By, Jessica Snow
While in New Orleans, one of the best parts of our trip was the book-signing at Melba's Po'boy Shop. Melba's is one of the most hoppin' 24 hour restaurant spots in NOLA--but it is so much more than that. This one of a kind place, run by its passionate and enthusiastic owner-Jane Wolfe, is its own intellectual hub that has cultivated an entire literacy community. Authors from all over the country visit Melba's!
Inside, you'll find quotes covering the walls from famous authors or noteable NOLA-ians. The place is decked out with banners, bookcases full from visiting authors, a reading corner just for kids, and an energy from its staff and patrons that you just can't find anywhere else. Jane Wolfe's vision for her community is apparent and joyful. It is clear she has a heart for New Orleans and its people.
It was a privilege for us to be able to connect with local folks coming through-over 300 people grabbing lunch and stopping for a signed book of "From Prison Cells to Phd: It's Never Too Late to Do Good." It was rapid fire introductions and in the state with the highest incarceration rate in the country, an honor to hear from individuals sharing how they or their families could identify with our story and our mission.
We left Melba's that day with full bellies and inspired hearts. If you're in New Orleans, we encourage you to stop by this literacy haven, doing so much to be a beacon in their community, with the best po'boys you'll find around.
Later in the week, you would have found P2P doing the work with multiple speaking engagements at local universities, including Loyola and the LSU College of Health and Sciences. Dr. Andrisse was invited by Annie Phoenix, Director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute to speak at the school based at Loyola University in New Orleans. It was the first event to take place since Phoenix’s undertaking of her social justice new role. She and others at the Jesuit Institute at Loyola are interested in bringing P2P to Louisiana to offer mentorship and support services as they pursue the start of a new prison education program.
The President, Vice President, and Dean of Faculty at Loyola were all present in attendance. At both Loyola and LSU, Dr. Andrisse found active and engaged audiences who were compelled by both his personal story and the mission of ‘From Prison Cells to PhD.’ P2P enjoyed connecting with attendees after both events as Dr. Andrisse signed copies of his book. After bringing along over 250 of the books with us on this trip, we ran out halfway through our last speaking engagement.
We are excited to continue our connections made in New Orleans this week with Larry Miller, JFF, Melba’s, Loyola NO, and LSU. We met so many wonderful individuals from associations and agencies across the continent. It was exciting to promote P2P and the work we are doing on the ground in new spaces as we continue to advocate for our scholars, incarcerated men and women across the nation, and access to education for all. New Orleans treated us well, and we can’t wait to return.
To see photos from the Melba’s book signing and Dr. Andrisse’s speaking engagements, click Here.
You are able to purchase Dr. Andrisse’s book Here.