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Monday
May212012

ETV PREMIERES OPP DOCS

We're excited and proud to announce that two of OP productions; Finding Pura Vida and Web of Water premiered on ETV's Southern Lens Earth Day, April 23, 2009 and will continue to air in a one hour block along with interviews with Mitchell and myself. Stayed tuned to your homegrown programming!

Monday
May212012

ROSEBANK FARMS' CSA

In 2009 OPP helped Rosebank Farms launch it's first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. In our first year we had over 100 people in the Lowcountry of South Carolina sign-up for delivery of fresh veggies. Louise Bennett and Sidi Limehouse really are the best farmers in the Lowcountry and have been feeding the people around Charleston for over 25 years. Rosebank Farms CSA is the best around; offerring pick-up and delivery in the tri-county area and also offering flowers boquets, fresh eggs, and dairy. To join the CSA visit the Rosebank Farms website.

Monday
May212012

JOHNS ISLAND FARMING

 


Rosebank Farms Fall Festival from OPP on Vimeo.


Floral Arrangement Workshops at Rosebank Farms from OPP on Vimeo.

In addition to getting personally involved in the establishment of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs in the Lowcountry of South Carolina - we are bringing our media skills to the conversation. Here are videos from Rosebank Farms annual Fall Festival and a short video of renowned Floral Designer, Louise Bennett leading a Rosebank Farms Floral Arrangement Workshop.

Monday
May212012

SHELF2LIFE PROJECT

Shelf2Life Demo from OPP on Vimeo.

Getting out of my comfort zone and telling the story of the Shelf2Life program with the Bibliographical Center for Research in Denver, Colorado.  

Monday
May212012

FALLING TOGETHER IN NEW ORLEANS: A Series of Video Vignettes

The trailer for Falling Together in New Orleans

Solo Journalist-Documentary Artist, Farrah Hoffmire was inspired by grassroots organizing and volunteer efforts in the weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina. She has traveled to New Orleans numerous times to create a solo work that is part art-vignette, part documentary film and part grassroots journalism.

In stark contrast to the failure and corruption stories that have dominated mass-media coverage, Falling Together introduces us to powerful people fighting to save lives, preserve culture and bring a sense of well-being back to New Orleans. Conceived as an ongoing, subscription-based platform to follow events in New Orleans as they unfold over the next few years, it also explores the ongoing complexities of rebuilding in areas of the city still severely damaged -- such as the Lower 9th Ward.  The film features music by Ani Difranco as well as some of New Orleans’s top musicians.

The film series has been screened at the following:

  • Oral History Association national conference (Little Rock, AR)
  • Langston Hughes African American Film Festival (Seattle, WA)
  • Lake Eden Arts Festival (Asheville, NC)
  • Zeitgeist Film Series (Tulane University, New Orleans)
  • Hurricane Katrina Campus Media Project (worldwide 2007-2008)


Vignette 1: Lewis Taylor Is Always Home (released October 2006)

  • We’ll meet Lewis Taylor, an elderly gentlemen and “displaced resident” as he finds his family and visits what once was his home, a small fishing village called Boothville. Boothville sits at the tip of Louisiana’s coastline, a place where Taylor spent his whole life farming and fishing. We follow Taylor along his journey as he accepts his fate with humor and insight.

Vignette 2: The Art of Falling Together (released April 2007)

  • Witness grassroots groups, volunteers, and residents, as they rebuild threatened neighborhoods such as the Seventh and Ninth Wards immediately after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Unlike the millions who thought about it watching the story unfold on CNN, meet the people who dropped everything and traveled to New Orleans to see how they could help. It changed some so dramatically they could not leave.

Vignette 3: Emergency Communities

  • Emergency Communities - Summer 2007 update.  Reacting shortly after the Hurricane in 2005, Emergency Communities set up the Made with Love Cafe in the devastated St. Bernarnds Parrish. OPP cameras visited EC in Winter 2005 - right after the storms and told thier amazing story in Vignette 2.  We visited EC again in the Summer of 2007 where they are still working hand in hand with the hardest hit areas of New Orleans. Now in the Lower 9th Ward, they face incredible odds but are buyoed by the altruistic efforts of volunteers and residents who treat each other as equals.

Vignette 4: Social Dress New Orleans

  • Takashi Horisaki was working 20 hour days in the 100 degree heat when Farrah found him completing an art project like none other she had ever seen. As a project to raise awareness about the situation in the Lower 9th Ward he made a replica of the surface of a shotgun-style house in latex, then taking the replica to New York's Socrates Sculpture Park. Hear about the project and see a true artist devoted to a true cause.

 

  • Music written and composed by Ani DiFranco Please visit: Righteous Babe

 

Monday
May212012

VIDEO BLOG: FALLING TOGETHER IN NEW ORLEANS

Falling Together in New Orleans Video Blog posts are snapshots of the characters and situations I encountered during the video journaling process. Some of this footage makes it through to full production, some doesn't, but it is a real-time process to give people access to what I am experiencing while I am meeting people and gathering footage.

 

 

Tuesday
May222012

BRANDON DARBY AND COMMON GROUND

Common Ground Collective is a local, community-run organization offering assistance, mutual aid and support to New Orleans communities that have been historically neglected and underserved. We watch the people of Common Ground Collective as they work to organize efforts in rebuilding communities such as the lower 9th Ward and Plaquemines Parish. Brandon Darby, a CGC member, heads the efforts to return residents to the lower 9th Ward and help them restore their homes.

Music written and composed by Michael Houser (Door Harp album). Please visit: Houser Tribute

Tuesday
May222012

MAMA D: SPIRIT OF THE 7TH WARD


Weenie on Mama D from OPP and Vimeo.

In order to understand Mama D and her mission to save her community, you have to understand the 7th Ward and its history.

The 7th Ward was considered by many to be the quintessential Creole neighborhood in New Orleans. Many educated and accomplished people of color lived here before the Civil War and throughout the time when Jim Crow laws were in effect. But after desegregation, the city built the I-10 interstate right over the Claiborne neutral ground, destroying the 7th Ward’s prosperous business district in the process.Today the community remembers the beautiful live oaks that were torn down to make way for the interstate by painting images of these trees on the cement pilings that replaced them.

Among the first large land owners was Claude Dubreuil, whose vast estate stretched from the river to Bayou Sauvage and Gentilly. By the late 1700s, this land had changed proprietorship several times and finally came into the holdings of Bernard Marigny, who successfully subdivided the Faubourg Marigny and continued with what was called Nouveau Marigny (between Elysian Fields and St. Bernard and from St. Claude to Gentilly Rd.). When, in 1830, the Pontchartrain Railroad connected the Faubourg Marigny with the settlement of Milneburg on the lake, these lots became more saleable. The railroad helped Nouveau Marigny to grow almost to Gentilly Ridge. 

The area of the Seventh Ward neighborhood that did not belong to Bernard Marigny belonged to Charles de Morand, who also owned most of what is now the Tremé neighborhood. As the Vieux Carre became increasingly overcrowded, people were forced to seek residence in other developing areas of the city and Nouveau Marigny was one of them. The area was settled by the second half of the 19th century. A significant number of German immigrants and French Creole families inhabited the neighborhood by the mid-1800s. However, it was the free people of color who came to characterize the 7th Ward neighborhood.

Free persons of color, les gens de couleur libres, began to settle in New Orleans around 1720. By 1810, they composed about one-third of the city’s population. These people were well-educated, highly skilled in the building trades, spoke perfect French and called themselves Creole. By the mid-1800s, many free people of color had taken up residence in the 7th Ward. Creole 7th Ward families are known for strength in business enterprises, building trades, and music. Successful family-owned businesses, such as insurance companies, laundries, barbershops and funeral homes characterized the neighborhood from the mid 19th to the early 20th centuries.

Jazz flourished in the 7th Ward: When Creole musicians who were classically trained in Europe began to jam with recently freed Africans, who over the centuries of enslavement had maintained the traditional rhythms of their homeland, jazz was born. Not surprisingly, the 7th Ward was home to many early jazz greats.

Jim Crow laws hit the 7th Ward: After the Civil War all people of color were lumped together for the first time, and Creole families experienced a significant social demotion – suddenly being denied access to networks and resources that had previously been available to them as free people of color.

Because Creoles were of European and African descent, they had a lighter skin color than many of the recently freed Africans. Jim Crow laws reinforced the importance of skin color by declaring that anyone with at least “1/8th black blood” (known as an “octoroon”) was technically “colored.” So Creoles began to attempt to distinguish themselves from darker skinned “colored” people. Creoles developed a whole language that included French words but also included several references specific to skin and hair type. 

The 7th Ward is opposite Esplanade Avenue from the Tremé. At one time, the most prosperous African American business-district in the country stretched along Claiborne Avenue from the Tremé into the 7th Ward. In the late 1960s, the 7th Ward’s prosperous business district along Claiborne Avenue was deemed dispensable by the city, so it was destroyed to make way for the new I-10 interstate loop. The rows of quadruple live oak trees were cleared from the neutral ground and the interstate cut the neighborhood in half.

The 7th Ward is opposite Esplanade Avenue from the Tremé. At one time, the most prosperous African American business-district in the country stretched along Claiborne Avenue from the Tremé into the 7th Ward. In the late 1960s, the 7th Ward’s prosperous business district along Claiborne Avenue was deemed dispensable by the city, so it was destroyed to make way for the new I-10 interstate loop. The rows of quadruple live oak trees were cleared from the neutral ground and the interstate cut the neighborhood in half.

Many Creoles worked at the forefront of the civil rights movement as lawyers and organizers. Jim Crow laws were not overturned all at once, but painstakingly one at a time. A.P. Tureaud was a prominent civil rights activist who today is honored in the 7th Ward with a park in his name. A.P. Tureaud was a lawyer for the New Orleans branch of the NAACP. He brought a suit against the state and the Orleans Parish School Board to force the desegregation of public facilities in Louisiana. His successes include the integration of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1952. He also filed suits to obtain equal pay for Louisiana's African American teachers. The plaque in the A.P. Tureaud Park reads:

New Orleans Attorney A.P. Tureaud courageously led us toward equal justice and opportunity for all. He boldly challenged each obstacle in our way. He skillfully pried open the gates of segregation that separated us from each other and from our nation’s promise. A.P. Tureaud’s legal victories cleared the way toward reaching the promise of equal protection under the law. These civil rights triumphs encouraged others to lead us forward on the path that A.P. Tureaud made wider, more clear and more certain.

Mr. Tureaud was further honored when the Housing Authority of New Orleans’ (HANO) administrative offices in the 7th Ward were named for him. Mr. Tureaud served on HANO’s board of commissioners from 1966 to 1971.

This, of course, severely diminished the desirability of the properties on either side of the interstate. Suddenly an area that had been prosperous became quite undesirable. Homeowners moved, and finding their homes neither saleable nor rentable, eventually abandoned them. The irony of destroying this thriving business district in order to facilitate access to the suburbs is not lost on residents.

The 7th Ward today: Although not as prosperous as it once was, the neighborhood is identified with halls that each reflect a group of professionals, mechanics, skilled laborers or a benevolent society. They still use these halls for business and social functions. The Autocrat Club on St. Bernard Street is one of the liveliest, offering fish fries on Friday evenings and dances every Saturday night.

Information in this article gathered from the Greater New Orleans Center Community Data Center.

Tuesday
May222012

WELCOME HOME COMMUNITY KITCHEN



Rob Savoye from OPP and Vimeo.

Rob Savoye is a volunteer who came to Louisiana from Colorado just after the storms to help run a kitchen serving three free, hot meals a day. This clips shows him in Washington Park in New Orleans just after the hurricane.

Tuesday
May222012

LEWIS TAYLOR: DISPLACED CITIZEN

Lewis Taylor is interviewed by Neil Guidry.

Lewis Taylor is a life-long resident of Plaquemines Parish, La. After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this 78-year-old “displaced citizen” entered the bureaucratic system to find his family, his home and his land. Lewis maintains his good nature and hope as he accepts with humor the complexities facing him in the disaster. When asked if he wished to return to his hometown of Buras, which was allegedly unlivable, Lewis replied:

Yeh, you talkin’ ‘bout where I come from? That’s my ground down there, everything! I farm there…every seed…corn, everything! I used to do all that, but I didn’t do it for myself, I did it for my daddy and my brother. And when I sow that seed, it jump up just like we grow it! Everything they got in the grocery stores; I used to grow it. That’s why I’m anxious to get back home.

Tuesday
May222012

JOHN CLARK: SOCIAL ECOLOGIST

New Orleans has been a disaster for a lot of people and when something really bad happens it’s more of a disaster for the same people. - John Clark

John Clark is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University New Orleans and teaches in the Environmental Studies Program. His books include Max Stirner’s Egoism, The Philosophical Anarchism of William Godwin, The Anarchist Moment: Reflections on Culture, Nature and Power, Renewing the Earth: The Promise of Social Ecology (editor), Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology (four editions; coeditor), Elisée Reclus’ Voyage to New Orleans, Anarchy, Geography, Modernity: The Radical Social Thought of Elisée Reclus, in addition to several forthcoming works.

He has been active for many years in the Green Movement, an international movement for ecological sustainability, world peace, social justice and grassroots democracy. Despite his reservations about the perils of electoral politics, he is a member of the Greater New Orleans Green Party and the Green Party of Louisiana.

He also works in the bioregional movement and in ecological forestry, and is reforesting and reintroducing native species on an 83-acre tract along Bayou LaTerre in Hancock County, Miss. He organized Freeport Watch, an organization that monitors and works against ecocide and cultural genocide in West Papua (Western New Guinea) by Freeport McMoran, one of the world’s largest mining corporations. He is a member of the Education Workers Union of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Tuesday
May222012

PHAT & SWERVE AT THE HALF MOON

My good friend Cat Malovic plays pool on occasion with Phat, Swerve and Jamal at their neighborhood bar, the Half Moon. Cat thought I should meet them and hear their story. They grew up in the St. Thomas project, a low-income housing project that was recently replaced by a mixed-income project, The River Garden.

The River Garden model, championed by local developer Pres Kabacoff, is being discussed in the redevelopment plans post-Katrina. Phat and Swerve live in the new River Garden project and are very positive about the change. As they say; "If this was the old St. Thomas projects, we might never be talkin' to y'all." Thanks Phat, Swerve, and Jamal for sharing your love and flavor!

Tuesday
May222012

HURRICANE KATRINA CAMPUS MEDIA PROJECT

 

This unique touring event provides deep insights into the ongoing struggles in New Orleans two years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The immersive project is a multimedia exploration of the human situation in New Orleans seen through the lens of a changing world of independent media production, video art, and primary source journalism. 

This is a unique project. It really gives a person a sense of optimism during a time when optimism is rather tough to sustain. -- Zola Munford, curator, Langston Hughes African-American Film Festival 

 THE EVENT INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:

Video Art Screening: Katrina Ballads/ CNN mashup: Who Are You Angry At?

This video-art installation features a looping film edited by Farrah Hoffmire combining a performance of a piece from KATRINA BALLADS with the original CNN footage that inspired the composition. 

KATRINA BALLADS, which had its world premiere at the 2007 Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, is a collection of songs inspired by the tragic events surrounding Hurricane Katrina.The work uses primary-source texts to paint a rich musical portrait of that devastating and telling week in September 2005.

Using the words of flood survivors, relief workers, politicians and celebrities, New York composer Ted Hearne creates a cutting-edge musical experience and a vivid look into America’s darkest hours. Performed by Yes is a World and Charleston’s New Music Collective, the music is rhythmic, theatrical, and American to the core, possessing an edgy, post-minimalist drive and a deep jazz influence. It is a moving performance, challenging us to remember and reflect upon our own history.

This portion of the campus event includes a daylong exhibit of a video-art installation of the project with interpretive materials and an on-site curator. 

Documentary Film Screening: Falling Together in New Orleans

SOLO JOURNALIST & DOCUMENTARY ARTIST Farrah Hoffmire was inspired by grassroots organizing and volunteer efforts in the weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina. She has traveled to New Orleans numerous times to create a solo work that is part art-vignette, part documentary film and part grass-roots journalism. In stark contrast to the failure and corruption stories that have dominated mass-media coverage, Falling Together introduces us to powerful people fighting to save lives, preserve culture and bring a sense of well-being back to New Orleans.

Conceived as an ongoing project that will follow events in New Orleans as they unfold over the next few years it also explores the ongoing complexities of rebuilding in areas of the city still severely damaged—such as the Lower 9th Ward. The film features music by Ani Difranco as well as top New Orleans musicians.

The film series has been featured at the:

This portion of the event includes a 75-minute screening of the film.

Documentary Film Screening: Social Dress - 730 Days After

Takashi Horisaki and a small team of volunteers were working 20-hour days in the 100-degree heat when OPP found them completing an art project in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. Working on a largely abandoned block of the city, they worked with a mission to remind people of "what is still happening" in NOLA two years after the floods.

Takashi's ambitious media project involved the laborious process of covering the surface of the shotgun-style house in latex and cheesecloth to create a replica that itself could be "displaced" as a sculpture.

Falling Together in New Orleans: Vignette 4 looks at the process and motivations and then visits the artist and the sculpture at it's first home in New York City's Socrates Sculpture Park.

Takashi hopes to displace the sculpture across the U.S. and world to raise awareness about the still displaced people of New Orleans struggling to return home.

This portion of the tour presents a multi-media virtual tour of the sculpture with interpretive materials and on site curation.

Takashi's Blog

OPP Media Circus exhibit and discussion

Our relationship to mass media is immersive and constantly in flux. The Hurricane Katrina Media Tour uses art, a looping slide presentation, and during selected performances can include a presentation by Mitchell Davis and a group discussion with audiences at one of our screenings.

 

Tuesday
May222012

TROY'S MESSAGE TO BUSH, BLANCO AND NAGIN...BOOM!

I was shocked to hear people’s short-sighted reaction to this footage of Troy. Though Troy has obviously knocked back a couple of cold ones, his message is clear and truly valuable.

Tuesday
May222012

DR. LANCE HILL: AMERICAN CHARACTER

Dr. Lance Hill is the Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Researchat Tulane University. Dr. Hill worked as a community activist and labor organizer for 20 years before embarking on an academic career.

From 1989 to 1992, Dr. Hill served as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism (LCARN), the grass roots organization that led the opposition to former Klansman David Duke’s Senate and Gubernatorial campaigns.Hill, one of the coalition’s founders, directed the organization’s extensive television, radio and direct mail campaigns.The New York Times and the New Orleans Times-Picayune credited LCARN with playing the leading role in Duke’s ultimate political demise.

In 1993, Hill co-founded the Southern Institute for Education and Research at Tulane University. Over the past 10 years the Institute’s tolerance education program-the most comprehensive project of its kind in the South—has provided training to more than 3,600 teachers from 785 schools in the Deep South. The program uses case studies of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement to teach the causes and consequences of prejudice. With a geographic scope of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle, the Institute prides itself on successful implementing programs in rural and isolated communities that have been traditional strongholds of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.

Dr. Hill also directs the Southern Institute’s cross-cultural communication training and research program, which teaches advanced skills to improve communication and collaboration among ethnic groups in the United States. Hill holds a PhD from Tulane University, where he has taught US History and Intercultural Communication.

His scholarly research field is the history of race relations and the radical right. He is the author of The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement(University of North Carolina Press, 2004) and "National Socialist Race Doctrine in the Political Thought of David Duke," in The Emergence of David Duke by Doug Rose (University of North Carolina Press, 1994). He has served as a consultant on several PBS documentaries on the radical right and the civil rights movement and has written extensively on racial politics in the South.

Dr. Hill resides in New Orleans with his wife of 30 years, Eileen SanJuan.

    Music written and composed by Michael Houser (Door Harp album). Please visit: Houser Tribute

 

Tuesday
May222012

Lyrical Terrorist

“Bnjahmn” is from the 7th Ward and finds communion at Mama D’s.
Music: Bob Marley’s Zimbabwe.
Tuesday
May222012

BOYSIE BOLLINGER: UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY

Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger is a member of the Bring New Orleans Back Commission, Mayor Nagin’s rebuilding committee, which is driven by the Urban Land Institute

Bollinger is also Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., a family-owned business established in 1946 by Boysie’s father. Bollinger Shipyards,  is a full-service marine construction and repair operation headquartered in Lockport, La., with 12 divisions in Louisiana, two divisions in Texas, and activities extending into the international market. Learn more about the Bring New Orleans Back Plan.

    Music written and composed by Michael Houser (Door Harp album). Please visit: Houser Tribute.
Tuesday
May222012

Emergency Communities

An out-take from Vignette 2 - The Art of Falling Together. Emergency Communities was started in St. Bernard Parrish. This footage is from late 2005.

Tuesday
May222012

EMERGENCY COMMUNITIES SUMMER 2007  

 

Emergency Communities in the Lower 9 from OPP and Vimeo.

Emergency Communities is a non-profit organization that employs compassion and creativity to provide community-based disaster relief. Since Katrina, they have operated four relief sites, served over 300,000 meals and 25,000 residents of the Gulf. emergencycommunities.org

They run entirely on volunteers and donations. 

The above clip (running time aprox. 17 minutes) is from June 2007 from the Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans. Emergency Communities set up thier first relief center in St. Bernards Parish in Fall 2005 (featured in Vignette 2)

Thanks to Katie Fogle and the St. Albans Church Youth Group and Volunteers for footage that was inspiring to edit and produce. One of the most exciting things about solo journalism is letting the stories tell themselves and this is one that does that so easily. As Louise says in the video "it is hard to get people to understand, but we will see what happens...". Yes we will. Thanks to everyone who makes Emergency Communities come true.

Tuesday
May222012

CNN / KATRINA BALLADS VIDEO MASH-UP

 

Cooper & Landrieu - Katrina Ballads from OPP and Vimeo.

This is the video mash up of Anderson Cooper / Mary Landrieu from CNN mashed with the incredbile performance from May 31, 2007 of the Katrina Ballads by Ted Hearne. Thanks to Ted Hearne, Nathan Koci and Anna Shillinglaw for collaborating on this piece. We like it. It will be the first feature presentation in our new "Media Circus" viewing booth. 

CREDITS

Katrina Ballads
Performance as part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival
May 31, 2007 at the Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, SC
composed and directed by Ted Hearne
performed by New Music Collective and Yes is a World
 
Allison Semmes, soprano (Mary Landrieu)
Anthony Turner, baritone (Anderson Cooper)
Abby Fischer, mezzo-soprano 
Isaiah Robinson, tenor
 
Film footage by Anna Shillinglaw
Edited by Farrah Hoffmire