Around Jefferson: Volunteer raises awareness of neurological disorder

Congratulations to Harvey resident Tommy Santora, who received the volunteer of the year award at the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America National Conference last month in Miami.

The award recognizes one member of MGFA who displays outstanding service to the organization by raising awareness and funds for research of myasthenia gravis, a neurological disorder.

Santora founded the New Orleans Myasthenia Gravis Resource Group in 2011. The group, with more than 100 members, has raised more than $70,000 locally in its first two years for research and awareness.

Santora also was recently elected as chairman of the communications committee and also as board member of the MGFA.

He works as a communications specialist in the Adams and Reese New Orleans office.

Two retreats from heat

Jefferson Parish has two locations to cool off during the summer heat, both managed by the department of Parks and Recreation.

On the west bank, Johnny Jacob Swimming Pool, 5851 Fifth St., Marrero, is open through Aug. 4.

Hours are 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The pool closes each day from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Admission is $2 per person.

Certified lifeguards are on duty during all swim sessions, and Coast Guard-approved infant- to adult-size life jackets are available for use free of charge.

Swimmers who are less than 54 inches in height must complete a swim test performed by the lifeguard on duty to swim without a life jacket.

Proper swim attire is required, and food, drinks, glass containers, toys and floats are prohibited.

Also, swim lessons are available for $50 per person.

For more information, to reserve an individual group session or for swim lessons, call (504) 349-5000, Ext. 130.

And on the east bank, the Spray Park in Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie, is open.

The Spray Park operates seven days a week through Aug. 9, and on weekends only from Aug. 10 until Labor Day — Sept. 2.

It is open to children ages 10 and younger. Children 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult, and infants must wear a diaper.

Hours are noon to 7 p.m. each day and the cost is $5 per person for 90 minutes.

Food, drinks, glass containers, toys and floats are prohibited.

The Spray Park covers approximately 4,000 square feet of surface and provides five fun, in-ground water spray features alternating with five above-ground water spray attractions. More than 135 gallons of water per minute are sprayed.

For more information, call the park office at (504) 838-4389.

Two special celebrations

The Jefferson Orleans North, 2600 Edenborn Ave., Metairie, features big band ballroom dancing every Wednesday and Sunday night.

This Wednesday, the Jay Zainey Orchestra will celebrate 32 years at the Jefferson Orleans beginning at 6 p.m.

Later this summer, on Aug. 7, Zainey will celebrate his 90th birthday at a special party and dance at the Jefferson Orleans.

For more information or reservations for Wednesday night, call (504) 454-6110.

New library hours

There are new hours of operation, including extended hours for many branches, now in effect for the Jefferson Parish library system.

The libraries and new hours are as follows:

The east bank branches of Lakeshore, 1000 W. Esplanade Ave.; North Kenner, 630 W. Esplanade Ave.; Harahan, 219 Soniat Ave.; Old Metairie, 2350 Metairie Road; and the west bank branches of Belle Terre, 5550 Belle Terre Road, and Westwego, 635 Fourth St., are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The branches are closed on Sunday.

The east bank branches of Rosedale, 4036 Jefferson Highway, and Wagner, 6646 Riverside Drive, along with Gretna, 102 Willow Drive; Lafitte, 4719 City Park Drive, Suite B; Live Oak, 125 Acadia Drive; and Terrytown, 680 Heritage Drive, will operate from noon to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

These branches also will close on Sundays.

Hours of operation for the two regional libraries — East Bank Regional in Metairie and the Jane O’Brien Chatelain West Bank Regional in Harvey — as well as the Grand Isle branch and the eBranch in River Ridge are unchanged.

For more information, call Daniel Gitlin at (504) 849-8826 or visit

Dinner, jazz at St. Rita’s

The CYO at St. Rita of Cascia, Harahan, is sponsoring an evening of gourmet food and jazz music starting at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Monsignor Champagne Parish Complex, 7100 Jefferson Highway.

The four-course meal will be prepared by Gautreaux’s Gourmet Cuisine and served by members of the youth group.

Jazz music will be played all evening.

Funds raised will help defray the cost of the annual summer trip to the Steubenville Youth Conference.

Tickets are $30 and can be reserved by calling (504) 737-2915.

Safe driving class

A four-hour AARP safe driving class will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 20 at the Elmwood Fitness Center, 1200 South Clearview Parkway, Harahan.

The class is open to both members and nonmembers of AARP.

The cost is $12 per person.

Those completing the course may be eligible for a discount on their car insurance.

For more information, call (504) 828-3962 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Future dates at this location are planned for Aug. 15, Oct. 17 and Dec. 12.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people, places and events in Jefferson Parish. Contact her at or call (504) 430-8053.