Working with citrus farmers to prevent crop waste while helping families enjoy the nourishment of fresh fruit, the Second Harvest Food Bank recently announced its adoption of the New Orleans Fruit Tree project.

“It just seems to make sense,” said project founder Megan Nuismer, who joined the food bank about two years ago as a food-sourcing specialist. “We share a common mission: to minimize and reduce the waste of fresh fruit so that it can be utilized and distributed to families in our community.”

Nuismer said the food bank works with area citrus farmers to organize large-scale gleanings during the winter, which also offers homeowners opportunities to donate fruit from trees on their property.

AmeriCorps VISTA is helping to implement the program and coordinate volunteers to help with the smaller-scale citrus collection, said Natalie Jayroe, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank.

Since 2011, the New Orleans Fruit Tree Project has harvested 37,000 pounds of fruit from the Greater New Orleans area. A website is being integrated into the food bank site so homeowners can register their trees and contact the project when they are ready for harvesting. The fruit will be available on the shopping list for food pantries.

With citrus season rapidly approaching, now is the time to donate fruit by visiting For information about the program or to volunteer with the project visit volunteer/gleaning-volunteers or call Second Harvest Food Bank at (504) 734-1322.

Chess Fest

New to the city last year, the New Orleans Chess Fest is becoming an annual event that encourages children to take part in and enjoy the challenging mind game. The fest will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at Rosa Keller Library and Community Center, 4300 S. Broad St.

More than 250 boys, girls and adults enjoyed playing and learning chess last year. This year’s special guest is grandmaster and seven-time U.S. women’s chess champion Irina Krush. Also attending will be chess champ Robbie Rasmussen and jazz pianist and chess dad Victor Atkins, who will entertain along with Pawn Storm.

T-shirts designed by Paul Turney and Rhett Thiel will be sold, and profits from the fest will go toward next year’s event. Entrance to the event is free. Donations are welcome and sponsorships are available. For information visit

Clothing drive and party

The Drop in Center at Cafe Istanbul invites you to bring warm clothing for homeless youngsters and enjoy a kickoff party from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6, at the cafe, 2372 St. Claude Ave.

Tickets are $27 in advance and $35 at the door and include food and drink.

Ghosts in the Oaks

Join the family-friendly Halloween event “Ghosts in the Oaks” from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at City Park’s Amusement Park and Storyland.

Cost is $15 per person and $12 for Friends of City Park members. An early admission cost of $20 is available for those who enter an hour early on any of the three days, and children younger than 3 enter free. Advance tickets are available. For information, visit

French Happy Hour

Discover opportunities for speaking French and experiencing French culture in New Orleans at Apero Francophone French Happy Hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at The Bolden Bar at the New Orleans Jazz Market, 1436 O.C. Haley Blvd.

The free event is hosted by the Alliance Française. For information, visit

Boo at the Zoo

Enjoy trick-or-treating, a ghost train and a haunted house at Boo at the Zoo from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St.

Tickets are $17; children younger than 1 enter free. For information, visit audubon

Ghostly Gallivant

Eat, drink and be scary at the Ghostly Gallivant costume party from 7:30 p.m. 11 p.m. Friday at the Cabildo on Jackson Square.

General admission is $55. Members and adults younger than 35 enter for $45. For information about the party and special ghostly tours at the historic museum, visit

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