Caroline Gerdes

This August marks the twelfth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and in commemoration, we will present a program based on oral histories of Ninth Ward residents conducted by journalist Caroline Gerdes, a native of New Orleans whose father and grandparents grew up in the Ninth Ward. Her multi-generational oral histories are based on interviews, extensively researched and recorded, in order to preserve the experiences of former and current residents as well as to document the vibrant history of the district. Each narrator evaluates discrimination, neighbors, poverty, and faith, delivering heartfelt and often harrowing insight into what it means to be from the Ninth Ward. Included is an interview with one of the members of the McDonogh Three, who desegregated a Ninth Ward school on the same day as Ruby Bridges famously integrated the New Orleans school system. Chapters chronicle the metaphorical and actual storms the area has weathered and are seamlessly woven into a comprehensive record by people who know the Ninth Ward best. A freelance journalist now relocated to Capitol Hill, Caroline Gerdes received a grant from the National Geographic Society to preserve the history of the Ninth Ward through these oral histories, which she later adapted into her book, An Oral History of the New Orleans Ninth Ward (Pelican Press), which was published earlier this year.

Date: 
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 7:00pm
Location: 
The Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 Tenth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
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