Tegan Wendland / WWNO

It turns out Louisiana's climate is a lot like Sub-Saharan Africa's. So it makes some sense you’d see animals usually spotted on safari at Global Wildlife -- an animal refuge on the Northshore in Folsom. There, visitors can learn about 4,000 exotic, endangered and threatened animals from all over the world.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

When a child witnesses or is the victim of a crime their testimony is often necessary in order to find out the truth and press charges. But getting them to talk and participate in a very adult process can be difficult and they need to be protected. A Covington-based nonprofit works with law enforcement and parents to sort it all out.

Hope House looks like a house, and it feels like one too. Located on a quiet back street, its offices are inside of a renovated home, with a tidy yard and pinwheels leading up to the front door.

Donna Landry, executive director of the Richard Murphy Hospice House, and staff member Darick Selders, work to make patients comfortable during their last days of life.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

On a quiet little cul-de-sac in Hammond, there is a special place where people go to die. The Richard Murphy Hospice House offers an alternative to the clinical setting of a nursing home for people during their last days of life.

Executive director of Our Daily Bread Food Bank in Hammond, Myrna Jordan, stands in front of pallets of food in the warehouse. The food is distributed to 25 sites throughout the Tangipahoa Parish every week.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Tangipahoa Parish’s poverty level, 19 percent, is well above the state and national average. While officials speculate as to why the rate is so high, many social service groups on the Northshore are just trying to help. One of the biggest challenges for struggling families is food access.

Our Daily Bread Food Bank is working to prevent food from being thrown away and get it to the people who need it most.

Volunteers help a group of children on a field trip make prints of local fish at the Northlake Nature Center.
Tegan Wendland / WWNO

With thousands of acres of wildlife refuges along Lake Pontchartrain and the Bogue Chitto River, the Northshore is known for its natural beauty.

The volunteers at one small park near Mandeville are working to provide opportunities for people to get involved and develop a deeper understanding of the local ecosystem. At the Northlake Nature Center, that appreciation begins with children.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

St. Tammany Parish has one of the highest rates of suicide in the state. It’s a problem that advocates are trying to solve and officials are trying to understand.

St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide, or STOPS, is determined to get the community talking about this problem, and to help those impacted. The 46 suicides in St Tammany Parish last year was a new record. But it’s an old problem. Parish resident Ricky Bryant is part of a long list that stretches back a few decades.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Raising kids is hard work. The St. Tammany Parish Parenting Center in Covington helps parents from all backgrounds face those challenges and take pride in the role they play in their children’s lives, and it’s also a place to socialize and find camaraderie.

On a recent weekday evening toys were scattered across the carpet and children played while parents filed in after work to support each other and learn how to be the best parents they can be.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Churches of several denominations are coming together to address an often invisible problem on the Northshore: family homelessness.

Nineteen churches decided to pool their resources and host homeless families in need. They take turns hosting the families at each church and rotate every week, providing food, childcare, counseling services and transportation, to help the family get back on their feet.

Well, technically it’s 13 for now, there’s a baby on the way.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Thrifty shoppers often seek hidden treasures and surprises at thrift stores. But visitors at one store outside New Orleans can also help stray animals.

The St. Francis Animal Sanctuary thrift store offers a unique gathering place for the Mandeville community — a room full of happy cats.

Sometimes customers are surprised when they notice one corner of the St. Francis Animal Sanctuary thrift store is screened off. It holds about 20 cats, who lounge around and play with one another while volunteers sit in recliners and pet them.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Every week in Old Mandeville, the gray stucco train depot comes alive for the Mandeville Trailhead Community Market. Sponsored by the city, it saw about 24,000 visitors last year and hosts about 60 vendors every Saturday.

The market is a place to buy local crafts, soap, honey, baked goods and plants. Plus, it provides many with companionship and community.