I Love My New Orleans Saints

The Black and Gold. The Boys of the Dome. The UNDEFEATED New Orleans Saints. No matter your preferred reference, these are our boys, New Orleans – our older brothers and our sons fighting like warriors every week, making us proud, giving us hope – standing as a symbol of the resilience that has become synonymous with the people of New Orleans. Drew Brees is not kidding when he shouts, “WE ARE NEW ORLEANS!” as he pumps the  boys up, preparing them to give to us the gift of their best for those few hours on  the field each week. And although I may occasionally joke with my friends about wanting to practice having babies with Jeremy Shockey (a feat impossible as I can no longer have children, meaning there would need to be A LOT of practice) when out of ear shot of my wonderful husband (Love you, Honey!) this deep love for the New Orleans Saints –  the kind of love that comes from the tip of your toes and leaves you with butterflies in your tummy and every time you look at the object of your affection you cannot help but smile your biggest smile – represents so much more. What they represent is different for each of us, they truly being an extension of our identity here in New Orleans.

The Saints remind me of that innocent enthusiasm we had as children, impatiently waiting for the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Great Pumpkin and Santa Claus. As game time approaches, my friends and I become a choir of “Who Dats!” and “Let’s go boys!” while posting anthems found on you-tube: we are an electronic tailgate. For a few hours we get back that excitement we held as children, the same one that leaves us as we grow into adults forced into the real world of responsibility. We create silly slogans mocking the team we are facing that week, talk a little bit of trash with our friends who favor other teams (especially those damn Viking fans!) and counting down until we see Drew Brees and Boys huddled up, screaming, declaring that they are us. And we are them.

I come from Wisconsin, a state where fans recently burnt Brett Favre jerseys when it was announced he was going to be playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Packer fans love their football and are loyal to a fault, but they aren’t Saints fans.

There ain’t any fan like a Saint fan.

My love for our New Orleans Saints stems far deeper than the pride I feel being apart of this wonderful city and the people who have now become my family. The New Orleans Saints are my prozac.

It’s been a year mixed with heartaches, loss and blessings at  Casa de Mueller. My father, bless him, passed away in May, joining my mother to whichever drive-in up in the sky they could agree to. My father had lived a long life, full of adventure and stories – but I really wasn’t prepared for how his death would affect me, particularly since it marked celebrating my thirty-third birthday without parents. I felt like an orphan, alone, and not in the cool Oliver Twist sort of way, causing a whole year of firsts without them.  As pre-season began, the road to sadness was particularly dark. It was those pre-season games, those interviews with Brees and the boys, that gave me something to look forward to – even if just for a few hours of the week. I had withdrawn from everything else but our boys.

As the season progressed, I withdrew a little less, began my ‘Who Dat!’ chat, and connected with a lot of really wonderful people over a team that represents hard work, skill, talent and determination. A team that represents strength. A team that represents each of us here, struggling to find our balance, needing just a little bit of distraction to help us appreciate what we have instead of what has been lost. As our boys sit 10 -0, I feel like I owe them thousands in therapy and a thank you for giving me that glint back into my eye.

To some, this may sound silly, using a football team to get me out of a dark period of my life.

You know what,though?

This isn’t any ordinary football team, baby. This is the Saints.

This ain’t no ordinary city. This is New Orleans.

This isn’t just a game. It is apart of who we are.

As the holidays approach, I tip my Saints Santa hat to the boys in the Black and Gold, in appreciation for the togetherness, the glue that helps us stand call and shout:

WE ARE THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS.

Bless you boys, the happiest of holidays — Jeremy, call me.

Saving Grace:

Though the Anderson family no longer feel shame in their decision, they do hope to shield their family from further harassment and requested that their last name be changed as a condition of publication of their story. 

Pulling up to the home of Gail and Robert Anderson, a large statute of the Virgin Mary sits in the yard welcoming guests into the home, while protecting the family that lives there. Next to the statute of Mary, inside of labyrinth of daisies, daffodils, tulips and roses is a stone engraved with the word grace. For the Anderson’s grace is not just a word or a concept taught through their strong Catholic faith, but the name of the daughter their hopes and dreams hung onto. It is the name of the daughter they said goodbye to in the Kansas office of a man named Dr. George Tiller.

Both coming from large families with faith deeply-rooted in the Catholic church, the Andersons looked forward to starting their own family with great anticipation, eagerly awaiting pregnancy test results each month in hopes that they would discover they were to become parents. The April morning that their hopes were realized is described by Robert as being one of the best days of his life. After breakfast, they went to the local bookstore together to purchase books on pregnancy, for him and for her, and celebrated by inviting their parents to dinner, sharing their news between the the gumbo and the dessert.

“We were the first of our families to marry and were the first in our families to have children. With our parents around the table, we celebrated a generation being added – being first time parents and first time grandparents. It was a moment of love, hope and joy,” Gail says, thinking back to the day that was to change their lives forever, unknowing exactly how much would change.

Their world was now filled with routine doctor visits, baby name books and trying to decide what color to paint the nursery. With no complications known to them, the Andersons enjoyed their last moments together as husband and wife before they would also become mother and father.

It was during a routine ultrasound, Gail’s first, when concern was raised over the development of the child. Told by their doctors that there was no cause for alarm, the Andersons were referred to specialists who referred them to another set of specialists. Finally, at 27 weeks, a doctor out of Baton Rogue gave them the honesty they had needed, informing them with regret that cystic masses were covering the child’s left lung, forcing pressure on a heart that had not fully developed. Gail would be forced to deliver her child through c-section, as the stress of a traditional birth would be too much for their baby’s body to handle. Their baby would need to be on life support machines for months until able to have the surgeries required that could repair the damage of the child’s suffocated heart and remove the masses from the undeveloped lung.  As painful was it was for the Andersons to hear that this child they wanted so badly may not live even after the surgeries intended to repair damage, they were forced to make a decision that not only challenged their personal strength, but where they fit into their Catholic faith.

After a frank discussion with their specialist, they decided that not only did the quality of life of their unborn child need to be questioned, but the life expectancy even if surgeries were successful. There were no guarantees and one day, one month or one year could be added to the life of their child, but not much more than that. After discussing every option available to them, the decision to visit Dr. George Tiller’s office in Kansas to have a late-term abortion was made. Both the Andersons sunk into a depression, feeling as if they were losing both their child and their religion.

“We are catholic. We are supposed to be against abortion, but the church teaches mercy as well. The church examines quality of life. It isn’t a black and white issue as so many like to make it, ” Robert says, looking away while fondling with his fingers the golden crucifix he work around his neck.

As they packed their car to travel to Wichita, Kansas, members of their parish came, trying to talk them out of their decision. Unable to deal with the confrontation, Gail admits she almost called the trip off at the last minute, unsure of how she would be able to sit next to these women in mass. This group was the same women she had gathered with outside of a clinic that performed abortions in Metarie, Louisiana, once a month coming together, praying for the souls of the unborn babies; for the souls of those making this choice. They traveled in silence, both trying to come to terms with their own perceived failures in the choice they were making.

“It was the longest car ride I had ever been on. I didn’t know what to say to my wife. I didn’t know what to think for myself, ” says Robert, recalling the trip that led them from Louisiana to Kansas, finally reaching the one-story, beige Women’s Health Care Services building where Dr. Tiller practiced.

“Dr. Tiller was a very gentle man to my husband and I. He wasn’t the villain that people, me included, had often painted him. He was soft-spoken. He held our hands while we mourned our loss. He even prayed with us.”

Explaining the procedure to the Andersons and the efforts the clinic would make to help them memorialize their child, Dr. Tiller showed the Andersons the compassion and support they so badly wished they had received from their neighbors and friends.

The next day as they arrived to the clinic, they found themselves surrounded by protesters chanting, begging the Andersons to change their mind and children holding a pro-life model of a fetus while calling the Andersons murderers, telling the Andersons that God would not save their souls for taking away the life of another. What was already a traumatic experience, was now infused with guilt, panic and fear.

“The staff was respectful and allowed me to have a little bit of dignity where I didn’t think I had any left. It made me sad that I didn’t get that from my friends or my religious community, but from strangers in a hospital setting. To this day, I am bitter about that,” Gail confessed.

On the wall of their living room, next to a crucifix and a painting of the Virgin Mary and St. Brigid of Ireland is a plague that holds on it two tiny foot prints.

“They do not just look at this as being abortion mills – the staff,” Robert says, looking up at the footprints of their baby Grace.

“She was real. They made her real for us. Those footprints was Dr. Tiller’s idea. He wasn’t a man with crazed-eyes anticipating the kill like some anti-abortion activists would like you to picture. He understood the difficult position we were in. He allowed us to still have a piece of the family we wanted. He even called the baby be her name, by Grace.”

It was very difficult for the Anderson family to learn of the murder of Dr. Tiller. Because he was one of the few individuals that showed them understanding, he became an unofficial member of their family, the quiet uncle that sits in the corner, observing, quiet except for a few pieces of sage advice.

“The people that praised Dr. Tiller’s murder – they are the real monsters.”

The Andersons have not left the Catholic church, still strong in their faith, believing that the church has begun to rely too much on the word of man rather than church teachings, becoming dangerously involved in politics and losing sight that the world simply is not black and white. They continue forward, despite for some calling of their removal from the church, because they know that they are not alone. They move forward because it is their hope that other Catholics faced with similar situations will realize that they are not alone. They move forward by the Grace of their daughter. They move forward, with two beautiful boys, ages five and four, who send kisses to their sister in heaven each night, their head held high, believing their only crime was showing mercy to the meek.

Women & The Practice of Judaism

Liprap’s Lament has written an excellent post based on the recent news story of a woman arrested at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for wearing a prayer shawl and reading aloud from the Torah. I’ll be the first to tell you I know very little about Judaism and I found her post very enlightening and informational regarding the role of women in Jewish religious practice and ceremony.

I’ve taken the liberty of cutting and pasting Liprap’s post here but please do go directly to her website for expanded information on this issue. Her post includes several pertinent links that I did not include here.
~~~
Anyhow, a couple of days ago, this was brought to my attention:

Police on Wednesday arrested a woman who was praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem due to the fact that she was wrapped in a prayer shawl (tallit).

The woman was visiting the site with the religious women’s group “Women Of The Wall” to take part in the monthly Rosh Hodesh prayer.

Police were called to the area after the group asked to read aloud from a Torah scroll.

Police said they arrested the women in the wake of a High Court ruling, which states that the public visiting the Western Wall is obligated to dress in accordance with the site’s dress code.

That highlighted part is the mechitzah separating the men on the left from the women on the right. The reasons for the smaller area for women are based on orthodox halachah (Jewish law) and how differently it obligates women to perform the ritual of prayer.

Tellingly, the women were busted only when they wanted to read aloud from the Torah – orthodox interpretations of halachah forbid the sound of a woman’s voice being heard in a ritual setting, forget about women actually reading from the Torah. But keeping women gagged has not been advocated by the High Court, so the police had to make do with hauling one away for wearing a spiritual garment that, once again, under orthodox interpretations of halachah, is forbidden to sit around a woman’s shoulders.

Yes, the Wall is a holy site for Jewish people world wide and one must be respectful of the other denominations of Jewry that worship there. But this is indicative of a serious problem that, if peace with Israel’s Middle Eastern neighbors ever comes to pass, the Jewish state may well rip itself apart over.

And, if that does happen, I know who will be ready with the first excuse:

More than most other ultra-orthodox Jews, such as Agudath Israel, Neturei Karta objected to Zionist aims of founding a state before the coming of the Messiah. To bolster their opposition, they cite tractate Ketuboth, verse 111 of the Talmud, which is interpreted as forbidding strife with gentiles in order to form a Jewish state, on the grounds that the destruction of the temple is a punishment from God, which would be rescinded by God. They further rely on an apocryphal legend, according to which God, the Jewish People, and the gentile nations made a pact when the Jews were sent into exile. under the pact, the Jews would not rebel against the non-Jewish world that gave them sanctuary and Jews would not immigrate as a group to the land of Israel. in return, the gentile nations promised not to persecute the Jews too harshly. Neglecting the history of persecution of the Jews, which many say voided this pact, Neturei Karta argue that by rebelling against the pact, Jews were rebelling against God.

It’s so nice to have the extremism within one’s own religion and culture laid out for all to see. It lets you know where the slightly less extreme elements of it all will go to as a last resort in the face of, say, women who only want to pray at Jerusalem’s present-day holiest site for Jews and who get arrested and called “stupid” by rabbis in governmental positions…and even by other women.

…beginning early in 1989, WOW was met with serious and continuous violence. Ultra-orthodox (haredi) men threw heavy metal chairs at them over the high barrier that separated men from women. One young girl was hit and had to be hospitalized. Canisters of tear gas were thrown into the womens’ section.

Ultra-orthodox women, often following male orders, sometimes on their own, uttered terrible curses, and tried to silence the quietly praying women in every way possible. They shrieked, circled, raged, and made awful faces. They pushed and shoved a pregnant Bonna Haberman who was holding onto the Torah with all her might. At one point, the government of Israel actually hired women to physically remove the women– not for disturbing the peace but for praying….

…How ironic! All over the world, including in Israel, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Jewish women are rabbis and lead their congregations, both male and female, in prayer. Orthodox women in Israel, the United States, Europe, and Australia, pray together in women’s prayer groups in which they chant from the Torah. More recently, orthodox women began to pray together with orthodox men in partnership minyanim (prayer quorums). This has included both women and men chanting from the Torah and receiving previously male-only honors.

Only in Israel, and at the site most holy to Jews, at a site where soldiers are sworn in, and national celebrations are held–at that place, Jewish women were, (and still are), prohibited from praying aloud in a group with a Torah.

Although I care deeply about Jewish womens’ religious rights in Israel and of course, about all womens’ right to both practice their religion–and to not be coerced into doing so–the struggle in Jerusalem is an intra-tribal matter and important in its own right.

However, as the Intifada of 2000 continued to rage against Israel, as did the United Nations, Muslim terrorists, and Western academics everywhere, I did not have the heart to join the jackal chorus against the Jewish state. Rivka and I decided to dedicate our book to the state of Israel and to refrain from writing articles or giving interviews to the non-Jewish media on this subject.

But such silence is not possible forever. Is Israel head and shoulders above Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia in terms of womens’ rights? Absolutely. But our struggle also proves that justice for Jewish women is quite imperfect in the only Western-style democracy in the Middle East.

Women have not forgotten thee, O Jerusalem, but a decades-long tribal and denominational conflict will threaten them and, in the process, threaten world Jewry. These problems must be addressed. It is the reason why I still have this link on my blogroll, as this sort of discrimination extends beyond prayer and into the fabric of every woman’s life in Israel, no matter what denomination she is. It is the “problem that has no name” that Judaism in general has never handled well, because the orthodox interpretations of halachah are still seen as the standard for observance, even by secular Jews.

Orthodox interpretations, however, are interpretations that are not done in a vacuum – those Talmudic tracts show evidence over and over again of the ways in which rabbis have been influenced by the customs of the rest of the world. Now that many of them are in Israel, they want to behave as though they are in a vacuum, but there really isn’t a leg for them to stand on. The day will come when they will be taken to task, and all that will be left is for them to wail that the Messiah didn’t start the current state of Israel, so all of you are just stupid stupid stupid!

There’s some Talmudic logic for you right there.

Sadly, this state of affairs has never been surprising to me, not since I was in grade school. The house of Israel is a case study in warfare from outside forces staving off an inevitable clash in a house that has been divided for centuries – heck, from Biblical times, even. These recent arrests at the Wall are one of many ways in which the cracks are showing.

Just something to think about.

Sunday Postscripts: Shop NoLA!

Wow, it’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is this thursday! That means only four weeks until Christmas ~ have you started your shopping yet? Even if you’re one of those super organized people who shops all year for your Christmas gifts, you may want to pick up another gift or two in the next couple of weeks. After all, shopping is part of the fun of the holidays. The last couple of years my fun holiday shopping has been all online and I love it that way. I can take my time in the comfort of my own home and peruse the many, many beautiful things to choose from while sipping whatever my beverage of the moment might be. ;) Shopping online doesn’t mean forsaking local merchants either and I’ve compiled a few of my personal favorites here for y’all.

NOLA sacred heart scarf

This cool in the extreme NOLA Sacred Heart scarf handcrafted by Mags of Art by Mags is at the top of my list. Meaning – I want one! It’s also a perfect gift for anyone who loves NOLA as it’s age and gender neutral. It would even rock on Fido for those chilly early morning romps. And it’s made of eco-friendly bamboo-cotton. The sacred/flaming heart is Mag’s original design and can be purchased in several colors.

Sweet Olive's Fleur de Lis soap

Sweet Olive Soapworks soaps are hand-made with love right here in New Orleans using locally grown organic ingredients. They have a wide variety of soothing soaps to naturally and sweetly scent your skin such as the All Natural Absinthe Soap, The All Natural Ponchatoula Strawberry Soap, the All Souls Soap which is sage infused with activated charcoal for spiritual cleansing and Ms. Antoinette K-Does Red Beans and Rice soap. I’m wanting to try the Moon Brew described as “Ruled by Artemis, goddess of the moon, mugwort stimulates the natural rhythms in women and is said to enhance prophetic dreams. Immerse yourself in the pagan goodness of this mugwort infused soap with a blend of rosemary, lavender, and cypress essential oils to relax your body and soul.”
These lush soaps are perfect stocking stuffers and hostess gifts. After all, what woman doesn’t like a little pampering in her bath?

Sucré ~ New Orleans Collection

Nothing is more deliciously decadent and soul-satisfying than fine chocolate (IMO) and Sucré more than fits the bill with their array of chocolaty delights. The New Orleans Collection marries chocolate with flavors native to the city like bananas and rum, pecans and chicory and serves them up beautifully in their signature turquoise box. This is definitely on my Christmas wish list ~ (would someone tell my husband, please?)

Happy Shopping!

When *Katrina* Happened???

I’m with Editilla on Leslie Jacobs’ first ad in her bid for mayor. Showing flood ravaged Canal Street while starting off, “When Katrina happened…” tells me one of two things:
1. Her media consultant isn’t from New Orleans
or
2. Her media consultant and she are out of touch with the locals. What happened here on August 29, 2005 wasn’t “Katrina” – it was “The Federal Flood”. I’m not splitting hairs here….this is an important distinction to New Orleanians who lost jobs, homes and loved ones to the fetid flood waters.

If she wants to be Mayor of New Orleans she might want to rethink her approach. Dig it.

Applications available for NOLA health program

Make Your Life Your Argument!

 

The New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program, a program of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship™ with partnership from the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) provides service opportunities and support for aspiring health professionals who seek to help the underserved in New Orleans.  With the generous help of contributors, the New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows Program proudly announces its third year of uniting a diverse range of students, faculty, and community-based providers who share a commitment to public service.

 

In the spring of 2010, approximately 15 New Orleans Schweitzer Fellows will be selected from applications submitted by students in a diversity of fields, including but not limited to medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health, social work, psychology, pharmacy, education, physical therapy, law, nutrition, art therapy, dance/movement therapy, music, and acupuncture.  We seek Fellows from an array of disciplines to contribute to the health of our communities.

 

Fellowship projects include the following:

  • a minimum of 200 hours of direct service through an existing community based organization in the New Orleans area;
  • a supervisor, or Site Mentor, at the host organization and a Faculty Mentor at the student’s school;
  • monthly progress reports on the Fellow’s project;
  • a written report at the conclusion of the project, including recommendations for ways in which the most valuable aspects of the Fellow’s project and experiences can be replicated or sustained;
  • professional development in skills related to working with underserved communities;
  • an opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary group of students committed to working in underserved communities.

 

In addition to the service project, Fellows work in groups to organize public symposia on pertinent public health topics or community service outreach activities.  Fellows are required to attend monthly meetings, all symposia and service days, an introductory meeting on April 16th, 2010, a weekend orientation May 22-23rd, 2010, a mid-year retreat, and the annual Schweitzer Fellows Celebration Event in May 2011.

 

Students are welcome to submit proposals for an original project that reflects Dr. Schweitzer’s ethic of Reverence for Life or for the continuation of a project initiated by a previous Schweitzer Fellow.

 

Fellows receive a stipend of $2,500 (paid in three installments) both to underscore the seriousness of their work and to ensure that students who are already struggling financially are not discouraged from participating. Any student enrolled at least part-time for the 2010-2011 academic year in a graduate-level-degree-granting program in the New Orleans area is welcome to apply.   Applications are due via online submission by 5pm February 5th, 2010.

 

Eligibility:

 

Prior to Applying: Interested students should investigate and reflect on the unmet health-related needs that exist in New Orleans and its communities and on the ways in which their own energies and talents might contribute, even in small ways, to ameliorating one or more of these problems. In proposing a project, keep in mind how your idea addresses those unmet health needs and might be of enduring value to the community. For guidance on national and local health priorities as established by Healthy People 2010, please visit: http://www.healthypeople.gov

 

Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend information sessions about the Schweitzer Fellowship at their Universities and visit the program website at: www.schweitzerfellowship.org

 

For more information, or to set up an information session at your school, please email SchweitzerNOLA@gmail.com or contact Holly Scheib, the New Orleans Schweitzer Program Director at 504-208-7368.

Publisher Weekly’s Manly List

Somehow I missed it but Gender Across Borders points out that recently Publishers Weekly put out it’s list of the top ten books for 2009 which does not include a single woman author. Not.One.

According to HuffPo, “PW admits that they’re not “the most politically correct” choices — the list doesn’t include any female authors — but, to the editors, they were the best among the top 100 that they had chosen.”

BTW – only 29 women made it into their top 100. In my view, the point is not being “politically correct” but just being plain old balanced. This hardly seems balanced.

Poet Amy King looked into the content of the top ten and concluded, “Simple to observe that the content that “stood out from the rest,” according to PW, is all about mostly male protagonists and their realities: war, adventure, science, boyhood adventures, taming the wilderness, the male writer’s life, etc. In other words, the novels that deal with women’s realities simply “don’t stand out”. Her comments on each book are biting while being deliciously amusing.

Women in Letters and Literary Arts has started The WILLA List wiki specifically to document great books by women that PW, ummmm, missed? Yeah, that’s it – all the great books they missed. Anyone can create an entry to add their favorites. The list closes at the end of the month.

What being “Out” Really Means-

9/21/01… that was the day I stared at my shotgun barrel and was thinking of pulling the trigger. Then a voice rang out in my home saying, “You have much more to do”.

I’ve written about this over the years, so I’m not going to repeat it all here

That day I “Outed” myself. Yes I had done many protests over the years for different issues, but that day I had to declare who I am and what I stood for, what I believed in.

When I say “Believe”, I mean you must own it to the very core of your soul. What you are and what you are not. How you see the World and what you think about things going down. You become a participant and no longer can be just a bystander.

That’s the day when you become Real. “Hey there! I’m fuckin’ alive and living here and I don’t like the shit going down”. That is the day you truly join the Dance, the time that you can begin to use the power that you were gifted from the One. It also means you are responsible for that which goes down around you, in your sphere, your neighborhood, your life.

Yes, it sux, but it’s gotta be done.

The truth is that to realize oneself, you must strive to help others to come to that same place in Life. You may not agree with them, but that’s their Journey, not yours. You facilitate their growth even when they oppose your being. You become a helper, and the wierd thing is that they wind up embracing you because you cared. (and who says Life isn’t interesting?)

This message is not about Trans, but about all of us. When WE CARE about each other, the World works pretty good. When there is no care we wind up with the crap-pile of a World we all currently face. Our care, tears, laughter and pains drive this World, not the corporations.

We are Power and it’s far past time to use it.

Become yourself and grab hold of Life. “OUT” yourself.

Over 1000 Uninsured Treated at Morial Convention Center

Huge thanks to National Association of Free Clinics. You Rock!

From Earth Tiimes:

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Organizers of a free health clinic for uninsured residents of Louisiana are pleased with its success today. Not only did the clinic see 1,000 patients, it may have saved the lives of some sick individuals. Many of the patients had not seen a physician since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Volunteer physicians and other medical providers tended to the health care needs of over 1,000 patients who attended the C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinic at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The clinic was organized by the National Association of Free Clinics and Louisiana Free Clinic Association (NAFC).

“We saw a number of very sick patients today who have not had medical care for many years,” Doctor Corey Hebert, a New Orleans physician and one of the clinic’s medical directors said. “This clinic was a life saver for many people who have no way to pay for their healthcare needs.”

Corey went on to say, “It is important that this is the same facility where people were dying four years ago and today we are giving them life.” His remarks were in reference to the aftermath of Katrina and the human crisis that occurred at convention center.

“It was wonderful to provide free care to so many people in one day,” Nicole Lamoureux, executive director of the NAFC, said. “But it also was important that we were able to connect a large number of these patients with free clinics and other health care providers who can provide them with care on a day-to-day basis.”

The NAFC and the Louisiana Free Clinic Association sponsored the event. The 727 volunteers who participated included physicians, nurses, other medical providers and non-medical individuals.

“I am very moved by all the physicians and other medical providers who volunteered to make this C.A.R.E. Clinic such a success,” Dr. Rani Whitfield, M.D., said. Whitfield, a Baton Rouge physician, served as co-medical director for the clinic. “The dedication to helping those need help was moving.”

The clinic operated from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today at no cost to patients or taxpayers. Most of the patients registered before the event, but walk-ins were seen on a first-come-first-served basis.

“We did good work today,” Whitfield added. “It was good to connect many people in need of medical care with doctors, nurses and others who can help them on an ongoing basis.”

This was the second massive free clinic the NAFC has sponsored. Over 1,700 patients received treatment at the first one, which was held in Houston in September. Two more C.A.R.E. Clinics are planned in Little Rock on Nov. 21 and Kansas City on Dec. 9-10.

“I’m looking forward to building on the successes in Houston and New Orleans to help even more people,” NAFC President Sheri Wood, who is based in Kansas City, said.

More information about the NAFC and the Little Rock and Kansas City events is available online at: http://freeclinics.us.

New Orleans CARE Clinic Preliminary Numbers

* 68% of patients seen seek medical care in the emergency room or do not seek care when ill

* 53% of those seen have not seen a doctor in more than one year with many not seeing a doctor since Katrina

* 90% of patients seen have more than one diagnosis
o Hypertension and diabetes being the most prevalent

* 55% of those seen were women and 45% were men

SOURCE National Association of Free Clinics