Genesee Community College Hosts Batavia-Bayou Cross Cultural Connection

Genesee Community College’s Batavia Campus will come alive with the sounds of rhythm and blues music and the flavors of delicious Cajun fare at the Batavia-Bayou Cross Cultural Connection on Friday and Saturday, February 18 and 19, 2011.

Genesee Community College’s Batavia Campus will come alive with the sounds of rhythm and blues music and the flavors of delicious Cajun fare at the Batavia-Bayou Cross Cultural Connection on Friday and Saturday, February 18 and 19, 2011. This culturally diverse event will also present and explore Louisiana’s struggle to rebound from Hurricane Katrina and last year’s devastating oil spill. The two-day event features a Friday evening prelude for special guests and sponsors, and then an all-day Saturday extravaganza that is open to public and features two live New Orleans funk bands, Zydeco dance lessons, educational presentations and discussions, a documentary film by Genesee students, and much more.

Friday evening’s special, invitation-only sponsor’s welcome includes a “Taste of New Orleans” dinner, the premiere viewing of the documentary film, “Resilient and Ever-Changing: Louisiana’s Struggle to Rebound” by GCC students who participated in an Alternative Spring Break in New Orleans, and the live performance of Mumbo Gumbo, a New Orleans funk band from Western New York. The prelude also involves silent auction of baskets and special memorabilia from both New Orleans and Western New York.

Saturday’s event kicks-off at 8:30 AM with coffee and New Orleans Begneits in the Theatre Lobby and the official public viewing of the documentary film, “Resilient and Ever-Changing: Louisiana’s Struggle to Rebound” by GCC students. The line-up of guest speakers starts off at 9:30 AM with Pete Nunually of the Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana presenting on the rebuilding and volunteer efforts after Katrina. At approximately 10:45 AM, Diane Huhn of the Bayou Grace Community Services of New Orleans will present on the dire need for wetland conservation after the Gulf oil spill.

After a Louisiana style box lunch, participants will hear from Captain Wendy Billiot at 1:00 PM. She is a former oil and gas industry employee and her presentation covers the poisoned landscape after Hurricane Katrina and the continued threat to the region’s wetlands. At 2:15 PM, Raymonda Dennis, Sociology professor from Delgado Community College in New Orleans will share her reflections of the social impact and the role of the community college in the region’s recovery. And lastly, the educational presentations will wind up with Genesee Community College students’ reflections from their Alternative Spring Breaks and their service learning projects in New Orleans and their excitement about their pending March 2011 trip.

“As Genesee Community College continues to make meaningful connections far beyond the GLOW region, I am personally delighted that we are engaging our students with vital and vibrant opportunities right here in the United States,” Dr. Eunice Bellinger, GCC’s executive vice president of Academic Affairs said. “Our Alternative Spring Break in New Orleans is an exemplary example of service learning experiences in the finest form.”

The serious nature of the Batavia-Bayou Cross Cultural Connection will shift and begin focusing on New Orleans’ unique cultural traditions late in the afternoon with a Zydeco dance exhibition and lesson compliments of the Rochester Zydeco Dance Troup from 4:15 – 5:15 PM. Participants will once again enjoy New Orleans fare for dinner at 5:30 PM, and then in the spirit of an early Mardi Gras, the music and fun of Mumbo Jumbo will fill the College’ Forum starting at 7:00 PM as an opening act. The grand finale of two-day celebration and educational overview will be LeeRon Zydeco and the Hot Tamales performing in the Forum from 8:30 – 10:00PM. A Café Du Monde dessert station is the final ‘toast of the town.’

The entire day’s event is only $20 per person, $15 for senior citizens and $10 for students with valid ID. There is also a 20% discount on advance ticket orders for five people or more. For tickets, contact GCC’s Box Office at 585-343-0055 x6814. For further details or sponsorship opportunities please contact Lori Mould at the GCC Student Government office at 585-343-0055 x6444 or lmould@my.genesee.edu.

“I am amazed at the resiliency of the people of New Orleans who have come together to help rebuild the region,” Lori Mould, president of Genesee’s PTK chapter and Student Trustee said after more than ten, self-funded trips to the region. “This event will highlight the rejuvenation of this vital section of our country, and bring to light the issues the city is still dealing with years after Katrina and with the BP oil spill. We will also uncover and celebrate the amazing cultural gems for which New Orleans is famous.”

Lori is a Communication/Media Arts and Fine Arts major at GCC and she has traveled to the New Orleans area about a dozen times over the last year and a half. Through her efforts and energy, numerous other GCC students have also traveled to the region and helped in various capacities as a service learning opportunity during their Spring break. Proceeds from this event will support Genesee students’ Alternative Spring Break, March 15 – 20, 2011 in New Orleans, as well as the Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana and Bayou Grace Community Services, organizations that have been instrumental in the revitalization of the area.

The event website highlighting all details is: http://www.genesee.edu/gcc/neworleans/

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