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FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, 1960, NEW ORLEANS

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, 1960, NEW ORLEANS

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U.S. Marshals escort Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost from McDonogh #19, November 14, 1960.

U.S. Marshals escort Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost from McDonogh #19, November 14, 1960.

 

November 14, 1960 — Four six-year-old girls, flanked by Federal Marshals, walked through screaming crowds and policemen on horseback as they approached their new schools for the first time. Leona Tate thought it must be Mardi Gras. Gail Etienne thought they were going to kill her.

Four years after the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate schools in Brown v Board of Education, schools in the south were dragging their feet. Finally, in 1960, the NAACP and a daring judge selected two schools in New Orleans to push forward with integration — McDonogh No.19 Elementary and William Frantz.

An application was put in the paper. From 135 families, four girls were selected. They were given psychological tests. Their families were prepared. Members of the Louisiana Legislature took out paid advertisements in the local paper encouraging parents to boycott the schools. There were threats of violence.

When the girls going to McDonogh No. 19 arrived in their classroom, the white children began to disappear.
One by one their parents took them out of school. For a year and a half the girls were the only children in the
school. Guarded night and day, they were not allowed to play outdoors. The windows were covered with brown paper.

The story of integrating the New Orleans Public schools in 1960 told by Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost
Williams, and Gail Etienne Stripling, who integrated McDonogh No.19 Elementary School, and retired Deputy U.S. Marshals Herschel Garner, Al Butler, and Charlie Burks who assisted with the integration efforts at the schools.

Leona Tate in 2017. Photo by Deborah Luster.

Leona Tate in 2017. Photo by Deborah Luster.

 

McDonogh No. 19 in 2017. Photo by Nikki Silva.

McDonogh No. 19 in 2017. Photo by Nikki Silva.

 

This story is part of Levee Stream, our Prospect 4 New Orleans project in collaboration with Otabenga Jones and Associates.

Made possible in part by Ruth U. Fertel Foundation and Project&

Special Thanks to:

Leona Tate — Leona Tate Founation for Change 

Keith Plessy and Phoebe Fergussen — PlessyandFerguson.org

Brenda Square — Amisted Research Center

Brenda Flora — Audiovisual Archivist at Amisted Research Center, Tulane University

Tulane University and their Through a Crowd Bravely Program— Several of the voices in our story were recorded on November, 2010 at Tulane University as part of a reunion and panel discussion on the 50th Anniversary of the integration of public schools in New Orleans. Voices featured from these archival recordings include: Leona Tate Tessie Prevost Williams, Gail Etienne Stripling, and retired Deputy US Marshals Charlie Burks, Herschel Garner and Al Butler. This gathering was the first time the women and the marshals had reunited since November 1960.  

For the WSBN archival news footage thanks toTaylor Chicoine and Ruta Aeolians, Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection UGA, Special Collections Library

Thanks to National endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts

Levee Stream: A Pop-Up Radio Station Installation, Nov 19, Opening Weekend, Prospect 4

Levee Stream: A Pop-Up Radio Station Installation, Nov 19, Opening Weekend, Prospect 4

Otabenga-Cadillac

On Sunday afternoon, November 19th, opening weekend of Prospect.4, the legendary Houston arts collective, Otabenga Jones & Associates, Peabody Award winning NPR producers, The Kitchen Sisters and the acclaimed activist arts organization Project& come together on Bayou Road to present Levee Stream a day-long, street-corner, pop-up, Cadillac radio station-installation.

Part block party, part soapbox, Levee Stream is broadcasting live from noon til five from a 1959 Cadillac Coup de Ville — a lively mix of conversation and interviews with an array of international artists in town for Prospect.4, Bayou Road neighborhood regulars, entrepreneurs and visionaries, New Orleans artists and activists, live music, DJs, and a five hour “sonic prayer flag” that will unfurl across the afternoon and the neighborhood full of New Orleans voices, shards of sound and archival audio.

Come join this live five-hour afternoon event with NPR’s Kitchen Sisters and Otabenga Jones hosted by singer, bandleader, WWOZ DJ and arts activist, Cole Williams. Three DJs will be spinning across the day — New Orleans’ DJ RqAway (the people’s DJ), Matt Knowles of Domino Sound Record Shack, and Houston DJ, collector and ethnomusicologist, DJ Flash Gordon Parks. A few of the Prospect artists coming to be interviewed at the Cadillac include Hank Willis Thomas, John Akomfrah, Xaviera Simmons, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Monique Verdin, Donna Conlon & Jonathan Harker, Cauleen Smith, Jeff Whetstone, Penny Siopis, and Odili Donald Odita. Gia Hamilton and artists from The Joan Mitchell Center will also be heard “on air” at the Caddy.

A stunning array of New Orleans artists, activists, chefs, bakers, architects appearing live in conversation at Levee Stream include: social justice activists, Robert King and Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3, Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson of the Plessy & Ferguson Foundation, the legendary DJ Soul Sister from WWOZ and beyond, Skylar Fein and skaters from Parisite Skate Park, Leona Tate of the McDonogh 3, Vera Warren-Williams from Community Book Center, Alon Shaya and many more.

Live music will fill the day from long-standing free jazz duo, Alvin Fielder & Kidd Jordan, The Jones Sisters with their deep gospel sound, Cole Williams, “Chicken Violins” from The Homer Plessy School led by Rebecca Crenshaw, Zion Trinity and Joe Krown on Hammond B3.

Levee Stream is a day of close listening, unusual encounters, neighborhood revelation and food. Of course food.

All kinds of cooking, food and drink will be part of the day from Pagoda Cafe, Coco Hut, The Half Shell, Alon Shaya & Pomegranate Hospitality, Graison Gill & Bellegarde Bakery, Cal Peternell formerly of Chez Panisse, Charlie Hallowell of Pizzaiolo and Boot & Shoe ServiceUncorked and the New Orleans Ice Cream Company.

Meet us on the corner. Hear the stories, voices, visions, issues and music live at the “station.” And record your own story in the tiny shotgun shack on wheels recording booth on the street next to Caddy (built by six high school students from unCommon Construction). Issues of culture, climate, arts, infrastructure, food, family, education and entertainment unfold across the day in an inventive, imaginative, collaborative way.

“Levee Stream” is made possible in part by The Ruth U. Fertel Foundation, Project& and McKenna Properties.

For more information and a complete list of participants visit kitchensisters.org/prospect

Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp
November 18, 2017 – February 25, 2018
prospectneworleans.org

What: Prospect.4: Levee Stream — Part block party, part soapbox, a live, one-day, pop-up neighborhood Cadillac radio station-installation

Who: Produced by The Kitchen Sisters, Otabenga Jones & Associates, Project&

When: Sunday, November 19, 2017, Noon – 5:00pm

Where: 2500 Bayou Rd, New Orleans (the confluence of Bayou Road, Desoto & No. Dorgenois)

Episode #82: First Day of School, 1960, New Orleans

Episode #82: First Day of School, 1960, New Orleans

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS

U.S. Marshals escort Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost from McDonogh #19, November 14, 1960.

U.S. Marshals escort Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost from McDonogh #19, November 14, 1960.

 

November 14, 1960 — Four six-year-old girls, flanked by Federal Marshals, walked through screaming crowds and policemen on horseback as they approached their new schools for the first time. Leona Tate thought it must be Mardi Gras. Gail Etienne thought they were going to kill her.

Four years after the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate schools in Brown v Board of Education, schools in the south were dragging their feet. Finally, in 1960, the NAACP and a daring judge selected two schools in New Orleans to push forward with integration — McDonogh No.19 Elementary and William Frantz.

An application was put in the paper. From 135 families, four girls were selected. They were given psychological tests. Their families were prepared. Members of the Louisiana Legislature took out paid advertisements in the local paper encouraging parents to boycott the schools. There were threats of violence.

When the girls going to McDonogh No. 19 arrived in their classroom, the white children began to disappear.
One by one their parents took them out of school. For a year and a half the girls were the only children in the
school. Guarded night and day, they were not allowed to play outdoors. The windows were covered with brown paper.

The story of integrating the New Orleans Public schools in 1960 told by Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost
Williams, and Gail Etienne Stripling, who integrated McDonogh No.19 Elementary School, and retired Deputy U.S. Marshals Herschel Garner, Al Butler, and Charlie Burks who assisted with the integration efforts at the schools.

Leona Tate in 2017. Photo by Deborah Luster.

Leona Tate in 2017. Photo by Deborah Luster.

 

McDonogh No. 19 in 2017. Photo by Nikki Silva.

McDonogh No. 19 in 2017. Photo by Nikki Silva.

 

This story is part of Levee Stream, our Prospect 4 New Orleans project in collaboration with Otabenga Jones and Associates.

Made possible in part by Ruth U. Fertel Foundation and Project&

Special Thanks to:

Leona Tate — Leona Tate Founation for Change 

Keith Plessy and Phoebe Fergussen — PlessyandFerguson.org

Brenda Square — Amisted Research Center

Brenda Flora — Audiovisual Archivist at Amisted Research Center, Tulane University

Tulane University and their Through a Crowd Bravely Program— Several of the voices in our story were recorded on November, 2010 at Tulane University as part of a reunion and panel discussion on the 50th Anniversary of the integration of public schools in New Orleans. Voices featured from these archival recordings include: Leona Tate Tessie Prevost Williams, Gail Etienne Stripling, and retired Deputy US Marshals Charlie Burks, Herschel Garner and Al Butler. This gathering was the first time the women and the marshals had reunited since November 1960.  

For the WSBN archival news footage thanks toTaylor Chicoine and Ruta Aeolians, Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection UGA, Special Collections Library

Thanks to National endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts

Episode #81 – Sonic Prayer Flags – New Orleans

Episode #81 – Sonic Prayer Flags – New Orleans

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Photo by Nikki Silva. Mural by Langston Allston, André Cailloux & Fr. Maistre: The Life, Death of a Black Patriot, 2017, on the former St. Rose De Lima Church, 2541 Bayou Road, produced in partnership with Broad Community Connections.

Photo by Nikki Silva. Mural by Langston Allston, André Cailloux & Fr. Maistre: The Life, Death of a Black Patriot, 2017, on the former St. Rose De Lima Church, 2541 Bayou Road, produced in partnership with Broad Community Connections.

A string of sonic prayer flags — voices and sounds from New Orleans and Bayou Road, the oldest street in the city. Local visionaries, neighborhood entrepreneurs, artists, skateboarders, civil rights activists, musicians, teachers, and more. Listening to the sounds and moods of the City.

ParasiteSkateParkPleasure

We’ve been recording in New Orleans lately for a project we’re doing as part of Prospect.4 – an exhibit of works by artists from around the world who’ve been invited to create events and artworks throughout the city. The first Prospect New Orleans was created in the aftermath of Katrina – exploring the role of art and artists in the rebuilding of the city. The theme of this fourth Prospect is “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp.”

bayou-rd

Our project is called “Levee Stream” a five-hour live, street-corner pop-up Cadillac radio station installation on Bayou Road. We’re collaborating with the Houston based artists collective Otabenga Jones & Associates – Jamal Cyrus, Jabari Anderson – who have created a cut-in-half pink Cadillac, with giant speakers in the trunk, and a white plush leather upholstered back seat where guests can sit and converse and be interviewed live on the air. It’s a roving radio station that’s toured to neighborhoods in Houston and Brooklyn – and now New Orleans. The event will take place on Bayou Road and the stories, prayer flags, videos and images will be online at kitchensisters.org and prospectneworleans.org.

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Voices heard in this episode include: David Waggoner, Quintron, Skylar Fein, “Mama” Vera Warren Williams at the Community Book Center, Tootie Montana, Andaiye Alimayu of Zion Trinity and King & Queen Emporium, Carla Williams at Material Life, Keith Plessy, and Aaron Frumin from unCommon Construction.

Prospect New Orleans: Levee Stream

Prospect New Orleans: Levee Stream

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PROSPECT 4: “Levee Stream,” Prospect New Orleans. The legendary Houston arts collective, Otabenga Jones and Associates, and Peabody Award-winning NPR producers, The Kitchen Sisters, and the acclaimed international arts organization, Project& come together on Bayou Road in New Orleans on November 19th. “Levee Stream” is a day of close listening, unusual encounters, neighborhood revelation and food. Of course food.

On Sunday, November 19th, opening weekend of Prospect.4, the legendary Houston arts collective, Otabenga Jones and Associates, Peabody Award-winning NPR producers, The Kitchen Sisters, and the acclaimed arts organization, Project& come together on Bayou Road in New Orleans to present “Levee Stream,” a site specific-street corner-pop-up Cadillac radio station-installation.  

Part block party, part soapbox, “Levee Stream” is live from noon til five, broadcasting at the confluence of Bayou Road, Desoto and N.Dorgenois — a mix of live conversation and interviews with an array of international artists in town for Prospect.4, Bayou Road neighborhood regulars, entrepreneurs and visionaries, New Orleans artists and activists, DJs, live music, and a five hour “sonic prayer flag” that will unfurl across the afternoon and the neighborhood full of New Orleans voices, shards of sound and archival audio. Levee Stream is a day of close listening, unusual encounters, neighborhood revelation and food. Of course food. Meet us on the corner. Hear the stories, voices, visions, issues and music coming live at the “station.” Record your own story in the tiny shotgun shack on wheels (built by six high school students from UnCommon Construction) on the street next to Caddy.

A few of the people and performances appearing live on Sunday afternoon include: Chicken Violins — Rebecca Crenshaw came to New Orleans right after Katrina. A musician and music teacher she signed up with ArtistCorp who were bringing music teachers back in to New Orleans public school after the flood. Robert King and Albert Woodfox of the Angola Three — Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement in Angola Penitentiary. Since his release, after being found not guilty, he has worked ceaselessly, on behalf of prisoners rights and for justice and for political prisoners around the world.

A multitude of artists from Prospect.4 will talk of their new works at the corner cadillac station including Hank Willis Thomas, Monique Verdin, John Akomfrah, Xaviera Simmons and more. Gia Hamilton from the Joan Mitchell Center will also be part of the mix. DJ Flash Gordon Parks — Ethnomusicologist, collector, documentarian and DJ. Like Otabenga Jones & Associates, Flash comes from Houston with his crates and his big mind and mouth to spin some music and the stories behind it. Plessy & Ferguson — On June 7,1892 Homer Plessy, a shoemaker and light-skinned, free man of color bought a first class ticket, boarded a train and sat in the whites-only railway car of a New Orleans train in an effort to challenge the segregation laws of the era. Judge John H. Ferguson did the ruling that held in place the Jim Crow “separate but equal” laws that stood in the south, and went to the Supreme Court under the name Plessy vs Ferguson, til the Brown vs Board of Education decision upended it in 1954.

The Sonic Prayer Flag  Voices, stories and shards of sound and music from The Kitchen Sisters haunting and evocative New Orleans sound and storyscape will be part of the live mix of the day. The Jones Sisters — Four New Orleans sisters, age 12-18 who have been singing together for nine years and sing knock-out gospel and organ, and won the Rhythm of Gospel Award for Youth/ Young Adult Artist of the year, will power the station-installation on air at noon on Sunday. Solitary Gardens Artist and social activist, Jackie Sumell, who with Herman Wallace of the Angola Three created the powerful project, “Herman’s House” has ignited a new vision “Solitary Gardens” a project at the intersection of public art, alternative land-use and social sculpture, planting gardens designed after 6×9 solitary confinement cells throughout the city of New Orleans to make graphic the issues of justice, incarceration and solitary confinement and propel and provoke a dialogue with the community and with prisoners. Floating Cities David Waggoner, water visionary and architect with the firm Waggoner & Ball has been at the forefront of designing innovative, sustainable stormwater management plan systems in post-Katrina New Orleans. He speaks his vision, floating streets and water gardens. We’ll also hear from Julia Kumar Drapkin from ISeeChange and Rachel Bruenlin from the Neighborhood Story Project.

Voices and stories from the neighborhood including Dr. Dwight McKenna & Beverly Stanton McKenna, founders of the New Orleans Tribune; creators of Le Musée de Free People of Color; Mama Vera from the Community Book Center, one of the hubs of black culture on Bayou Road in the 7th Ward; and neighborhood stalwart, healer, soapmaker and singer, Sister Andaiye Alimaya of The King and Queen Emporium, whose corner will host the Cadillac. Domino Sound, the mighty vintage record store in the neighborhood will also DJ the day.

Skylar Fein & Skaters from the Parisite Skateboard Park — In the wake of Katrina, after their illegal, unofficial DIY skateboard park was torn down by the city, a group of skateboarders, spearheaded by P.1 artist Skylar Fein, created a nonprofit called Transitional Spaces. In partnership with a construction firm, the city, and Tulane they created Parisite Skate Park, an 18,000 square foot space under Interstate 610 Overpass in Gentilly, the first public skatepark in the New Orleans history

Food will come from the neighborhood and beyond — and will change with the day.  

For more information about Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp visit prospectneworleans.org

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KSP #80 – Thad Vogler: A Short History of Spirits

KSP #80 – Thad Vogler: A Short History of Spirits

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Thad Vogler, creator of San Francisco’s Bar Agricole and Trou Normand, travels the world in search of hand made spirits — rum, scotch, cognac, mescal — and the hidden stories of the people and places behind these spirits. His bar is like a library, each bottle rich with story. “Any bottle of rum you take off of the shelf, you have to think about the Caribbean, about the African diaspora, the indigenous culture, the merchant cultures, the colonizing European country, the sugar plantations controlled by the French…”

Thad has just come out with a new book — By the Smoke & the Smell: My Search for the Rare & Sublime on the Spirits Trail. It’s a beautiful book — part travelogue, part memoir. We talk with Thad about his life and philosophy, about the impact of prohibition, alcohol as agriculture, tracing ingredients to their source, and the bar as a kitchen.

We also talk to Russell Moore, chef and owner of Camino in Oakland. Russell worked for more than 20 years at Chez Panisse and when he opened Camino he asked Thad Vogler to create a locally sourced, non-GMO bar that reflected his kitchen.

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Episode 79: Pati’s Mexican Jewish Table

Episode 79: Pati’s Mexican Jewish Table

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Pati-Jinich

A walk through Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden with chef and cookbook author Pati Jinich, host of the Emmy and James Beard nominated PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table and resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC. Pati talks about her Jewish heritage, growing up in Mexico, immigration, life choices and how she found her way into the kitchen.

Podcast Episode #78: The Galveston Hurricane of 1900: No Tongue Can Tell

Podcast Episode #78: The Galveston Hurricane of 1900: No Tongue Can Tell

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The Great Galveston Hurricane arrived on a Saturday, September 8, 1900 — almost without warning. Galveston, the grand dame of Texas, a vibrant port city sitting haughtily on a sand bar facing the Gulf, was reduced to a splintered wasteland. Some 6,000 people perished on the island and at least 4000-6000 on the mainland. Survivors struggled to save themselves amid the towering waves, rocking debris, and floating wreckage of their city.

As part of our Lost & Found Sound series, producer John Burnett revisits the deadliest natural disaster in US history with recorded oral histories and memoirs from the children, the lovers – the survivors of the 1900 storm.

New Orleans Visions – King’s Candy & Living with Water

New Orleans Visions – King’s Candy & Living with Water

 

Robert King Wilkerson (aka Robert Hillary King) was imprisoned at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana for 31 years. Twenty-nine of those years he was in solitary confinement. During that time he created a clandestine kitchen in his 6×9 cell where he made pralines, heating the the butter and sugar he saved from his food tray over a tiny burner concocted from a Coke can and a toilet paper roll. King’s case was overturned in 2001 and he was released. He was living in New Orleans during Katrina, refused to leave his dog, and weathered the storm in his apartment. Today he lectures around the world and makes candy — which he calls Freelines — to bring attention to issues of prison reform and the story of his comrades and The Angola Three.

king makes candy

In “Living with Water” Julia Kumari Drapkin, director of ISeeChange, a community weather and climate journal project, takes us on a tour of her flooded neighborhood in New Orleans after a recent storm. She talks about the vision of creating water gardens, floating streets and other water projects that look towards living with water in New Orleans rather than continuing to completely drain and sink the land.

PHOTOS FROM JULIA KUMARI DRAPKIN

Podcast Episode #76 – Liberace & the Trinidad Tripoli Steelband

Podcast Episode #76 – Liberace & the Trinidad Tripoli Steelband

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In 1967 thirty men left Trinidad with 97 steel drums to represent their country at the World’s Fair in Montreal. None of them had ever been off their island before. They were members of the Esso Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band, all playing “pan,” the steel drums of Calypso, hammered from the leftover oil drums of World War II.

The band took Expo ’67 by storm. And their sound and performance caught the ear of one of the most popular entertainers of the day: Liberace. The glittery piano virtuoso hired the Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band to go on the road with him for the next two years — traveling to cities large and small around the world including towns in George Wallace’s segregated south. One flamboyant rhinestoned white piano player and 30 black steel drummers from Trinidad playing Flight of the Bumblebee.

We travel to Trinidad and trace the history of the steel drum and follow the Esso Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band from the streets of Port of Spain to the Ed Sullivan Show.

Steel pan was born on the island of Trinidad in the late 1930s. It began as an outlaw instrument, hammered from milk tins, biscuit boxes, brake drums, garbage cans — and later, the oil barrels that were scattered across the oil-rich island after World War II.

When the bands first started, anything metal that could be scavenged was “tuned” and played to make a sound, a note. Pan began as the music of the island’s poor, before Trinidad’s independence from Britain. For the native Trinidadians under British rule, the beating of drums and marching in Carnival was often forbidden.

As the oil drums evolved, dozens of pan bands — some more than 100 members strong — sprang up in neighborhoods across the island. Casablanca, Destination Tokyo, Desperadoes, Tripoli… they named themselves after the American war movies and Westerns of the day. Come Carnival, the steel bands would battle one another for the championship, marching across Port of Spain waging musical war — a tradition that continues today.

When the island gained its independence in the 1960s, the foreign companies that controlled the oil resources of Trinidad worried about nationalization of their businesses. The island’s prime minister declared steel pan music an important, vital expression of the Trinidadian people. British Petroleum, Esso and other oil companies looking to sway public opinion began sponsoring neighborhood oil drum orchestras, supplying instruments, uniforms and the money to tour outside Trinidad.

In 1967, the Esso Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band (named after the World War II movie Shores of Tripoli) was sent by the government and the Esso oil company to represent Trinidad and the nation’s musical heritage at the Montreal Expo World’s Fair.