Delta and New Orleans Culture and History Resources
At NOW's special Town Hall on the response to Hurricane Katrina blues musician Deacon John Moore spoke of what the crisis meant for his creative world:
There are five members of my band who lost their homes, they lost their teaching jobs. They have to relocate to other cities with their families. One of my musicians we can't even find him. We don't know where he is. My saxophone player's house is under water. My drummer's house is under water. My oldest sister who is a poet and playwright she's written dozens of books about the Creole culture in Louisiana. Her home is under water. All of her writings, all of the precious mementos that she's accumulated over an entire lifetime is gone.
The losses in New Orleans and the Delta are catastrophic for a very special ground for American culture and history. Explore the sites listed below to find out what's being done in the to safeguard New Orleans and Delta music, history, cultures and even its famous foods. (On Saturday, September 17, 2005, PBS' Live from Lincoln Center will present "Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert." Check local listings.)
AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC, PBS
Site for the PBS special on American music: Blues, Country, Bluegrass, Gospel, Cajun, Zydeco, Tejano and Native American. The site contains extensive interviews with musicians, online music and links to many related organizations.
THE BLUES, PBS
This Web site for the PBS special is a multi-media celebration that raises awareness of the blues and its contribution to American culture and music worldwide. There is an interactive road trip through American detailing the local history of the blues.
The Blues Foundation
The Blue Foundation, based in Memphis is hold extensive relief efforts for musicians displaced by Katrina. The site also posts the sad news that Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown died in Texas where he was taken as a refugee from the hurricane devastation of his home in Slidell, Louisiana.
Jazz Foundation of America
The Jazz Foundation of America was just named the Coordinator for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic as well as other groups in the Gulf Area who are helping the musicians in New Orleans. The site is maintaining a list of area musicians located after the disaster.
New Orleans, Birthplace of Jazz
A history, with audio highlights, of New Orleans jazz from the PBS series JAZZ, by Ken Burns.
THE MISSISSIPPI, RIVER OF SONG, PBS
Web site for a PBS/Smithsonian series which traveled 12,000 miles in river country and filmed 200 hours of original material. A total of 50 acts and over 500 musicians were recorded in 30 towns and cities, in all 10 states along the Mississippi. The site contains biographies and extensive audio and video clips.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park , National Park Service
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park was established by Congress "to celebrate the origins and evolution of America's most widely recognized indigenous musical art form." The park is closed due to Hurricane Katrina. You can see what's at stake by taking the online tour of New Orleans Jazz History.
The famous New Orleans jazz venue was not destroyed by the storm. It's site is serving as a clearinghouse for information about local musicians and organizing relief efforts.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: "Fatal Flood"
The site tells the story of the devastating flood of 1927, when the Mississippi River went on a rampage from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans, inundating hundreds of towns, killing as many as a thousand people and leaving a million homeless.
GREAT PROJECTS: THE BUILDING OF AMERICA, PBS
The site and related broadcast tell the story of the engineering of the levees along the Mississippi River. Learn more about this massive civil engineering project from NOW's "The Disappearing Delta."
The Historic New Orleans Collection
The Collection operates a museum accredited by the American Association of Museums in a complex of historic French Quarter buildings at 533 Royal Street. Much of the material was
moved to an institution in another part of
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, NPS
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans, Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery in Chalmette, and Barataria Preserve in Marrero will be closed at least through January 2006 due to damage by Hurricane Katrina. The park’s Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, and Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux are open and programs continue as scheduled. Learn more about New Orleans history through the park's Web site.
Mississippi Department of Archives & History
The site is reporting on conditions in many of the threatened historic sites around the state and links to sister sites in Florida and Alabama.
New Orleans History and Heritage
This section of the Office of Tourism for New Orleans gives background information on the many neighborhoods and cultures of the city.
State Library of Louisiana
The State Library is maintaining a list of Katrina aid links and serving as a clearinghouse for aid to local libraries.
Folklife in Louisiana
The Louisiana Folklife Program, within the Division of the Arts, is designed to identify, document, conserve, and present the folk cultural resources of Louisiana. Folklife includes living traditions learned informally over time within ethnic, regional, occupational, and family groups. Begin exploring the rich culture with the online living traditions map.
Nick Spitzer on New Orleans' Cultural History, NPR
Folklorist Nick Spitzer hosts American Routes, a public radio music program based in New Orleans. He left the city before Hurricane Katrina and is now in Lafayette, Louisiana. He talks about the cultural and musical history of New Orleans.
Smithsonian Folklife Center
The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is a research and educational unit of the Smithsonian Institution promoting the understanding and continuity of diverse, contemporary grassroots cultures in the United States and around the world. Their collections on Delta culture are extensive.
The Food Museum Online
This online educational association documents the dangers to several Delta food institutions, including New Orleans French Market and Cafe DuMonde and the Biloxi, Mississippi Seafood Industry Museum.