Student Work

Our 2006 Spring class at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism documented the New Orleans and Gulf Coast six months after Katrina and the Storms. We wanted to keep a focus on the region, keep these stories in the eye and heart of the public, and share our storytelling approach with the remarkable group of students that pass through the JSchool.

The class traveled to the Gulf Coast — sometimes alone, some in pairs. Some were housed by local New Orleanians. Arissa Arendt, a community activist took in four. None of the students had been to the region before. They came up with the story ideas while in class – went for a week each and spent the rest of the semester producing their stories. The pieces aired on stations and NPR shows. We are proud to present their efforts and hope they keep New Orleans, Biloxi, Point Cadet and elsewhere in good thoughts.



Tough Decisions in Biloxi
Produced by Julie Caine and Michael Fitzhugh
Aired on Mississippi Public Radio, July 25, 2006

Point Cadet–what many Mississippians called Biloxi’s original neighborhood–is gone. It thrived as a seafood capital in the 50’s until global competition pummeled the industry. The 90’s brought a slow recovery as it became the nation’s newest gambling mecca. Katrina hit the casino barges that lined the coast hard, deeply denting the state’s tax base. Looking for economic salvation, Gov. Haley Barbour invited casinos inland to shelter them from the storm–invited them into Point Cadet. Interviewing lifelong residents of one of the last coastal working class neighborhoods, we asked how their futures might unfold.




1. Fisherman, Ronald Baker has lived in Pt. Cadet for over 40 years. Ron has never been more than 200 miles from Biloxi in his life. His house was flattened by Katrina. 2. Kenny Bahanovich — lifelong resident of Pt. Cadet stands where his front room used to be. 3. A remaining shotgun house. 4. Phong Nguyen, grew up in Pt. Cadet in a Vietnamese immigrant family who owned most of the houses on his block. Now the only place standing is his grandfather’s house, his family is rebuilding. Photos © Julie Caine 2006

Peter Spring with Glenn Bernard at Bernard’s house in La Place, just outside New Orleans. Photo ©  Nick Miroff

Fixing the Pianos of New Orleans
Produced by Nick Miroff
Aired on NPR’s Saturday Weekend Edition, May-20, 2006

Nick Miroff noticed an unusual classified ad on a New Orleans website. It offered free pickup, tuning and repair for pianos that had been damaged by the wind and water of Hurricane Katrina. The man who wrote the ad is name Peter Spring. Nick tracked him down and brought back this story about grieving fathers, loss, and the restorative power of music.

Nick wrote to tell us that his piece was on NPR’s “most emailed”  list and  he said, “WeSat producers say they’ve been contacted by listeners wanting to donate money and instruments to Peter, and a guy organizing a radio conference in Russia wrote me saying that he wants to use it as a teaching device for a seminar on radio feature production. What a ride! “


Irvin Mayfield: Keeping Dad Close While Moving On
Produced by Samantha Grant and Heather Smith
Aired on NPR’s Saturday Weekend Edition, June 17, 2006

In the chaos following Hurricane Katrina, more than 5,000 people were reported missing, including a 65-year-old postal worker name Irvin Mayfield, Sr. His family searched for three months before they found him in a morgue miles away. Mr. Mayfield’s son, trumpet player Irvin Mayfield, Jr., director of the New Orleans Jazz OrchestraNew Orleans, talks about preseving the memory of a fun-loving, chess-cheating father, while letting go of his public role as a grieving son.

Sabine Refuge Still Reeling from Rita’s Wrath
Produced by Pauline Bartolone
Aired on NPR’s Day to Day, June 12, 2006

The Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Louisiana was ravaged by Hurricane Rita in September 2005. Many months later, the massive amount of debris the storm dumped in the Sabine marshland remains, and the area may not be able to act as a buffer between residential areas and coming storms this hurricane season.


Creative Radio News Features Class

Stories from J-school students Yunji De Nies, Sarah Neal, Judson True, and Sasha Khokha were featured on Hot Soup on KQED radio. The series, entitled “A Presence of the Past,” is a look at the legacies of past generations and their influence on four lives.