At a recent Harvey Canal Industrial Association monthly meeting, the “Pink Boas and Bottoms Tutu” challenge was issued to outgoing HCIA president Laurie Soileau of Iberia Bank, immediate past president James Hines of Edward Jones Investments and to Brian Heiden of Gulf Coast Bank, also an HCIA past president.

Just like the bucket challenge for ALS has swept across the nation, the Fitness Center of West Jefferson Medical Center hopes the same will happen with its pink challenge, which raises awareness for breast cancer.

From the podium, Soileau showed her pink wear for breast cancer awareness consisting of tutu, pink feather masks and other pink surprises. The three community leaders brought down the house with applause as they donned their pink gear in advance of the I Pink I Can Walk/Run race on Oct. 11 at West Jefferson Medical Center.

“My maternal grandmother and two aunts died of breast cancer many years ago, before breast cancer gained the attention it has today. Most recently, I’ve had three very close friends battle breast cancer; fortunately they have won the battle because the cancer was detected in its early stages.”

Soileau said that when she was in her 30s, a coworker convinced her to get a mammogram.

“She went to the screening with me so that I didn’t change my mind. She said that we were ‘Pink Buddies’ and that we would go together to get a mammogram every year. Although she moved away, I have continued the ‘Pink Buddies’ campaign,” Soileau said.

The room, filled with HCIA members and guests, was decorated in pink with Mardi Gras beads on every dinner table. Businessman Jack Stumpf helped Brian Heiden check out his tutu for size; and even the luncheon’s keynote speaker Lucien Gunter addressed the Renew Woodmere initiative after donning long pink pearls.

Heiden decided to take on the challenge because he has a personal connection to breast cancer. His wife, Patsy Heiden, passed away from the disease.

“My wife was taken from us prematurely at the age of 57 after a very courageous 16-month battle. She would tell us it may not work for me, but hopefully it will for the next person,” Heiden said, “For Patsy Heiden’s wish and for all the others affected by this disease, we must find a cure. Maybe it will be this fundraising event that will make the difference.”

“Far too many people have been impacted by this terrible disease,” Heiden added. “Both the patients that must find the inner strength to battle for their lives and the families and support systems of the patients who must provide the never ending hope that a cure will be soon found.”

There’s still time to take and accept the challenge. To learn more, call Anette Cheramie at (504) 349-6908.

Project NOLA Expands to Westwego

Project NOLA, together with the Westwego Police Department, announced the expansion of Project NOLA’s highly successful crime camera system in Westwego. A crime camera is placed on a participant’s home or business and the video may be used by law enforcement in the event of a crime or crisis.

Participants who host a crime camera, like the program in place in Orleans Parish, may also view and record their own Project NOLA camera’s video feed. A key difference between the Orleans Parish based program and the new Westwego program, is that the Westwego Police Department will have direct access to the cameras, allowing a desk officer to view the live camera feeds for suspicious activity and relay real-time supplemental information to units responding to an emergency. Detectives will also be able to directly access recordings of criminal incidents.

As with the New Orleans based Project NOLA system, no federal dollars or tax money is being used to fund this program.

To participate, residents or business owners may call (504) 298-9117 to purchase a Project NOLA HD crime camera kit for $295, or residents may sign up their own third-party camera as long as it is compatible with the Project NOLA system. All participants will pay a $9.99 per month maintenance fee to Project NOLA to cover costs of video data streaming, server costs and related expenses.

Those interested in incorporating the Project NOLA crime camera system in their community may call (504) 298-9117.

A 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation created to help reduce crime by drastically increasing police efficiency and citizen awareness, Project NOLA has developed the largest and most cost-efficient High Definition citywide crime camera system in America, without using tax payers dollars or federal grant money. Now managing over 1,100 HD cameras around New Orleans, Project NOLA provides real-time supplemental information to responding NOPD units and often provides critical video footage to police detectives before they even have the opportunity to arrive at crime scenes.

Project NOLA routinely assists the NOPD Homicide Division with new cases and has helped clear dozens of investigations, ranging from homicide to theft.

Yetoria Lumpkin DeShazier writes about the people and events in Algiers and the West Bank. Contact her at ydeshazier@gmail.com or call (504) 367-0905.