January 10, 2014


Stop by NOMA for music by Jasen Weaver’s Jazz Ensemble, and curator Russell Lord’s gallery talk on Gordon Parks. We’ve also got a documentary screening and discussion that you won’t want to miss. Join us!

About the Jasen Weaver Jazz Ensemble

Jasen Weaver began playing the double bass at the age of 11. He first received training at a program called the New Orleans String Project, and from there he joined the string orchestra at Lusher Extension Middle School and was accepted into the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra (GNOYO). At the age of 13, he also joined the jazz band at his middle school and began what would become a full time interest in the music. By age 14, he was accepted into the prestigious New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) in the Jazz program and was also promoted to co-principal of the Symphony (Advanced) division of GNOYO. Since then he has been privileged to play with many great musicians on the New Orleans jazz scene including Donald Harrison, Wes Anderson, Herlin Riley, Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Los Hombres Calientes, Stephanie Jordan, Sasha Masakowski and many others. In addition to being active in the jazz scene, he was also a member of the New Orleans hip-hop scene as a member of the group Floopy Head and continues to perform with emcee, Ciel Rouge. Jasen has also attended many summer programs for music including the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp, Project Prodigy Summer Camp, Litchfield Jazz Camp, Noise 2006!, Skidmore Jazz Institute and Berklee College of Music 5-Week Summer Performance Program. He has also performed internationally in Japan and Israel as a representative of NOCCA, Honduras with Sasha Masakowski and Russia with Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Jasen has graduated from the University of New Orleans in May 2012 as a Jazz Studies major and is now an active member of the New Orleans music scene.

About SHELL SHOCKED (approx. 60 min.)

New Orleans, LA has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the United States. For the last decade, statistics have shown murder rates four to six times higher than the national average. Eighty percent of the victims are black males, mostly in their teenage years. This is the city’s greatest neglected crisis with profound implications for the issues of violence and crime most American cities face. New Orleans government, law enforcement, community leaders, and well-intentioned citizens cannot agree on a prognosis or a solution to this situation. Wherever a disagreement is escalating into violence, an execution is being planned, or a victim is taking his last breath, it is more than likely a youth is witnessing or carrying out these actions. SHELL SHOCKED attempts to bridge the gap of this disconnect by hearing the ideas, opinions, and testimonies from activists, community leaders, police, city officials, youth program directors, family and friends of victims, and the children who live in these violent circumstances. We are looking for positive solutions to an extremely negative situation.

Discussion panelists:

J*ohn RIchie – Executive Producer, Writer, Director*
John Richie began his film career after graduating with a degree in Drama/Communications in 2003 from the University of New Orleans. Over the past eight years he has worked his way up through the camera department on dozens of large-budget films, commercials, and television shows. In 2007 he began his own production company, Scrub Brush Productions, producing many music videos and short narrative and documentary films. Over the following four years, the focus of John’s production company has increasingly turned to social issues and the youth of New Orleans. He has devoted himself to educating disenfranchised young adults in the art of filmmaking. He has volunteered his time at high schools and youth centers, helping give these teens a creative outlet and viable skill set for their futures. John began work on Shell Shocked: The New Orleans Youth Story in 2008 when, while volunteering at a local high school, he heard firsthand accounts of these young children living with violence and murder on a day-to-day basis. His dedication to addressing this situation has led him to self-finance the documentary for the past three years.

Dr. Phil Stepka, PhD
Dr. Stepka is Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry with the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. He conducts training, consultation, research, and clinical services related to children and families impacted by trauma and violence through federally funded grant projects through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). His interest and specialties include trauma throughout the lifespan, child maltreatment, infant mental health, fetal alcohol effects/syndrome, pervasive developmental disorders, sexual abuse and sexual behavior problems, family therapy, and risk and resiliency factors in military families.

Jarvis DeBerry
Columnist, | The Times-Picayune
Jarvis DeBerry, an editorial writer and columnist, has written for The Times-Picayune since 1997. He was on the team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. In 2007, 2011 and 2013, his column was given first prize by the Louisiana/Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors Association. DeBerry has had poetry published in several anthologies, most recently The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, Kelly, and daughter, Naomi.

Curissa “Cee Cee” Davis
Cee Cee Davis is a 20 year old native of New Orleans. She graduated from George Washington Carver High School as class president and with academic honors. Cee Cee was 16 years old when she began working on Shell Shocked. By this time, she had lost over 10 friends to gun violence including her best friend Katie Hill. Now, Cee Cee trains employees for the national chain restaurant Popeye’s and travels for them to help open up new stores.

Elaine Vigne is a lifelong residence of New Orleans. She graduated in May from UNO with a Masters in Museum Science. Elaine volunteers as a mentor at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church in their youth program. She has lost one son, Ron Anthony, to gun violence.
Both Cee Cee and Elaine were featured in the film.

The discussion will be moderated by Joy M. Bruce, Executive Director, CASA New Orleans.
Joy M. Bruce is the Executive Director of CASA New Orleans, a nonprofit organization that fights for the rights of abused and neglected children. Under her leadership, CASA New Orleans has diversified their funding and programming, becoming the first CASA program in the state to secure funds to follow youth after they transition out of foster care at 18. She is the former Director of Impact Initiatives at the Capital Area United Way, where she created and supported community impact projects in the ten-parish region served by the organization. Her career and volunteer work include a variety of nonprofit roles, all in support of collaborative development and increasing resiliency.