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New Orleans East Regional Library celebrates grand opening

Isn’t it great that the East Regional Branch Library, located at 5641 Read Blvd., is now open?

The building that formerly housed the library was demolished in 2009 due to flooding in 2005. Thankfully, the library is now back, and eastern New Orleans has yet another flourishing service.

When I was a little girl, the library was my favorite hangout. It was such an adventure to sit and lose myself among all those wonderful library books. It was in the library I discovered several of my hobbies, which included writing and researching. Now that we have a fully functional library in our community once again, I will once again find myself among the many books, reading, researching or just quietly sitting with a pen in hand.

Our community’s library is a 27,325 square-foot, two-story facility. The first floor is predominantly children’s books, a technology lab and a community room. The spacious second floor is dedicated to teens and adults.

And of course the library is stocked with DVDs and soon will offer adult literacy training. As an added attraction to our library, make sure you stop and visit the piece of art, by world-renowned local folk artist Bruce Brice, which was rescued from the flooded building and is now hanging in the library again. Check out his work at

The artwork depicts Joe W. Brown Park and the Louisiana Nature Center as it was in the early 1970s.

Before the library’s grand-opening ceremony on April 14, an opening was held that I attended. On hand was the recently appointed executive director of the New Orleans Public Library, Charles Brown, Library Board Chairman Lee C. Reid, Library Board members Sharon L. Clark and Arnel W. Cosey, and manager of the East Regional Library, Lila LaGraize, Charlotte Laihonen, who is in charge of the children’s area, and also plans children’s activities and storytelling, and librarian from the main branch, Jessica Styons, who shared with us that her first job was at the Read Branch.

Of course the executive director of Friends of Joe W. Brown Park & Louisiana Nature Center, Tangee Wall, was in attendance. Other members of Friends present were Cathy Charbonnet, Melanie Thompson, Ed Blouin, Michael Allen, Brenda Manning, and Cynthia Smith.

Representing the Eastern New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission were its president, Sylvia Scineaux-Richard, and administrator Corrine Ducre-Villavosso. Also in attendance was the neighborhood liaison for the east, Le’Kedra Robertson, resident Lena Stewart, Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training executive director Cyndi Nguyen, and from the Lake Willow Subdivision, Dawn Hebert.

What a wonderful way to usher in the end of the school year! The library is the perfect place to spend long, lazy days of summer!


By Veronica Barbarin, Eastern New Orleans columnist

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