Spirit of Fi Yi Yi
Photograph by Jeffrey David Ehrenreich from Fire in the Hole: The Spirit Work of Fi Yi Yi and the Mandingo Warriors
The Neighborhood Story Project is a nonprofit collaborative ethnography organization in partnership with the University of New Orleans. Since 2004, we have produced books, exhibits, events, and courses that share the complex stories of South Louisiana with each other and the world. Visit us at our corner store workshop in the Seventh Ward or our virtual book store here!
From 2008-2010, the NSP collaborated with anthropologist Maya Haviland as she studied our methods as part of her book on co-creativity. Here are two chapters that include an interview with co-founder and director Rachel Breunlin, as well as Maya's chapter on her collaborative ethnographies with us in South Louisiana and Western Australia.
"Our Stories Told By Us": The Neighborhood Story Project in New Orleans, a chapter in Telling Stories to Change the World by Rachel Breunlin, Abram Himelstein, and Ashley Nelson.
How is traditional jazz connected to social justice and education in New Orleans? A six-minute documentary by Elephant Quilt on our book, Talk That Music Talk, features civil rights leader and co-founder of Tambourine & Fan, Jerome Smith, musicians who worked on the book, and the co-editors, Bruce Sunpie Barnes and Rachel Breunlin.
A collaborative musical ethnography about Creole language and music in Louisiana and in other parts of the Caribbean. Listen to a radio interview on The Reading Life with Susan Larson to hear some of the songs written and arranged by Bruce Sunpie Barnes and Leroy Etienne, and the stories behind the making of the book. A companion exhibit is up at the Arsenal I gallery at the Louisiana Stat Musueum's Cabildo through the spring.
Where is Yakni Chitto? We trace the indigenous Mobilian Trade Language words for "Big Country" to the area between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers. To learn more, check out out our new book by Monique Michelle Verdin, a collection of photographs and essays about Houma migrations around south Louisiana, with an opening essay by Houma historian and philosopher Michael Dardar. Throughout the book we hear from Houma elders Anesie & Jane Verdin and their granddaughter Allison Rodriguez, as well as poems by Ray Moose Jackson and stories of collborative art-making by ArtSpot Productions director Kathy Randels and Mondo Bizarro co-director Nick Slie.
Our curriculum on teaching about race, culture, and civil rights organizing in New Orleans uses conversations with civil rights leaders and musicians in Talk That Music Talk as a foundation for students to learn about anthropology, photographic archives, active listening, conducting life history interviews, and organizing "moving classrooms" that are inspired by the pedagogy of the youth-based organization Tambourine and Fan. Download the curriculum for free and contact us about reduced prices of books for classroom sets.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
This spring, we are running three courses with the University of New Orleans' Professional and Continuing Education program at our workshop in the Seventh Ward. Check out the list of NSP faculty below:
January-February: Afro-Louisiana Music and Carnival Traditions with Bruce Sunpie Barnes
March: Palmetto Weaving and Indigenous Knowledges with Monique Verdin
April: Creative Placemaking with mosaic artist Laurel True.
And don't forget that L'Union Creole's concert series, a collaboration with the Preservation Hall Foundation and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South will be going on once a month through May.
WWNO's The Reading Life with Victor Harris, Rachel Breunlin, and Jeffrey David Ehrenreich. Hosted by Susan Larson, the episode is dedicated to the creation of Fire in the Hole.
"The Last Brass Band? Musical Mentorship and Social Justice Organizing," an article by Bruce Sunpie Barnes and Rachel Breunlin about the NSP ethnography Talk That Music Talk published in Smithsonian Folkways Magazine Image from Tambourine & Fan's parading curriculum.
"The Creole Heart: CD Project Celebrates South Louisiana Language, History, ' by Missy Wilkinson from The New Orleans Advocate, December 17, 2017.
A collection of images from Bruce Sunpie Barnes and other photographers included in the NSP's Talk That Music Talk was featured in "The Beat Goes On: The Ongoing Legacy of Brass Band Music in New Orleans," a photo essay curated by Nicole Crowder for The Washington Post's "In Sight." [Photograph of Benny Jones Sr. by Bruce Sunpie Barnes]
In Memory of Royce Osborn, Way Downtown, a short film the Neighborhood Story Project produced with Spyboy Productions and Nine Times Social and Pleasure Club in 2010 celebrating second line dancing.
A short film, "Danny Barker On Young People Organizing Bands in New Orleans" produced by Ebony Dumas with the Neighborhood Story Project and Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans
The New York Times article, "At the Track: Before the Starting Gate and After the Finish," by Campbell Robertson, tells the story of "Letters from the Backside," the NSP exhibition with letters written home by people who work at the New Orleans Fair Grounds during the horse racing season.
Neda Ulaby's two-part series on National Public Radio's All Things Considered explores our book with the Tulane City Center, Cornerstones: Celebrating the Everyday Monuments and Gathering Places of New Orleans' Neighborhoods. The first (top image), "Charting New Orleans' Everyday Landmarks takes us to Liuzza's By the Tracks and the Sportsman's Corner in Central City. The second (bottom image), "New Orleans Vacant Lot Brings Neighbors Together," takes place on the corner of N. Roman and Columbus in the Seventh Ward.
Eve Troeh's beautiful radio documentary of members of Nine Times reading stories from their book, Coming Out the Door for the Ninth Ward, to jazz music on NPR's All Things Considered
Publisher's Weekly article,"Looking Beyond the Hood," about the first year of the Neighborhood Story Project in 2005. Photograph by Rachel Breunlin of Ashley Nelson working on her book, The Combination, about the Lafitte Public Housing Development.