The New Orleans education system has changed dramatically in the almost ten years since Hurricane Katrina. NPR's Michel Martin is in town for a live event looking at those changes. It's part of her Going There series, where she hosts conversations about local topics with national significance.
Martin recently spoke about the event with WWNO Education Reporter Mallory Falk. She started by explaining why she chose to focus on education in New Orleans.
Billy Nungesser was the President of Plaquemines Parish five years ago when the BP oil disaster happened. Nungesser’s constituency of around 23,000 residents were some of the hardest hit along the Gulf Coast.
For months after the disaster, Nungesser was a constant presence on national television, taking on both industry and government officials over their handling of the spill and cleanup.
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, or NOCCA, has long been known as a leading arts education program. But the staff there began to notice a trend. Students came to NOCCA from schools all over the city and had dramatically different experiences.
"And there were a lot of sad moments at the end of somebody's senior year where they'd be given a scholarship based on their art, or get into a school based on their arts audition, and then not be able to accept it because they weren't admitted academically," says Dr. Kate Kokontis.
After the crowd goes home, after they pack their gear and instruments, when their van rolls through the night and the smell of smoke still lingers on their clothes, the bottom line remains. The business of music never sleeps.
Artist royalties, mechanical royalties, revenue streams and recording contracts occupy the minds and sleepless nights of managers and artists the country over as they head to their next gig.
You could fill a college course with everything an artist needs to know. Trust us, they have.
There are a lot of people these days claiming how well New Orleans is doing and that in business terms we're now competitive with almost any city in the country. If you'd like proof that this is fact, and not just feel-good boosterism, this edition of Out to Lunch might convince you. GE is the 6th largest company in the Fortune 500. They've been quoted as saying "New Orleans is becoming the hub of the South." And they're putting their money where their mouth is. In downtown New Orleans, in the Place St. Charles building, GE Capital Technology Center has 70,000 square feet of office space.
This week on the Reading Life: Sarah DeBacher of the Greater New Orleans Writing Project and Abram Himelstein of the Neighborhood Story Project, talking about When I Was Your Age, a lovely book of essays by the teachers of Andrew W. Wilson Charter School, and novelist Rene Steinke, author of Friendswood.
Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, much has been rebuilt in New Orleans — including the public schools. But the current education system is radically different from the one that people who grew up in New Orleans remember. Virtually all students in the city now attend charter schools. Many of their teachers are both new to New Orleans and new to teaching.