Parenting in New Orleans Discussion at Rising Tide Conference

On Saturday, September 22, Rising Tide: A Conference On The Future Of New Orleans will feature its first ever PARENTING panel, Mardi Gras Moms & Who Dat Dads. GET YOUR TICKETS and join Ashley Bond of, Keith Spera of The Times Picayune’s The Paternity Test, Andrea Dewenter of, and moderator Bart Everson of for a discussion of the unique problems and benefits of raising children in New Orleans.

“Known around the world for its debauchery, hurricanes, and crime, New Orleans seems an unlikely place to raise a child. So why would you stay here, or even move here, to do so? ‘Mardi Gras Moms and Who Dat Dads’ will explore the strong cultural and familial bonds that make New Orleans hard to resist, but also those dark moments that make us second-guess ourselves. While some of the issues parents face here are typical of urban America, others are distinctively Nola, and the intersection of these can lead to unfathomable obstacles. But the benefits cannot be denied. New Orleans provides one of the most genuine and unique urban upbringings you can have in America today. On a good day, it’s like raising your child in the Land of Oz after living in Kansas; the senses endlessly overstimulated, the passion for life cranked up to maximum. But on a bad day it’s like raising your child in an unstable foreign country – without an embassy to run to. Parenting here is for those who like great challenges, and curious rewards.”

The Rising Tide conference will also feature an EDUCATION panel, The Education Experiment: Petri Dish Reform in New Orleans and Louisiana, where panelists will discuss the controversial topics of charter schools, vouchers, the future of public schools, and the experimental nature of our post-Katrina education system. Moderated by The Lens’ education reporter, Jessica Williams, panelists include Brian Beabout, an Assistant Professor of Education at UNO, Elizabeth Walters, writer, editor, and high-school teacher in St. Bernard Parish, Zack Kopplin, a student at Rice University working to make sure Louisiana kids will be able to get jobs after they graduate, Dr. Lance Hill, Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research, and Caroline Roemer Shirley, Executive Director Louisiana Association of Charter Schools.

Other panels and speakers for 2012 include:

  • Lawrence Powell, “The Accidental History of an Accidental Book: How the author stumbled into the 18th century and post-Katrina New Orleans through the lens of her colonial past.”
  • Lolis Eric Elie: “At War With Ourselves: New Orleans Culture at the Crossroads… Again… And Again… And… “
  • Black and White and Red All Over: The digital future of the New Orleans media market.
  • Oil & Water: Can Louisiana save its coastline and have a thriving oil industry at the same time?
  • Community or Commodity?: Is profiting from our culture also stifling its evolution?
  • Take This Job and Love It: What it takes to own a business in New Orleans.

The Rising Tide conference was created on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by the local blogging community to respond to the massive political and cultural changes our city was – and still is – experiencing. Every year since it has addressed the hard issues facing New Orleans through prominent speakers and engaging discussion panels. Learn more about the history of Rising Tide.

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Written by Pistolette

Freelance writer and blogger for, The Gambit,,, New Orleans Adventure, and her own blog, Andrea writes about parenting, education, fitness, and Louisiana culture and is an advocate for foreign language immersion education in the state. She is a New Orleans native, grew up in St. Bernard Parish and currently lives Uptown with her husband and two preschoolers whom she’s racing to the French fluency finish line.

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