The New Orleans Community-Police Mediation Program, a police oversight agency established in 2009, is accepting applications through Jan. 15 for residents to join the program.

The aim of the mediation program is to improve relationships between Orleans Parish residents and the NOPD by building trust and understanding. The program provides opportunities for members and police officers to have face-to-face conversations about issues of community concern.

One dozen residents will be selected to serve as community-police mediators. Applicants should be committed to community building, public safety, conflict resolution and using meaningful dialogue to make New Orleans a safer, stronger city.

Program members must be Orleans Parish residents who have the “capacity to demonstrate competence, composure and neutrality” and must attend free training sessions in March 2018.

The program hopes to recruit a diverse group with regard to age, gender, race and socio-economic backgrounds. Applications may be downloaded by visiting For information about the program, visit

McDonogh 35 celebration

McDonogh 35 is holding a centennial celebration including the third annual Alumni Winter Social at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29, at Sha Jollies Event Hall, 6940 Martin Drive.

The celebration continues next year and includes a Wall of Fame unveiling at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the school, 4000 Cadillac St. For information, email

Coastline restoration

With the help of students and volunteers, Common Ground Relief planted more than 5,500 bottomland hardwood trees and restored 5 miles of Louisiana’s eroding coastline in 2017. More than 500 volunteers are scheduled to plant 6,000 trees and 30,000 marsh grass plugs in 2018.

“When you think about the sustainability of Greater New Orleans and those communities across Louisiana below I-10, stabilizing and rehabilitating our coastline is one of our greatest needs,” said Thom Pepper, executive director of Common Ground Relief.

Many volunteers come from colleges and universities with strong environmental science, forestry, botany and civil engineering programs. Involvement from local schools is increasing thanks to Common Ground Relief's Wetlands Education Program, which offers students a hands-on experience in surrounding wetlands.

“The interest we’re starting to see from schools and other youth and service-oriented entities, like the Boy Scouts, is absolutely fantastic,” Pepper said. “Developing environmental awareness and connections in the local community is crucial to the sustainability of our programming and survivability of our coastal ecosystem.”

Founded in 2005 to help rebuild southeast Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, Common Ground Relief is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations, grants and sponsors to support its mission-related programming. Efforts include environmental programs, job training and free legal clinics. For information, visit

Happy New Year

Hope to hear from you in 2018!

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