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The Board of Trustees and the Faculties of Loyola University New Orleans present Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans with the degree of doctor of humane letters, honoris causa.

Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, a volunteer citizens advocacy group, has been a driving force for positive change in post-Katrina New Orleans.  In November 2005, a group of citizens became “enraged and engaged” when the state legislature failed to pass levee board reform. One hundred and twenty concerned citizens joined together to demand change within the existing levee board system and greater flood protection for New Orleans and the surrounding area and in doing so sparked a history making citizens reform movement.

In January 2006, hundreds of volunteers collected over 53, 000 petitions calling for levee board reform. Media and political observers noted this grassroots initiative and public outcry resulted in a special session of the Legislature called by the Governor. On the opening day of the special session over 1,000 people, many of whom had lost everything in the storm- their homes and their livelihoods, rallied on the steps of the Capitol.

Loyola Acceptance Remarks:
By Ruthie Frierson

A new breed of citizen lobbyists - over 100 trained volunteers kept the pressure on state lawmakers to pass this reform legislation, which called for a unified levee board comprised of experts guided by professional standards. In March 2006, the Louisiana legislature approved historic legislation which dissolved local levee commissions and created the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority.  In September, the constitutional amendment on levee board consolidation passed resoundingly across the state.

In the regular session of the legislature, the group pushed for consolidation of the office of property assessment to consolidate the seven New Orleans assessors’ offices into one professional office. The legislation passed the legislature and was approved in a statewide constitutional amendment election by wide margins.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune proclaimed “the leaders of the movement slayed two sacred cows of Louisiana politics and advanced civic activism during Southeast Louisiana’s darkest hour” And the independent weekly newspaper Gambit ranked the stunning consolidation of the levee boards and assessor system as the number one story of 2006.

The organization’s current reform priorities include crime, education and ethics reform. Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans helped to create the New Orleans Crime Coalition, a diverse group of civic and business organizations united in coalition for the first time to fight violent crime in the city, and co-founded Court Watch NOLA which places trained citizen volunteers in the court room to monitor career criminal related cases. Recently, the organization successfully lobbied for ethics reform in the state legislature and sponsored a forum on education.

The members of Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans embody a Jesuit commitment to be men and women for others. The work of Citizens is a commitment to the common good of our city.

For its outstanding work and contributions to New Orleans and its people, the Board of Trustees and the Faculties of Loyola University New Orleans present Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans with the degree of doctor of humane letters, honoris causa.


Seal

Secretary of the Board of Trustees

President

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

 

 

 

September 2006