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Tours Off The Beaten Path with Sakura Kone
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Tour Details
Off the Beaten Path is a social justice community excursion which takes place in four of New Orleans’ historic communities focusing on the socio-economic, political and cultural significance of each, past and present, before and after Hurricane Katrina; as well as discussions on the historic failures of the levee system in 1927, 1965 & 2005. THE HISTORIC CENTRAL CITY COMMUNITY:

This community is responsible for the development of most of New Orleans’ culture (the Second Line, Black Brass bands & Mardi Gras Indian traditions). Central City later gave birth to world renowned musical personalities such as Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Martin, Sidney Bechet, Kid Ory, Joe King Oliver, Professor Longhair, gospel/negro spiritual icon, Mahalia Jackson, and many more. The Tour will pass by some of the historic, but humble, homes of these musicians & also culturally important  sites.



*the 2nd oldest African American church in New Orleans. Constructed in the early 1830’s, First Street United Methodist Church opened its doors in 1833 to a congregation of African slaves and free people of color. The Methodist church, during that time period, was an internationally acclaimed Christian denomination that opposed slavery.


*New Zion Baptist Church, established in 1921, is the site of the 2nd founding convention of the national Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the preeminent civil rights organization headed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King spoke at that 1957 convention.


*the historic but Katrina damaged Wesley United Methodist Church (formerly, the 3rd oldest African-American church in New Orleans), which has been a symbol of the struggles for human rights in New Orleans for 176 years (anti-slavery abolitionist movement; the fights against Jim Crow; lynching protests; the 20th century Civil Rights struggles).


*The First African Baptist Church, established in 1817, is Louisiana’s (& New Orleans’) oldest African American church.



HISTORIC MID CITY COMMUNITY: Observe: *Charity Hospital-
Eight years post hurricane Katrina, 2/3 of all public health care facilities, have yet to reopen, including Charity (near the cbd & hospital district), Mercy in Mid City (a.k.a. Lindy Boggs Medical Center), & Methodist hospitals (in New Orleans east). There have been citizen campaigns to save them, but especially a vigorous one to preserve the historically significant, world famous Charity Hospital from demolition. *Orleans Parish Prison- This city jail which was “notorious” for human rights abuses incarcerates the guilty & the innocent alike. During hurricane Katrina, most of the officials, officers, and guards abandoned it & its occupants, who were left behind locked up. *Lafitte Public Housing Complex-
One of four public housing facilities condemned by city officials & demolished three years after Katrina, despite the facts two of them had no damages; and the other two developments only had water damages. This occurred amidst an already drastic housing shortage. When residents & their supporters attempted to oppose this decision at a December 20, 2007 city council meeting, they were locked out by police who tazed, pepper sprayed, mace, beat & arrested the protesters. THE HISTORIC TREME’ COMMUNITY Oldest Black Community in United States Visit: *St Augustine Church, oldest African American Catholic Church in America; *Congo Square (1740), later to become Louis Armstrong Park in the 1970s. The Congo Square site was the only place in the United States where African Slaves were allowed to perform/practice their indigenous music, dance, religion; market goods and crafts; in the 1700 & 1800s. These weekly Sunday gatherings laid the foundation for today’s music, especially the Jazz genre, which originated from a combination of the Congo Square African rhythms & the influence of the musical styles of the French, the first European colonizers of the Louisiana territories. Other notable locations in the park include the Sidney Bechet Memorial statue & plaque; the 1820 constructed Perseverance Hall Masonic Temple; the 1929 Municipal Auditorium; and the Mahalia Jackson Performing Arts Theater. *Treme’ Community Center- Meet/Speak to community leader & residents about the city’s and developers’ efforts to gentrify the Treme’ community and thereby displace its original inhabitants.
THE HISTORIC LOWER 9TH WARD: Visit: *Site of the Lower 9th Levee Breech
*The Lower 9th Ward Village, a post Katrina community center
*Our School at Blair Grocery, a post Katrina alternative community free school specializing in teaching Lower 9th Ward “at-risk” youth all aspects of Urban Farming, marketing, distribution, & product placement. Observe/discuss: *Brad Pitt’s “Make It Right Foundation” innovative construction of sustainable, environmentally sound alternative energy housing. M.I.R. is committed to building 300 homes for long term residents of the L9 Ward. 2/3 of Lower 9th housing has not been rebuilt & 2/3 of its original residents have not been able to return & restore/rebuild their homes, due to lack of resources. * Drive through the community & observe the vast open/empty spaces, whereas pre-Katrina, the L9 had the most densely populated neighborhoods in all of New Orleans. View/discuss: *Dr Martin Luther King Jr School, the only Lower 9th Ward school (out of 7 pre-Katrina schools) that is open, due to the community risking arrests by cleaning it & demanding it be put back into operation. Since Katrina, only 10% of New Orleans’ “public” schools have re-opened. *Fats Domino’s home & this world renown musician’s significance to his community & to the birth/development of rock n roll music.
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