LSU Health Sciences Center's School of Dentistry and professionals from the Louisiana Dental Association will provide free dental care to as many as 3,000 people at the Audubon Zoo this week during a Mission of Mercy event that includes a 50-chair dental clinic open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday.
Services, including fillings, cleanings and tooth extractions, will be provided to anyone who seeks them. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. The clinic was organized in conjunction with the Virginia Dental Health Foundation, and the Virginia Dental Association Relief Foundation earlier this week presented a check to the LSU's School of Dentistry to help it recover from damages it received during Hurricane Katrina. The dental school currently operates a six-chair dental clinic at the E-Med Units at the New Orleans Convention Center to help with dental needs of people in New Orleans.
In addition, nursing faculty and students from LSU's New Orleans School of Nursing will provide medical care at the event.
Wild About Yoga
Wild Lotus Yoga (4842 Perrier St., 899-0047; www.wildlotusyoga.com) has renovated its studio to provide more space for the growing number of yoga enthusiasts who want to take classes post-Katrina.
"We've actually had more students in most of our classes than before the storm," says Wild Lotus founder Sean Johnson. "We were growing so quickly we had to turn people away sometimes because we didn't have space." To solve the problem, Johnson torn down some walls and doubled the size of a classroom, which enables Wild Lotus to offer more of the most popular classes. Classes offered include yoga basics, kid's yoga, flow yoga, power yoga, serenity yoga, hot yoga, prenatal yoga and kirtan, which incorporates chanting and music.
Customers can buy tickets, which allow the holder to take 10 classes at $10 each over a 12-week period. The tickets also can be shared with other people. Drop-in prices are $12 per class. The business also offers music and writing workshops and other special events.
"We try to create a wide variety of classes so there's something for everyone," Johnson says. "We offer partners classes for couples. We explore the relationship between arts, music, spirituality and writing. We're trying to make it more than just a yoga center. We want it to be a community center so people can come together and experience many things together."
Helping the Elderly
Len and Evelyn Snyder have opened a new office for Home Instead Senior Care (1502 Front St., Slidell, 985-726-2668; www.homeinstead.com) to replace the one that was ruined during Hurricane Katrina. The facility will help Home Instead more effectively serve the growing number of seniors in the area.
Len Snyder estimates Slidell's population of seniors has increased by 60 percent post-Katrina due mainly to an influx of elderly from hurricane-damaged areas. Home Instead helps the elderly remain in private homes by providing caregivers to help with day to day activities such as prepare meals, do light housekeeping, help with medications and provide companionship.
Touro Infirmary (1440 Foucher St., 897-7011) last month purchased St. Charles Specialty Hospital (3700 St. Charles Ave.), part of its medical office building and a 224-car parking garage two blocks from Touro's main campus, which has been the only hospital open in New Orleans for the care of adults since the hurricane.
Les Hirsch, president of Touro, a not-for-profit, community-based hospital, says the hospital is still evaluating how the newly acquired building will be used, but the parking area will be available to patients and their families immediately.
"It is critical for the health of our community that Touro is able to expand services to meet growing health-care demands, and we are poised to expand," Hirsch says. The hospital is now recruiting additional nurses and other staff members so it can make more beds available to patients, he says.
Medical Students, Come Home
Ochsner Clinic Foundation is working with Tulane and Louisiana State University to allow third- and fourth-year medical students and residents at those schools to continue their medical training at Ochsner.
Many of those students had to leave the city to continue their training after Hurricane Katrina due to the closing of those schools as well as medical training facilities at LSU and Tulane hospitals, the VA Medical Center and Charity Hospital.
"Maintaining medical education within New Orleans is essential," says Dr. William Pinsky, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Ochsner. "Despite the devastating effects of Katrina, all of Ochsner's medical education programs and infrastructure have remained intact and functional."
Ochsner, an independent, academic, teaching hospital, brings in medical students from local schools and around the world to train in medical specialties. Before the storm, Ochsner employed 325 residents in its graduate medical education program. Pinsky says it is important to bring medical students back to New Orleans, partially because "most physicians choose to practice in the region in which they trained."
- People in need of dental care can find it for free this week at a clinic set up by LSU and others at Audubon Zoo.