End of the Summer?? At least the end of one year, the start of the next, and other musings...

The summer is slowly dragging by, one humid, sweltering day after the next. I guess that's what I get for living in New Orleans... In any case, these past couple of months have been really busy, so I'm excited to have a breather to contemplate my next year at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum as a DAScorps member. Let's recap...

For the past two months, the museum was graced with the presence
of summer interns. We had one girl from Yale, another from Duke, two Tulane kids and one French girl exploring American life for the month. These interns were all ambitious and driven, meaning that while they were fun to have around, and they definitely got a lot of important things done, we also had to find enough work for them to keep them happy. I hope we accomplished this, but there were times when it seemed a little iffy. The problem is, the museum is very small, and while we have a lot of projects going on or being thought about, sometimes there's just not a lot of work to go around. Not only did I have my own work to do, but I had to try and find things for them to do! It was actually really fun, but it's kind of nice to be on my own again, knowing what's going on!

So I think I've worked out most of the kinks on the website--every once in a while someone will notice that a link doesn't work or that there could be a better way to navigate a page, but I think everything's just about all set. I'm going to re-check my manual and make sure it's all right, and maybe add some screen shots to help everyone out! BTW, does anyone know why Google Checkout and Wordpress don't seem to get along well? I've tried searching this, but nobody seems to have said anything about it--basically when I add a cart for a purchase on the site, and then go back to edit the site, the "add to cart" button disappears, and I have to add that code back to it. It's very strange...

Next on my agenda is to start bringing this Okra online magazine together. We've been talking about this for a long time, so I think it's finally time to make it all work. Hopefully I can use all these cool skills I've learned to make it look pretty and be functional! Apparently the purpose keeps changing, but I think it's going to be based on our monthly newsletter, with other articles interspersed when we want to talk about a particular subject, or add videos, whatever works. I just need to sit down with the director and Stephanie, who's in charge of it, and figure out exactly what we need.

I also have to get started on these kids games we're thinking of. The purpose of the games would be to help kids make healthy nutrition choices. And since I'm doing this through the museum, I also want to bring in a certain amount of cultural food discussion--like where did things come from, who's influence is this, why do we eat this particular ingredient... Considering the amount of press this particular issue has produced, this seems to be a timely issue to tackle. The question is not only how to make the games informative and fun for the kids, but also how to best reach underprivileged children who desperately need resources like this. I think reaching out to schools is the first step, but it might be a tough sell--maybe after school programs might be productive as well. New Orleans is a city certainly devoted to its food, so I think that it shouldn't be too hard to get children interested in the games as long as we can find the right place to approach them.

Those will be my two big projects for now, and of course I'll continue to work on the website, develop our social media program, and promote our Wiki. IN other news, the museum's having a big fundraising party this weekend, so if anyone happens to be in the New Orleans area on Sunday, feel free to stop by to taste some delicious local food and drink!

Good luck to all the new VISTAs! This past year of mine was wonderful, I learned a lot and I'm looking forward this coming year!

P.S. The new site looks awesome! Good job guys, keep up the good work!

Comment from Bill Brown on August 4, 2010 - 2:26pm

Hey Kelsey - I'm glad new orleans is still humid and slow. Is Okra an online magazine? A food magazine I like bunch in nola is 'edible new orleans'. Do you know it? http://www.ediblecommunities.com/neworleans/

Thanks for the compliments on the new DASCorps website - I really like the new sofab website as well. Way better then it use to be. Capacity building!

Comment from Kelsey Parris on August 4, 2010 - 2:41pm

Hey Billy! did you leave the city? I met someone who said you were heading out, but I just wanted to check. I love Edible New Orleans, we try and work together a lot, and I hope Okra will be something like it, just more about the South as a whole and cultural affairs, things like that... We'll see!
Hope you're having fun wherever you are, and keep up the good work!

Comment from Bill Brown on August 5, 2010 - 10:35am

Hey Kelsey - Yah, I took over for Mira at the transmission project so I'm the east coast leader now...so you'll probably be hearing more from me this year. I'm visiting New Orleans at the end of this month, maybe I'll try to go by SoFAB - I wish I had made more of an effort to visit while I actually lived there.

Comment from Kelsey Parris on August 5, 2010 - 5:39pm

That's awesome for you! Let me know when you'll be down here, you should definitely come by the museum--better late than never, right?