Photo provided by Yetoria L. DeShazier -- Anamaria Delacruz, of The Blood Center, asks Marie Turner a few questions before Turner donates blood at the Manhattan Boulevard center.

Summer is a time when blood is in short supply in the metropolitan area.

“20 percent of donations come from high school and college blood drives. Donations usually drop in the summer months, primarily because people are on vacation and they have a tendency to stay inside due to the hot weather,” said Valerie Mascorro, donor resource manager for The Blood Center.

The Blood Center encourages people to include blood donation in their plans throughout hurricane season, June 1 through Nov. 30.

“When someone needs blood, the weather doesn’t matter, and this includes hurricanes. The Blood Center is the community’s primary blood provider and relies on volunteer blood donors to help maintain a stable blood supply,” said Amanda Chittenden, public relations manager. “Hurricane season falls during a time when donations typically drop due to summer vacations and more laid-back schedules, which is why it is especially important to donate blood.”

In order to maintain a healthy and stable community blood supply, The Blood Center must collect between 300 to 350 pints of blood every day. Donating blood can help to save up to three lives. It takes about 30 to 60 minutes to donate blood. Donors are asked a few questions; then their pulse, temperature and blood pressure are taken.

Marie Turner, of Marrero, who works at the Manhattan Boulevard center, is a regular blood donor. “My blood type is O-negative, which is considered rare compared to other blood groups. When someone has O-negative blood, they can donate to everyone,” Turner said.

A person with O-negative blood group is a universal donor as O-negative blood can be transfused to any blood group.

Turner also mentioned the recent Geismar plant explosion and the need for blood donations. “When there’s an explosion, a lot of times, the person injured is unconscious. We don’t know their blood type, so we have to give them O-negative blood.”

Donors must be in good health, at least 17 years old, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds. With parental permission, 16-year-olds who weigh at least 130 pounds can donate. A picture ID is required.

The Blood Center is a nonprofit community service organization dedicated to providing blood and blood components to patients throughout Southern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. For information, visit

Here are some blood drives that will be held on the West Bank:

July 8 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the auditorium at West Jefferson Medical Center, 1101 Medical Center Blvd., Marrero

July 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Westwego Police Department, 401 Fourth St., Westwego

July 12 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Texas Roadhouse, 1631 West Bank Expressway, Harvey

July 14 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Anytime Fitness, 2850 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey

July 18 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Wal-Mart, 4001 Behrman Place, Algiers

July 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wal-Mart, 13001 Highway 90, Boutte

July 20 from noon to 4 p.m. at Wal-Mart, 1501 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey.

If you can’t make it to a blood drive listed above, you can donate any time at the Westbank Donor Center, 2701 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey. The center is open from noon to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The center is closed Wednesdays and Sundays.

Delgado plans West Bank student life center

The Algiers Development District has closed on the sale of the former Navy Chapel at Federal City to Delgado Community College for $1.2 million.

ADD will reinvest all proceeds from the Delgado sale into Federal City development.

Delgado plans to convert the chapel into a student life center for the college’s West Bank Campus in Algiers.

The center will house an area where students can relax and interact between classes. There will also be a dining area and offices for student government and campus police. In addition, the college plans to use the surrounding outdoor space for large events.

The college intends for the West Bank Campus student life center to be a community resource as well as a campus focal point.

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