First Tuesdays: Spirituality In the City Speaker Series

People of all faiths (or none at all) are warmly invited to this annual interfaith series that promotes dialogue, mutual understanding, and collaboration on topics of spirituality. On first Tuesdays, October through May, local leaders initiate conversations about their spiritual traditions and address the theme, “Spirituality in the City."

First Tuesdays is co-sponsored by The Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Loyola Institute for Ministry, The Catholic Book Store, and Holy Name of Jesus Church. It is guided by an interreligious steering committee.  All presentations begin at 12:30 in Lenes Hall, 130 Baronne Street, the parish center of Jesuit Church, and include a simple lunch that starts at 12:15. All are welcome. Admission is free. Parking is available at parking meters on the street as well as at the many downtown lots and garages. 

Lenes Hall at the Jesuit Church Down has been refurbished and is ready for a Spring First Tuesdays series

Spring 2017 Schedule

 January 3, 12:30-1:15 (Free lunch from 12:15)

Title: "Blast from the Past: A 'Relevant' Church in an Historically Traditional Model"
Fr. Bill Terry, Rector, St. Anna's Episcopal Church New Orleans  


February 7, 12:30-1:15 (Free lunch from 12:15)

Title: "The Wisdom of Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism," a Form of Japanese Buddhism
Yumi Mano is a Conference Interpreter for Japanese and English speakers, has been a Nichiren Buddhist for the past 37 years, and, within SGI, serves as a Team Region representative.  
Maile Zox is an artist and has been a member of SGI for more than 20 years. She holds the position of Vice Region leader for South Central Region in SGI. 

Nichiren Buddhism was established in 13th-century Japan, is based on the Lotus Sutra, and is practiced worldwide by members of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI).  Fundamental principles in Nichiren Buddhism are respect for life and belief in the inherent equality and dignity of every person. 


March 7, 12:30-1:15 (Free lunch from 12:15)

Title: "Don't Hide Your Face: God as Concealed and Revealed"
Rabbi Alexis Pinsky, Congregation Gates of Prayer, Metairie,

April 4, 12:30-1:15 (Free lunch from 12:15)

Title: "Who are you? And How Does that Influence Your Humanity?"
Norman Robinson, Former anchor WDSU-TV New Orleans, former reporter for CBS Network News in New York and Washington, D.C., and Deacon, Central St. Matthew United Church of Christ. 

May 2, 12:30-1:15 (Free lunch from 12:15)

Fr. Frank Reale, S.J., Pastor Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, New Orleans 
Title: TBA


2015-2016 Schedule

October 6 

Vicki Judice, Executive Director Harry Tompson Center for the Homeless
Title: “Good News from the Gutter” 

November 3

Michael Cowan, Professor Loyola Institute for Ministry of Loyola University New Orleans and civic leader
Title: “A Practical Spirituality of Civic Life.”  

December 1

Charlotte Klasson and Beth Deitch, New Orleans Secular Humanist Association
Title: "Humanism: Ethical, Secular and Good for Everyone" 

January 5

Imam Mahmoud Khalifa, Masjid al-Tawbah, Westbank Muslim Association
Title: “What Does Islam Really Teach?" 

February 2

Rabbi Edward Cohn, Temple Sinai  
Title: “A Spirituality of Aging—An Evaluation" 

March 1

Jim Kelly, Executive Director of Covenant House New Orleans
Title: “The Spirituality of Covenant House Youth" 

April 5

Emrah Aktepe, Executive Director of the Atlas Foundation  
Title: “Antidote to Extremism: Dialogue in Islam" 

May 3

Anne Levy, Holocaust Survivor
Title: "Reflections in Anticipation of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Rememberance Day"

2014-2015 Schedule

Tuesday October 7

Tom Ryan 
Professor of Theology and Ministry and Director, Loyola 
Institute for Ministry, Loyola University New Orleans

"Spirituality and Its Bewildering Varieties: A Field
Guide and Suggestions" 


Tuesday November 4

David Crosby
Pastor, First Baptist Church
Author of Your Pain is Changing You: Discover the Power of a Godly Response (New Hope Publishers, 2014), which "does not attempt to answer the question of why we suffer but how to persevere."

"Your Pain Is Changing You"
 Tuesday December 2

William Thiele
Pastor, Parker United Methodist Church, Founding Director,
School for Contemplative Living, New Orleans
Author of Monks in the World:Seeking God in a Frantic 
 (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

 "Seeking God in a Frantic World"

Tuesday January 6

Donald Frampton
Senior Pastor, St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church

 "Holy Play" (January 6th is the traditional start of Carnival Season, which provides the context for the presentation.)

Tuesday February 3

Martha Orphe 
Pastor, First Street Peck Wesley United Methodist Church

 "What Does God Require?"

Tuesday March 3

Naomi Yavneh Klos
Professor and Director of the University Honors Program,
Loyola University New Orleans
Member, Touro Synagogue

 "A Jew For (and With) the Jesuits"

Tuesday April 7

Norris Henderson
Director, Voice of the Ex-Offender

 Tuesday May 5  TBA


2013-2014 Schedule

Tuesday October 1

Kara French and Clemmie Greenlee

Eden House, a two-year residential program for women who have been commercially and sexually exploited 


"Love and Life After Human Trafficking" 


Tuesday November 5
Adil Khan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Loyola University New Orleans

"The Muslims Around You"

Tuesday December 3
Rabbi Ethan Linden

Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation

"Hanukah: Myth, History and the Light of Faith"

Tuesday January 7
Carlos Miguel Prieto

Music Director and Principal Conductor, Louisiana Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería, and YOA Orchestra of the Americas

"Conducting and Spirituality"

Tuesday February 4
Martin Gutierrez

Vice President, Community Services, Catholic Charities New Orleans


 “Many Faces in God’s House”

Tuesday March 11 (Second Tuesday)
Rafeeq NuMan

Imam, Masjid ur-Rahim, New Orleans

"An African American's Journey to Islam"

Tuesday April 1
Bob Marshall

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with The Lens:

 "Having Faith in Nature"

Tuesday May 6
Tania Tetlow

Felder-Fayard Associate Professor at Tulane Law School and Director of the Domestic Violence Clinic

"The Spirituality of Survival: Working with
Domestic Violence"


2012-2013 Schedule

Tuesday October 2
Gregory Stock

Stake President, New Orleans Church of the Latter Day Saint

"Mormon Spirituality"

Tuesday November 6
Chef John Besh

Besh Restaurant Group

 "Food, Family and Faith"

Tuesday December 4
Jamie Marx

Cantor, Touro Synagogue

 "Singing a New Song Unto God"

Tuesday January 8
Deanna Vandiver

Unitarian Universalist Minister and Director of the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal (

"Being Beloved Community: the Spirituality of Justice and Joy"

Tuesday February 5
Keith Mozingo

Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church, Baton Rouge

 "A Place at the Table"

Tuesday March 5
John Barry

Tulane professor and author of Rising Tide, The Great Influenza, and Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State and Birth of Liberty.

 "The Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty"

Tuesday April 2
Philip and Ellen Frohnmayer

Phillip is Professor of Voice and Coordinator of Vocal Activities; Ellen is Associate Professor of Voice.  Both are accomplished performers and recording artists.

 "'Anoint our lips to sing Your praise':  the Spiritual Battle"

Tuesday May 7
Jason Berry

Author of fiction and non-fiction including Up From the Cradle of Jazz, Lead Us Not Into Temptation, Vows of Silence, Earl Long in Purgatory: A Play, and Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church

 "Keeping Faith in an Age of Scandal"

2011-2012 Schedule

Tuesday October 4
Leah Chase

Chef/Owner Dooky Chase Restaurant

"I Just Pray and Keep Going"

Books by and about Leah Chase will be available for purchase at presentation and at Catholic Book Store 3003 S. Carrollton Ave.

Tuesday November 1
Rabbi Uri Topolosky

Beth Israel Synagogue

Please bring a Bible to presentation if you can

 "This IS the Better World: The Universal Spiritual Message of  Genesis 1-11"

Books to accompany presentation (available for purchase at presentations and at Catholic Book Store 3003 S. Carrollton Ave.):

Brad Hirschfield, You Don't Have to be Wrong for Me to be Right

Rabbi Jeffrey Sachs, How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations

Tuesday December 6
Nolan Rollins

President and CEO, Urban League of Greater New Orleans

“Spirituality Through the Books that Guide Our Lives (the Bible, the Torah, the Quran)”

Tuesday January 3

Ghazala Khan
Physics Teacher, Mt. Carmel Academy

"Islam: A Woman's and Mother's Perspective

Tuesday February 7

Aaron Spevack
Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, Loyola University New Orleans, and convert to Islam

"My Journey to Islam"

Tuesday March 6

Thich Nu Thanh Trang
Presiding Nun, Van Hanh Buddhist Center
New Orleans

"Being Buddhist in New Orleans”

Tuesday April 3

Right Reverend Morris Thompson
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana

"Spirituality: Born through the Community"
Bishop Thompson writes, "Much of the conversation will center on the writings of Wendell Berry, a Kentucky writer that has in many ways given me a new understanding of community.  Through his poetry and fictional writings I believe he paints a picture of what I refer to as, spirituality rises from the earth." 

Tuesday May 1

Sr. Mary Lou Specha, PBVM
Former Director, Cafe' Reconcile

"Taking it to the Streets...Peace is POSSIBLE in New Orleans!"

 List of of 2009-2012 speakers.