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Krewe of Red Beans And Crescent Care Partner To Vaccinate New Orleans' Culture Bearers

Katie Siroka
Jose Fermin Ceballos from the Krewe of Red Beans delivers produce and grocery items to Benny Jones, a local drummer and the leader of the Treme Brass Band, as a part of their Feed The Second Line fundraising effort.

The Krewe of Red Beans will launch an initiative to get New Orleans’ elderly culture bearers vaccinated.

It’s called Culture > COVID and is an extension of the krewe’s program Feed the Second Line, which has been delivering boxes of local produce and prepared meals from local restaurants to elderly cultural fixtures since May.

“It’s vital that we don’t lose any more culture bearers to COVID,” Red Beans krewe leader Devin De Wulf said. “We’ve already lost quite a few in 2020.”

The program will bring the city’s elderly musicians and culture creators to Crescent Care Health Clinic to receive extra vaccine doses.

Those extra doses become available because people miss appointments and because some vials of the Pfizer vaccine contain an “angel” dose. Once the vaccine is thawed from it’s storage temperature of -70 degrees Celsius, it can remain in the refrigerator for up to five days. Giving the vaccines to the city’s culture bearers could eliminate potential waste of the vaccine.

De Wulf said New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno asked him to create a way to use the extra doses once the angel dose was discovered.

The krewe has two objectives, he said: “to create jobs for the city’s out of work musicians and to eliminate any and all barriers to health care that our culture bearers might have.”

The delivery team will have to adhere to strict testing and social distancing restrictions and will wear personal protective equipment when they pick up and drop off elders.

A representative from Crescent Care said the clinic’s current supply of vaccines is limited and that it is still working out the details of the partnership with Krewe of Red Beans.

Bobbi-Jeanne Misick is the justice, race and equity reporter for the Gulf States Newsroom, a collaboration between NPR, WWNO in New Orleans, WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama and MPB-Mississippi Public Broadcasting in Jackson. She is also an Ida B. Wells Fellow with Type Investigations at Type Media Center.

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