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February 2012 Archives

Guest Blog: A Peak Inside My Cluttered Mind

A Peak inside my cluttered mind.jpgIf you are treating yourself with holistic medicine and are thinking about treating your pets at home, GOOD FOR YOU. Nothing wrong with a little natural healing. But be careful... what may be good for you could possibly be harmful to your furred and feathered friends.Do not give your pets: White willow bark - it's toxic to petsJust as with humans, the following herbs are great to treat your furry loved ones: be sure to check with your vet or online for dosage amounts, because regardless of how fat your furry friend may seem, he or she isn't human.Echinacea - Stimulates the immune systemAlfalfa - Stimulates the immune systemSeaweeds - Kelp, komba, nori, and undaria protect against bacterial agents (Should not be used on animals with autoimmune thyroid disorders)Lavender Oi - Cleanse the wound, then apply one drop of lavender oil to aid in healingTea Tree Oil - To be used as an anti-microbial agent after cleansing the wound thoroughlyAloe - For burns and scratchesEpsom Salts - Soaking itchy paws and abscessed nail beds in 1/2 cup salts per gallon of water for 10 minutes two times per day will relieve itchy paws and draw out infectionsPeppermint (mentha piperita) - For digestive problemsGinger - Helps with gas, diarrhea and car sickness; can also help with inflammationSlippery Elm - Digestive aid for nausea and constipation; will also help with bite marks, boils, scratches, coughing, and vomitingAcidophilus - When your pet is given antibiotics, the medicine will kill the good bacteria along with the bad; Acidophilus will help replace the "good" bacteriaDandelion - ArthritisYucca - Brain disorders and nervousnessChamomile - Mild sedativeGarlic - Adding garlic to your pet's diet will aid in flea prevention but do not use for long periods of timeCinnamon - Mild anti-fungal and anti-bacterialEssiac Tea - Natural treatment for cancer For treating ear infection and irritation on your pet, warm about one tablespoon of olive oil and add two drops of tea tree oil, one drop of lavender and one drop of chamomile. Drip into and around the ear.Please keep in mind, the treatments listed above are for dog and cat treatment. Please do further research before using any herbs on birds, although most are safe for our feathered friends, it's better to be safe than sorry.by Beverly Lopez, Contributor 

Mardi Gras, always marching forward

An excellent column appeared in The Times-Picayune today that chronicled the fight against discrimination within Mardi Gras organizations. James Gill writes of New Orleans City Councilwoman Dorothy Mae Taylor and the cause she championed:Her mission was to force old-line krewes and private luncheon clubs to abandon racism and sexism. For all that the more open, free-and-easy Mardi Gras of today may be claimed as her legacy, she would not have been satisfied.
Her main goal was to force the white business establishment to open its portals to black people. Deals were being hatched where only white male gentiles were allowed to tread, she alleged.
The "Big Four" old-line krewes of Mardi Gras - Rex, Comus, Momus, and Proteus - had historically clung to the Carnival tradition of secrecy. The identities of each organization's members had long been a closely guarded secret, but Taylor's ordinance required every krewe to sign an affidavit guaranteeing that membership shall not be denied to anybody on the basis of discrimination. "This was too much," Gill says, for Comus and Momus, who refused to disclose the identities of their members (which would have been an effect of signing the affidavit) and chose to suspend their parades.What we have in this story is a classic example of the tension between tradition and progress. Exclusivity is the key component to the prestige of certain clubs... not just anybody can be a member. But in a city with a complicated racial history swirling around Mardi Gras (The Zulu organization, for example, famously formed in 1916 as the African-American response to being excluded from the all-white Rex.), it's absurd to refuse not to discriminate on the basis of race, and citing history as a defense.While many people have griped about governmental intrusion and regulations into what they considered private social clubs/parades (See, for example, the results of a poll accompanying the Gill column on NOLA.com.), many others here and outside our city limits have to acknowledge the far better impression NO makes as a warm, friendly city that doesn't let tradition trump inclusiveness and respect for others. 

Guest Blog: Healthy Cookie

Healthy-Cookie.jpgThere's a healthy way to eat, no matter your food preference. Here in New Orleans we live to eat, be it meals, snacks, or desserts. Our food, like our city, is diverse and can seem a little strange to an outsider.Take, for example, the avocado cake. An avocado cake may not sound immediately delicious, but follow this recipe and I'm sure you and your family will love this tasty (and healthy) dessert.

A Mardi Gras Law Primer

Most of us in New Orleans are familiar with the Zulu Parade's policy of handing coconuts to parade attendees rather than throwing them. When coconuts were thrown in the past, there were a number of lawsuits alleging injury from errant coconut throws. A 2006 lawsuit gained national attention when a woman claimed injury and described recurring nightmares about coconuts flying at her face.Mardi Gras is an unusual time of the year with some most unusual laws. Parades such as Zulu are generally exempt from liability if a parade-goer is struck by a throw due to Mardi Gras Immunity Laws. People who attend parades accept a certain amount of danger (small as it may be) and risk of injury, therefore, they bare their own burden. The exception is in cases of "gross or wanton negligence," such as the intentional hurling of a coconut at a person's face.The lawsuit above must have seemed particularly bizarre to anybody who lives outside of this region: "Woman injured by coconut thrown at her face during parade." But we know and love these eccentricities about our city and state. Here are some Mardi Gras laws you might not have been acquainted with:No reptiles shall be allowed within 200 yards of a Mardi Gras parade route. This means leaving your snakes, turtles, and alligators at home during the parade. And, if you do happen to own an alligator, don't risk incurring the fine that comes with tying your alligator to a fire hydrant.No throwing beads from windows or balconies. The law states that, "It shall be unlawful for any person to throw, cast, or propel any substance from any aperture, window, door, staircase, balcony, or roof that is eight or more feet above street level." Obviously, this law isn't the most strictly enforced.No for-profit fortunetelling permitted within city limits. The law says, "It shall be unlawful for any person to advertise for or engage in, for a monied consideration, the business of (chronology, phreonology, astrology, palmistry), telling or pretending to tell fortunes, either with cards, hands, water, letters or other devices or methods." As you might have noticed, the palm- or Tarot Card-reader you'll find in Jackson Square on any given day doesn't necessarily work "for profit," but they all highly encourage donations.Smoking not allowed during parades. The law requires not only that smoking be prohibited during parades, but that each float in every parade must have a "no smoking" sign secured and visible to everybody on board the float.And, my personal favorite:Paraders are not allowed to throw live marine animals from floats. The law explicitly prohibits those riding on floats from throwing, "Any insects, marine life, rodents, fowl or other animals, dead or alive." So no dolphins or lobster, guys.So let's remember that we're blessed to live in such a unique, strange, and wonderful city, and remember to be safe this parade season. Happy Mardi Gras!

Widespread layoffs of public defenders are bad news for the less fortunate

This week, Orleans Parish was forced to downsize its staff of public defenders at Criminal District Court, according to John Simerman of The Times-Picayune:A bloodletting this week at the Orleans Parish public defender's office will mean a slowdown at Criminal District Court and leave many defendants on a waiting list for a free lawyer, Chief Public Defender Derwyn Bunton said Thursday. Bunton said he was forced to lay off 27 employees, including 21 lawyers -- nearly a third of the public defenders on his staff -- in the latest move to trim a deep shortfall in the office's $9.5 million budget... The cuts are expected to save just more than $1 million.[read more]In the United States, the accused in criminal cases have the legal right to a public defender if they are unable to afford a private attorney. As the article goes on to explain, 80% of criminal defendants in New Orleans utilize public defenders.This is very bad news for those not fortunate enough to be able to afford an attorney. It also has the domino effect of clogging the entire justice system with the reallocation of resources. Please take the time to read the article, because this is a serious issue that affects us all.

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