TriPod: New Orleans At 300

TriPod: New Orleans at 300 is WWNO’s FRESH radio history of New Orleans, released in weekly segments as our city approaches its Tricentennial in 2018. Each TriPod segment is its own micro-documentary, devoted to a single story or subject from New Orleans’ rich history. The series explores lost and neglected stories, delves deeper into the familiar, and questions what we think we know about the city’s history.

Why “TriPod”? “Tri” for the city’s three centuries, “Pod” for podcast, and “tripod”, a three-legged tool used to steady a capturing device that documents a time and place. TriPod moves beyond the familiar themes of New Orleans history to focus on forgotten, neglected, or surprising pieces of the city’s past, and to enrich understanding of its present and future.

TriPod is a production of WWNO in collaboration with The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies at the University of New Orleans. The series is hosted and produced by WWNO’s Laine Kaplan-Levenson, working with the assistance of a forty-member international advisory group of historians and archivists.

TriPod airs Thursdays during Morning Edition at 8:30 a.m. on 89.9 FM, repeats on Mondays during All Things Considered, and is available anytime on WWNO.org and as a podcast on iTunes.

Click to meet the TriPod Editorial Board and Advisory Group.  

Click here to open TriPod in iTunes.

Click here to open TriPod in Stitcher.

Subscribe using another podcast player:

- Open your player

- Find the “Subscribe to Podcast” option

- Enter this URL: http://wwno.org/podcasts/88432/rss.xml

Ways to Connect

In 1834, artist George Catlin witnessed Choctaw lacrosse in Indian Territory near present-day Oklahoma.
George Catlin / Smithsonian American Art Museum

TriPod: New Orleans at 300 returns with a new story about an indigenous sport that became popular before the Civil War.


The Purple Knights pose on the court; Harold Sylvester is kneeling next to his coach.
Harold Sylvester / Amistad Research Center

TriPod -- New Orleans at 300 revisits the first integrated high school sports contest in Louisiana, on February 25, 1965.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

TriPod goes back to the days when Algiers was a stomping ground for bullfights and other forms of animal combat.

It’s a Sunday afternoon. The sun is out, you’ve already gone to church, and you’re not sure what to do next. Then you find out the ferry to cross the river to Algiers is running at half rate, on account of a sporting event. A fight. Between a bull. And a grizzly bear.

 1918 photo of Louis Mayer's father (Louis E. Mayer), and uncles Gus (Gustave John Mayer) and Rudolph Mayer on the stage at the Turnverein von New Orleans. Uncle Gus is top left, Louis Mayer is in the middle.
Louis Mayer

When you think about gymnastics — parallel bars, the pommel horse, ropes — what else pops into your head? Fighting Napoleon and frosted beer mugs? Me too!

Here's how the Germans brought gymnastics to New Orleans.

Image of the St. Malo Maroon community from an 1883 edition of Harper's Weekly.
The Historic New Orleans Collection

You live in a cave, six feet underground. You’re surrounded by wild animals, swarms of mosquitos, thick mud, and you can only come out at night. Why? Because it beats being a slave.

“They could live there for five, seven, 10 years”, says Sylviane Diouf, director of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.

McIlhenny Company Archives, Avery Island, La

You know how you can walk into a mainstream clothing or household store, like Urban Outfitters, H&M, Pier One, and find indigenous designs printed across anything from a rug to a tank top? Well this is the hyperlocal origin story of how native aesthetics entered into non-native markets.

Last week’s TriPod saw an example of solidarity in opposition to slavery among people of African descent. But the dynamics within enslaved communities were complicated, and it was far from one big brotherhood. Allegiances were not automatic, and the story of a runaway named Francisque, who found his way to New Orleans in 1766, shows just that.

The Mechanical Curator Collection / The British Library

This story is part of TriPod: New Orleans at 300. Tripod moves beyond the familiar themes of New Orleans history to focus on forgotten, neglected, or surprising pieces of the city's past to help us better understand present and future challenges. 

The Historic New Orleans Collection, 1974.25.23.4

This story is part of TriPod: New Orleans at 300. Tripod moves beyond the familiar themes of New Orleans history to focus on forgotten, neglected, or surprising pieces of the city's past to help us better understand present and future challenges. This story visits physical landmarks that bear witness to the city’s role in the national slave trade.

Historic New Orleans Collection

This story is part of TriPod: New Orleans at 300. Tripod moves beyond the familiar themes of New Orleans history to focus on forgotten, neglected, or surprising pieces of the city's past to help us better understand present and future challenges. 

Is it cliche to tell a story about Italians that involves wine, extortion and murder? Maybe. Is it about to happen? Definitely.

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