Saturday, November 9, 2019


The New Orleans Jazz Museum at The Old U.S. Mint 400 ESPLANADE AVENUE | New Orleans, LA 70116

Sessions are free, with first-come, first served seating. To guarantee access to programs, we recommend that you pre-register

Improvisation and Identity: Exploring Race beyond Fixed Categories

Sat: 9:00-10:30AM

Issues of racism and racial divisions in the United States are front and center in politics and are an increasingly fraught situation. But, race is not biological, it is a social construct developed throughout our country’s history. To be non-white in America means improvising; to pass is to improvise on thin ice. This panel explores the fluidity of race and the boundaries of identity. Panelists include Bliss Broyard, author of One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life-A Story of Race and Hidden Secrets, Dr. Shirley Elizabeth Thompson, author of Exiles at Home: The Struggle to Become American in Creole New Orleans and Kristina Kay Robinson, visual artist, author and co-editor of Mixed Company, a collection of short fiction by women of color. Moderated by Dr. Wendy Gaudin, author, historian and professor at Xavier University

Foodways and Resilience: Improvising after Disaster

Sat: 11:00AM-12:30PM

Hurricane Katrina wiped out nearly every commercial fishing boat in Southern Louisiana. Five years later, the BP oil rig Deep Water Horizon exploded 55 miles offshore, endangering the seafood that spawn in the Mississippi Delta. Losses to Louisiana’s seafood industry after that double whammy were estimated upwards of $1.3 billion (annual total retail). How do communities rebuild and recover food systems in the wake of man-made and natural disasters, especially in coastal communities like Houston and New Orleans, dependent on fishing industries? How did losses affect Vietnamese refugees who make up approximately one-third of Louisiana’s commercial fishermen? What are the emerging issues and challenges that affect immigrants who make our food system vibrant, diverse and delicious but are hit hardest after natural disasters?

This panel will discuss the impact of disaster on local food systems, especially upon the Vietnamese communities in New Orleans and Houston. Panelists include Donna Cavato, Chief Program Officer, Communities In Schools of the Gulf South, Inc., Sandy Ha Nguyen, Executive Director of the nonprofit Coastal Communities Consulting, which advocates on behalf of fishermen in coastal Louisiana who have emigrated from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, Andrew Lam, journalist and writer—and former boat person after the fall of Saigon—who writes about food as a way of acculturation in East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres and former associate editor with the Pacific News Service. Moderated by Brett Anderson, contributing writer for The New York Times and former restaurant critic and features writer for The Times-Picayune from 2000 to 2019.


Where Improvisation Lives: Urban Planning & Improvisation

Sat. 2:00-3:30pm

Steven Bingler of Concordia Architects, Sue Mobley and Bryan C. Lee, Jr. of Colloqate Design and Paper Monuments, and Roberta Gratz, author of We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City. Panelists will explore what makes a city livable and inclusive for all residents in the age of climate collapse and super storms. Is a city best planned from the top down or does a livable city emerge from the ground up? Panelists will share their experiences as planners, designers and activists.

Drum Improv: Organized Chaos?

Sat: 3:30-5:00PM

Join us for an “improvised” discussion with some of the greatest drummers in New Orleans as they discuss their passion for music and their craft. Contemporary New Orleans drum masters include Stanton Moore, founding member of the funk band Galactic, "The King of Treme" Shannon Powell and Herlin Riley, “The Baron of the Boom Boom.” Moderated by David Kunian, Music Curator for the New Orleans Jazz Museum, who recently curated the exhibition “Drumsville!: Evolution of the New Orleans Beat,” celebrating the development of the drum set and evolution of drumming traditions in New Orleans. I can hear that heavy backbeat now…