Next Stop on the Quest for Photo Permissions – The HNOC!

While a major focus of the Living Museum is to highlight oral histories of local residents, the Museum will also showcase archival research in order to tell the story of the Lower Ninth Ward.

One of our favorite things about opening the Living Museum has been the opportunity to dig through endless archives and photo collections throughout New Orleans. Staff members and volunteers have been researching and solidifying exhibit content for over two years now, finding as much historical information and photography pertaining to the history of the Lower Ninth Ward as possible.

Throughout this process, the queen bee of local archives has been none other than the Historic New Orleans Collection. The HNOC is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South region. From the beginning, they have been incredibly helpful, allowing us to find and request photos pertaining to each of the Living Museum exhibits.

Recently, Stephanie and I had the pleasure of stopping by the Williams Research Center in order to finalize the formal photo request form and have it submitted. We met with Jennifer Navarre, the HNOC Reference Associate who is handling all requests pertaining to the Living Museum. On top of helping us with the official paperwork, she was able to locate an additional map that we had been looking for (a map from 1858, showing all of the New Orleans plantations by name). We’re really excited to go back to the Research Center in the next couple of weeks in order to comb through the archives once more and look for possible last minute contributions to the exhibits.

Before heading out Stephanie and I decided to check out the HNOC Museum as well, about a block away. Like the Research Center, the HNOC Museum is absolutely beautiful and very well 1 (4) photo 4 (1)We learned about New Orleans history beginning in the 1700’s, and made sure to try (often unsuccessfully) to locate the Lower Ninth Ward on every map we passed. On the way out we ended up chatting with a very knowledgeable docent who answered some of our burning questions about old maps and 2 (4) In addition to learning about the rich and often dark history of New Orleans, we were able to see different methods for hanging and mounting exhibits 2 (3)

All in all it was a really educational and eye opening visit to the HNOC! For those in the area we highly recommend visiting the museum (free admission!), and for anyone researching the history of New Orleans, make sure to stop by the Williams Research Center (ask for Jennifer! She’s very helpful).

A big thanks to all of the people at the HNOC who have helped us get this museum up and running!






Meet with the Times Picayune – CHECK!

For about a year, whenever Stephanie and I would spot the classic Times Picayune tower from the highway, we’d turn to each other and say, “we have to stop in there!” photo 1 (1)Yesterday, after an epic scavenger hunt through New Orleans, we finally made it happen.

The Times Picayune, being the official newspaper for Greater New Orleans, owns many of the photos and video clips we hope to use throughout the museum’s exhibits. In fact the Picayune newspaper operation has been around since 1837, documenting major events like the “Fall of New Orleans to Union Troops” in 1867 as well as the “First Modern Olympics” in 1896. photo 1On January 9th of 1967, the Times Picayune was the first to report that the New Olreans football team would be officially known as the Saints, named for the gospel-turned-jazz standard “When the Saints Go Marching In.” With such a rich and expansive archive, it’s no surprise that the Times Picayune is home to many photos that would help us share the history of the Lower Ninth Ward.

Our first stop was the old Times Picayune building, which was built in 1967 to house the publishing corporation. photo 2Although the building was huge and decorated with historic plaques, there didn’t seem to be much going on in terms of printing. The security guard at the front desk filled us in, and pointed us to an entirely different address. Recently, since physical newspapers are being replaced entirely by digital news blogs, the newspaper corporation has combined efforts with the media group and moved their main office to Canal street. So we hopped back in the car and headed into the city, still hoping to meet with someone from the Times Picayune photography division.

Turns out the Canal street office is hard to miss. The Times Picayune media headquarters resides on the top floor of Canal Place, one of the main attractions in “Downtown New Orleans.”photo 2 (1) Being on the 31st floor, the view of New Orleans was absolutely incredible. The office was bustling with people, and the lobby was filled with large flat screens that cycled through news coverage of New Orleans. photo 1 (3)After a couple of minutes, we had the pleasure of meeting Quo Vadis Sylve Hollins, executive assistant, who graciously walked us through the legal protocol for photo permissions. She accepted the application that Stephanie had typed up, and wished us luck with the opening of the museum. Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that the application gets accepted and our photo permission requests are granted!

Once the elevator doors closed, Stephanie and I danced our way down the 31 floors and then shared an epic high five as we drove back to Deslonde Street. photo 2 (2)From now on, when we pass the classic Times Picayune tower from the highway, we can turn to each other and say “Been there, done that!”

Thanks to all of the Times Picayune staff members who were incredibly friendly and helpful. We look forward to collaborating with you in the future!

Off to a Hot Start

It’s official, the Living Museum crew has arrived at 1235 Deslonde Street for a summer of museum work and New Orleans heat. Image

The walls have been re-painted, photo permissions have been requested, the content is almost entirely finalized, the new website is up and running and the oral histories are being transcribed and coded for video production.

In the next couple of months we will be ordering, mounting, and perfecting each exhibit. Our goal is to open the Museum on August 24th!

Some highlights from this week:

  • Seeing an alligator by the levee

photo (1)


  • Having Jeffrey style our hair


  • Getting Museum work done at Flora Cafe


Stay tuned for more Living Museum updates!