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!” 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. On 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. Although 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 NOLA.com 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.” 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. 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. 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!