oral history

When Gwen Smith’s co-worker didn’t arrive for work before Katrina made landfall, Gwen was forced to stay on the clock. By the time she left, it was too late to leave town and she was forced to ride out the storm with her sister, Crystal. The two women were in town for nearly a week and remember those days vividly. 

Former governor Kathleen Blanco is interviewed by historian Mark Cave.
Michael Wynne

Kathleen Blanco is the only woman to be elected governor of Louisiana, and was at the helm when Hurricane Katrina laid waste to the Gulf Coast. She admits that the challenges of the storm were too much for state and local governments to handle.

Michael Darda and Hali Dardar agree that when the land of southern Louisiana begins to erode into the Gulf, the Houma people will have to move, but that doesn't mean they have to let go of their culture.
StoryCorps

StoryCorps collects the voices of our time. Recently, Hali and Michael Dardar interviewed each other, but don’t be fooled by their common name — they’re not related. Before coming to StoryCorps, they’d only exchanged emails and phone calls about the Houma Language Project, an oral history project for the Houma Native American community.

The National WWII Museum

Inspired by the stories of World War II veterans, the late University of New Orleans historian Stephen Ambrose wanted to build a museum that would honor their experience.

Donna Jean Loy, left, and Elizabeth Anne Jenkins, right, participate in several activist groups, including Louisiana Trans Advocates and Equality Louisiana.
StoryCorps

At StoryCorps booths around the country, couples pair into an intimate space to share personal stories with each other.

Donna Jean Loy and Elizabeth Anne Jenkins are a transgender couple from Metairie who transitioned later in life after grappling with gender dysphoria for years.

Commander's Palace Facebook

Ella Brennan, the octogenarian doyenne of New Orleans dining, is the matriarch of the Brennan dynasty. Here, Ella remembers the family's history, beginning with her brother, Owen, founder of the original Brennan’s restaurant.

Ella goes on to discuss her life in restaurants, hobnobbing with celebrities like Lucius Beebe, and helping launch the careers of superstar chefs in the Commander’s Palace kitchen, including Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.

StoryCorps

Inside soundproof booths across the country, friends and loved ones are interviewing each other about their lives. The booths belong to StoryCorps, a project that collects the stories of everyday people in order to create an oral history of America.

Chris Kehoe

Have you ever noticed how many family business center around food? That’s especially true of the restaurant business! On this week’s Louisiana Eats!, we hear from several multigenerational restaurateurs of note.

StoryCorps

Conversation by conversation, interview by interview, StoryCorps collects the stories and voices of our time. This week, Littdell “Queen B” Banister and Mary Jones give us a snapshot into the lives of the Mardi Gras Indians, where personal pride is sewn into every stitch of their annual suits.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

For 37 years, John Bullard directed the New Orleans Museum of Art and oversaw many blockbuster shows during his tenure.

French Impressionists always drew large crowds, and subjects like The Gold of El Dorado and Alexander the Great were well received, but none compared to the Treasures of Tutankhamun. The ancient boy king had become a cultural sensation by the late 1970s, when New Orleans became ground zero for "Tut-Mania."

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