A Word from the
First Lady of Louisiana
Volume 2, Edition 12
Have you ever thought, “There’s no way I can feed the poor. I cannot possibly be a foster parent; I do not have the patience to tutor children or be a counselor, not me”? Have you ever thought, “I could never do these things because they are too intimidating? I would not know where to start?” We often think, what business is it of mine to get involved in such issues. We believe we are not equipped. We believe we do not have the perfect qualifications or have the right education.
I think we have all had these thoughts. It is easier to look and walk the other way. We believe that we cannot possibly help with specific issues. We think we cannot possibly help with problems or situations that ultimately affect our communities, which ultimately affect our lives and our children’s lives. So often I have looked the other way, thinking that I am just too tired and already have too much on my plate to help.
Our Louisiana First Foundation just completed a global Zoom summit. We were so honored to have many distinguished guests speak regarding their work to help eradicate human sex trafficking. Our guest speakers were: Monsignor Sorondo from the Vatican in Rome, Governor John Bel Edwards, Senator Ronnie Johns, Bill Wolff – Principal Deputy Director Office for Victims of Crime – USDJ, Dr. Dana Hunter – Governor’s Office, Juana Lombard – Former Commissioner of ATF, Jessica Milan Miller, M.A., MBA – First Lady of Georgia Marty Kemp, First Lady of Maryland Yumi Hogan, First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott, Father Jeff Bayhi – Diocese of Baton Rouge, Apostle and Officer Willie Brooks, Secretary Marketa Walters, and a human sex-trafficked survivor. There were also over 100 participants, including:
- Law enforcement
- CASA volunteers
- CAC representatives
- many more wonderful people involved in the rescue and healing of those trafficked in our country
Each person listed above does their part toward identifying trafficked individuals, working on their rescue, and supporting the process of healing these victims’ bodies and souls. They assist these children and adults in becoming the people they were meant to be.
This work is hard, this crime is frightening, and this work is not for the weak of spirit. So why should you be involved?
These children and these adults that are being led falsely or captured into this crime of human sex trafficking are our brothers and sisters. These trafficked victims need us, our help, our voices, and our prayers.
What can you do?
*You can educate yourself on this horrific crime by knowing how it happens. Read stories to learn, understand how perpetrators use the internet to lure our children into their nets.
* You can support organizations in your community and state that rescue and heal these victims through your financial gifts, volunteering, and giving of needed supplies.
* When you see something that doesn’t look right, say something. Speak up for others and be their voice of help in need.
* You can PRAY!
Below is the link to our page on human sex trafficking. Please learn more about this crime that is quickly surpassing drug crimes. A drug can be used once, but unfortunately, a person can be used multiple times a day. USED is the word here. These people are USED for other purposes. We know that they are children of God and deserve to be renewed and loved by us all.
Human Trafficking Summit 2020 Recording:
Stir up in us your spirit of compassion and allow us to see your image in each person. Use us, Lord, to be your vessel to pour out your love on others.
Love to All,
Hurricane Laura and Her Impact
on Transportation and Infrastructure
by Secretary Shawn Wilson, Ph.D.
While the response to Hurricane Laura for some Louisianans is in the rearview mirror, the destruction remains at the forefront for those in her path. The recognition that the long and steep road to recovery is palpable.
Mangled power lines intertwined with vegetative and construction-related debris, cause unmatched destruction from natural disasters like Laura and disable local infrastructure because it is built on an interconnected network. Flooding and wind damage can destabilize virtually every basic service, as we saw with Laura because nearly every system depends on electricity. Distribution and transmission power lines collapse under winds nearing 150mph. Water damage erodes and undermines roadways, creating channels that destroy the foundations of roads, embankments, and the mechanics of movable bridges. Infrastructure damage after a hurricane is widespread and can affect all sorts of commonly used spaces and systems. Infrastructure disruptions caused by any natural disaster result in considerable costs to families and communities in months and years to come, not including the expense from the immediate need for interim living arrangements and personal property cleanup.
LOUISIANA FIRST FOUNDATION
Yes Mam, No Mam, Thank you Mam = Teach MAM!
Pictured: Sue Potts, Governor John Bel Edwards, First Lady Donna Edwards, Alice Fay Smith, and Leona Benoit.
The Louisiana Governor’s Mansion has provided private visitor tours for many years. In 2016, First Lady Donna Edwards had an idea to enrich the experience even further. Through the Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation (GMPF), First Lady Edwards expanded and enhanced the Docents Program. As a teacher, the First Lady found an opportunity to ask retired teachers to participate as docents. Most of these wonderful women were already volunteering as tour guides for other State historical buildings, so this was a perfect fit! Currently, five docents volunteer to show visitors the first floor and grounds of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion. With their teaching backgrounds, they give the most memorable experience to everyone who walks through the doors. The Governor and First Lady are grateful for their dedication to this program and host a Docent’s Luncheon every year to thank the docents. The table is set with fine china and baccarat crystal to create the most prestigious occasion honoring these women’s hard work over the years. Read more so you can “meet” some of the docents:
Women’s Health Blog
Gisele McKinney, M.D.
We Are Louisiana Strong
This phrase is awe-inspiring and catchy! It is not by accident that the strongest and deadliest hurricanes in Louisiana are all named in honor of women: Katrina, Rita, and now – Laura. She carries the distinction of being the strongest storm in Louisiana history. We are indeed grateful that Marco limped toward the coast and didn’t bring the anticipated storm surges forecasted initially. The sheer devastation of Laura will take our small area, Lake Charles, many years to overcome. But overcome, we will.
Rendering healthcare in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura has had some unique challenges. With the destruction of the Women’s Campus of Lake Charles Memorial Hospital’s plant operations facility, the obliteration of Archer Institute, and the lesser damage to the Main Campus and the other area hospitals taking damage, we made care we were accustomed to a memory. The most heart wrenching were those without the means to evacuate, no running water, electricity, food, or diapers for their children. You see, the pandemic and its long ranging ramifications left many without means to fill their tanks, much less find a place to land safely if they could evacuate. For those, the loss of basic amenities like water and food took a physical and emotional toll. Our neighbors came to our rescue with services from The Red Cross, Jennings, and many other neighboring communities, religious and secular organizations.
PEOPLE OF LOUISIANA Making a Difference
Fourth District Missionary Baptist Association
Hurricane Laura Relief Efforts
Disaster Relief Management is a division of the Fourth District Missionary Baptist Association of Louisiana, a non-profit Christian community of over 65 churches from six parishes. Included are East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Iberville, and Pointe Coupee. The goal of the Disaster Relief division is to aid in prompt assistance without discrimination to victims of human-made and natural disasters, achieve rapid recovery to those impacted, and avoid potential losses through safety training.
Trinette L. Wallace
West Thibodaux Middle School
6th-grade Ancient History Teacher
River Deep: Navigating Through Uncharted Waters
with Patience and Dedication
On September 4, 2020, I was shocked and overwhelmed when I learned of my nomination as the 2021 Louisiana Middle School State Teacher of the Year. (You may view a video of this surprise announcement here.) As I reflected on the process that got me here, so many things come to my mind.
Gold Star Families
Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs
Each year on the last Sunday in September, Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes and honors the Gold Star mothers and families who have lost a son or a daughter in the service to our country. While it was not possible to gather in the Veterans Memorial Park on the grounds of the State Capitol this year as we have in years past, we have not forgotten the sacrifice these mothers and families have made. This year, they were honored virtually through a video with stories from three Gold Star surviving spouses.
Owner, Lighting Stylist
CAPITAL CITY LIGHTING
After 14 years as a stay at home mom, Bridget Tate got a part-time job at a small local lighting boutique. She began by working with the occasional walk in to help pick out a fixture from the showroom floor. Within two years, she worked full time and had more than doubled this small boutique’s sales. How? She knew that social media was an essential tool for growing a business in an age where everyone has their phone with them at all times. Bridget launched an Instagram account and added some refreshing content to its Facebook page to increase its content and following.
RECOVERY RED BEANS & RICE
Immediately after landfall of Laura, Chef Amy Sins posted a Facebook call to action. It read, “Chefs- I have product – RED BEANS and RICE, about 2000 lbs. of each. If we could get some of this to you, could you cook it and chill it for us? We can have the foodbank pick it up. They’re maxed out on capacity between COVID and Hurricane Laura, but I need the cooked product to send out”.
Something To Discern
Park your broom
and sit for a spell!
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Delery has lived there all of her life except during undergraduate school and a brief stint in Seattle, WA. She is a mother to four boys, ranging in ages from 21 to 16, and they are the heart and soul of her life.
After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, she went on to receive a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Louisiana State University. Her volunteer work has mostly evolved from issues that have affected her personally. Actively engaged in disability rights advocacy, Delery has testified numerous times in the Louisiana Legislature regarding issues that affect persons with developmental disabilities. She served as the chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, worked for seven years directing regional advocacy efforts and is a graduate of Louisiana’s Partners In Policymaking.