Protesters fired up outside of Sen. Bill Cassidy’s heated town hall meeting

Charles+Eden+and+Jumal+Otis+play+off+of+each+other+with+chants+as+they+wait+for+Sen.+Bill+Cassidy+to+leave+the+town+hall+meeting.+Several+dozen+people+gathered+around+Jefferson+Parish+Library+to+give+their+testimonials+in+protest+to+Sen.+Bill+Cassidy%27s+town+hall+on+Feb.+23%2C+2017.+
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Protesters fired up outside of Sen. Bill Cassidy’s heated town hall meeting

Charles Eden and Jumal Otis play off of each other with chants as they wait for Sen. Bill Cassidy to leave the town hall meeting. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

Charles Eden and Jumal Otis play off of each other with chants as they wait for Sen. Bill Cassidy to leave the town hall meeting. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

Starlight Williams

Charles Eden and Jumal Otis play off of each other with chants as they wait for Sen. Bill Cassidy to leave the town hall meeting. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

Starlight Williams

Starlight Williams

Charles Eden and Jumal Otis play off of each other with chants as they wait for Sen. Bill Cassidy to leave the town hall meeting. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

Starlight Williams

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Updated 2/23/17 6:08 p.m.

Frustrated, angry and without a seat, Sen. Bill Cassidy’s town hall meeting bubbled over into the streets as protesters gathered around outside to make sure their voices were heard.

Cassidy scheduled a town hall meeting yesterday inside East Jefferson Parish Library at 3:30 p.m. to have his constituents ask questions from anywhere about the dissolution of the Affordable Care Act to the possibility of Planned Parenthood being defunded.

However many locals were left without a seat at the table as the library only had space to fit 200 people. By 2:30 p.m., the venue was packed, leaving hundreds of people outside and police officers turning away cars from the parking lot.

Not discouraged, people began to chant and give testimonials as they waited for Cassidy to arrive. By 3:39 p.m., the crowd became restless when they learned that Cassidy was late. Cassidy arrived a little before 4:00 p.m.

Michelle Hanks of OurRevolution New Orleans, a political group that sprung from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, played a large role in the protest and led the crowd. She said gatherings like this need to happen for change to occur.

“I feel at this point with the administration, it’s so overwhelming. All you can really do is get around with people and talk and actually have discourse to figure out a way to topple this,” Hanks said. “There is no way we are going to over throw Trump, but we can do is change our local economy and government and state government. That means putting people in office and making them accountable.”

Margie Ohner, a New Orleans local, said she had to come out and speak after she found out she had kidney cancer last year, and the Affordable Care Act helped her pay for her treatment.

“Thank God that I had that insurance,” Ohner said. “Nobody realizes how much this means to us. I am cancer free today, and the cancer I have is treatable as long as I have the healthcare.”

Cassidy has spoken against the Affordable Care Act; however, he, along with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, are working on an ACA replacement called the “Patient Freedom Act.” Cassidy said this new act would both make health care more affordable and cover more Americans.

Ohner said she just wants a healthcare system in place where she doesn’t have to fear for her life.

“I am scared to death right now that I’m going to loose my insurance. We need a new system or universal healthcare, so people like me don’t live scared to death at night.”

The crowd quickly dissipated around 4:30 p.m. when the town hall meeting finished and Cassidy left the building.

Cassidy will hold one more town hall meeting tomorrow morning at 9:30 at the Breaux Bridge City Hall, 120 Berard St.

___________________________

Nearly over 200 people gathered in front of Jefferson Parish Library to protest outside of Sen. Bill Cassidy’s town hall.

The crowd began to grow restless at 3:39 p.m. when word was given that Sen. Bill Cassidy was late to the town hall. Cassidy did not arrive until about 4:00 p.m.

From testimonials about how the Affordable Care Act helped them to discussing their fears and concerns about the future, protesters marched, sang songs and chanted with signs on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017.

 

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  • Rhonda Norris shows her New Orleans flair with bead and glitter decorated signs at the protest. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Protesters chants begin to get louder as Sen. Bill Cassidy showed up 30 minutes late to his scheduled town hall. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Jeremy Hammett talks with another protester. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Protesters applaud the speakers at the rally that covered a variety of topics. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Michelle Hanks, a member of OurRevolution, leads protesters in chants and testimonials. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Sharon Morrow holds her sign up among the hundreds around her. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • William Howard pumps the audience up as they wait for Sen. Bill Cassidy to arrive who was 30 minutes late. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Margie Ohner passionately tells her story about how the Affordable Care Act help her pay her medical bills when she was diagnosed with cancer. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Sharon McDonald, retired Navy captain, said she was angry that this is the America she fought for. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Chelsey Shannon hoist her sign up as the crow begins to march around Jefferson Parish Library. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Jumal Otis leads the crowd in chants as they wait for Sen. Bill Cassidy to leave the town hall meeting. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Charles Eden and Jumal Otis play off of each other with chants as they wait for Sen. Bill Cassidy to leave the town hall meeting. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Saira Mehmood, stands to the side with her sign as she and her friends wait for Sen. Bill Cassidy to leave the town hall meeting. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

  • Officer J. Morse and Joyce Thomas talk while waiting for Sen. Bill Cassidy to leave the town hall meeting. Several dozen people gathered around Jefferson Parish Library to give their testimonials in protest to Sen. Bill Cassidy's town hall on Feb. 23, 2017.

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