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New Orleans - Transforming "The Big Easy" into "The Big Healthy"

By HERWriter
 
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As the “Saints Go Marching” through their beloved city of New Orleans, it is perfect timing for an added celebration during the city’s week long Mardi Gras Festival of parades and carnivals. This is perhaps, just what this city needed to help continue to rebuild five years after the devastating hurricane Katrina.

In a city that was once literally sinking, the Saints final score of 31-17 in the Super Bowl victory over the Colts, is one of the forces pulling them ashore in an even greater surge and rebirth.

This is also however, the week where health care and emergency providers are taxed beyond their limits as they try to tend to the party related injuries and illnesses. The city is also concerned that their near capacity hospital emergency rooms will be unable to accommodate those in need of treatment.

Some of their medical facilities still remain closed after Hurricane Katrina.

Typical medical emergencies during carnival season include falling off balconies and alcohol poisoning. There is also an increase in those with pre-existing heart and diabetes conditions needing attention due to overindulging in alcohol and food.

Statistics show that even prior to the August 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastation, the people of New Orleans, La. faced some of the poorest health conditions in the country. I do not intend to put a damper on this week’s celebrations, but want to raise awareness of the plight that still faces “The Big Easy.”

According to a post Hurricane Katrina survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, life has not been “easy” at all with, “more than one in ten adults or 13 percent ranking their overall health as fair or poor.” The statistics were even higher among the economically disadvantaged with 19 percent of them ranking their health as fair or poor. The Kaiser statistics showed the percentage for the uninsured and those on Medicaid and Medicare were even higher.

Add a Comment6 Comments

HERWriter

Hi Ann, Thanks so much for your comments and understand I truly am on your side when it comes to spreading the word about a healthy lifestyle. I appreciate your passion for New Orleans and can tell you it is one of my parents' favorite places to visit. I can relate to your reaction, when my hometown and beloved "City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia, was called one of the "fattest cities in America." I thought to myself.."no way I see tons of people on the Drives each weekend roller blading, biking and running. Eveyone I know exercises and does their best to eat healthy. My intention was to congratulate and celebrate such a wonderfully deserving city of New Orleans and I am sorry my inflection and tone did not come across in my words. I do however think, that we still need to raise awareness nationally, no matter what the city, about the plight of those who are at a economic disadvantage or who face adversity and how that correlates to their health and lifestyle. I applaud your efforts, progress and most of all your passion for sharing, educating and empowering those in New Orleans to live a healthy lifestyle. - Yours in Health - Joanne Sgro www.fitnessanswer.com

February 10, 2010 - 4:25pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Joanne,

I'm the founder and CEO of a new site and company called Be Fit NOLA (www.befitnola.com) and I think this post is off mark. I understand you are using results from surveys taken post Katrina and since you don't live here - you can't understand how quickly progress and change is happening in New Orleans. One month, three month and six month in this city brings in 2-3 years worth of change. The success of the Saints has been all through the year...not just with the Super Bowl. The joy, happiness and renaissance movement happening in New Orleans is affecting everyone and creating major change.

We started Be Fit NOLA to not just educate the people of New Orleans about health and fitness but the world about what is available in New Orleans when it comes to health and fitness. There is so much people don't know about this city. So please look a little deeper into what's going on in New Orleans before casting a shadow on the city.

February 10, 2010 - 8:29am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Ann, Thanks so much for your comments and understand I truly am on your side when it comes to spreading the word about a healthy lifestyle. I appreciate your passion for New Orleans and can tell you it is one of my parent's favorite places to visit. I can relate to your reaction, when my hometonw and beloved "City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia, was called one of the "fattest cities in America." I thought to myself.."no way I see tons of people on the Drives each weekend roller blading, biking and running. Eveyone I know exercises and does their best to eat healthy. My intention was to congratulate and celebrate such a wonderfully deserving city of New Orleans and I am sorry my inflection and tone did not come across in my words. I do however think, that we still need to raise awareness nationally, no matter what the city, about the plight of those who are at a economic disadvantage or who face adversity and how that correlates to their health and lifestyle. I applaud your efforts, progress and most of all your passion for sharing, educating and empowering those in New Orleans to live a healthy lifestyle.

February 10, 2010 - 4:00pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your reply and sorry if I was a little harsh. I think you hit the nail on the head when when your mentioned Philadelphia - obesity and the diseases that are a result of it (such as hypertension, diabetes, heart problems and asthma) are rampant in the United States...particularly in lower income areas. It's not a problem unique to New Orleans. As for the mental health statistics - those need to be retaken. So much has changed in the last year and particularly in the last couple of months. The mood here is unbelievable and people believe and know real change is upon us. The election of Mitch Landrieu is another example. New Orleans might be known as a party city but it's mostly because people come here to party - trust me it's not the locals falling down drunk on Bourbon St. Most locals don't step foot onto Bourbon St...particularly during Mardi Gras. Yes, the locals know how to party but that's not at all, all we do. Also need to understand that New Orleans has 4 major colleges within the boundaries of the city...and college kids do like to get their party on (again not a reflection of your average family). It's hard to understand New Orleans unless you live here. I just want to make sure people get a better educated look at the city - she is like no other place in the U.S. Louisiana is also a misunderstood state health wise. The State has great health programs in place. Anyway, we shall keep doing what we're doing - because that's the whole point to what we're doing...soon people will come to realize their is a healthier side of New Orleans.

February 10, 2010 - 4:42pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Ann - You're not harsh at all..just passionate! I did truly try to dig up more current statistics. I love progress, I love it when resilency wins out over adversity. I love it when people rally together and come out stronger. Like you, I also know that when you focus on your health, you become more resilent, stronger and able to achieve amazing things! It looks like BeFitNola is achieving amazing things thanks to your inspiration and guidance!

February 10, 2010 - 5:23pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Joanne Sgro-Killworth)

Thank you Joanne. You definitely know a lot about resiliency yourself and have overcome some amazing things :) You are definitely a big source of inspiration.

You might find this blog post interesting...and I'm sure Joyce wouldn't mind if you wanted to write something similar/address that topic: http://www.joycecherrier.com/coachjoyce/?p=1143 - might be a good follow up to our comment string and your hopes for New Orleans.

February 10, 2010 - 5:33pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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