Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall, the book, grew out of my documentary project about New Orleans’ sanctuary for traditional jazz, Preservation Hall. Made in collaboration with photographer Shannon Brinkman, Preservation Hall tells the stories of the venerable institution that fosters, preserves, and grows one of our nation’s most valued art forms.

Using interviews with over thirty musicians – from recent, thirty-something arrivals, to the septuagenarians who’ve been playing at the Hall for decades – this book is told through the words and images of the individuals who keep the music and its culture alive, linking the present to the past.

Buy the book here.

Listen to the audio documentaries I made as part of this project. These stories were part of a years-long exhibit at the Louisiana State Museum at the US Mint.


Sentinels and Celebrants

“Sentinels and Celebrants,” about live oak corridors and carnival parade routes, is an essay I wrote for the stunning book, Unfathomable City, A New Orleans Atlas, a collection of maps and essays by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker.

Borrowed Time

“Borrowed Time,” about the things we pretend not to know in order to keep keeping on is part of the gorgeous book, Where We Know: New Orleans as Home. This wonderful collection by Chin Music Press includes archival maps, historic and contemporary writing, and crafty schematics.

Magazines and Journals

“The Defeat of Fazendeville,” Louisiana Cultural Vistas Magazine, Winter 2014-15

One hundred and fifty years after the Battle of New Orleans, the US government commemorated its victory by obliterating an African American community founded by formerly enslaved people, in order to make way for a national park.

You can read this article or hear the companion radio story, Fazandeville, The Town Razed to Make Way for the Chalmette National Monument here.

C’est ma generation: The Lost Bayou Ramblers,” Louisiana Cultural Vistas, Winter 2015

Immersed in Cajun music throughout their childhoods, brothers Louis and Andre Michot went on to revolutionize what their peers called “old folks’ music.”

You can read this article or hear the companion radio story here.

“Leroy Jones: Blowing Up a Storm,” OffBeat Magazine, August 2013

Music is a language, says trumpeter Leroy Jones. First comes the hearing. Then comes the speaking.

“Teen Health: Providing Help Through Schools,” Wesleyan Magazine, Issue 1, 2012

Melissa Nass sees physicians, and pediatricians especially, as critically positioned advocates for Social change.

“Hard Work in the Big Easy,” Wesleyan Magazine, Issue 3, 2009

Teach for America marches into New Orleans.

“Inside Mardi Gras,” Wesleyan Magazine, Issue 1, 2008

Take a look behind the making of Rebecca Snedeker’s documentary movie, By Invitation Only, which questions racial exclusivity in an elite, insular, white tradition.

“What Has Happened to Charmaine?” Fourth Genre, Explorations in Nonfiction, Volume 9, Number 1, Spring 2007

I wrote this in a state of panic – when I was still living in Brooklyn watching the Katrina-induced Federal Levee failure unfold.

“Redemption Window,” Postroad Magazine, Number 15, 2007

This is about a magical night in and out of a magical place, Sonny’s Bar in Red Hook.

“Party in a Box,” OffBeat Magazine, August 2007

A new generation of Louisiana musicians are learning what their Cajun predecessors discovered: the ingenious practicality of the accordion.

“Pass It On,” OffBeat Magazine, May 2007

Musicians pass on musical traditions to a younger generation in a time of chaos.

“New Home Sweet Home,” OffBeat Magazine, April 2007

Al “Carnival Time” Johnson gets a new home in Musician’s Village.

“Forks in the Road,” SmokeLong Quarterly Journal, December, 2005

A short, short fiction story