It is only through the way in which we represent and imagine ourselves that we come to know how we are constituted and who we are. There is no escape from the politics of representation, and we cannot wield “how life really is out there” as a kind of test against which the political rightness or wrongness of a particular cultural strategy or text be measured.

– Stuart Hall

During the first months after Hurricane Katrina, the stakes were high for residents of New Orleans. We had just experienced a mandatory evacuation, and while the vast majority of residents were in exile, the city had been cordoned off by National Guard troops manning road blocks. Some of the early reports from national media quoted powerful people pondering an empty landscape, with tabula rasa or terra nullius fantasies, proclaiming radical demographic and political restructuring. There was a sense that the city was up for grabs. In planning a poster project, we wanted to make a direct statement that residents of New Orleans, and the Seventh Ward specifically, were deeply invested in their neighborhoods. The series Seventh Ward Speaks would speak to people outside as well as within the neighborhood, challenging them to reconsider their perceptions of the area and its residents. Our strategy was to defamiliarize the “community” of the Seventh Ward by including a wide range of people in the interview process and to concentrate on their experiences of creativity and activism. 

Nat Williams
Nat Williams
Ronald "Buck" Baham
Ronald "Buck" Baham
Edward Buckner
Edward Buckner
Carrie Burks
Carrie Burks
Keith Woodfork
Keith Woodfork
Christiana Ford
Christiana Ford
Vernon Dobard
Vernon Dobard
Derek Meilleur
Derek Meilleur
Barbara Trevigne
Barbara Trevigne
Larry Poirier
Larry Poirier
Victor Harris
Victor Harris
Joyce Montana
Joyce Montana
Joe "Honey Dipper" Landry
Joe "Honey Dipper" Landry
Willie Birch
Willie Birch
Jackie Alford
Jackie Alford
Louis Gould, Jr.
Louis Gould, Jr.
Keith Weldon Medley
Keith Weldon Medley
Amasa Miller
Amasa Miller
Chris Costello
Chris Costello
Rick Fifield
Rick Fifield
Ron Bechet
Ron Bechet
Ann Marie Coviello
Ann Marie Coviello
Mona Lisa Saloy
Mona Lisa Saloy
Diana Lease & Dan Harris
Diana Lease & Dan Harris