NOLA Life Stories

NOLA Life Stories features first person perspectives of the individuals who have helped shape our community.

Created by The Historic New Orleans Collection with the collaboration of WWNO, the show features excerpts from oral history interviews conducted as part of THNOC’s Oral History Program, an ongoing effort to record and archive the voices and experiences of the people that have made New Orleans what it is today.

Sarah Holtz, Producer

Mark Cave, Executive Producer

The Other Empty Classroom: Bearing Witness To Desegregation

Feb 15, 2018
The Historic New Orleans Collection

When Ruby Bridges walked through an angry crowd to attend her newly integrated school in 1960, there was a white girl sitting in another empty classroom down the hall. Pam Foreman attended William Frantz Elementary School during this first year of integration. Her mother, Nyra, remembers the experience vividly. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, we hear from Nyra about what was going through her mind during that turbulent time. 

Leaving Saigon: A New Orleanian's Story Of War And Refuge

Jan 19, 2018
Emily Hindin / The Historic New Orleans Collection

 

During the Vietnam War, New Orleans became a safe haven for scores of refugees fleeing the communist regime. The Historic New Orleans Collection has been collecting oral histories from many of these new Americans. Community leader Tony Tran was one of these individuals. He tells us about coming of age during the rise of the Viet Cong -- and his long journey to New Orleans -- in this edition of NOLA Life Stories

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The civil rights movement witnessed students becoming teachers as they propelled social change. New Orleanian and lifelong activist Raphael Cassimere was a student leader who eventually became a professor of history. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, Dr. Cassimere chronicles his experiences as the local chapter president of the NAACP Youth Council.

This NOLA Life Stories interview was conducted by Mark Cave for The Historic New Orleans Collection and produced for WWNO by Sarah Holtz.

The Desegregation Of McDonogh 19: An Oral History

Nov 16, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

 

School desegregation was a major turning point of the civil rights movement, especially here in New Orleans. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, we meet Tessie Prevost-Williams. She was one of The McDonogh Three, the young African-American girls who integrated their elementary school in the 9th Ward in 1960. Tessie describes her memory of that first morning on the way to school. 

Nonviolence As A Way Of Life: An Oral History Of New Orleans CORE

Oct 19, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection has embarked on a project to record oral histories from activists of the civil rights movement. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, we hear from Doratha Smith Simmons, who spent years spreading the philosophy of non-violence at sit-ins throughout the Deep South.

The Saints' First Season: A 50 Year Remembrance

Sep 7, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

50 years ago, the Saints opened their first regular season game. The team has come a long way since those early days at Tulane Stadium. No one knew this better than the late Dave Dixon. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, Dave shared how a small group of local fans helped bring professional football to New Orleans.

Ron, Moon And The White Alligators Of Audubon Zoo

Aug 17, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

Today, the Audubon Zoo is treasured by residents and visitors alike. But it wasn’t always that way. When the mayor assigned Ron Forman to remake the Zoo, it presented a formidable challenge. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, Ron takes listeners through the evolution of the Zoo, and describes the arrival of a certain white alligator 40 years ago.

Louisiana's First Female Lawyer: Remembering Marian Mayer Berkett

Jul 20, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

Long before the women's liberation movement of the Sixties and Seventies, Marian Mayer Berkett became the first female lawyer in Louisiana. As a law student in the 1930s, the Baton Rouge-native became accidentally entrenched in the turbulent era that was Huey P. Long’s reign as governor. Mrs. Berkett passed away this June at the age of 104, and in this edition of NOLA Life Stories, we share this remembrance of her time in Huey P.

The Hearse Driver of Angola

Jun 15, 2017
Lori Waselchuk

At the Louisiana State Penitentiary, better known as Angola, people are serving life without parole sentences in greater numbers than in any other prison in the country. With so many prisoners passing away on the inside, funeral processions have become a tradition of their own. Lloyd Bone has been in Angola for 46 years now, and serves as the prison’s funeral hearse carriage driver. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, in the noisy Mule Barn at Angola, Mr. Bone describes how he found his calling and what it means to him.

Croissants from Dawn 'til Dusk: A Baker's Story

May 18, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

French bakeries have a unique place in the cultural landscape of New Orleans. The Vieux Carré just wouldn't be the same if you couldn't find French sweets there. Maurice Delechelle can take much of the credit for that. Hailing from central France, Maurice brought his traditional French pastries to the Quarter with the opening of La Marquise and Croissant d'Or. From his vantage point at the bakery, the French Quarter shared a distinct resemblance to his memories of bohemian Paris.

Pages