to launch


Community-driven initiative launches a global conversation to leverage change for women and girls

NEW ORLEANS (March 3, 2016) – A new local organization focused on New Orleans women – celebrating their contributions as well as drawing attention to the need for better outcomes – plans to launch on International Women’s Day, March 8.

The kick-off for Nola4Women will include a facilitated workshop beginning at 2 p.m. at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, tackling topics affecting women in the city, such as gender-based violence, health, and education and economic empowerment. The groups will be answering two questions: 1) what are the most pressing issues in these areas for New Orleans; and 2) what are the most innovative solutions currently? Facilitating the workshop of community leaders, will include Linda Usdin, Pam Jenkins and Lisa Richardson. Ashé’s Executive Director Carol Bebelle will open the session.

“What better time than International Women’s Day to publically launch Nola4Women,” said Florence André, who founded the organization along with Sylvia Frey, Kathy Epstein Seligman and Martha Sullivan. “We are here to not only raise awareness of women’s issues in New Orleans, but also to celebrate contributions and to chart a path for the future.”

“In a city that is a laboratory for both resilience and failure, Nola4Women sees an opportunity to position New Orleans as an international thought leader around one of the most important issues of our time – the challenges still faced by women and girls,” added Seligman, of the kick-off event. “The goals of International Women’s Day mirror the ambitions of Nola4Women.”

The organization has been quietly working for some time, organizing itself around three programs, recruiting partners and establishing its 501c3 not-for-profit designation. General partners include the Mayor’s Office, City of New Orleans, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and Tulane University.

Women of New Orleans: Builders and Rebuilders includes a three-year series of citywide exhibits that celebrates generations of women who have built – and rebuilt – the city. More than 40 area organizations have signed on as partners, with three exhibits already open at the Xavier University Library, Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Supreme Court Library;

Heroes of New Orleans, which focuses on students who will learn about the barriers women of New Orleans faced and how they overcame them. Launched as a pilot program in 2014-2015 at the New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School and at Lusher Charter School, the Heroes program gives students role models to look up to and refer to when faced with obstacles. It encourages students to identify, research and write about local women heroes who have made the city a better place.

Mirror on the World: Global Summit on Women and Girls, is a planned global summit to take place during New Orleans’ tricentennial in 2018, as a tool to spotlight the challenges women and girls of New Orleans still face, even 300 years after the city’s founding. Initial partners for the global summit include: Mama Maji; Junior League of New Orleans; Louisiana Women’s Forum; National Council of Jewish Women New Orleans; and Urban League of Greater New Orleans.

About Nola4Women
Through innovative initiatives Nola4Women celebrates women and girls, provides a forum to address the challenges they face, and creates a future where they have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Nola4Women is a community driven initiative founded by Florence André, Sylvia Frey, Kathy Epstein Seligman and Martha Sullivan. For further information, please contact:

About International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.