FRIENDS OF THE CABILDO PRESENT

The Oral History Program was led by Dorothy Schlesinger and include thousands of hours of stories of residents. Over 1000 searchable tracks of personal histories are found here.

FRIENDS OF THE CABILDO PRESENT

The Oral History Program was led by Dorothy Schlesinger and include thousands of hours of stories of residents. Over 1000 searchable tracks of personal histories are found here.

Although the stories of so many were recorded, they were done on the technology of the time, cassette tape. Luckily hearing about the possibility of losing these stories to natural decay, a local private donor and the Friends of the Cabildo board put up over $20,000 to send the cassettes to George Blood Productions in Philadelphia, PA for the digitization process. The production company conserved the tapes first and then digitized them for long-term preservation. This now completed conservation process will provide a legacy for the interviewees’ stories and allow researchers at the Louisiana State Museum’s Louisiana Historical Center to use these tapes for study.

The stories of New Orleanians that were preserved in the phase I of the project include: Ernest “Dutch” Morial, Rosa Keller Freeman (two interviews: 1977 & 1981), civil rights activist Lolis Elie, Supreme Court Justice Minor Wisdom, Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, architect/preservationist Samuel Wilson, artist George Dureau and restaurateur Ella Brennan.

Along with the names there are significant stories the on Civil Rights Movement (Dr. & Mrs. Williams Adams, Dr. Frank Wilkerson), Black Creole life in New Orleans (Sister Mary Boniface Adams, Mary Helena Jones), Islenos Culture (Victor Alfonso, Lloyd Tootsie Songe), Jewish life in New Orleans (Charles Kahn, Charles Albert Levy), female businesses and voting rights (Mimi Weil Lucas, Elizbeth Rack) and disability issues (Mrs. A.J. Waechter).

These stories are valuable tools for learning what life was like from the late 1870s to present day and to hear the way these stories are told are invaluable for future generations. Although the well-known names in the paragraph above and the stories of the people just listed are just a snippet of the amazing stories that are told in this collection.

Phase II of the project is here online where the Rosa Keller Freeman Foundation provided funding for online access for the entire world to use these interviews in research.

Play New Orleans Oral Histories

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