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Our First Arising Guide is Carol Bebelle. Carol is a native New Orleanian. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola University in Sociology and a Master’s Degree from Tulane University in Education Administration and has a 20-year career in the public sector as an administrator and planner of human service programs. In 1990, Carol established a private consulting firm offering planning, development, and grant writing services to human service programs. Her clients were non-profits, religious programs, entrepreneurs, and artists. She is a published poet and, essayist. Her written works can be found in various anthologies, reports, and journals.

In 1998, Carol Bebelle and Douglas Redd founded Ashé Cultural Arts Center (Ashé CAC), an organization dedicated to community and human development using culture and art. Ashé CAC became a central player in the rebuilding of New Orleans, particularly the Central City community and the cultural landscape for artists and culture bearers. She ended her term as Executive Director of Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center at the end of 2019. Carol is a popular panelist, commentator and advisor on the foundational and transformative power of culture. She has participated in international, national, and local processes aimed at emerging the resilient and healing powers of culture and art for cultural, social, and equitable change in the world. Carol has an impressive collection of international, national and local awards and acknowledgments. She is an active member of her community and a dedicated servant leader.



Our second Arising Guide is Ayo Fayemi-Robinson,  a sacred strategist and success coach who helps people embrace and activate their unique life purpose, so they live from creation, not obligation. 

Designer of Making Space, Mastering Time – A Course in Life Design, and developer of The AGENCY App for Life Design, she is a certified alignment coach, a licensed accountability coach, and a member of the International Coach Federation. Ayo is an EcoDistricts Accredited Professional who leads strategic multi-sector conversations and has contributed to local, national, and international programs. 

As a priest, she is an Iyanifa and Iyalorisha within the Yoruba tradition of Ifa. Born Kysha N. Brown, she is co-editor of Fertile Ground – Memories & Visions, author of the poetry collection Spherical Woman, and co-founder of Runagate Press, specializing in titles that promulgate New Orleans culture and African heritage cultures worldwide. Ayo has consulted as a leadership coach and advisor with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leaders Network and the Center for Creative Leadership. She has been featured on Abiola Abrams’, the Get Over It podcast, and on the Foundation for Louisiana’s Healing History, Healing People, Healing Places.



Gregory Rattler Jr is a native son of New Orleans. Rattler was born and raised in this wonderful city and has had the opportunity to be shaped in his thoughts and actions by the culture and the history that makes New Orleans such a wonderful place to live, work, worship, and play! It is both Rattler’s personal and professional goal to be a model of leadership and collaboration through community-based programming, education, research, and strategic partnership development. He has focused his career efforts on the planning, implementation, management, outreach/promotion, and evaluation of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life, health, and education for the Greater New Orleans Community. Gregory Rattler Jr. is the CEO and Director at the Silverback Society.



Nana Sula was initiated in Ghana, West Africa in 2007 at the Shrine of Impohema and has studied the mysteries of Ghana since 1992. Her initiation title is Nana Okomfo Kokwe Ama Tawiah.  Nana Sula has also been a student of Ifa/Orisha mysteries of Nigeria since 1985.  In 2014, Sula Spirit authored and produced the Book and CD Project entitled Spirit of the Orisha – a Yoruba language preservation project that is a 38-track CD in the Yoruba language with a matching book of translations. Sula is also an instructor of Sacred Music and travels globally to teach Orisha & Ghanaian chants. She was born and raised in New Jersey and has been a resident of New Orleans, LA since 1996. Nana Sula Spirit credits all that she is to the Father and Mother of Creation, her Parents, Grandparents, the Orisha, Abusom, and Ancestors.


 Sula Spirit is a Medicine Queen with the Mardi Gras Indian Tribe Mandingo Warriors – the Spirit of Fi-Yi-Yi and a member of the Mardi Gras Indian Queens of the Nation Society. In addition, Sula the Doula has been a Birth Doula since 2006 and was Founding Director of the Na’Zyia Doula Collective (2007-2012) – the first Doula Collective of Color in the State of Louisiana.  Sula serves on the Board of Directors of the Congo Square Preservation Society and has been a Board Member since 2009.  

Nana Sula is available for house/business blessings, readings, spiritual cleansings, libations and prayers, marriage and naming ceremonies, baby christenings, spiritual counseling, spiritual baths, burial rites and funerals, spiritual workshops, retreats, sacred circles,orisha music workshops, sacred paintings, bead work and more!



Dr. Jinaki Flint is a licensed psychologist in the state of Louisiana where she has a mental health and  wellness firm, 21 Senses NOLA, LLC. She is also the founder of Sisterhood Is The Salve, a collective  that offers free and low cost mental healthcare services to women of color in the local community. 


Dr. Flint is a trauma specialist and has certifications in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), sexual assault crisis intervention, and multicultural counseling. She is passionate about social justice  advocacy in mental healthcare and how institutional systems create barriers to emotional wellness  for Black folk.

Her therapy practice focuses on indigenous, body-focused traditions of healing  through a liberation lens and on transforming painful experiences into compassionate activism. She is a consultant and educator on topics of embodied sexuality, community engagement, culturally informed mental health care, and African-centered psychology. Dr. Flint finds joy in dancing,  beading, and playing the Sekere.



New Orleans Native and Visionary, Sunni Patterson, is an internationally acclaimed Poet, Performer, Workshop Facilitator, Certified Spiritual Life Coach/Consultant, and an Initiated Priestess and Minister. She began her career as a full-time high school Teacher, and much of her life since has been devoted to serving as a Cultural Worker and Activist. Armed with an engaging story and voice, Sunni deliberately uses art, poetry, and praise (Ancestral remembrance) to encourage dialogue, connectivity, spiritual awareness, and healing.


She has had the privilege of studying under great Scholars and Teachers, allowing her to become a diligent student in the Healing and Spiritual Arts.  

Her Artistry and Gift has allowed her to grace a plethora of stages and platforms. Whether speaking at TEDWomen, featuring on Grammy award winning Hip-Hop albums, officiating a wedding, or cooking up breakfast for families in the Community, you can rest assured, Sunni’s way and words bring us all to a place of recollection, remembrance, and hope. 


Sunni is a 2020/2021 John O’Neal Cultural Arts Fellow. She currently serves as a Resident Artist for both the City of New Orleans’ Claiborne Corridor Cultural Initiative and Junebug Productions. She is also co-founder, along with Scientist and Atmospheric Chemist, Cherelle Blazer, of Environmental Arts and Public Health Organization, Breath is Lyfe.

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Denise is a community pastor who employs applied education techniques to build the Kingdom of God on earth through personal coaching, spiritual counselling and organizational consulting.  As a parent of 7 adult children, 20 year faith based community strategies organizer, international missionary, Chaplin of the New Orleans Skaters Association, community pastor and former youth pastor, she knows the power of God as expressed through people. 


As a sacred text scholar, she engages theological underpinnings, social context comparatives and life healing intent to speak to the heart of Gods’ people.

Denise minored in African American Studies and explored dance therapy at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Through ballet, modern and African Dance performances her classroom and community students developed clear body, spirit and cultural confidence. Working to build organizational infrastructure for effectiveness, longevity, abundance and influence is the goal of her company, Peace Ministry.  Teaching cultural competency through drumming, dance, administration and counselling clearly keeps the legacy of her mother, Mildred L. Graves alive. 

As a graduate of the St. Paul School of Theology, University of Kansas and the American Institute for Holistic Theology, Dr. Graves spends her time hosting bi-weekly prayer conference calls, coaching and counseling individuals, couples and families. One of the community projects Rev. Graves works with is the Birthing Project. For the past year she has served as the Parent Advocacy Trainer, written articles on 21st Century leadership, SUFOC participant and recently her role has shifted to identifying and creating parent opportunities to act in agency and advocacy in community.

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MARCUS ṢÀNGÓDOYIN AKINLANA is a visual artist, musician and Olòrìṣà. He co-owns GALLERY AKINLANA with his wife FATU AKINLANA. Arts, Music, Drumming and culture have been his joy for over 40 years and he has developed this passion through dedication and hard work. He participates with other Artists/Musicians in cultural events in New Orleans and beyond.

After founding two visual art companies, POSITIVE CREATIONS and WON MURAL SOCIETY in the 1980s, AKINLANA became known internationally for public art, murals and fine arts.

Circa 2003 he also cofounded ILE ẸKỌ ÀṢÀ YORÙBÁ Ni NEW ORLEANS with YÈYÉ FATU ỌMỌLEYE AKINLANA, a study institute for traditional African culture and spirituality serving the public.


In 2012, Akinlana also founded AVALANCHE JA SELF DEFENSE and COMBAT SCHOOL, a martial arts training academy. In addition, Akinlana is a professional drummer, vocalist and song writer who now combines his visual arts with music.


@marcusakinlana on IG

@MarcusAkinlana on TWITTER





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Personal Credo
As free human beings we have three things we can use to build lives and community: our time, our money and our votes and to the extent that we are conscious and purposeful in using those three we will succeed in building both lives and a better place to live.

A Rich and Broad Range of Experiences After graduating from
St. Augustine High School and serving as the sound and light technician for the historic Free Southern Theater in New Orleans, Lloyd entered the Air Force during the Vietnam Era and distinguished himself by achieving first place honors in all of his electronics and management training courses, receiving Airman of the year Award for the Third Weather Wing based on his performance at his first and only duty assignment where he also achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-5) in less than three years, setting a base record. at Blytheville AFB in Arkansas.

During his military stint, Lloyd took advantage of additional training opportunities to further his technical abilities in electronics and computer technology and upon separation from the military took the first of several positions in which he would serve as “the first black” person to ever have the job in New Orleans.


From servicing and installing electronics on tug boats and ships in the river, to having site responsibility for the Burroughs computers and check reader-sorters his team installed and maintained for the Federal Reserve Branch in New Orleans, to becoming the National Service Coordinator for Kalvar microfilm duplicating company, headquartered in New Orleans, Lloyd Dennis worked and traveled in many interesting and demanding situations before becoming self employed.




"Never worry that you have a place here, more that that, know that you belong. Always know the world is counting on you to bring your amazing song. Everyday that greets you, each sun that warms your face be a reminder of our love for you with prayer to keep you safe......." - Carol Akua BeBelle

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