the neighborhood story project

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you should buy this...

"The Neighborhood Story Project is a community documentary program in New Orleans, Louisiana. Based out of John McDonogh Senior High, we teach high school students how to write books about their neighborhoods. Through creative non-fiction, photography, and in-depth interviews, they then create detailed portraits of their communities."

i first heard about the neighborhood story project last year from a friend of mine who was still living in new orleans. John Mac is a school that i knew a lot of teachers from... and trust me... this school is in need of some positivity. it got national attention last year for something not so positive... so lets just say i was happy to hear about the latest news coming out of the school.

in short, the neighborhood story project is a collaborative effort between UNO, John Mac, and The Literary Alliance of New Orleans. Its purpose is simple: to give students the opportunity to be the authors of their own stories. It started off as a creative writing course at the school, and developed quickly in to a much grander exploit, culminating with the publication of 5 of the students books. Each book presents a view into the students life, told from various vantage points throughout the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th wards. Coupled with interviews, photographs, and statistics is the unique voice of our nations future... the high school seniors who are on the brink of adulthood.

"our stories told by us"

right now there are 5 books available for purchase on the website: Before and After North Dorgenois, by Ebony Bolding that examines life in the Sixth Ward near John Mac; The Combination, by Ashley Nelson detailing life in one of downtown New Orleans' oldest public housing complexes, the Lafitte; Palmyra Street, by Jana Dennis which explores the midcity area of New Orleans through pictures, interviews, and stories; and my two personal favorites, What Would the World Be Without Women?: Stories from the Ninth Ward, by Waukesha Jackson and Between Piety and Desire, by brother and sister Arlet and Sam Wylie... two sets of stories from the 9th ward, and specifically, the neighborhood where i used to work.

folks from the project are looking to get it back on line once the rest of the city can get back on its feet. they are also working on and oral history project from the aftermath of hurricane katrina... from the words of those who don't get soundbytes on the nightly news. right now, the project's founder Abram Himelstein is temporarily located in Houston while New Orleans recovers... but plans are in the work to continue the project.

so yeah. visit the site. show them some love. donate some funds. buy some books. especially right now when there is so much negativity surfacing with regards to new orleans. support folks that are doing right.

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