interviews

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.

Bob Travis / Flickr

When the microphone switches on, some people freeze. They can’t think of a thing to say. But Terence Blanchard relaxes.

Blanchard does some of his best thinking in front of a microphone and he’s impatient to get his ideas recorded. That might explain why he is so prolific and why he is so good.

Chet Overall / It's New Orleans

If you do your own laundry, you probably think you've got a small mountain of it if you have four or five loads to throw in the washing machine.

This week on the Reading Life: Irvin Mayfield, whose new book is Irvin Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Playhouse, and Charles Brown, executive director of the New Orleans Public Library.

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.

The sciences are tough enough. For students of color, studying science, technology, engineering or math can be particularly daunting.

At LSU over the last decade and then some, Isiah Warner has been leading efforts to help those students make it from high school all the way through graduate school. And it seems to be working.

The graduation rate for African American undergrads who’ve gotten scholarships and mentorship through a program called La-STEM is 86 percent — by comparison, it was just 60 percent for the LSU campus overall among last spring’s cohort.

Warner is now Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives and Boyd Professor of analytical and environmental chemistry.

As an African American growing up in Bunkie, his enthusiasm for science was unusual — to say the least.

Derek Bridges / Flickr

  As noggins in New Orleans go, there is no noggin like that of singer-songwriter Alex McMurray. He’s got more original characters in his head than a Hollywood film library. Why else would McMurray write a song about the man who shot the man who shot Liberty Valance? (Spoiler Alert: John Wayne is in the crosshairs).

Chet Overall / It's New Orleans

A normally functioning human body is something most of us take for granted, until we have personal experience that challenges us. It might be the birth of a child, an accident, or just staying alive long enough to have bits of ourselves wear out.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

 

Michael "Quess?" Moore is an instructional coach at Martin Behrman Charter School. He helps teachers from all grade levels – kindergarten through eighth – develop lesson plans. Sometimes he co-leads the lessons, and sometimes he teaches them on his own. In the classroom, Moore draws on his experience as a spoken word artist.

Support for Voices of Educators and education reporting on WWNO comes from Entergy Corporation.

Babs Evangelista / Music Inside Out

Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns have been playing together as a band since 2009. But their repertoire suggests a much longer, deeper history, dating back to the early part of the last century, when people were buying phonographs and drinking absinthe in its original form.

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