Bertina Mcghee, Morgan, Johnny W. | 4/13/2009 8:54:23 PM
NEW ORLEANS – For the first time in more than 20 years, every parish in the state is helping support LSU AgCenter programs.
Not since the early 1980s has the LSU AgCenter received support from Orleans Parish – though the programs provided by the AgCenter never stopped.
At the New Orleans City Council meeting April 2, the LSU AgCenter officially thanked the city for its contribution to AgCenter services.
Bertina McGhee, LSU AgCenter parish chair for Orleans Parish, highlighted some of the programs the AgCenter provides: 4-H youth development, coastal restoration, nutrition programs and horticulture.
Dr. Paul Coreil, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter and director of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, also thanked council members for their support.
“The story today is we have a full-blown urban extension service program here that is very well-received, very well-appreciated and now looks like it’s going to be well-supported,” Coreil said. “This is good news because there’s been an absence of a full partnership, and now we’re all stepping up.”
Council President Jackie Clarkson said the situation has been unbalanced for some time.
“We were the parish that was benefitting the most and doing the least. So we have made ourselves credible now in the state of Louisiana by doing our fair share. Thank you for getting us onboard,” she said.
Cynthia Willard-Lewis, District E councilwoman, also had high praise for the work the LSU AgCenter is doing in the parish.
“Thank you for providing the many services that are making a difference in our community,” Lewis said, “especially the character-development programs that positively engage our young people and give them experiences that connect them to land and connect them to socialization in positive ways.”
Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, chair of the budget committee, said she was glad to have the LSU AgCenter back in the parish, explaining that the Orleans staff had been housed in the Jefferson Parish office since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“We were upset as a council when we found out that Orleans was the only parish that was not participating in the LSU AgCenter programs out of 64 parishes. So now the state of Louisiana has every parish – rural and urban participating,” Morrell said.
Dr. Leodrey Williams, chancellor of the Southern University Ag Center, also thanked the council for their support of the LSU and SU AgCenter programs.
“It is the responsibility of the land-grant university to reach families who are not enrolled in academic coursework and to improve the quality of life for them,” he said.
Southern University and LSU AgCenter Orleans Parish personnel share new office space at the Southern University-New Orleans campus.