Louisiana Disaster Preliminary Damage Self-Report

Was your home damaged by last week’s winter storm? The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness may be able to help. This short online survey allows you to report any and all affects the winter storm may have had on your home. Everything counts, whether you lost a few shingles, had a cracked water pipe in your ceiling, or completely lost your house. You can also report experiences with water, power, or gas failure; damage to appliances from power surges or burst pipes; and emergency supplies, like water, infant formula, and generators, that you bought to make up for a lack of utilities. The survey does not guarantee disaster aid, but it is the first step in the recovery process.

Mid City Micro-Con Presents: Milton Davis

Looking for more opportunities to celebrate inclusive and diverse comics this year? Look no further than your local library! The Mid City Micro-Con crew will be highlighting comics, topics, and creators throughout 2021, leading up to the big event this summer…
Join us as we chat virtually with Atlanta-based indie author and publisher Milton Davis at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, February 27. Author of Amber and the Enchanted Sword, Milton Davis owns MVmedia, a publishing company that provides exciting science fiction and fantasy stories based on African/African Diaspora culture, history, and tradition. He’s also one of the hand-picked authors who contributed to this year’s new Marvel anthology, Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda, featuring original stories by authors from across the African Diaspora. To explore more of his work, visit mvmediaatl.com.
Register for this FREE virtual event on this webpage or call 225-231-3750 for assistance.
Missed out on the 2020 Mid City Micro-Con? View the recordings and more at EBRPL.com/MCMC

Business Person of the Month: Chef Amanda Schonberg

Chef Amanda Schonberg, Chef Schonberg’s Sweets
Email: info@chefschonberg.com
Phone: (225) 590-0364
Facebook: Chef Schonberg’s Sweets


When I sat down (over Zoom) to talk to Chef Amanda Schonberg at about 2:00 P.M., she was preparing for an evening class with her Baking for Business students. She’d already finished all of her baking for Chef Schonberg’s Sweets – her main cottage business – as well as cleaned the house, eaten, and found the time to read for an hour. After we’d met, and after she’d taught her virtual class, she was planning to do paperwork for her bakery clients, follow up on orders, have dinner, and relax with her husband for an hour before bed. When I asked how she’d been able to cram so much into her day, she replied, “I’m a big fan of time-blocking” – the practice of focusing on one activity for an extended length of time, rather than bouncing between tasks as they require – “it’s all about balance and block scheduling.”

Chef Schonberg wasn’t always a chef, of course. When she was young, she helped her aunts and mom cook – her mother’s famous dish was a pound cake imbued with a liqueur like Disarrono – but she originally went to school for medical coding. She realized fairly quickly that wasn’t for her, though, and went to culinary school instead. Afterward, she decided to make alcohol-infused cakes her unique selling proposition, and Chef Schonberg’s Sweets was born as a cottage bakery. She became quickly successful – “I baked cakes for some celebrities, Food Network stars, musicians, authors,” she told me – and other chefs started noticing. “People were like, ‘Well if you can do it, I can do it too, will you help me?’ And it’s not like I don’t mind helping for free!” she laughed. “But when I noticed it picking up, I realized that this in itself could be a business also,” so she started Baking for Business, a virtual learning platform to help other cottage bakers realize their potential.

Cottage bakeries are poised to become more profitable in the current economy, says Schonberg. During, the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been able to stay open when so many other businesses have had to close. In fact, her business has doubled during lockdown, because she’s been able to “put on my gloves and my Lysol and have contact-free delivery.” And she thinks this is only the beginning. Although a sense of normalcy will eventually return, she thinks many of the changes in the past year will be permanent. “We’re going to look back when we’re 70, 80, and it’ll be like when people talk about the stock market crashing. I see this as being the big boom for online businesses, or businesses that offer delivery.” And in fact, evidence of the economy’s move to online shopping is evident even now. Chef Schonberg shared the news that Godiva, the famous chocolate brand, is closing all of their storefronts, which she says is going to increase the demand for cottage bakers.

However, when I asked if she’d ever thought about moving out of her house and into a storefront, her answer was an emphatic “No.” “I love baking from home,” she says, both for the tax and storefront savings, and because “for me personally, it’s more exclusive. People like knowing they’re getting something that’s personalized for them,” that was made by someone who they can see, even if socially-distanced.

Of course, because she doesn’t have a physical store for people to drive or walk by, marketing is all the more important. Chef Schonberg is a maven at marketing, which she attributes to her previous experience managing retail bakeries, as well as a lot of reading from the library, which she makes sure to tell her students. “I was just telling them about the library last night,” in a class called “Idea to Income” – “Y’all have so many great resources, from SCORE, to SBA, even validating recipes.” She also told me that she gets all of her marketing books from the library’s shelves, and encourages her students to make its use.

She also stressed the importance of community: a mantra of hers is “serve the same area that you sell.” She’s a member of the Mid-City Makers’ Market and Partners One, which facilitates local bartering, which Schonberg regularly takes advantage of. “Last week, I locked my keys in the car. And I called the mechanic, didn’t have to pay for it because I used trade, and he said, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it, but for Valentine’s Day, I need a cake for my wife and my mother-in-law.’ And I said, “Deal!’” She credits her flexibility as a cottage business and the vibrancy of the Baton Rouge small business community for those smaller successes.

As our interview came to a close, I asked her what advice she’d give to a budding entrepreneur. She had two: “Use all the resources that are readily available,” whether that be the library, other entrepreneurs, or your community, and “begin with the end in mind.” She plans all of her moves, and that’s brought her success.

Article by Case Duckworth

Lynda for February

This month, Baton Rougeans are interested in learning new computer programs for art, certification, work, and more. All these classes and so, so many more are available for free with your library card – set up your Lynda account today!

  1. Learning PCB Design with EAGLE
  2. SOLIDWORKS 2020 Essential Training
  3. Illustrator 2020 Essential Training
  4. Illustrator 2021 Essential Training
  5. CompTIA Network+ (N10-007) CertPrep: 4 Making TCP/IP Work
  6. Programming Foundations: Fundamentals
  7. SOLIDWORKS: Animations
  8. Audio Mixing Bootcamp
  9. Excel Weekly Challenge
  10. CompTIA Network+ (N10-007) Cert Prep: 5 Securing TCP/IP

Mapping Injustice: Navigating the Criminal Legal System 101

Advancement Project National Office and organizing partners around the United States present a forum series designed to provide a summary of the various phases of a criminal case form arrest to re-entry. We will provide resources and insights to support those looking to learn more about the criminal legal system, along with a roadmap that will assist people as they confront various obstacles including:

  • Information to effectively distinguish between state and federal law enforcement agencies in an effort to understand and diminish the reach of their powers;
  • Mapping stakeholders across the legal system, including judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, and others;
  • Questions to ask your lawyer (court-appointed or private) or the lawyer of a loved one;
  • Potential collateral consequences resulting from a criminal case, including housing, immigration, and employment issues;
  • Community-designed strategies for fighting against oppressive bail practices and demanding accountability from elected officials;
  • Support resources to meaningfully advocate for individuals impacted by incarceration

Our goal is to arm community partners with tools to fight against these discriminatory systems, while we simultaneously work to dismantle them by learning from grassroots organizing groups focused on tackling these issues.

All sessions will be streamed on Facebook Live and YouTube.

  • Session One: Thursday, February 4, 2021 – 7-8:30p EST
    • Policing, Arrest, and Pretrial
  • Session Two: Thursday, February 18, 2021 – 7-8:30p EST
    • Trial, Sentencing, and Plea Negotiations
  • Session Three: Thursday, March 4, 2021 – 7-8:30p EST
    • Incarceration and Re-Entry

Speakers Include:

  • Inez Bordeaux, Organizer – Close the Workhouse Campaign
  • Anthony Boyd, Organizer + Participatory Defense Hub Leader – Michigan Liberation
  • Chris Bufford, Campaign Strategist – Advancement Project National Office
  • Ashley Carter, Deputy Director, Justice Project – Advancement Project National Office
  • Erin Keith, Staff Attorney – Detroit Justice Center
  • Linda Franks and Rev. Alexis Anderson, Organizers + Community Advocates – East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition
  • Chantá Parker, Managing Director – Neighborhood Defender Service Detroit

Primary Sources for Black History Month

Black Freedom Struggle in the United States is a new collection of primary source documents detailing the history of African Americans from the 1790s to the 2000s, covering slavery, the abolitionist movement, the Jim Crow era, through the civil rights movement to the recent past. Documents include contemporary newspaper articles, diaries, correspondence, government publications, and more. Material is easily searchable by time period:

  • Resistance to Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement (1790-1860)
  • The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861-1877)
  • Jim Crow Era from 1878 to the Great Depression (1878-1932)
  • The New Deal and World War II (1933-1945)
  • The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements (1946-1975)
  • The Contemporary Era (1976-2000)

This new resource from ProQuest is an excellent source of material for students of all ages, as well as those who want to learn more about our history as a nation through the words of those who lived it. It is available through the Digital Library.