Thursday, May 14, 2009

Possible Essay Ideas


New Orleans funerals and cemeteries


Restaurants that have survived and flourished (page 69 of the Oxford American).


Which areas are being rebuilt and why?


Abandoned schools


Businesses and business owners


Maintaining history after the disaster


Places where jazz started (specific night clubs etc.)


Population evolution in the wake of Katrina (recent immigrants and spanish influence)


Places untouched by Katrina (Central business district, French Quarter, Marigne neighborhood, the Garden District, and Uptown along St. Charles Ave. and Magazine St.)


People in the process of rebuilding

Reflection of American Experience: New Orleans


I learned so much about New Orleans from watching American Experience: New Orleans. I enjoyed how the chapters went into great detail about the history of the city, because they really helped to explain its people and culture. I think I was most interested in how resilient the people of New Orleans are. Chapter 4 of the program spoke of the troubles that the people of New Orleans were facing after the civil war; amidst the turmoil they were experiencing, the people thought that it was the perfect time for a party. It seems as though no matter what had gone on in the city, Mardi Gras was a way for everyone to come together and celebrate. The same was true in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There was controversy over whether or not they should still have Mardi Gras directly following the hurricane. The video explained, however, that they had to do such things in order to energize, and to keep their sanity. The Mardi Gras floats that were created made fun of the hurricane and how the government reacted to the tragedy; in creating these floats and continuing on with their traditions, the people of New Orleans were able to find some sort of healing. One of the speakers on the program said, “There’s something to be said for the fact that when New Orleans faces adversity, when it’s dealing with tragedy, when it’s down on its luck, New Orleans’ answer always is to pop the corks, have a good meal, and then go dancing” (Chapter 10). The way these people overcome adversity absolutely amazes me.

I have to admit that I could not understand how people could rebuild their homes in the same place they were destroyed. I wouldn’t be able to start all over in a place where I knew the same sort of destruction could happen again. The video helped me understand a little bit more why the people of New Orleans chose to stay and rebuild. It explained that most people that grow up in New Orleans, stay there for their entire lives, because to them, the city is the center of the universe. The video explained that during the evacuation process of Hurricane Katrina, the people of New Orleans appreciated people’s hospitality, but at the same time, it reminded them even more of the fact that they were not home. The food didn’t taste the same, the coffee wasn’t as strong, etc. Above all, I admire how brave the people of New Orleans are, not just because of Hurricane Katrina, but throughout the entire history of the city. New Orleans is flawed, but its people love it for everything that it is including its imperfections.


I am Lisa Hylle, an eighth quarter photography student at the Art Institutes International Minnesota. I will be traveling to New Orleans this summer for an essay class for school. In the beginning, I wanted to go to New Orleans to graduate earlier; the more I learn about the city and its people, the more I can’t wait to experience everything about New Orleans.

            I didn’t pay much attention to Hurricane Katrina when it was happening—I assumed that people were doing their part to help the people of New Orleans and to help them rebuild the city. I never even realized to what extent the city was destroyed. The research involved in the class has made me realize how wrong my assumptions were about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Follow me through my research and experiences involving the New Orleans trip. I will be posting about more concrete story ideas, discoveries, thoughts, and activities on the trip.