New Orleans area briefs for Sunday, June 9, 2013

NOMA extends
John Paul II exhibit

The Archdiocese of New Orleans and the New Orleans Museum of Art are extending Portrait of Faith: Blessed John Paul II in Life and Art to July 7.

The exhibit originally was scheduled to close June 16.

The exhibit, sponsored by the archdiocese and curated by NOMA and the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, focuses on the pope’s 1987 visit to New Orleans. A jeweled monstrance created for the 1938 Eucharistic Congress held in New Orleans, as well as personal items and vestments belonging to Pope John Paul II.

The exhibit will be open during regular museum hours Tuesday through Sundays through July 7. More information is available online to

St. John official to get
recovery honor

St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie H. Robottom will receive the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Phoenix Award for her contribution to disaster recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

The award will be presented to Robottom during a breakfast event held in Washington, D.C. June 21, during National Small Business Week.

Since 1998, the SBA has presented the Phoenix Award to business owners, public officials and volunteers who displayed selflessness, ingenuity and tenacity in the aftermath of a disaster, while contributing to the rebuilding of their communities.

“The Phoenix Award is an acknowledgment of heroic work and a recognition of the contributions made to disaster recovery,” SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said in a prepared statement. “Natalie Robottom displayed tremendous courage and resourcefulness in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, and she exemplifies the spirit one must have to rebuild after a disaster like this.”

Abita Springs wants code violation probe

St. Tammany Parish Code Enforcement personnel will focus on violations along the La. 59 corridor between Interstate 12 and the town limits of Abita Springs after the Parish Council unanimously passed a resolution Thursday calling for the sweep.

Councilman Marty Gould, who represents the area, sponsored the measure. The Abita Springs Board of Aldermen also asked for a sweep.

Gould called Abita Springs “one of the jewels of the parish,’’ and a tourist attraction. He said the point of the crackdown is to ensure that people take more pride in the appearance of the area.

Problems include violations of parish sign and landscaping ordinances and other visual blight, which Gould said can harm public safety as well as being aesthetically unpleasing.

Parish President Pat Brister applauded the initiative but cautioned that people might complain if they are cited. “When you get calls from your constituents, back us up,’’ she said.

St. Tammany accepts road donation

The St. Tammany Parish Council authorized Parish President Pat Brister to accept the donation of Meadowbrook Boulevard into the parish maintenance system.

The step, which required suspending council rules, was needed to construct a turn lane at the intersection of Meadowbrook and U.S. 190 while the state is making improvements to the highway.

Normally ordinances must lay over for 30 days after introduction to allow for public comment, and the council acts on the second reading. But the parish needed to move quickly to facilitate construction.

“With the state Department of Transportation and Development undertaking these long-awaited improvements, I don’t want anything to slow down the process or require additional work later,” said Councilman Marty Gould, who introduced the ordinance and moved for the suspension of rules.

St. Charles to offer free lunch program

The St. Charles Parish Department of Community Services will offer free lunch from June 3 and July 11 at several local schools for children under 18.

Lunch will be served Monday through Thursday each week from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at St. Rose Elementary School, 230 Pirate Drive in St. Rose; Luling Elementary School, 904 Sugarhouse Road in Luling; and E.J. Landry Alternative School, 108 Tiger Circle.

To qualify, children must either be under the age of 18 or handicapped individuals who attend a state accredited school. No fee or registration is required. Bus pickups will be available. A complete listing of pickup locations can be downloaded from the news section at

The Summer Food Service Program, now in its 23rd year, was created by the U.S. Department of Education to ensure children in lower income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer. In the summer of 2012, an average of 344 children were served daily in St. Charles Parish. Partners on this project include the St. Charles Parish Public School System and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

For more information call St. Charles Parish Department of Community Services at (985) 764-7944.

3 agencies receive partnership award

The New Orleans Kids Partnership, which includes 40 organizations, gave its Power of Partnership 2013 Award to three local agencies for their efforts to collaborate on behalf of children.

The New Orleans Public Library, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and New Orleans City Health were honored Friday at a breakfast meeting.

Compiled by
the New Orleans bureau

Seminar to help seniors spot scams

The St. Tammany SALT Council is offering a free seminar June 11 at the Greater Covington Center aimed at helping seniors protect their money.

The event will begin with a free continental breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Bogue Falaya Hall followed by topical presentations starting at 9 a.m. in the Fuhrmann Auditorium.

Shelley Bernhardt, director of the Western Union Global Consumer Protection program, will discuss some common and innovative ways scam artists convince strangers to send them money.

Nancy Boudreau from the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions will outline investments and explain the necessity for careful examination of the details of any investment instrument.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Lt. Fred Escher will explain the various ways criminals prey on senior citizens.

The afternoon sessions will focus on Medicare and ways to recognize fraud and abuse.

Lunch is included, and information on products and services will follow. A commercial shredding truck will be available to dispose of documents. Participants can bring up to three medium-sized boxes of material to shred.

Registration is available online at

Archdiocese buys Cenacle Retreat House

The Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans will purchase the Cenacle Retreat House in Metairie, maintaining it as a place of spiritual retreat for women in the metropolitan area.

The Cenacle Sisters of North America will cease operating the retreat house in August, when the archdiocese will take over.

“We are sorry to see the sisters leave the archdiocese, but we are committed to maintaining a special focus on ministering to the spiritual needs of women and their families,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond said in a news release.

Symposium features Huey P. Long Bridge

A symposium that will look at the initial construction of the Huey P. Long Bridge in the 1930s to the recent $1.2 billion widening of the span over the Mississippi River will be held in New Orleans on June 13. The event will begin at 9 a.m. at the Old U.S. Mint at 400 Esplanade Avenue.

The speakers will include William Conway, an engineer who lead the effort to widen the bridge, as well as Tonja Koop, the author of a book about the bridge.

More information can be found at

Compiled by
the New Orleans bureau