The more things change, the more they remain the same. This rings true as I write my first column for The Advocate’s community news section. For more than two decades, I was a staff writer for The Times-Picayune. What a thrill to be part of a daily newspaper again.

New Orleans has always been my home. Born in the 7th Ward, I grew up in Gentilly and raised my children in eastern New Orleans. After stays in Mid-City and Uptown, I moved near Delgado Community College in 2000. I call it the part of the city where Mid-City morphs into Lakeview. Most of the area’s sturdy housing stock survived Hurricane Katrina, proving again our hard-headed drive to keep this city alive.

So “throw me something” to add to the mix of community items that will run in this column each Thursday. Send emails to at least two weeks in advance.

LASPCA celebrates 125 years

Here’s some cat and canine community news. The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is celebrating its 125th anniversary by reducing adoption fees to $25 for kittens and cats and dogs 40 pounds and larger on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug. 29.

I adopted a white-footed tabby that my little girl named Boots and, years later, a lumbering Catahoula hound who came with the name Samuel Beauregard. I can’t imagine our family without them.

The August drive is a way to “help our four-legged friends find loving, forever homes,” animal shelter CEO Ana Zorrilla said. “Our goal is to get as many people through the doors as possible to make that happen.”

Visit to review requirements and see animals available for adoption. Or visit the LA/SPCA at 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. in Algiers.

Restaurants fight hunger

Local restaurants will compete for “Best Burger” bragging rights from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Generations Hall. The “Burgers, Bourbon and Beer” fête will help Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.

“This event raises funds to support those who are struggling to feed their families,” said Natalie Jayroe, food bank president and CEO.

Competing restaurants include Barcadia Bar & Grill, Bayou Burger, Bourbon House, The Company Burger, Cowbell, Manning’s, Martin Wine Cellar, Phil’s Grill and Vitascope Hall. Themed gelato desserts will be provided by LaDivina Gelateria. Sponsors include Glazer’s and Crescent Crown Distributing.

Advance tickets are $35 online at or at the food bank at 700 Edwards Ave. If available, tickets at the door will be $45. For information or to donate, call (504) 734-1322.

Native gardens

Learn flower bed preparation, garden design and how to select seasonal plants from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Louisiana Super Plant Enabling Garden, in the sculpture garden at City Park. Master gardeners also will gather with members of the Greater New Orleans Iris Society from 9 a.m. to noon to demonstrate how to divide these native plants at the nearby Louisiana Iris Display Garden.

Both events are free. Bring a hat, gloves, shovel and drinking water. For information or to become a garden volunteer, call sculpture garden manager Pamela Buckman at (504) 658-4153.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at