Louisiana stories on the effects of the health care bill



The House votes THURSDAY on a health care bill that will end health coverage for 24 million people.

We've collected stories of Louisiana residents from every House district in the state on how the bill will affect them.

We owe it to our neighbors to share their stories, so they echo in the ears of our Congressmen when they go to cast their votes.

Click here or on the image to read the stories.

Together BR releases study on neighborhood disparities in drug possession enforcement


Download the study.

Press coverage:

The Advocate, “Together Baton Rouge says BRPD drug enforcement disproportionately hits poor, black neighborhoods”

The Times Picayune, Baton Rouge drug arrests disproportionately affect poor, blacks: report”

WAFB Channel 9, "Together BR report: BRPD drug enforcement disproportionately impacts poor, African American neighborhoods”

“We figured we could either sit around and wait for the Department of Justice to make some contribution, or we could start to act for ourselves at the local level,” said Rev. Lee T. Wesley, an Executive Committee member of Together Baton Rouge. “Our first step has been to take a close look at this very important aspect of policing in our community and how it can be improved.”

2016 Citizens Assembly with city-parish candidates

  Watch the video:



The Advocate, "Together Baton Rouge grills candidates on law enforcement, tax exemptions, flood relief and addressing 'food deserts'

Read the article.


How a bill REALLY becomes a law ...

Inside the effort to win Congressional support for $500 million in flood recovery aid

20160624_142415.jpg#1) Wake up in cold sweat realizing what it's going to mean that 80% of your community's flooded homes don’t have flood insurance.

#2) Feel sweat get colder with realization that only path forward is major bi-partisan cooperation by Congress. In September. In the middle of Trump v. Clinton.

#3) Make 250 phone calls. Learn your friends in low places have some friends in high places.

#4) Marvel that members of Congress are not NEARLY as ideological and partisan as they act most of the time. Watch a deal come together where everyone wins.

#5) Watch that deal unravel into smoldering shards and ash. Change your mind on marveling from #4.

#6) Repeat steps #2 to 5.

#7) Resist INSANE temptation to let yourself get pitted against the people of Flint, Mich and their need for lead-free drinking water! (Louisiana supports Flint!!)

#8) Go to the sewer to get some fresh air, mumbling lines from Yates, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”

#9) Learn what solidarity means, as people across the country work their own Reps and Senators to benefit people they've never met.

#10) EXHALE, as the Senate votes for you (72 - 26) and the House votes with you (342 - 85). Feel grateful that, sometimes, the center does still hold.

Thank you, America!

Read the official version from Politico here.

TBR releases new video on the flood

TBR and its sister organizations across the country worked hard with Governor Edwards and the Louisiana Congressional Delegation to win federal funding for flood recovery from the 2016 flood.

The video was created to spread awareness nationally.

So far, Congress has allocated $1.8 billion for the recovery.

TBR announces 100 living wage recovery jobs

Interested applications may apply at: togetherbr.nationbuilder.com/jobs

Jobs pay $15 per hour for house-gutting and mold-remediation, starting with highest priority families -- elderly, disabled and families with children, especially those still living in mold-infected homes

Program funded with support from BRAF, individual donors.

Donations to expand the program may be made here

A week after the Great Flood, TBR leaders were grappling with how to expand capacity to meet the daunting scale of the devastation of their community, when we got an email with a “crazy idea” from a 70-year old woman in Cape Cod named Betsy Smith, who had been directed to the organization by the local NPR affiliate.

"Rather than just donate money,” Ms. Smith wrote in her email, “I would like to donate $120 to pay an unemployed person $15/hour for an 8-hour day's work helping with the clean-up effort. This would have a multiple effect--it would supply labor for the clean-up, it would put money into the economy in the form of wages for someone who is currently unemployed, and it might encourage others to give to a specified, dedicated fund."

Ten days later, Ms. Smith's "crazy idea" is becoming a reality.


Read more

We're facing a potential public health crisis, and we need your help to address it

This picture, sent by Louisiana Environmental Action Network, is from the home of a 79 year-old couple. Until today, they were living and sleeping in this home.
Our online sign-up list, gutcheckLA.com, has been live for one day, and so far 5% of the 288 house-gutting requests we've received report that they currently are LIVING in in homes with serious mold-infestation.
ALL of those, so far, are elderly women, most with medical issues.
If that ratio holds, it means 1600 to 2400 people, mostly elderly, are living in mold-infected homes as we speak.
That's a public health crisis. And we have to get serious, and we have to act fast, if we're going to address it.
Here's our plan. We want to hire 100 local people at $15 per hour to gut and mold-remediate 2000 homes, starting with the elderly and people living in mold-infected homes.
TBR is putting up the first $20,000 to get the ball rolling (all from your donations, by the way). 
Read more

16 homes in one day!

TBR was out in force Saturday, with teams spread out across the metro area helping people clear and gut their homes. We worked at 16 homes in zip codes 70805, 70807, 70811, 70812, 70814 and 70815!

Sign up here to volunteer -- clearing homes, making phone calls, doing data entry.








We've created a single MASTER sign-up system online, for people who need house mucking, gutting and mold-remediation. If you fill this out, the list will the go to all the major entities doing that work. Sign up at www.gutcheckLA.com!

Recovery report: August 20th, 2016

20160827_090231.jpgWe've been getting quite a few individual donations lately, far more than ever before. We're honored by that, and we want people to know what we're doing with the resources they're entrusting to us. So here's a summary of what TBR has been doing on the recovery this last week.

#1) We have more than 1300 responses on the flood damage survey 5 days after launching it at LAfloodsurvey.com. This gives us a way to understand what is happening with people who have been displaced, especially the 95% of people who are *not* in shelters, but about which next to nothing was known prior to the survey.

#2) Last week, we called about 700 people who responded to the survey, to check in with them, see if there were any urgent mental health or other referalls and discuss people's needs. 3 goals here: a) to meet a few of those needs directly, b) to have people's lived experience inform the recovery and the policy that are coming and c) (perhaps most of all) to simply make human contact with people who are isolated and often in quite serious distress.

3) We've placed Amazon orders for 477 people for immediate needs, with about 365 or so additional requests verified and legitimated. We're funding that entirely from online donations, and it will continue if more contributions continue to come in.

4) From Thursday's calls, we realized that people's top priority was clean out homes before the mold takes over. With 18 hours of lead time, we organized our first volunteer house-gutting operation, which we called "Gut Check Saturday," which happened this morning. About 160 TBR volunteers took part, partnering with about 200 flood-damaged homeowners (with close to double that signing up online).

We formed volunteer teams, which deployed to around 40 homes. The people who didn't get volunteers today were put on a list we've sent to a non-profit entity that is contracting with professional contracting services for free gutting starting next week.

5) We've created an online list of recovery resources here. If there are other resources or info that's important and reliable that ought to be there, please let us know in the comments and we'll add it.

6) Finally, we've created a one-page Volunteer Guide for house clearing and gutting, which covers everything people need to know. That can be downloaded at here.

Thank you for your belief in what we're doing. You can donate here to allow us to do more of it.


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