Documenting the Now

Between 2007-2009, five writers from a public high school in New Orleans took worked on books that reclaimed communities important to them before Hurricane Katrina and documented the places where they found a sense of home after after the storm. In the process, they documented their families’ lives before and after the closure of public housing, as well as migrations between the Caribbean coast of Honduras and New Orleans. Woven throughout are explorations of youth cultures found in schools, bounce clubs, beauty salons, rap cliques, and Americorps. This project was supported with a generous grant from the Lupin Foundation.

Aunt Alice Versus Bob Marley

by Kareem Kennedy

Kareem Kennedy documents his quest for an education in the schools and streets of New Orleans. With his father gone and his mother frequently out of the picture, Kareem looks towards teachers, friends and extended family for the skills to muster through public schools, Hurricane Katrina, and the “heavy hands and hard shoes” of his life. Tracing Kareem’s history through the Seventh Ward, exile in Houston, and a return to school in New Orleans, the book represents two years of highs and lows: losing friends, surviving violence, and the beginning of his college career.

 

 

From My Mother's House of the Beauty

by Susan Henry

From her childhood in Englishtown on the Caribbean coast of Honduras to her life in the Seventh Ward, Susan Stephanie Henry writes of transitions and shifting identities. In From My Mother’s House of Beauty, Susan investigates her many worlds: family homes, beauty salons, public schools and fashion runways. Part memoir, part ethnography, House of Beauty explores what it means to be a black Honduran woman living in New Orleans.

 

Signed, the President

by Daron Crawford

A portrait of family life during turbulent times as seen and felt through our narrator and interviewer-at-large, Kenneth Phillips, aka, the President. Kenneth tells his story through interviewing family members — questions that begin to tell the stories of the St. Bernard Public Housing Development, the beginnings of bounce, sweet shops and church services. Where the interviews leave off, Kenneth explains: his relationship with his father, losing the family dog Kobey, and his journey toward manhood.

 

 

Beyond the Bricks

by Daron Crawford and Pernell Russell

More than parallel stories, Beyond the Bricks is a conversation about life in New Orleans as the city’s major public housing projects are torn down. With childhoods spent in the Calliope and St. Bernard Projects, Daron and Pernell document what these communities meant, the new struggles of living outside the projects and their families’ new footholds in the city. Beyond the Bricks documemnts the many cultures of teenage New Orleans: rap and dance, skateboarding and fashion, showing the strengths and tensions of the different scenes they call home.