scott Billington” is on the back of your favorite album. Make that “albums.” As a long-time music producer for Rounder Records, Billington has tended the most fertile ground of American music.

Image of the St. Malo Maroon community from an 1883 edition of Harper's Weekly.
The Historic New Orleans Collection

You live in a cave, six feet underground. You’re surrounded by wild animals, swarms of mosquitos, thick mud, and you can only come out at night. Why? Because it beats being a slave.

“They could live there for five, seven, 10 years”, says Sylviane Diouf, director of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.

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