Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New Orleans Women's Health And Justice Initiative

With the shuttering of Charity Hospital, adequate and accessible health care for New Orleans' uninsured returning residents is in poor shape. The women of Incite! Women of Color, a collective of feminist activists dedicated to ending violence against women of color nationwide, has partnered with other local organizations to attempt to open a free health clinic for women and children in the historic Treme district.

The clinic, which Incite! and its partners hope to have up and running by this summer, will provide a range of preventative health services including pregnancy testing and counseling, Pap smears, breast and pelvic exams, anonymous HIV screening and counseling and other basic gynecological care, as well as hypertension and diabetes screening, resource referrals, trauma counseling, self-help and educational workshops and other services.

Women's Health and Justice Initiative representatives Shana Griffin and Thea Patterson joined WWOZ reporter Alison Fensterstock in the studio Tuesday to talk about their project.

Call 504-524-8888 to volunteer, donate or learn more about the Women's Health and Justice Initiative

Jazz Pianist Hilton Ruiz in Critical Condition in New Orleans

Legendary jazz piano player Hilton Ruiz is in critical condition at East Jefferson hospital after sustaining serious injuries early Friday morning.

Ruiz reportedly arrived in New Orleans Thursday to work on a project related to an upcoming album. Accounts from family and associates say he was found on Bourbon Street around 2 a.m. Friday morning, bleeding badly and his face very disfigured. Reports say Ruiz still had his wallet, watch, and other personal items on him, so it appears he was not robbed.

Ruiz was admitted to East Jefferson hospital, though a time of admittance is not available. He remains in critical condition at the intensive care unit.

According to family, police reported Ruiz's injuries as the result of a fall, while medical examiners say he clearly received a blow to the face with a heavy, blunt object.

The musician's wife and daughter have come to New Orleans, and say they plan to pursue a private investigation.

Ruiz is known as one of the world's preeminent Afro-Cuban jazz players, as well as a strong bop player. He's played and studied with the likes of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Mary Lou Williams and more.