While not quite a native, Brandi Bowen has lived in New Orleans fourteen years. Brandi is the Program Director for New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council, an important organization which provides medical and other care for those infected with HIV, and is located in Mid-City.
As Brandi described, “NORAPC is the public planning body for Ryan White Part A HIV services in the New Orleans 8-parish area. Duties include determining the most important service categories, establishing funding levels for priority services, developing Standards of Care for services to ensure delivery of quality services, comprehensive planning to improve the service system, and to act as a venue to convene community input. NORAPC’s vision is to create a high quality comprehensive coordinated HIV care system to promote improved overall health outcomes. It is in concert with the Federal Government’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy that we aim to improve health outcomes and reduce HIV transmission.”
Brandi further explained that, “As a public planning body, there is not an owner per se. In a sense, the Planning Council is owned by the community. As staff, we love serving the community with the goal of improving the health and well-being of persons living with HIV and persons affected by HIV (we are all affected by HIV).”
Here are Brandi’s responses to our “fun facts” questions:
What’s your favorite NOLA neighborhood to live in? Central City
What’s your favorite shopping area of NOLA? Farmers’ Market [We have to agree. Local produce and other food is just the best! And, way to support local merchants.]
Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest: BOTH (trying to choose would be like choosing between inhaling or exhaling–you need to do both to breathe and we need both sets of festivities to be fully spirited) [We agree!]
Favorite Snoball Stand: Hansen’s (hands down hand–shaved ice beats all)
New red, or traditional green, streetcars? Green (always green)
Saints or Pelicans? Hornets (I miss Hugo)
[Here you go, Brandi.]
Favorite NOLA athlete: Steve Gleason
Favorite local music venue: Riverfront/Woldenberg Park, Lafayette Square, Washington Square, Armstrong Park, City Park, Fairgrounds, and every other outdoor venue with the wind in your hair and the grass beneath your toes. [Agreed.]
Favorite NOLA restaurant: Breakfast–Coulis; Lunch–Liberty’s Kitchen; Dinner–Palace Cafe
Café du Monde or Morning Call: Morning Call
An ideal NOLA weekend: 610 Stompers Ball crawl on Saturday, June 7th, followed by a buggy ride through the Quarter, swamp tour, late night music scene, riverboat dinner cruise, stroll along the riverfront, tootle through used books stores and museums, bike ride in the park, and a second line, and maybe a nap after all that.
What tech device could you not live without? My Stereo (FM tuner, CD & cassette player, and turntable—yes, some people still depend on such archaic devices by design). [We’d love to see a picture of this rare antique.]
Favorite website for fun: www.legis.la.gov [The website for the Louisiana State Legislature; we think she may be kidding.]
Favorite website(s) for work: https://careacttarget.org/
Anything new for you and/or your business in 2014? Treatment as Prevention (data show patients who take their HIV medications regularly and suppress their viral load are less likely to transmit the virus to others), PrEP — Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (medications can now be prescribed to HIV-negative individuals to prevent acquiring the virus), Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (opportunities to help patients get comprehensive health insurance coverage can improve access to quality care). Oh, and Rent-A-Nerd recently installed new equipment which will help us to be more efficient and effective in planning for HIV services. [We’re glad to help!]
Please let us know anything else that we haven’t mentioned above: In 2011, the New Orleans area ranked 2nd in HIV infection case rates out of all metro areas in the US according to CDC data. There were 401 new HIV cases in the New Orleans area in 2013. Approximately 25% of new HIV cases occur among youth under the age of 24, while another 25% occur among those over the age of 45. Everyone needs to remember HIV is preventable and treatable. Know the facts. Get Tested. Get in Care. Learn more at the Planning Council — all meetings are open to the public.