Header5a - RH
Issue: Vol 5 # 5     
May, 2013     
In This Issue
Save the Date ...
Take A Case ...
Open Some Doors ...
Profile: Walter E. Blessey, Jr. ...
Search, Shop, Dine for The Project ...
Save the Date

25th Anniversary Justice For All Ball
September 20, 2013
8:00 pm to Midnight
Audubon Tea Room

For Sponsorship Information, please contact Rachel Piercey or at 504.581.4043.
Take A Case

What's on your plate this month? We have something for every interest on this month's Case List


There are several interesting cases, including a boundary dispute based on a misplaced fence and an elderly client who wants to participate in the lot next door program in St. Bernard. 


A particularly compelling case involves a client whose landlord kept the apartment in a deplorable condition and then stole the client's electricity (documented by Entergy) to start repairs. 


A bad contractor elevated another client's house and built a ramp to a door that had never been used.


 In another instance, a client needs help with a Road Home award. 


We also have several wage claims and a case for a client to get his taxi permit returned.


In the family law arena, we have a simple consent custody, a child support reduction, and a name change.


 We have two consumer cases,  and several bankruptcies, one of which just involves advice about the effect of a bankruptcy on the client's pension.


 Take a look at our May Case List - there's something for everyone. Thanks for your help.

Open Some Doors - 
Support The Project Now!

LA Giving B&W

Celebrate pro bono and please help us open the door for our clients and volunteers. Support The Project by clicking on the Louisiana Giving logo above. 

Become a
Partner for Pro Bono
by checking the
"make this a recurring donation" box on The Project's donation page when you click the above link. Make your Annual Donation over 12 months.

 Help us plan for the future by contacting
Rachel PIercey at 504.581.4043 about the Pro Bono for Life Planned Giving program.

Follow-up Links
JFAB 2012


     Already this month has been filled with great food and music and recognition of our culture and heritage worldwide as JazzFest showed off the best of what we all love about metro New Orleans. 


     And while the curtain has come down on this year's JazzFest - the applause continues for many of our longtime volunteers. Raise your glass, offer a toast and hearty congratulations with the Board and Staff to the following:


Mark Surprenant      Mark Surprenant, Adams and Reese, Former Board Chair, Resource Development Committee Member and Volunteer Attorney

Katie Lasky      Katie LaskyJones Swanson Huddell & Garrison, Board Chair, Executive Committee, Volunteer Attorney
  • Recipient of the Leah Hipple McKay Award, the most prestigious of the Crystal Gavel Awards given by the LSBA for Outstanding Volunteerism. She will receive the award at the LSBA Convention in Sandestin, FL in June.
      Norm Rubenstein Norm Rubenstein, Zeughauser Group, Board Treasurer, Executive Committee and Resource Development Committee Member, Volunteer Professional Services
  • Recipient of the Pro Bono Publico, Friend of Pro Bono Award presented by the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) Access to Justice Committee . The award will be presented on May 21, 2013 at the Louisiana Supreme Court on Royal Street.
     In addition to Norm, our heartfelt congratulations goes out to the many volunteer lawyers and professionals receiving acknowledgement and applause at the upcoming LSBA Pro Bono Publico & Children's Law Awards ceremony on May 21st. Here is the complete list of award winners: LSBA Awards 

      Chris Ralston Chris Ralston, Phelps Dunbar, Board Secretary, Executive Committee and JFAB Committee Member, Volunteer Attorney

  • Recipient of the Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF) President's Award for dedication and leadership to the organization. Read the full story: RALSTON 
     Kim Perret, Jones Walker, Board Member, Resource Development Committee Chair, Volunteer Professional
Kenneth Polite      Kenneth Polite, Jr., Liskow & Lewis, Board Member and Volunteer Attorney
    Finally, we are also pleased to announce that this year's JFAB invitation photographer/artist J. Stirling Barrett, won Best of Show at the JazzFest!! Woo-hoo - now that's something to second-line about!!


All the best,



Rachel Piercey            

Executive Director       


PS -- Spread the word about The Pro Bono Project by using the new social media buttons and connect this newsletter to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media page. Thanks!    Find us on Facebook 

Profile: Walter E. Blessey, Jr.


     Not a day goes by in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes that the power of water is not apparent. The Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain, the Gulf of Mexico and the hundreds of bayous, waterways and marshlands that surround Southern Louisiana are traversed by boats and ships of all sizes.  


Walter Blessey Jr.
Walter E. Blessey, Jr.
     And that is where this year's
Justice for All Ball Honorary Chair, Walter Blessey, Jr. plays his biggest role. Mr. Blessey, Founder (1978), Chairman and CEO of Blessey Marine Services, Inc. has one of the youngest and largest multi-faceted fleets of inland tank barges and towing vessels in the world. 


     When you see a string of tank barges coming down the Mississippi, or cruising past on any of the dozens of rivers that criss-cross the eastern United States, chances are they belong to Mr. Blessey. 


     And, if you're still driving a round in a 'young classic car' from the 1990s, you may have bought it from one of the 13 automobile dealerships he once owned. It seems that transportation in many forms has played a huge part in Mr. Blessey's life and success as a businessman.


     In a December, 2011 interview in My New Orleans, Mr. Blessey responded to a question about the philosophy that he adheres to in business with the following comment, "Create a company culture that is focused and centered around respect for the individual."
Boat Christening
Christening one on the River, March 2013.
     If you look at his life beyond Blessey Marine, you will see that all of Mr. Blessey's endeavors focus on his 'respect for the individual.' 
     That philosophy has served him well, and so, it's no surprise that he accepted the challenge and the opportunity to serve The Pro Bono Project as this year's JFAB Honorary Chair, which celebrates the Ball's 25th Anniversary.

     Like Mr. Blessey, the work of The Project centers around the philosophy of 'respect for the individual' and many times this is exactly what the pro bono services, which our volunteer attorneys provide, do for our clients: restore their respect - for themselves and their ability to move forward once their legal issues are resolved.


     In keeping with his philosophy, Mr. Blessey has not only committed his personal time, but the wherewithal of his company, as well, in order to support The Project in our work by becoming the 
Presenting Sponsor. In keeping with this, the 2013 Ball will be identified as "The Pro Bono Project's Justice For All Ball presented by Blessey Marine Services, Inc."  
     Again, it should be no surprise, as he has raised countless dollars in support of Junior AchievementSt. Martin's Episcopal SchoolChildren's Hospital and the Audubon Zoological Garden. He has served on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement, the 
American Waterways Operators and numerous other community and business organizations. 


     He was inducted into the Louisiana Business Hall of Fame in 1999. In November, 2012 Mr. Blessey was honored by his high school alma mater, St. Martin's Episcopal School, with the highest award an alumni can receive, the Martin de Tours Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership and service to the community. (See story at The Bell, Fall 2012, page 29.)


     Mr. Blessey is a graduate of Tulane University with a BS in Civil Engineering and from Tulane School of Law with a Juris Doctorate and has studied for an MBA at Tulane Graduate School. He has also attended the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland) and the University of Washington as part of his university studies.


     When not at work, he and his wife Jane Ann enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren, or traveling between their homes in metro New Orleans, the Gulf Coast and the West Coast.


     The Pro Bono Project is honored to have Mr. Blessey serve as the 2013 JFAB Honorary Chair and grateful for the support of his company, Blessey Marine Services Inc. as our Presenting Sponsor to celebrate the Ball's 25th Anniversary.


     There are many sponsorship opportunities for The Justice For All Ball and many area law firms and businesses are already on board. It's not to late to become a JFAB Sponsor, just email Rachel Piercey, Executive Director or call her at 504.581.4043 for additional information.
Shop 'til You Drop & Give to The Project!

Earn money for The Pro Bono Project every time you do the things you do everyday:
Give to The Project by searching, shopping and Dining: GoodSearch, GoodShop or GoodDining and many other functions of the GoodSearch website.

Shop for The Project through LOUISIANA GIVES (Just Give)LA Gives logo

Whether you use GoodSearch or Louisiana Gives, participating merchants will donate a percentage of your purchase to The ProjectThanks for your support!  

Our Mission

The Pro Bono Project's mission is to provide free, quality civil legal services to the underserved by engaging volunteer lawyers to render pro bono services. The Project serves Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Washington Parishes with funding from the Justice For All Ball and other sources. The Project works in collaboration with other legal and social service providers to improve the quality of life for our clients and our community.