As we look forward to the start of the fall season later this month, and hurricane season blowing by until next year, it’s time to plan for the 26th annual Beach Sweep, a cleanup taking place all around Lake Pontchartrain.

Organized by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup, and sponsored internationally with the Ocean Conservancy, the event is set for 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.

Volunteers, sponsors and partners will clean up areas around the lake in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, St. John and Tangipahoa parishes. After the cleanup, participants will gather for picnics.

More than 1,600 volunteers gathered last year and collected more than 14,800 pounds of trash. Each year, the amount of trash is recorded and the Ocean Conservancy includes it in its master data base of marine debris.

Top 10 litter items found worldwide are filtered cigarettes, bags, caps and lids, food containers, plates and utensils, plastic beverage containers, glass bottles, plastic straws and stirrers, beverage cans and rope.

This year, LPBF received a Healthy Communities grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful that will provide bilingual storm-drain decals to alert people not to dump items such as motor oil that reaches the lake through the sewerage system. The decals will be placed on drains throughout the year, giving scout troops and students, as well as other people in the community, a way to take part in environmental stewardship.

For information about Beach Sweep and to volunteer as an individual or group, contact Joann Haydel or Anne Barrett at (504) 836-2238 or joannh@saveourlake.org or anne@saveourlake.org. For information about LPBF visit www.saveourlake.org or call (504) 826-2215.

Play music with a pro

Time is running out to be among 100 aspiring musicians who will play alongside seasoned professionals during the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra Play Dat! concert at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Holy Cross High School, 5500 Paris Ave.

Conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto, members of the LPO will play with aspiring musicians ages 16 and older. Musical arrangements will include parts for basic, intermediate and advanced skill levels with a rehearsal at 10 a.m. prior to the concert.

The cost to participate is $50 for musicians 19 and older and $30 for musicians 16 to 18. For information about performing, call Amanda Wuerstlin at (504) 523-6530 ext. 501.

The cost to attend the event is $15 for adults and children younger than 16 enter free of charge. For information about the orchestra visit www.lpo.com.

Baby Artsplay!

If you are a parent or caregiver who spends the day with a child who is 3 or younger, Young Audiences of Louisiana is offering classes to help integrate music, movement and drama into playtime.

The fall session of Baby Artsplay! will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays from Sept. 8 to Oct. 6 at the Broadmoor Arts & Wellness Center, 3900 General Taylor St. in the multipurpose room.

Conducted by Louisiana Wolf Trap certified teaching artists, the classes engage children and adults in arts experiences that facilitate language and vocabulary, motor skills and promote an understanding of the arts as an integral part of early childhood development.

The cost is $10 per class or $45 for all five classes. For information or to register visit www.ya4la.org, email jenny@ya4la.org or call (504) 523-3525.

Thank you

I’ve avoided the recent flood of television, radio and personal remembrances of Hurricane Katrina. Ten years ago, I was among the working press who lost homes and struggled to stay sane and employed.

I survived the odyssey because family, friends and strangers came to my rescue. Among them are Mike and Jennifer Rood, and Tanya and Jamey Leblanc, college friends of my children who live in Baton Rouge. They welcomed me into their homes and allowed me to zombie through the grief as I searched for missing loved ones and my pet pug named Puck, a survivor about to turn 16.

My coworker Rhonda Nabonne and I kept each other strong. My cousin Kay Kreller, also stranded in Baton Rouge, invited me to share a very unfurnished apartment with her daughter, Jayme. After a few months sleeping on air mattresses, I returned to New Orleans when Liz Scott Monaghan offered me a place to rent in the French Quarter until I could rebuild.

We neighbors of Hidalgo Street in lower Lakeview joined hands in the middle of our ravaged block of bungalows and promised: “If you come back, I’ll come back.”

I am home again, but Katrina memories are easily jogged a decade later. That’s when I drown out the bad images by picturing people who came to save me. Thanks from the bottom of my heart to every one of you.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at jensencolumn@gmail.com.