A Conference on the Future of New Orleans

The Rising Tide Conference is an annual gathering for all who wish to learn more and do more to assist New Orleans’ recovery. It’s for everyone who loves New Orleans and is working to bring a better future to all its residents.

Fresh back from one vacation, we’re already booking our next trip: to New Orleans, baby, for Rising Tide V.

That’s right, in late August we’re going to the 5th annual Rising Tide conference on the future of New Orleans on Saturday, Aug. 28, on the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (8/29/05). This will be our third RT (after 2007 and 2008), and they just keep getting better. (Press release here.)

Leveraging the power of bloggers and new media, the conference is a launch pad for organization and action. Our day-long program of speakers and presentations is tailored to inform, entertain, enrage and inspire.

Treme, Environment, Levees, Public Safety, and Politics

RT5’s program keeps improving, too, every time we look at it. Check this out:

Breaking news: The keynote speaker will be Mother Jones human rights reporter (Ms.) Mac McClelland, who has been reporting on the BP Oil Flood in the Gulf. See her “Rights Stuff” dispatches for MoJo here. ]

The conference will feature panel discussions on  HBO’s hit show Treme (set in post-Katrina New Orleans) with Treme co-creator Eric Overmyer and N.O. journalist and documentarist Lolis Eric Elie . . . “Paradise Lost” on environmental issues, including LaCoastPost’s Len Bahr, a coastal science adviser to five Louisiana governors, and environmental law expert Rob Verchick . . .  flood protection discussed by Tim Ruppert, an N.O. engineer and blogger . . . public safety, led by activist and blogger Brian Denzer . . . and Louisiana politics, moderated by Peter Athas and featuring Clancy DuBos of Gambit and other N.O. journalists. And more! The event will be emceed (like last year’s) by the incomparable George “Loki” Williams of Humid City (who personifies—indeed, “lives the dream”—of social networking). And all this fun is jump-started by a pre-conference party on Friday night at the Howlin’ Wolf, starting around 7:00.

The all-day event will be held at The Howlin’ Wolf, 907 South Peters Street near the Convention Center. Pre-registration is only $20, slightly more at the door.

Rising Tide hosts a volunteer public service before or after the conference. This year’s contribution will be a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana on Friday, Aug. 27. Click here for details.

Previous years’ keynote speakers have included actor and blogger Harry Shearer; historian John M. Barry, author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America; Christopher Cooper and Robert Block, authors of Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security; and sportswriter Dave Zirin, author of Welcome to the Terrordome.

Each year the coveted Ashley Award, named in honor of the late, legendary blogger Ashley Morris (left), is presented to the blogger who has made outstanding contributions to writing about New Orleans and the challenges it faces. (The larger-than-life Ashley Morris, Ph.D., was one of the early organizers of the conference and an inspiration for the Treme character Creighton Bernette, played by John Goodman.) Who will be this year’s Ashley winner?


We can’t recommend Rising Tide enough. It’s a great gathering of creative, intelligent, friendly people: active, engaged, and committed to rebuilding and preserving the best of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and to improving what could be better. It’s a good place to see friends, make new friends, learn a few things about New Orleans and blogging, social networking, and a place to recharge the batteries. As we enthused after our first RT (2007), we came away “committed to dedicating the next twelvemonth to acting on what we learned this past weekend and to bringing more accomplishments and ideas (and, let’s hope, even Congressional funding).”

If you haven’t been to Rising Tide before, let this be your first. If you’ve been looking for a good reason to visit New Orleans in the fair month of August, this is your ticket. At $20, for all this creative intelligence it’s the best deal in town.


Rising Tide poster above (and previous years’ posters below, except one) designed by Greg Peters of Suspect Device. The 2006 “Unfatigued” poster of 3 orange fists was designed by Brad Jensen of Icon Visuals.