The Story of New Orleans

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Founded nearly three hundred years ago, New Orleans is rich in history and culture, offering social studies educators a vast array of resources and ways to experience the city. At the 95th NCSS Annual Conference, explore this enigmatic yet fascinating city in all of its many dimensions, stories, history and people in this special track, featuring local writers, scholars, activists, and artists, all reflecting on their city.

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Friday, Nov. 13, 9:00AM

Rebecca Snedeker

"Unfathomable City"
Rebecca Snedeker is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and writer. She is the co-author of Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas , a book of 22 imaginative maps and essays, with Rebecca Solnit.

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Friday, Nov. 13, 10:05AM

Greg Lambousy

"300 Years of New Orleans History"
Greg Lambousy is Director of Exhibits at Louisiana State Museum.

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Friday, Nov. 13, 11:10AM

Michael A. Ross

"The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case"
Professor Michael Ross will bring to life his latest work, The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law and Justice in the Reconstruction Era. In his book, Dr. Ross offers the first ever account of the kidnapping of seventeen-month-old Mollie Digby by two African American women, an event that electrified the South at one of the most critical moments in the history of American race relations. Tracing the crime from the moment it was committed through the highly publicized investigation and sensationalized trial that followed, Ross paints a vivid picture of post-Civil War New Orleans, the Reconstruction-era South, and the complexities and possibilities that faced the newly integrated society.
Michael Ross is Professor of History at the University of Maryland at College Park, specializing in the Civil War Era and U.S. Legal History.

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Friday, Nov. 13, 2:15PM

Jacques Rodrigue

"Blue Dog Inspires an Arts Education Legacy"
Jacques Rodrigue, son of Louisiana’s famed Blue Dog artist George Rodrigue, bypassed a career in law to work to help Louisiana education through arts-integration. Jacques traces his father's artistic history from Cajun folklore to the pop art Blue Dog in order to draw parallels between his own career path and how teaching through the arts can prepare our students for a life full of unknown opportunities.
Jacques Rodrigue is executive director of George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.

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Friday, Nov. 13, 3:20PM

Jason Wiese

"The Battle of New Orleans and American Identity"
Coming at the end of a war that had mostly been as disaster for the United States, the outcome of the Battle of New Orleans restored Americans’ faith in their country and fostered a sense of national identity, aspects of which can be seen in nineteenth-century literature, art, and song. The irony is that this defining victory should have occurred in Louisiana, a place many Americans saw as a foreign land. Yet for Louisianans, too, the victory at Chalmette strengthened and cemented the bonds between themselves and the young republic they had so recently joined.
Jason Wiese is a curator at The Historic New Orleans Collection and associate director of the Williams Research Center.

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Friday, Nov. 13, 4:20PM

Monique Verdin

"My Louisiana Love"
My Louisiana Love follows a young Native American woman, Monique Verdin, as she returns to Southeast Louisiana to reunite with her Houma Indian family. She soon sees that her people’s traditional way of life--fishing, trapping, and hunting these fragile wetlands– is threatened by a cycle of man-made environmental crises. As Louisiana is devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and then the BP oil leak, Monique finds herself turning to environmental activism. She documents her family’s struggle to stay close to the land despite the cycle of disasters and the rapidly disappearing coastline. The film looks at the complex and uneven relationship between the oil industry and the indigenous community of the Mississippi Delta. In this intimate documentary portrait, Monique must overcome the loss of her house, her father, and her partner – and redefine the meaning of home.
Monique Verdin is a native daughter of southeast Louisiana. She is an artist, filmmaker and project manager of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, which intends to create a record of the unique land, cultures and ecology present at the base of the Mississippi River Delta.

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Saturday, Nov. 14, 9:05AM

Fatima Shaik

"The Writer and Her Community--The Inspiration of Home"
Young people create their identities within the tapestry of their communities. In the case of author Fatima Shaik, her economically and ethnically diverse neighborhood provided a rich backdrop for her Young Adult and Adult books. In her presentation, Shaik will reveal the important places and events that inspired her work, and offer tips on the ways teachers can encourage students to better critical thinking and writing about themselves and their surroundings.
Fatima Shaik is a New Orleans author of books for adults and children. Her latest titles are What Went Missing and What Got Found and Louisiana Stories for Young Adults.

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Saturday, Nov. 14, 10:10AM

Matt Sakakeeny and Willie Birch

"Roll with It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans"
In a city of many celebrated traditions, there is none quite as unique to New Orleans as the jazz funeral and the related “second line” parade. Ethnomusicologist Matt Sakakeeny and artist Willie Birch have collaborated on a book that bring these moving festivals to life on the page. Sakakeeny’s interactions with the brass band musicians who propel the dancers, and Birch’s multidimensional paintings of the street scenes combine to create a rich portrait of a living tradition. In their presentation, they discuss how New Orleans musical and visual cultures can animate social studies lessons and make discussions of race, geography, and culture more relatable to young people.
Matt Sakakeeny is Assistant Professor of Music at Tulane University and the author of Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans. Willie Birch is an international artist whose works are part of the permanent collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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Saturday, Nov. 14, 11:15AM

Elizabeth Pearce and Liz Williams

"How Alcohol Has Defined New Orleans and Its Identity"
Explore the role alcohol has played in shaping New Orleans' identity. Hear the story of the city from the earliest days of the the colony, when thirsty citizens protested the banning of their beloved Cognac, to their utter disregard for Prohibition, to the creation of city that fiercely protects its open container culture. Pearce and Williams will contextualize this permissive attitude toward alcohol consumption in the city's Catholic background, its Caribbean ties, and its continuous presentation of itself as an other, separate place in relation to the rest of the United States.
Liz Williams is President and Director of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Elizabeth Pearce is a culinary and cocktail historian and founder and owner of Drink & Learn.

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Saturday, Nov. 14, 2:30PM

R. Omar Casimire

"!0 Years after Katrina: A Legacy"
Rodney Omar Casimire is the founder of the Katrina National Memorial Charitable Foundation.

We Won't Bow Down

We Won’t Bow Down explores a secret society of African Americans in inner city New Orleans as they devote their time and skills to create hand-beaded Indian costumes that embody a cultural, spiritual and ancient power that has kept Africa alive in the new world despite slavery and its legacy.

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