Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wire Road Studios recording session - August 2015

Shreveport-based singer/songwriter Alan Dyson records songs for a new collaborative music project - Stray Dogs by the Highway - at Wire Road Studios in Houston, Texas.  

Stray Dogs is scheduled for release in September 2015.

Engineer Andy Bradley
Dyson at Wire Road Studios
Click on image to view entire session
 Artistic collaborators include:
Thank you to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation for their assistance in funding this project.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Crisis Pregnancy Center lies debunked by medical professionals

"In 2003, the National Cancer Institute concluded after extensive research that having an abortion or a miscarriage in no way increases one’s breast cancer risk. Despite this, more than 15 states have considered laws that would require doctors to give this inaccurate information to women seeking abortions.

The American Psychological Association also released a statement saying there is no credible evidence that abortion causes mental illness, but that the stigma and lack of social support surrounding abortion can have a negative effect on mental health.

These lies are exposed time and again, but continue to influence legislation and public opinion."

Read more:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Original prints.

Documentary photographs.

Professional headshots.

Email Debbie Hollis for details.

Luxury and Happiness (2012)

New Orleans Antique Shop (2012)

Irises at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Boid d'Arc Farm - Louisiana (2012)

St. Louis Cathedral - New Orleans, Louisiana (2012)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Religious delusions and the criminal justice system

We all know about the often-incestuous connection between the court system and "mental health professionals."

I have recently learned that the psychological community is being encouraged to consider delusional religious beliefs as a normal part of patients' cultural experiences. This article provides a thorough summary:

Of course, the courts & prisons are benefiting nicely from this questionable mental-health development in that judges are allowed to forgo mental fitness evaluations based on a defendant's obvious religious delusions, and proceed straight to conviction. This article cites several examples:

What a boon for the privatized prison industrial complex!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Women: You Must Vote in 2014!

Shreveport Times - Aug. 14, 2014

The Republican Party of Louisiana.

They control the governor’s mansion.  They control the state House of Representatives.  They control the state Senate.  The majority of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation are members of the Republican Party of Louisiana.

Unfortunately, none of these political “leaders” has ever read the Louisiana GOP party platform.

Following is an excerpt from the preamble of their party platform: 

“The pursuit of opportunity has defined America from our very beginning. This is a land of opportunity. The American Dream is a dream of equal opportunity for all. And the Republican Party is the party of opportunity.”

“….any American who works hard, dreams big and follows the rules can achieve anything he or she wants…We will lift the torch of freedom and democracy to inspire all those who would be free.”

“Trust the people. Limit government. Respect federalism. Guarantee opportunity, not outcomes. Adhere to the rule of law. Reaffirm that our rights come from God, are protected by government, and that the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed.” 

Now, let’s apply their Republican logic to Louisiana’s 2014 legislative session.

Louisiana Right to Life lobbyists purchased Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe) early on in the session.  Her proposed HB 388 – which is copycat legislation declared unconstitutional in Mississippi, Texas and other GOP-led states – demanded hospital admitting privileges of doctors providing comprehensive, legal healthcare services to women.

The bill was celebrated by Louisiana’s GOP-led legislature….but many of our esteemed elected officials walked out on expert testimony and neglected their final voting responsibility.

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the bill into law at a Baptist church, along with the imprecise HB 1274 which dictates that a dead woman shall be kept alive by the State if she happens to be pregnant. In fact, the State’s dictate supersedes the wishes of her family, the recommendation of her doctor, and possibly her own advance directive (DNR). 

“Trust the people. Limit government…the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed….We will lift the torch of freedom and democracy…” 

Our Republican governor refused Medicaid expansion, eliminating access to basic affordable healthcare for over 200,000 working families, women and children in Louisiana.

Our GOP-led Senate rejected equal pay for all women in our state, watering down the bill to restrict fair compensation to only those who work for the government.

Republicans in the Senate never bothered to vote on SB 334, which would have reduced Louisiana’s gender pay gap –the second worst in the U.S.

The GOP also shot down all six bills that would have allowed for an increase in the minimum wage in Louisiana - and 2/3 of minimum wage workers are women. 

“This is a land of opportunity…any American who works hard, dreams big and follows the rules can achieve anything he or she wants….” 

Republican-led efforts defeated every comprehensive sex-ed initiative for Louisiana’s teens. As most Americans know, our state leads the country in STI’s, teen pregnancy rates, and HIV/AIDS case rates among young people under 24 years of age.

Then, Louisiana’s GOP House members killed a bill to protect domestic violence victims from eviction.

Young women in Louisiana have to face facts.

As long as Republicans control our state government, we will not have access to comprehensive sex education in public schools, we will not earn equal (or even fair) pay, we will not have access to adequate healthcare, and we will be denied opportunity after opportunity simply because WE ARE NOT MEN.  Republicans don’t even want women to have fair housing if they are abused, or die on their own terms! 

“The American Dream is a dream of equal opportunity for all. And the Republican Party is the party of opportunity…” 


(I originally wrote this article for Choice Louisiana in August 2014.)

Friday, July 11, 2014

On Hobby Lobby, health care, and how working women will win this battle

On June 30, five Supreme Court justices determined that privately-held corporations – which constitute 90% of businesses in the US - can legally force their religious views on their employees, and circumvent federal laws that apply to every person in the United States.

The ruling in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case. sets a dangerous precedent for any "closely-held corporation" to limit employees' access to healthcare based on an employer’s personally-held, non-medical, ideological beliefs.

Hobby Lobby sued for the right to refuse coverage for IUDs and “morning-after pills” for their female employees.  Company owners believe these medically-safe contraceptives to be "abortifacients;" however, they actually work by preventing ovulation and, therefore, do not inhibit implantation. This medical fact has been confirmed by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, among others.  The majority of abortion opponents in the medical community have accepted this conclusion.

In 2012, evangelical bioethicist Dennis Sullivan, the Director of Cedarville University's Center for Bioethics in Cedarville, Ohio, reviewed emergency contraceptive research for a peer-reviewed article in “Ethics & Medicine.” He found no evidence that Plan B causes abortions.  "There's no evidence of that effect," he said. "Our claims of conscience should be based on scientific fact, and we should be willing to change our claims if facts change."

Of note: Hobby Lobby has chosen to continue to provide coverage for vasectomies for male employees and, through its 401(k) plan, will continue to invest in the manufacturers of the same birth control it refuses to cover for its female employees.  

This overt sexual discrimination has not gone unnoticed by Congress.  

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), and Mark Udall (D-CO) have introduced the "Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act" to restore previous contraception-access rules that existed before the Hobby Lobby decision. 

This bill will restore the original legal guarantee that women have access to contraceptive coverage through their work-based insurance plans, and will protect coverage of other health services from employer interference as well. 

This bill also includes the original exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement for houses of worship, and an accommodation for religious non-profits.  

The bill has been endorsed by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Black Women's Health Imperative, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Global Justice Institute,  Institute for Science and Human Values, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Metropolitan Community Churches, National Council of Jewish Women, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women's Law Center, People For the American Way, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Population Connection Action Fund, The Center for Women Policy Studies, The United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society, The Women's Business Development Center, and Women's Law Project, among others.

Companion legislation will be introduced in the House by Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Diana Degette (D-CO), and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).

In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct a hearing on July 15, regarding S.B. 1696, referred to as the “Women’s Health Protection Act.”

When workers pay a premium for workplace-based health insurance, they should receive full coverage.  Preventive health benefits should not been defined by Congress, government bureaucrats, or CEOs - but by medical researchers, doctors, nurses and medical professionals.  

Religious freedom is a founding principle of American liberty – but when this freedom is twisted into something it is not, the results are overt oppression and discrimination, subjugation of the laws of the land, and potential threats to the health and well-being of millions of people.  Citizens must act to restore balance and fairness for those who seek genuine religious freedom, and for those who are at risk of becoming casualties of an erroneous legal precedent.  


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Works In Progress: A New Funding Initiative for Creative Professionals In North Louisiana

The purpose of Works In Progress (WIP) is to provide financial and educational resources directly to creative professionals who live and work in North Louisiana.

This geographic area includes the following parishes in Regions 1 – 4:

Bossier, Bienville, Richland,Caddo, Jackson, Madison,Claiborne, Desoto, LaSalle, 
Lincoln, Natchitoches, Concordia, Morehouse, Winn, East Carroll, Union, Sabine, Catahoula, Webster, Red River, Ouachita, West Carroll, Caldwell, Grant

WIP defines “creative professional" as follows:

Creative professionals are the people and organizations that
transform cultural skills, knowledge, and ideas into goods, services, 
and events. Our core cultural segments include design, performing 
arts, music, entertainment, literary arts and humanities, visual arts, 
and culinary arts.

If North Louisiana’s cultural workers are to thrive, funding and business practices must be in place to support strategies that cultivate artists' careers, enable artistic experimentation, and create income opportunities in the creative professions.

Works In Progress will put cash from non-governmental grants and community donors directly into the hands of North Louisiana’s creative professionals in order to help them become self-sustaining.  WIP will help creative professionals learn how to write grant proposals, set goals, measure outcomes, and plan for future professional success at no cost to the artists.

WIP grantees will be able to answer these key questions:
  • What is my/our organization’s artistic ambition?
  • What is the current business model for supporting my artistic ambitions? Or, how will the artist/organization deliver and support activities through a cost structure and revenue strategy that comprises earned and contributed sources? Is this plan realistic for the next 3-5 years?
  • To achieve the desired future business model and capital structure, what needs to change between now and then?
  • What investments do I/we need to make to attract recurring revenue that will support our business/art career after WIP funds are expended?
  • How will I/we raise that capital - or adjust our plans if we cannot?
  • How will I/our organization measure progress and success during the next 3-5 years?

Once WIP funding is spent, the artist/organization should be able to more fully
cover its future costs with reliable sources of revenue (reliable revenue = an estimate of the amounts of earned and contributed revenue with a track record of recurrence such as ticket sales, memberships or tuition income raised consistently over a sustained period of time).

Image: © Australia Council for the Arts

Controlling funding for arts via quasi-governmental agencies is not beneficial for artists - but it is the general practice in Louisiana.  These bureaucratic “arts councils” are most often run by non-artists, are controlled by the interests of government and large-gift private donors, and have their own political/aesthetic interests and agendas. These organizations also engage in outdated, hierarchical management styles, and do not have a history of significant direct artist support – especially in North Louisiana.  

Cultural and political differences between North and South Louisiana (e.g.: New
Orleans Cajun culture, Baton Rouge-controlled funding, etc.) have negatively affected support for artists in North Louisiana for decades - with the northern half of the state historically receiving less in government allocations and trickle-down grant funding.  

Without dedicated grant writers at their disposal, North Louisiana artists and cultural organizations have few other alternatives for direct support outside of bureaucratic, government-controlled arts councils. 

Needless to say, there is a huge unmet need in North Louisiana (and nationwide) for private, non-profit funding for creative professionals who are seeking start-up support, change capital, and meaningful financial assistance.  WIP will maintain a reliable source of financial support that is accessible to local artists when they need it. 

WIP will enable creative professionals to pursue artistic innovation and experimentation, learn how to manage a business, prepare for the unexpected, and make critical investments in income-generating activity.

Use of WIP funding will be strategically flexible. The funds can be used to support the errors, risk-taking and “re-dos” that are sometimes necessary to achieve a desired final result.

Image: © 2013 Creative Capital

WIP will also organize educational workshops, and offer business consultation and other customized services as needed by North Louisiana’s cultural workforce. 

WIP is utilizing research from the National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for the Arts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the State of Louisiana Department of
Culture, Recreation and Tourism in order to gain an understanding of the needs/areas for improvement in our cultural community.

During the creation phase of our organization, WIP is working closely with Mr. Kim Mitchell to implement the Purdue University Center for Regional Development's "Strategic Doing" Initiative ( This hands-on training will help our Board of Directors build a network/relationship-based foundation, and steer away from outdated hierarchical management models that are not effective when working with creative people.

Copyright © 2012, Purdue University/Ed Morrison

We have based our business plan on the model programs of Craft Emergency Relief Fund, ArtsWave, Grantmakers in the Arts, United States Artists, and Creative Capital.

We are specifically researching unmet needs in our arts sector, application processes, and realistic performance metrics for creative professionals.

Contact Debbie Hollis at 318.751.8540 if you are interested in becoming a community donor, or if you have a project that might qualify for Works In Progress funding.


Works In Progress, WIP, Works In Progress Louisiana, and are the intellectual property of Deborah Lynn Hollis.  WIP's programs and business plan are the intellectual property of Deborah Lynn HollisCopyright 2014.