Report from Louisiana: A Little Good News?

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Report from Louisiana: A Little Good News?

By: Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT – So much neg­a­tive news this morn­ing in the headlines…tension, anx­i­ety, anger, and sad­ness (that limo crash in New York – awful!).

All this anger is one of the rea­sons I quit full-​time polit­i­cal blog­ging a few years ago: I was mad all the time. Frus­trated because I couldn’t really change any­thing and nobody was lis­ten­ing. Well, it’s not that so much as I was just preach­ing to the choir. I could feel my anx­i­ety and rage build­ing every sin­gle day of the Obama pres­i­dency. I had to walk away. And guess what? The world did not implode when I did!

At any rate, I really wanted to pull out some good news for you this morn­ing to try and achieve some bal­ance in per­spec­tive, so let’s try this.

I was happy to see that Johns Hop­kins has announced a new research build­ing to be named after Hen­ri­etta Lacks. Finally! You cer­tainly are famil­iar with the story behind Rebecca Skloot’s ground­break­ing book, The Immor­tal Life of Hen­ri­etta Lacks, which told the story of Hen­ri­etta and her fam­ily. Skloot’s book is ter­rific and I use it in my sopho­more Eng­lish class­room every year; my stu­dents are thor­oughly engaged in the story and it sets us up for so many ter­rific debates on ethics and moral issues. Some­times it is dif­fi­cult for kids to imag­ine a world before they were born and so as angry as they tend to become about what they see as an injus­tice done to Hen­ri­etta, they get a chance to learn about a dif­fer­ent time in his­tory where med­ical ethics were not dom­i­nated by HIPAA.

From Bal­ti­more:

Johns Hop­kins and descen­dants of the late Hen­ri­etta Lacks announced plans to name a new research build­ing after Lacks in honor of her impact on sci­ence and medicine.

The new build­ing will be built next to the Berman Insti­tute of Biotechs’ Deer­ing Hall and will sup­port pro­grams that “enhance par­tic­i­pa­tion with mem­bers of the com­mu­nity in mutu­ally ben­e­fi­cial research opportunities.”

Ground­break­ing on the build­ing is sched­uled for 2020 and is antic­i­pated to have a 2022 com­ple­tion date.

Hen­ri­etta Lacks was a young mother of five from east­ern Bal­ti­more County who, despite radi­a­tion treat­ment at the Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal, died in 1951 of an aggres­sive can­cer. Lacks was the source of the HeLa cell line that has been crit­i­cal to numer­ous advances in medicine.

More good news:

It’s NOT good that there’s a new poten­tial hur­ri­cane in the Gulf of Mex­ico, but it does make me happy that our Cajun Navy is already on top of it and while they are still work­ing and vol­un­teer­ing in the Car­oli­nas after Flo­rence, they are mobi­liz­ing for any poten­tial dam­age to come from Hur­ri­cane Michael.

I’m so proud of these guys and of my friend Rob Gaudet who works tire­lessly on crowd fund­ing to help peo­ple who lose so much dur­ing these storms. If you can vol­un­teer, donate, or help in any way with what these great peo­ple do, go here and let them know.

The Pel­i­cans are com­ing back to Louisiana! (Not a sports team – REAL pelicans!)

Drew Brees is pretty great!

The Books Along the Teche Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val 2019 is look­ing VERY excit­ing! Fea­tured writer this year is Rebecca Wells! Sign me up!

My mood is already lighter. I’m feel­ing so inspired right now that I’m going to clean off my desk, box up some of my old research mate­r­ial for my now pub­lished book (I’ve been pro­cras­ti­nat­ing this) and make room to start seri­ously work­ing on my next book project.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreve­port and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cam­mie Henry and her Cir­cle at Mel­rose Plan­ta­tion. Fol­low her on Insta­gram @patbecker25.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – So much negative news this morning in the headlines…tension, anxiety, anger, and sadness (that limo crash in New York – awful!).

All this anger is one of the reasons I quit full-time political blogging a few years ago: I was mad all the time.  Frustrated because I couldn’t really change anything and nobody was listening.  Well, it’s not that so much as I was just preaching to the choir.  I could feel my anxiety and rage building every single day of the Obama presidency.  I had to walk away.  And guess what?  The world did not implode when I did!

At any rate, I really wanted to pull out some good news for you this morning to try and achieve some balance in perspective, so let’s try this.

I was happy to see that Johns Hopkins has announced a new research building to be named after Henrietta Lacks.  Finally!  You certainly are familiar with the story behind Rebecca Skloot’s groundbreaking book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which told the story of Henrietta and her family.  Skloot’s book is terrific and I use it in my sophomore English classroom every year; my students are thoroughly engaged in the story and it sets us up for so many terrific debates on ethics and moral issues.  Sometimes it is difficult for kids to imagine a world before they were born and so as angry as they tend to become about what they see as an injustice done to Henrietta, they get a chance to learn about a different time in history where medical ethics were not dominated by HIPAA.

From Baltimore:

Johns Hopkins and descendants of the late Henrietta Lacks announced plans to name a new research building after Lacks in honor of her impact on science and medicine.

The new building will be built next to the Berman Institute of Biotechs’ Deering Hall and will support programs that “enhance participation with members of the community in mutually beneficial research opportunities.”

Groundbreaking on the building is scheduled for 2020 and is anticipated to have a 2022 completion date.

Henrietta Lacks was a young mother of five from eastern Baltimore County who, despite radiation treatment at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, died in 1951 of an aggressive cancer. Lacks was the source of the HeLa cell line that has been critical to numerous advances in medicine.

More good news:

It’s NOT good that there’s a new potential hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, but it does make me happy that our Cajun Navy is already on top of it and while they are still working and volunteering in the Carolinas after Florence, they are mobilizing for any potential damage to come from Hurricane Michael.

I’m so proud of these guys and of my friend Rob Gaudet who works tirelessly on crowd funding to help people who lose so much during these storms.  If you can volunteer, donate, or help in any way with what these great people do, go here and let them know.

The Pelicans are coming back to Louisiana!  (Not a sports team – REAL pelicans!)

Drew Brees is pretty great!

The Books Along the Teche Literary Festival 2019 is looking VERY exciting!  Featured writer this year is Rebecca Wells!  Sign me up!

My mood is already lighter.  I’m feeling so inspired right now that I’m going to clean off my desk, box up some of my old research material for my now published book (I’ve been procrastinating this) and make room to start seriously working on my next book project.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.