Broadcast on 4th July 2016
On tonight’s episode of Inside Culture we come to you from the non-American city of New Orleans for 4th July. We’re going to bring you on a tour of the storied Treme and the 9th Ward districts, we’ll explore some of the city’s most fascinating graveyards, and we’ll uncover New Orleans’ longstanding Irish ties.
For the entire show, we are joined by a number of local people in Little Gem Saloon in the French Quarter to discuss the history and culture of New Orleans. These include Helen A. Regis, associate professor in geography and anthropology at Louisiana State University, Laine Kaplan Levenson, podcast producer of a series for New Orleans’s 300th anniversary in 2018, Bryan C. Lee, place and civic design director for the Arts Council of New Orleans, and Dr Michael White, musician and expert in the field of traditional New Orleans jazz and clarinetist.
The Irish connection with New Orleans dates back to the Louisiana Purchase. We chat to historian Laura D. Kelly, from Tulane University. She recently wrote the book, The Irish in New Orleans. We also walk down the Irish Channel to explore St Alphonsus’ Church and talk to Armand Bertin about its Irish history.
Many people outside of the States know the David Simon TV series, Treme. Shannon Powell played the drums for the John Boutte theme tune. Zoe Comyns met with him in the 6th Ward (often called Treme). This is the neighbourhood in which he grew up and still lives. If you want to find out more about him go to shannonpowell.com.
The above-ground tombs in New Orleans cemeteries are often referred to as “cities of the dead.” We visit Metairie Cemetery with local tour guide Michael Murphy who discusses the history and cultural significance of the graveyards in New Orleans.
More than a decade on from Katrina, the effects of the storm still casts a shadow over the city with many buildings still abandoned. Local photographers Micah and Simi explore these deserted spaces to take photos which they post on the abandoned nola Facebook site, and they take us on a tour of some of these places. We also meet with artist Brandon ‘Bmike’ Odums who uses graffiti to enhance empty buildings. One of his most famous works was Project Be, a series of bigger-than life portraits of civil rights heroes painted on the walls of a ruined Florida public housing complex in the 9th Ward. Visit brandanodums.com to find out more.