Local Artist Brandan “BMike” Odums Joins New Orleans Regional Transit Authority and Responsibility.org to Unveil Public Art on City Bus Encouraging Kids to Say “NO” to Underage Drinking
“Rolling mural” showcases artwork from “BMike” and will be featured on RTA bus through June
New Orleans, La. — In advance of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week which begins on March 21, and Alcohol Responsibility Month in April, New Orleans artist Brandan “BMike” Odums partnered with national organization, Responsibility.org, to launch new artwork at the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) today. The bus is part of a broader prevention effort in New Orleans to encourage New Orleans youth to say “yes” to a healthy lifestyle and “no” to underage drinking. BMike’s vision represents both New Orleans as well as Responsibility.org’s Ask, Listen, Learn underage drinking prevention program in the colors and themes of kids portrayed in the bus mural.
Thanks to the work of parents, educators and a broad coalition of local and national partners, underage drinking among America’s youth is at an all-time low. In fact, fewer American teens are consuming alcohol underage than ever before, with more than three out of five reporting having never consumed alcohol.
“Underage drinking is at historic lows, yet we must work hard to maintain this progress. Parents and caregivers are the leading influence in a teen’s decision to drink – or not to drink – alcohol. We know how critical it is that parents speak openly and honestly with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking. Our partnership with BMike gives us an opportunity to deepen the conversations and engage students in a creative and age-appropriate way,” said Chris R. Swonger, President and CEO, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and Responsibility.org.
“Mobility is important for students and young adults who are building their independence and making their way,” said Alex Z. Wiggins, RTA CEO. “The RTA is proud to work with partners like BMike and Responsibility.org to start conversations with our younger riders surrounding issues that directly affect them. As we continue the work of building a world class transit system, our focus on equity and sustainability is imperative in building strong connections focused on equity.”
“As a New Orleans native, I relish opportunities to bring positive messages to my community,” said Brandan “BMike” Odums, artist and activist. “Working with Responsibility.org on this project has given me an opportunity to lend my voice and my creativity to a meaningful cause that I hope will influence young people in my city for years to come.”
“I am very proud of the RTA’s role in this important partnership between Studio BE and Responsibility.org,” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., RTA Board Chairman. “As a public agency, it is our duty to ensure that we leverage our assets, including our buses and property, to promote messages and images uplifting New Orleanians and most importantly our youth. Thank you to Responsibility.org and Studio BE for your commitment to the youth of Greater New Orleans Area.”
“Well-established prevention and educational initiatives like this one are critical in encouraging and empowering youth while supporting our culture bearers and artisans,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Thanks to Brandan Odums, Responsibity.org, and the Regional Transit Authority for your collaboration and vision as we continue to work to improve the quality of life for our youth.”
The wrapped bus began circulating on March 14, 2022 and will remain in service through the end of June.
About the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority builds and operates transit services in Orleans Parish and the City of Kenner. The current RTA system includes five streetcar lines, 34 bus routes, and two ferry routes, plus paratransit services. Each year the agency moves more than 19 million passengers throughout the system. This includes the St. Charles Streetcar Line, our system's most highly traveled line and the longest continually operating streetcar in the country, founded in 1835. In addition to the RTA being responsible for operating transit services bringing commuters to their jobs, students to their schools, and people to entertainment, shopping, and restaurants, the agency has also placed an intense focus on building a safe, reliable, and equitable world class transit system. In December 2019, the agency brought all operational and administrative functions in house, moving from contracting all operational functions to being a fully public subsidiary of the State of Louisiana.
About Brandan “BMike” Odums
Studio BE is the brainchild of Brandan “BMike” Odums, a visual artist known for his poetic and passionate pieces surrounding political activism depicting brightly colored political figures, contemporary creatives, and everyday people. Odums’ visual artwork is prominent throughout New Orleans and most notably his series of spray-painted murals in the Florida Housing Development in the Lower Ninth Ward aptly named #ProjectBe. BMike went on to create Exhibit Be, a public art exhibition housed in the dilapidated apartment complex on New Orleans’ West Bank. Studio Be, the final part of the Be Trilogy, is an art studio featuring the work of Odums and other local artists. His work and community initiatives can be seen at www.BMike.com.
Responsibility.org is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empowers adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. Responsibility.org is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi USA, Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Campari Group; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky, LLC; Pernod Ricard USA; and William Grant & Sons. For 30 years, Responsibility.org has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families, and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, visit www.Responsibility.org.
About Ask, Listen, Learn
Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix is a completely free digital underage drinking prevention program for kids ages 9-13 (grades 4-8) and their parents and educators with the goal of reducing underage drinking. Responsibility.org, alongside a team of educators and organizations specializing in elementary- and middle schoolers, developed the program in 2003 based on a strong need for educating this demographic. The information provided throughout the program guides adults with ways to start communicating with kids about alcohol and the developing brain– and how to continue talking to them as part of a lifetime of conversations. Ask Listen Learn is the most widely distributed underage drinking program of its kind. Learn more at www.asklistenlearn.org.