A magazine for girls and developed with girls, Geaux Girl! gives New Orleans teenagers the opportunity to learn about inspiring women, to access sex education and to read stories written by their peers.
The first edition of the quarterly magazine premiered in March in New Orleans public libraries. It was founded by Heide Winston, director of communications and civic engagement for Scott Cowen, president emeritus of Tulane University; and Danielle Del Sol, now executive director of the Preservation Resource Center.
Winston was inspired two years ago by an opinion piece in The New York Times by Peggy Orenstein called “When did porn become sex ed?”
Orenstein’s piece speaks to the lack of sex education in the United States and how students turn to pornography to gain a better understanding of how sex works.
“I’ve always been interested in human sexuality,” Winston said, “And I was like 'This is it.’ There’s so much terrible news about girls, and boys for that matter, lacking information and then entering sexual encounters unprepared or too soon and getting themselves into situations that are just not healthy.”
Winston’s dream from that point on was to create a teen girls' magazine with a sex education component in the New Orleans area.
“We wanted this magazine to be completely driven by people in the community, both teens and adult experts,” Winston said. “To bring out the resources in the community and shine a spotlight on everything that New Orleans has to offer to teen girls.”
Sections include astrology, news, creative writing, beauty tips and life advice. The sex education section is headed by Dr. Florencia Polite, a clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the LSU School of Medicine.
“I have a huge commitment to girls in terms of sex education, as well as contraception,” Polite said. “My thought process about how we change outcomes for young women is through education and contraception.”
Polite’s team of doctors answers anonymous questions; Bitmojis — personalized emojis that can be customized to fit the user’s appearance and style — are used to connect with younger readers.
Reporters are teenage contributors living around the city. The lead article for the magazine is a piece on LaToya Cantrell, mayor-elect of New Orleans, by Mylah Tracy.
Tracy, a member of local girl empowerment organization Pink House, went with the group to interview Cantrell.
“Ms. LaToya Cantrell wants us girls to be more out and get involved with the community so we can make it bigger and better so no one has to be scared,” Tracy said. “If girls read the magazine, it’ll be like they’re not alone. That other girls like them could do the stuff in the magazine as well.”
The nonprofit magazine will continue to be offered at New Orleans public libraries, the NORDC, health clinics, the Broadmoor Wellness Center and other locations. The next issue will be published in June.
The Loyola Student News Service features reporters from advanced-level journalism classes at Loyola University New Orleans, directed by faculty advisers.