New Orleans Secular Humanist Association

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FREE Film Screening - "Dream On" with comedian John Fugelsang

  • When: Monday, November 07, 2016 @ 7:30 pm
  • Jefferson Parish Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, LA view map

In an epic road trip, political comedian John Fugelsang retraces the journey of Alexis de Tocqueville, whose study of our young country in 1831 came to define America as a place where anyone could climb the ladder of economic opportunity.

Following in the Frenchman's footsteps, Fugelsang speaks with fast-food workers and retirees, prisoners and entrepreneurs, undocumented immigrants and community organizers about their hopes, dreams, and daily struggles. 

DREAM ON explores whether the optimistic spirit of the American Dream that Tocqueville observed is alive and well in the twenty-first century, or whether George Carlin was right when he famously quipped "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it."

Download the viewer guide here!


"Cat's Cradle" - NOSHA Book Club

  • When: Thursday, November 10, 2016 @ 7:30 pm
  • , , , view map

We're ready to take on our next title for discussion: "Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut.

This book explores issues of science, technology, and religion, satirizing the arms race and many other targets along the way. After turning down his original thesis in 1947, the University of Chicago awarded Vonnegut his master's degree in anthropology in 1971 for Cat's Cradle.

The title of the book derives from the string game "cat's cradle." Early in the book, the character Felix Hoenikker (a fictional co-inventor of the atom bomb) was playing cat's cradle when the bomb was dropped, and the game is later referred to by his son, Newton Hoenikker.

If you don't purchase this book locally, please use NOSHA Smile to make your purchase:


Goodwill Takes on God's Will -- Late August 2016


Aunt Connie's Home--Before
The crew of NOSHA volunteers who made the trip to Denham Springs to assist in the cleanup from the flooding that swamped nearly 90 percent of the homes in the area traveled in separate cars—with the exception of Dave and Joyce Thomas, who shared their ride. Joining in on the project with the Thomases were Eve Ortiz, Kathleen Branley, Jennifer Porter, Glenn Pearl, Marty Bankson, and Cecelia (a young woman referred by previously committed Adam Kay). Most used  smartphone GPS  to guide them into the subdivision and onto the street where the project was, but most  all had to park and locate a mailbox along the street to find the house number if they didn’t recognize anyone working outside. The mailboxes were buried along the curb’s edge in the heaps of soggy mattresses, broken dining furniture, stacks of wadded clothes, and rolls of ragged-edged carpeting. A small hill of ruined doors, millwork, cabinetry and sinks and fridges would continue filling the front yard from the street back toward the house as the day passed.

Eve Ortiz sampling jambalaya, surveys the progress
The Thomases' acquaintance Paul was coordinating the work. Paul calls Connie Donovan “Aunt Connie”—though their actual relationship may have been less direct. Connie is a 63-year old widow, living alone, and is still working. She was one of the fortunate few who had flood insurance, if “fortunate” is indeed even fit in the description of a  500-year flood.

Many of the modest houses in this neighborhood were built on piers and were elevated about three feet above the ground, but the neighborhood  got  6-7 feet of floodwater from the overflowing Amite River just to the west of it. The math of that equation added up to more than three feet of water in the house . Every house in the subdivision and many more subdivisions like it went under, along with most of the business along the main thoroughfares.

Paul got the crew quick-schooled and started at the basics of house gutting: taking the door and baseboard trim off with hammers and pry bars, removing the electrical switch and receptacle plates, then pulling the soggy sheetrock from the wall studs at the seam four feet above the floor. Then the crumbling and saturated mess had to be shoveled and wheelbarrowed out of the house down the front porch steps, adding more to the misery of the front yard. Bathroom vanity cabinets, toilets, kitchen cabinets, pots, pans, dishes and foodstuffs in the pantry all had to go. Two mice were sent scampering  when their space inside a wall was uncovered.
Big Fans Matter

The feeling of overwhelming loss never seems to be strong enough to keep the victims from finding something—anything—left in the wreckage that was salvageable, something to cling to; and those things become special and dear. Aunt Connie had set up a makeshift table in the front yard near the driveway, where she placed and cleaned and dried some things she found. Maybe a crystal dish; maybe a child’s trophy from a past school competition, or a stuffed panda that had been placed on a high shelf: things once mundane and overlooked now became priceless survivors. A pop-up summer shower was about to spoil what the floodwaters missed as she fussed over them, but we managed to get some scraps of plastic sheeting and a tarp over them before the hardest rain fell.

About midday someone delivered some go-boxes of jambalaya; so those that didn’t pack a lunch didn’t go hungry. And there was plenty of water for hydrating, but Cecelia had an overheating episode anyway. She later seemed confident that she had recovered to point of being  able to get to her car and drive back to New Orleans. The heat and humidity was reminiscent of the hot tropical conditions that smothered New Orleans after Katrina. Joyce and Dave’s experience in the Katrina disaster was evident as they breezed through the day’s work like small potatoes, as if pantomiming “¡No problema!”.

Paul (left) and  NOSHA Volunteers (missing: Glenn Pearl)
This volunteer effort was the most labor-intensive the NOSHA Social Aid and Pleasure Club has experienced; a true test of physical stamina and heat tolerance. But it may be remembered also as most edifying when thinking of Aunt Connie’s words of appreciation and thanks to each of us; and when reflecting on her little makeshift table, and the keepsakes that took on a new and special meaning for her—and for us.

~Marty Bankson


New Episodes - The New Orleans Humanist Perspective

Program #216: Ryan McGehee, Louisiana Socialist Network

Host Jim Dugan talks with Ryan McGehee of the Louisiana Socialist Network (LSN). Recorded 17 Oct 2016. Airdate 23 Oct 2016. By NOSHA (

Posted on 2016-10-18T16:30:04+00:00
Program #215: Julie Schwam Harris, Legislative Agenda for Women (LAW)

Host Jim Dugan talks with Julie Schwam Harris of Legislative Agenda for Women (LAW) Recorded 17 Oct 2016. Airdate 23 Oct 2016 By NOSHA (

Posted on 2016-10-18T16:15:22+00:00

Watch more episodes on our Media page.

American Humanist Association

American Humanist Association
 We’re excited to be here at the Women in Secularism 4...
23 September 2016 | 6:52 pm