FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Occupy The Stage community warehouse was suffering financially before Hurricane Isaac made landfall in New Orleans, LA on August 28. Despite this, Occupy The Stage is committed to hosting a Labor Day BBQ at the warehouse on September 3 at 7pm at 2735c Toulouse Street. Live performances will follow. However, without help, Occupy The Stage's infrastructure may come to a halt due to losses suffered during Hurricane Isaac and existing economic problems.
The rent for the Occupy The Stage warehouse is 1800 a month. Utilities cost about 300 per month.
Members of Occupy The Stage have missed several days of work due to Hurricane Isaac. The warehouse lost power on Tuesday, August 28 and has been running on one generator to keep food for the community kitchen refrigerated. Power has not been restored as of September 1. Members of OTS waited in line at 700 Poland - a designated ice, water, and MRE drop-off - on Friday August 31 when FEMA was unable to deliver these resources. They have been busy networking with InterOccupy and Community Kitchen assisting NOLA residents without power (especially the elderly and people with children).
Prior to Isaac's arrival, a number of tools from the wood-working and mechanic shop were stolen including a compressor, wrenches, and ratchets (a more complete list can be provided upon further assessment).
The Occupy The Stage Warehouse hosts regular live performances, Occupy NOLA GAs, a community kitchen, a community bike shop, a community wood-working shop, a sign/banner making station, a digital media station, and a place for local activists to meet. Teach-ins and discussions are often held at the warehouse. Occupy The Stage has hosted The Occupy Caravan, Radical Resistance Tour, New Orleans Socialist Alternative, and is expecting visitors from Less Wall More Street. Materials for tent-monsters, signs, banners, flyers, a portable state, etc have all been paid for out of pocket by members of Occupy The Stage.
Members of Occupy The Stage also typically use their wages to pay the lease on the warehouse, the utilities, to contribute to the community kitchen, to print and circulate materials about the Occupy Movement, and to support other occupations by donating to Jail Support, Livestreamers, DNC Housing and to sometimes pay musicians who perform at the FREE shows Occupy The Stage welcomes the community to attend. These shows sometimes include more prominent New Orleans bands that request a small fee as well as budding musicians who are trying out the stage for the first time.
Members of Occupy The Stage have traveled to Occupy DC, Occupy Birmingham, Occupy Charlotte, The Occupy National Gathering, and other locations and have livestreamed and live-tweeted while participating in actions. Members include Occupy NOLA's only livestreamers @small_affair and @ots_nola.
Occupy The Stage began in Duncan Plaza when Justin Warren (founding member and master carpenter) built a stage at the encampment and musicians performed there. When The Occupy NOLA encampment was raided and Occupy NOLA was evicted from Duncan Plaza, Justin Warren secured the warehouse, installed sewer lines, and renovated the space so occupiers could have a safe space to meet and NOLA citizens could learn skills needed for employment (i.e. carpentry, mechanics, digital literacy, web design, performing). Sustaining this infrastructure is vital to the New Orleans community.
Donations made to Occupy The Stage will go to:
1. Buy food and water for Labor Day BBQ which all are invited to attend as New Orleans recovers from Hurricane Isaac.
2. Pay the rent: 1800 per month
3. Pay utilities: around 300 per month (electric, phone, internet used by Occupy NOLA Digital Media Working Group and GA)
4. Purchase gas for generator
5. Install better lock on door
6. Strengthen roof
7. Replace tools stolen from Woodworking shop and Bike shop in warehouse
8. Stock community kitchen that provides free meals to occupiers, activists, and community members
9. Print flyers to promote actions and FREE performances that give local musicans an opportunity to perform before an audience
10. Livestream Isaac recovery, actions and performances
11. Assist with Isaac recovery
12. Provide a safe indoor space where traveling occupiers can meet, shower, and rest
Occupy NOLA holds General Assemblies at the OTS warehouse on Tuesdays at 7pm.
Members of this working group are employed and only ask for donations to help cover costs of warehouse and Isaac recovery materials/supplies.
Please contact us if you have any questions about donations.
Thank you and solidarity!
~ Occupy The Stage