May 5, 2011

Obadiah Simmons of GSU & New Orleans Food Bank Managers Participate at Delta Conference

Delta Regional Authority Cochairman Chris Masingill, former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Mike Beebe, US Rep. Mike Ross, and US Rep. Rick Crawford joined over 100 grassroots leaders from the eight-state DRA region at the annual Delta Caucus conference on May 5 and May 6, 2011 at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. Louisiana speakers included Obadiah Simmons of Grambling State University, Louisiana Co-coordinator for the Delta Caucus, and Natalie Jayroe, CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, who helped commemorate the 10th anniversary of the DRA and look forward to a brighter economic future for Louisiana and the region.

“We were delighted to have Obadiah Simmons of Grambling, Natalie Jayroe of the Greater New Orleans Food Bank speaking at this conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the DRA and look forward as to how we can further promote economic progress in the vast region from southern Illinois and Missouri to New Orleans and the Gulf,” said Lee Powell, Delta Caucus executive director.

“We have not only our long-term poverty and the current recession to contend with, but the natural disasters of the oil spill in the Gulf and the devastating storms and flooding across our region, and we appreciate Chairman Masingill, Gov. Beebe, President Clinton, our leaders in Congress and all our partners in Louisiana and across the region in shining a light of attention and help as we work on disaster relief and rebuilding after these disasters,” Powell said.

DRA Chairman Masingill, President Clinton, Gov. Beebe, Congressman Ross and Crawford are doing all they can to get information out to people about disaster relief and aiding in the recovery effort, as well as job creation/economic recovery efforts to battle the recession.

“On a brighter note, we are glad that Obadiah Simmons, Natalie Jayroe and so many grassroots leaders across the region could join us in supporting the great job Chairman Masingill and Alternate Federal Cochairman Mike Marshall of Missouri are doing in providing dynamic leadership for the DRA. That is a bright spot in an otherwise troubled time,” Powell said.

In addition to Dr. Simmons and Natalie Jayroe, Louisiana participants included Barbara McIntyre of the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce, Connie Blakely, assistant for the Project Emerald initiative in Grambling, Mike Kantor, public policy coordinator for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans, and Angela Lee and Gloria Smith of Joy Impact Ministries based in Jonesboro, Louisiana.

“Obadiah Simmons and Grambling have been invaluable supporters of the Delta Grassroots Caucus for many years now and we greatly appreciate their,” Powell said. “Natalie Jayroe gave a great presentation on the impact of the oil spill in harming the economy and worsening hunger and nutrition problems in News Orleans and nearby areas, and we know the people of that area will need a great deal of long-term help after suffering the twin disasters of Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill in only five years.”

DRA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS: In just its first six years of operation, the Delta Regional Authority’s federal grant program funded 385 projects, using $56 million of DRA funds. That $56 million leveraged $278 million of other federal funds and $1.2 billion of private funds.

It is estimated that this investment of more than $1.5 billion in the region has helped create or retain more than 32,000 jobs while providing drinking water and sewer services to almost 25,000 families. More than 6,300 Delta residents received job training due to this investment.

For information on how to locate and apply for disaster relief, go to
For the Disaster Recovery Center Locator, type in
For state emergency agencies, type in the following to reach the websites:

Click here for PDF.

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CONTACT: Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347
Or Obadiah Simmons, Grambling (318) 274-7592;
or New Orleans Food Bank at (504) 729-2859


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