Tulanian T H E M AG A Z I N E O F
Moving historical architecture out of harmâ€™s way is a labor of love.
cl os e encounTer s w iTh ar T
alumna excites chicago contemporary art scene.
d econs Tr ucTing s hayne
a sociology professor lives the postmodern american dream.
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12 House Movers by Mary Ann Travis
Relocating historical houses is a job of heroic proportions for a group of Tulane alumni.
16 Love Affair With a House by Kenneth Bryant, A&S ’98, A ’98
An architecture student’s fascination with a mansion years ago leads to its preservation today.
19 Ain’t There No More Photographs by Stephen Hilger
A photographer records a disappearing Mid City neighborhood.
22 Close Encounters With Art by Tom Nugent
Madeleine Grynsztejn (NC ’83) shakes up contemporary art in Chicago.
26 Deconstructing Shayne by Nick Marinello
Despite walking in the sensible shoes of an academic, sociologist Shayne Lee relishes the almost magical twists and turns of his path.
4 President’s Perspective We’re doing ﬁne, thank you.
5 Inside Track
• Newcomb Pottery Garden • Down on the bayou • Tracking wetland loss • Oil spill impact • Scott Cowen, Jersey detective • Lincoln’s New Orleans experience • Sleep aid for trauma survivors • Awards and achievements
10 Photo Riff
Tilton Memorial Hall
47 Giving Back
The S.W. Green mansion is staged on a flat bed, waiting to be moved.
Engagement in architecture and community health.
31 The Classes
Read about what your classmates and other Tulane alumni are doing.
48 New Orleans
Are you from here?
Clowning around with TUVAC. Front cover: A shoring worker rides inside a shotgun-style house as it, in a caravan of historical homes from Lower Mid City, travels across I-10 to its destination in Central City. Photograph by Stephen Hilger. Inside front cover: St. Charles Avenue streetcar by Paula Burch-Celentano. v o l . 82, n o . 3
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Tulanian Editor Mary Ann Travis email@example.com Features Editor Nick Marinello firstname.lastname@example.org “The Classes” Editor Fran Simon email@example.com Contributors Catherine Freshley (’09) Kimberly Krupa firstname.lastname@example.org Belinda Lacoste email@example.com Ryan Rivet (UC ’02) firstname.lastname@example.org Madeline Vann (PHTM ’98) Art Director Melinda Whatley Viles email@example.com University Photographer Paula Burch-Celentano firstname.lastname@example.org Production Coordinator and Graphic Designer Sharon Freeman email@example.com Graphic Designer Tracey O’Donnell firstname.lastname@example.org
President of the University Scott S. Cowen Vice President of University Communications Deborah L. Grant (PHTM ’86) Executive Director of Publications Carol Schlueter (B ’99) email@example.com
Tulanian (USPS 017-145) is a quarterly magazine published by the Tulane Ofﬁce of University Publications. Periodical postage at New Orleans, LA 70113 and additional mailing ofﬁces. Send editorial correspondence to: Tulanian, 31 McAlister Drive, Drawer 1, New Orleans, LA 70118-5624, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
betweenThelines In the footprint Casius Pealer (A ’96) is the kind of engaged, community-minded young professional that Tulane is proud to call its own. After Pealer graduated from the School of Architecture, he stayed in New Orleans for three years, but then left, always with the intent to come back to the city. Pealer’s interest is affordable housing—decent, safe and energy-efficient housing—for lowincome communities that, coupled with the right social services resources, can have an impact on an individual’s “ability to have a productive, meaningful life,” he says. While he wanted to return to New Orleans, Pealer waited for the right time. “I needed to get some more experience,” he says. He earned a law degree from the University of Michigan and worked for the Washington, D.C., Housing Authority and at the U.S. Green Building Council. And then Builders of Hope came calling. Would he oversee the “largest documented house move in the history of the nation”? Pealer was in. He moved back to New Orleans in August and worked nonstop with other Tulane alumni Chris Dodd (UC ’97) and Sam Smith (B ’99) (see “House Movers”) to relocate more than 70 historic houses, which will soon be rehabilitated to “extreme green” status. Pealer continues his efforts on energy-efficiency and affordable-housing issues in the United States and internationally as president of New Orleans-based Oyster Tree Consulting, L3C, a lowprofit limited liability company. The S.W. Green mansion is the largest and most opulent of the houses moved by Builders of Hope. In “Love Affair With A House,” Kenneth Bryant (A&S ’98, A ’98) tells his personal story about discovering the house and its significance to African American architectural heritage. The tearing down of a neighborhood is almost like “you lost a loved one,” Pealer says. “You’ve got to have a way to express your grief about it.” He acknowledges the importance of the work of blogger Brad Vogel (L ’10) and documentarians Noah Korff (’08) and Alex Glustrom (’09) who are recording the price of progress. They, like Stephen Hilger, visiting photography professor in the Newcomb Department of Art at Tulane, in “Ain’t There No More,” lament the loss of the neighborhood in the footprint of the new hospitals. In Chicago, Madeleine Grynsztejn, a 1983 Newcomb College art history graduate, is winning a national reputation in art circles as the super savvy director of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Writer Tom Nugent tells Grynsztejn’s story in “Close Encounters With Art.” Shayne Lee, associate professor of sociology, has written books on religion, sex and race, viewing these provocative subjects through the prism of popular culture. In “Deconstructing Shayne,” Nick Marinello explores Lee’s career and thinking. We hope you like the mix of stories. Let us hear from you!
Opinions expressed in Tulanian are not necessarily those of Tulane representatives and do not necessarily reﬂect university policies. Material may be reprinted only with permission. Tulane University is an afﬁrmative action/equal opportunity institution. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Tulanian, 31 McAlister Drive, Drawer 1, New Orleans, LA 70118-5624. Winter 2011/ Vol. 82, No. 3
Mary Ann Travis Editor, Tulanian
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backTalk CHARITY IN EYE OF BEHOLDER A letter in the last issue [“Teach a man to fish,” Tulanian, fall 2010] from an out-of-town alum criticized New Orleans for rebuilding too slowly after Katrina and for depending too much on “charity.” I take issue with both points. Naturally we would rather rebuild quickly than slowly. How quickly should a city rebuild following the most destructive disaster in U.S. history, one that left 80% of the city under water for weeks? We don’t really know; there are no prior benchmarks for such an unprecedented disaster. But I recall hearing many knowledgeable commentators nationwide, soon after the storm, saying that New Orleans was gone; it would never come back. Wrong! I was angry hearing that back then; today, recalling those predictions makes me laugh, especially as I drive around our amazing city, vibrant with the cultural fusion, joie de vivre, and wacky humor so unique to New Orleans. It has come back, in a big way, very far from the wreckage left by the broken levees. One could perhaps look at the glass as half empty; there is still too much blight, some areas of the city still have rebuilt houses interspersed with empty lots (the jack-o-lantern effect), and
worst of all, some of our citizens are still trying to return in the face of immense loss (often coupled with insurance and contractor fraud). We still have work to do, and we are doing it-— with the most welcome and necessary help of private homeowners’ and government-subsidized flood insurance, public and private funds, wonderful groups of volunteers from all over the world, and our own friends and neighbors. If that is what the writer meant by “charity,” then bring it on. But the lion’s share of the work is being done by the people who make our homes in this city that we love. Christine Day, NC ’76 New Orleans TREE ANGLE Your photo of the giant tree with assorted plants in the sunlight on the inside front cover of the current Tulanian [fall 2010] is great! Tulanian is great! Keep up the good work. Jack Short, A&S ’50 Tulsa, Okla. KUDOS FOR SCHOOL HEALTH As someone who worked for and supports school-based health centers (and a previous Kellogg Foundation grant recipient for similar projects) I was thrilled to see your article [“High school health clinic,” Tulanian, fall 2010] about the opening of a health clinic at the Warren Easton Charter High School. Those of us working on the front lines to improve the lives of children know that unhealthy kids can’t learn. Taking care of kids’ basic needs allows them the freedom to pay attention in school and focus on learning. For some children, this is the only access to health care they have. But these clinics go beyond the basics—most provide the valuable service of mental health counseling. For kids living in the most dire of circumstances, professional counseling can mean the difference between success and failure, both in and out of school. Having spent many fruitless hours in Washington trying to convince Congress to support efforts such as
these, I can truly appreciate the success in getting this project off the ground. We have approximately 60 school-based health clinics here in Massachusetts, but many are in jeopardy of closing as funds diminish or are redirected elsewhere. I hope that this is one of many such sites in New Orleans, and that the partners who made it happen continue to find support. Kudos to Tulane for understanding the importance of good health as a building block for educational success. Jhana O’Donnell Wallace, NC ’94 Melrose, Mass. NOTE FROM THE NORTH As a Tulane grad [class of ’69] living in what is, essentially, LSU–North country, I especially appreciate the issues of Tulanian. Your magazine provides a wealth of information on well-researched subject matters; in addition, it is a touch of home for this New Orleans native. Larry L. Barrere, A&S ’69 West Monroe, La. TULANIAN ONLINE I was pleased to see that back issues of the Tulanian are now available online. I would like to suggest that ultimately you make issues available online all the way back to the first issue of the Tulanian. Hard drive space is now so inexpensive that this should not be a problem. I think this is a good way to maintain and strengthen a psychological connection between alumni and Tulane University. Tom Slocombe, A&S ’70 Emporia, Kan. Please check us out: Tulanian is online at: tulane.edu/news/tulanian/index.cfm
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Your letters are always welcome. E-mail is the best way to reach us: email@example.com. You can also write us by U.S. mail: Tulanian, University Publications, 200 Broadway, Suite 219, New Orleans, LA 70118.
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president’sperspective How are we doing? If there is one question that I hear over and again from alumni it is this: How is Tulane doing? It is a query doubtlessly borne out of your concern about the university following the great disruption of our affairs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil tragedy and the Great Recession. But I think it is also more than that. It’s a question that any member of a body of alumni would ask about the institution from which he or she received a degree. That’s because a university and its alumni travel a parallel course, drawing upon each other’s strengths and bolstered by each other’s success. I can tell you that Tulane is delighted by the achievements of its alumni, the proof of which can be found in the pages of this magazine. You are the greatest representatives of this university and your accomplishments reflect on the education you received here. And in a similar way, each of you basks in the light of Tulane’s accomplishments. As our portfolio grows, meta-phorically speaking, so does your investment. So, I am always looking for metrics through which I can demonstrate to you how Tulane is doing. In the next few paragraphs, I will share with you two decidedly distinct developments at Tulane that in my opinion signify a healthy and robust university. The first of these developments is the extent to which we have improved the quality and visibility of doctoral education at Tulane. I can think of few better indicators of a strong and healthy research university than the quality of its doctoral programs. For that reason, we launched a multiyear doctoral-enhancement initiative in 2008 with the goal of creating new inter- and multidisciplinary PhD programs. I’m happy to tell you that because of this commitment, in the last two years we have added five new doctoral programs. They are: • Aging Studies • Linguistics • French Studies • City, Culture and Community • Economic Analysis and Policy By looking at the titles of these programs
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you could make a reasonable guess as to the general focus of each: Medicine, anthropology, language, sociology, economics. What I find exciting about these tracks, however, is that each constitutes a number of academic disciplines. For example, the City, Culture and Community program, which addresses the complex relationships and interactions that occur in urban areas between institutions and community groups, is a cooperative venture between the Department of Sociology and the School of Social Work, along with faculty from the schools of Liberal Arts, Architecture, Law, Public Health and Science and Engineering. Each of the new doctoral programs is similarly dynamic—and more will be developed in the next few years. Shifting gears a bit, I’d like to mention another development that has quietly taken place over the last few years, and that is the restoration of our Division I athletics program. You may recall that in the immediate aftermath of the storm, financial exigencies forced the university to suspend a number of our athletics programs. At that time, we were able to secure an exemption from NCAA Division I membership criteria with the stipulation that we return to the required complement of programs in five years. During that interim, Tulane has gradually phased eight programs into full-time operation: women’s tennis, women’s golf, men’s outdoor track, men’s cross country, men’s tennis, women’s swimming and diving, women’s bowling and women’s sand volleyball. Tulane athletics is now up and running at full speed, and that, I think, is an accomplishment that tells the world that Tulane University is moving at full speed. I’ve always said that an athletics department is the front porch to a university. It’s good to have ours rebuilt in fine fashion. So there you have it—just two examples of Tulane’s resilience and strength. There are myriad more, of course, but don’t take my word for it. Come back to campus and take a look around. Revisit what’s familiar and marvel at what’s new. See for yourself how we’re doing.
inside Track Native Inspiration
A camellia blooms this winter in the Newcomb Pottery Garden. The garden’s flowers, vines, ferns, trees and shrubs are the same variety of flora—from Louisiana irises and pomegranate trees to purple cone flowers and caladiums—that inspired Newcomb Pottery artists. The garden, a gift from Jill (NC ’85) and Avie Glazer, is dedicated to Judith Henkin, Jill’s mother. Gardeners change plantings in the garden, which extends from Broadway in front of Josephine Louise House to Newcomb Place by the Woldenberg Art Center, every season.
newsNotes | insideTrack
A horse roams free in a soggy marsh where stumps of cypress trees are stark reminders of saltwater intrusion into the land where south Louisiana’s Pointe-auChien Indian Tribe struggles for survival and recognition.
Pointe-au-Chien life on the bayou About an hour and a half southwest of the Tulane campus the landscape is as much water as it is land. This is the home of the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe and the backdrop for a course in which Tulane students helped the tribe trace its roots and document its culture. Students enrolled in Laura Kelley’s servicelearning course, “Living History,” assisted the Pointe-au-Chien in illustrating how the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill this past spring continues to affect the life of the tribe by threatening the fishing grounds it has worked for more than a century. “One group of students investigated the
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impact of the oil spill from every different angle,” says Kelley, an adjunct professor of history. The students requested government documents and compiled oral histories to show how the spill was affecting the tribe, ultimately putting together a 500-page report. The report strengthened the tribe’s claim for subsistence compensation from the BP oil company, which would have the company pay tribe members based not only on the fact that they commercially fish the seafood-rich waters of south Louisiana, but also feed their families with what they catch. Students also helped the Point-au-Chien with documentation associated with the tribe’s application for federal recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Since 1978, groups requesting status as a sovereign Indian tribe must satisfy
seven criteria, including evidence of a community dating back more than a century. To help with what Kelley calls a “long and arduous process,” students conducted kinship studies and produced databases that show the connections and ancestry of the 682 living members of the tribe. Kelley says that she saw her students move beyond simple documentation and begin to understand the tribe’s struggles. The students traveled by boat on bayous and through marshes to reach tribal members and collect the oral histories. “I think the students appreciated being able to work on something that they knew was going to have a real, long-term impact for the tribe.” —Ryan Rivet Ryan Rivet is a writer in the publications office.
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insideTrack | newsNotes Coastal zone defense Beyond the immediate BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, the long-term history of impacts to Louisiana’s coastal zone is “turning out to be the more important story,” says Alex Kolker, an adjunct professor and research scientist in the Tulane Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. This history includes previous oil spills, natural hydrocarbon seeps and a landscape that loses nearly 24 square miles of land every year. Kolker is involved in a National Sciences Foundation–funded research project in which he and colleagues from Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University and Georgia Tech are collecting data on dissolved organic carbon in the bay waters. Dissolved organic carbon leaches into water the same way that tea does when it is steeped, says Kolker. “Whatever kind of tea you have in a tea bag is reflected in the flavor of the water.” This makes dissolved organic carbon a good indicator of an ecosystem’s general health. The team is collecting water samples and looking for “oil signatures” at sites heavily impacted by the BP oil spill and locations that were not significantly affected. Kolker also is working on research with Mike Blum, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane [see the fall 2010 Tulanian for more about Blum’s work], and scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory to study the genetics of microbial communities impacted by the spill. Microbial communities play an important role in the food web of estuaries, and changes in these communities can act as a harbinger of broader environmental changes. In another spill-related project, Kolker is photo-documenting the regrowth of plants on damaged marshes. “We’ve actually been able to see it,” says Kolker. “We can see marshes regrowing in areas that were hit heavily by oil.” While the regrowth of marsh grass is an encouraging sign, Kolker says that the long-term effects of the oil spill are unknown. “We don’t know what’s going on in terms of wetland loss and how this will translate into wetland loss throughout the whole year. There’s still a lot of work we need to do.” —Mary Ann Travis Mary Ann Travis is editor of Tulanian.
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Deep in the marshes, Alex Kolker documents the regrowth of grass in areas impacted by the BP oil spill. Kolker is an adjunct professor and research scientist in earth and environmental sciences.
Rapid oil spill response
dissipate oil under the high pressures and low temperatures in deep water at a wellhead. “The uniqueness of this project,” said John‚ “is that this is the first time dispersants have been used at these depths, and no one knows how and why they work.” John also will test biodegradable surfactants and novel particles for possible use as dispersants and the implementation of emulsions that would deposit the oil as sediment to the ocean floor where it could be biodegraded. —Belinda Lacoste Belinda Lacoste is a student studying journalism in the School of Continuing Studies and a staff member who writes for the School of Science and Engineering.
Brad Rosenheim and Vijay John are among the scientists receiving National Science Foundation “rapid response” research grants to study the impact of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico. Rosenheim, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, is working on a way to trace oil in the environment; and John, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is studying the characteristics of dispersants used in breaking up the oil. Rosenheim is adapting an instrument to fingerprint the oil and its weathered components at the isotope level in marsh and beach sediments. He said this procedure should allow researchers to trace the oil as it is incorporated into the environment. “In years to come, when we see marshes that are dying, and we can’t see the cause, we will want to know if oil is the underlying cause or if natural processes are prevailing,” said Rosenheim. “This technique will be able to detect the presence of oil and the products of its breakdown, when it cannot be seen in the environment.” John is looking into the tiny drop- In the lab, Brad Rosenheim, assistant professor of earth and lets that form when dispersants environmental sciences, develops techniques for tracking oil.
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newsNotes | insideTrack Imprint on Lincoln
Check out Scott Cowen, New Jersey detective cross Fire, a thriller novel by best-selling author James Patterson, features a New Jersey detective with a familiar name—Scott Cowen. The character Scott Cowen landed a role in c ross Fire, a book in Patterson’s Alex Cross detective series, thanks to the Board of Tulane’s winning bid in the Hullabaloo auction during Tulane homecoming festivities in october. The board collectively bid on a package that included the naming of a character in a Patterson book along with the dedication of the book. The Patterson book package was among 240 items in the auction benefitting Green Wave student-athletes. in cross Fire, detective Cross is summoned to Washington, D.C., to the scene of the assassination of a congressman and a lobbyist. The book, released in November, is dedicated: “For Scott Cowen, the president of Tulane university and a New orleans hero, whose inspired leadership and Herculean efforts helped secure a brighter future for both Tulane and New o rleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.” Patterson said that he is impressed by the way Tulane has stepped up to be a meaningful part of the New orleans community. “it’s the Green Wave of the future.”
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Tulane University geographer Richard Campanella has written a new book that is a story of Abraham Lincoln, the Mississippi River, New Orleans and America. The book, Lincoln in New Orleans: The 1828– 1831 Flatboat Voyages and Their Place in History, illuminates river commerce while delving into New Orleans in the antebellum era. Campanella posits that Lincoln’s experiences on voyages from the Midwest to New Orleans helped him become the man he was as president of the United States. Campanella reconstructs the trips that Lincoln made as a teenager and at age 22 when he guided flatboats loaded with preserved pork and corn down the Mississippi River from Indiana and Illinois. “I would argue that New Orleans—its economy, its infrastructure, its views on race, its handling of slavery and slave trading, and its multicultural and multilingual population— exposed Lincoln to extraordinary circumstances that affected his intellectual development in historically significant ways,” Campanella says. In ways similar to a mythological hero’s
journey, Campanella says, these trips “had a transformative impact on his [Lincoln’s] philosophical development.” It was in New Orleans that the impressionable young Lincoln witnessed large-scale slave trading for the first time. The voyages by Lincoln, which after three years of research Campanella can for the first time pin down to specific dates and locations, formed the two longest journeys of Lincoln’s life and his only visits to the Deep South. Among his adventures during the trips, Lincoln nearly lost his life in Louisiana in a violent attack the night before he first set foot in New Orleans. Campanella also is the author of Geographies of New Orleans: Urban Fabrics Before the Storm, Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans and other books. He is a research assistant professor of earth and enviornmental sciences and associate director of the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research. —Fran Simon Fran Simon is “Classes” editor of Tulanian.
WHeN THey Wer e youNG: ABr AHAm LiNCoLN by pet er Jack so n, pr Ivat e co LLect Io n/©Lo o k and Lear n/br IdGeman ar t LIbr ar y.
insideTrack | newsNotes ReCog NITIoN • Music Rising, founded in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and r ita by u2 guitarist the edge, producer Bob ezrin and Gibson Guitar Ceo Henry Juszkiewicz, has announced a $1 million program in partnership with Tulane to develop a college curriculum for the study of the musical heritage of New o rleans and the Gulf Coast region. The organization is working closely with Nick Spitzer, Tulane professor of anthropology and American studies and producer, founder and host of the “American r outes” public radio program. “i wouldn’t be where i am today without the unique musical heritage that is New orleans,” said the edge.
Sleep after trauma Nightmares and hypervigilance ruin the sleep of many trauma survivors. But two Tulane psychologists have developed a tool to help survivors of traumatic experiences—and their loved ones—get a good night’s sleep. Karin E. Thompson and C. Laurel Franklin, clinical faculty members in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of Medicine, co-wrote The PostTraumatic Insomnia Workbook based on their experiences working with trauma survivors, including veterans in the Veterans Administration health system, who have sleep disturbance problems. Thompson and Franklin have developed a cognitive-behavioral approach to improving sleep quality. Cognitive-behavioral strategies involve changing thought patterns and behaviors that may be preventing sleep. After trauma, people experience a “heightened state of arousal or psychological and physical tension,” says Thompson. This tension may ease over time, but insomnia remains. “Sleep problems may be because people are
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unwittingly engaging in thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate their sleep problems,” she says. Worrying about sleep won’t help. “If the problem is trauma-related insomnia, one of the most important things people can do is avoid giving their sleep too much importance,” says Thompson. The workbook (New Harbinger, 2010) takes survivors through the steps of cataloguing their sleep problems, keeping a sleep log, and developing strategies to improve sleep, such as scheduling sleep times and only sleeping in a bedroom. Medical conditions and medications also cause insomnia, so Thompson advises checking in with a healthcare provider in addition to using the workbook. Thompson and Franklin are continuing to work with veterans and other clients who have traumarelated sleep disturbance. They are currently investigating whether similar strategies can be used in groups or through sessions provided via telecommunication. —Madeline Vann Madeline Vann is a freelance writer who holds a master of public health degree from Tulane.
• The Association of American Medical Colleges, the main accrediting body for medical schools in the united States and Canada, has awarded Tulane u niversity’s School of medicine its Spencer Foreman Award for o utstanding Community Service. The award recognizes Tulane as a national leader for creating a network of community health centers, training its students to focus on community service, and empowering residents devastated by Hurricane Katrina to take charge of their personal health as well as the health of their communities. • Ricardo Cortez, Pendergraft William Larkin Duren Professor of mathematics and director of the Center for Computational Science at Tulane, received the 2010 Distinguished u ndergraduate institution mentor Award from the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. • President Barack obama has appointed Tulane President Scott Cowen to the White House Council for Community So-lutions. The council will provide advice on the best ways to mobilize citizens, nonprofits, businesses and government to work together to more effectively address community needs.
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Tilton Memorial Hall in winter. The Amistad Research Center, the Murphy Institute and the Department of Economics are housed in the building, originally constructed in 1902 for the university library.
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“Here we geaux!” writes blogger Brad Vogel about a house move that he photographed on Nov. 5, 2010. Workers hoist onto wheels the historic blue house at 222 S. Rocheblave. demolition day is coming. As in a real parade, police escorts lead the way.
The house travels past the defunct Dixie Brewery on Tulane Avenue. After making a left turn onto Broad Street, it passes by the Orleans Parish jail. Drivers patiently share the at finding a new home rolling in next door,” notes Vogel. The house is positioned for rehabilitation as an energy-efficient home with character.
In Lower Mid City, Tulane alumni save pieces of New Orleans architectural heritage by moving more than 70 homes out of the footprint of a major new medical complex.
by mary ann travis
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They lift utility lines out of the way, above the roofline. The house is paraded through the streets of Mid City. It proceeds an arm’s length away from gingerbread cottages whose
road with the moving house on the Broad Street overpass of I-10. Final destination is 3024 Jackson Ave. “A neighbor with a newly renovated house expressed some surprise
t’s an eerie and desolate site now—the footprint where the $800 million Veterans Administration hospital will be built by 2014 in Lower Mid City New Orleans. All homes, businesses, structures, trees, vegetation, streets and sidewalks—everything—on the site have been flattened, removed or hauled off—or will be soon—to let the construction begin on the hospital and research facility to replace the old VA hospital on Perdido Street, which was flooded and never repaired after Hurricane Katrina. Adjacent to the new VA hospital, a new $1.2 billion teaching and research facility, the University Medical Center, of which Tulane is a partner, will be constructed by 2015. These buildings will make up a new hospital/biomedical research corridor
vital to the future of the “new” New Orleans. But before the new and sound hospital goes up, the old and decrepit had to come down in the area bound by Claiborne Avenue/I-10, Tulane Avenue, South Rocheblave and Canal streets. A neighborhood was obliterated. But it’s not all gone. Elements have been saved. And more than more than 70 houses have been moved out of harm’s way.
The big move It’s the largest documented house move in history, says Casius Pealer (A ’96). As Gulf Coast director of Builders of Hope, the North Carolina– based nonprofit organization hired by the City of New Orleans, Pealer coordinated the house relocations from August to December 2010.
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“Until we started actually doing it, I think people didn’t believe it was possible,” says Pealer, who previously worked in Washington, D.C., for the Housing Authority and with the U.S. Green Building Council, which bestows Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification on green buildings. From September through February, up to eight houses a day were pulled at the speed of a Mardi Gras parade through the streets of Mid City. These humble shotguns and side hall cottages are where families once lived and will live again. The structures were uplifted and then scooted onto steel beams, where they teetered as they were hauled by tractors accompanied by police escorts, snaking their way along city streets to the new lots. Funds for moving all those houses came from a $3.2 million allocation of a federal hurricane recovery grant. The house moves involved disconnecting utilities, abating asbestos and lead paint, salvaging architectural elements and finally placing the houses outside the VA hospital footprint. Saving the houses from the wrecking ball and avoiding adding more debris to a landfill are only the first steps, says Pealer. Next, the moved houses scattered throughout Mid City will be rehabilitated into “extreme green,” energy-efficient, affordable homes. Builders of Hope is working with local nonprofits that own the lots to renovate the houses and find buyers for them.
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Tulane and Claiborne avenues, Canal and S. Rocheblave streets are the borders of the new VA hospital and University Medical Center complexes. Galvez Street is the dividing line between them.
“The priority was to keep the houses as close as possible to their original location and certainly in a neighborhood where they’re contributing historically to the neighborhood fabric,” says Pealer. Some houses had their first floors sheared off for the move; others their second floor, depending on which floor had the most architectural value. The houses could only be 60 feet long to be moved, so some of them lost back porches and camelbacks. The one exception to the 60-foot restriction for relocation was the S.W. Green house. (See story on page 16.)
Heroic work It doesn’t take long to demolish a building. With the proper equipment like the claw on a backhoe, a building, such as the one that housed Durand’s Tuxedo Rentals at the corner of South Galvez and Palmyra streets, can be reduced to a pile of rubble in about 45 minutes. The biting claw can crumple wrought-iron fences and transform once sturdy walls into splinters. On the other hand, compared to the relative ease of demolition, moving a house off a lot where it has settled quite nicely for more than half a century is a heroic and painstaking task. Chris Dodd (UC ’97), a former Green Wave football player, is director of construction in New Orleans for Builders of Hope. He came on board in August to oversee the house moves, working 16-hour days, seven days a week. Preserving the architectural cultural resource that the houses embody is an exciting challenge, says Dodd. Among the impediments that Builders of Hope have encountered are
termite damage, gas leaks, thieves, squatters and even bee swarms.
Footprint characters When Brad Vogel (L ’10) first heard in September 2009 about the plans for the hospitals, he went to see for himself what existed in their proposed footprint. “Yes, there were some blighted areas, most definitely. But there were also some great architectural gems. There was a neighborhood. There were still people struggling to come back post-Katrina,” says Vogel. Vogel started a personal blog—insidethefootprint.blogspot.com—on which he daily posts commentary and photos. Vogel is the Ed Majkrzak Historic Preservation Fellow with the National Trust for Historic Preservation this year. He will join the New York office of Clifford Chance, a British law firm that is funding his one-year fellowship, next year. Vogel is among several Tulane graduates who are curious—and outraged—about the dismantling of a vibrant, although rundown in spots, neighborhood. They acknowledge they can’t stop progress but they are struggling to preserve what can be preserved. Vogel says, “There are all kinds of footprint characters, and they tend to show up at random times.” Noah Korff (’08) and Alex Glustrom (’09) are among these footprint characters. They are making a documentary about the residents of the neighborhood, where Italian, German, Irish and African Americans families have lived for generations.
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Korff and Glustrom started their self-funded project before the demolitions picked up speed. “Before, it [the documentary] was about the life of the neighborhood but now it’s documenting the death of the neighborhood,” says Glustrom. “When it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Houses are all wrapped up and ready for a new life on lots on First Street in the Hoffman Triangle neighborhood. (Top) This house was moved from 228-30 S. Miro St. (Middle) This house was previously “Bobby and Kevin’s camelback,” says Brad Vogel in his blog. (Bottom) This house once stood next door to the Outer Banks Bar on Palmyra Street.
Afterlife Residents in the neighborhoods where Builders of Hope have moved the houses often are not pleased when a VA footprint house—not always in the best condition—is plopped down near them. New Orleanians endured an exponential increase in blight after Hurricane Katrina, and those residents who have succeeded in having lots cleared of flood-damaged houses do not welcome with open arms a gutted house moved next door. “It’s a tough sell,” Builders of Hope’s Chris Dodd says, to convince these neighbors that the “green” transformation of these charming eyesores is only months away. Sam Smith (B ’99), also a former Green Wave football player, is Dodd’s sidekick in managing the house moves. Smith says they hear a lot of different comments in the neighborhoods. But the things the movers have accomplished are “unbelievable,” says Smith. Even when a termite-riddled front wall fell off a house being dragged down Galvez Street near Canal Street, the movers were able to save the sidewalls and roof. “At the end of the day, once we’re done, it will be worth it,” says Dodd. Mary Ann Travis is the editor of Tulanian.
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by kenneth bryant, A&S ’98, A ’98
photography by paula burch-celentano
An architecture student’s chance encounter with a historic home more than a decade ago leads to saving the house from the wrecking ball today.
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(Left) The S.W. Green house, this winter, awaits its move out of the VA hospital footprint. (Below) The house, in 1996, is a lovely surprise to the author.
y love affair with the S.W. Green house is, perhaps, my fondest memory of New Orleans. Discovering this architectural gem was the crowning achievement of my college years. I discovered—or I should say—stumbled upon the Green mansion while skateboarding one hot, sunny afternoon in 1996, my junior year. I’d been living, to my Mom’s dismay, off-campus in the French Quarter. (This was early in the movement to locate and preserve African American historic sites.) Sporting a tie-dyed T-shirt, Bass Pro Shops cap, Ralph Lauren shorts and well-worn New Balance sneakers, I skateboarded past whitewashed shotgun houses lining the avenues of Lower Mid City New Orleans. Blazing through the intersection of Cleveland and South Miro, whose only landmarks were a rusty car-repair shop and an unkempt parking lot, I noticed a curious anomaly: a large, green, Mediterranean-tiled roof peeking high above its humdrum neighbors. I decided to backtrack and have a look. Walking toward the mysterious structure, an image of my great aunt Rowena’s estate in Virginia flashed into mind. I’d grown up there in what folks referred to as a mansion, but my family simply called “Brooks Cottage.” It was built in 1920 by my late uncle Mac’s first wife and her first husband, “Uncle J.C.” Although they were well-to-do, racial covenants prohibited them from building in a more exclusive part of town. Could this also be, I wondered, a big old Afro-American house? Why else would anyone build such a grand home in this area? With each step down South Miro, I began to see it was indeed a house. Its manicured yard was an oasis of pruned hedges and bougainvillea within a semi-blighted disturbia. Like two hands hiding a bashful face, a pair of trees planted close to the house partially hid the entry porch from view. Using my growing knowledge of architecture, I deduced that the house was Neoclassical Revival, with a Southern-style
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portico bristling with Craftsman detail. I rang the bell. A housekeeper answered. “I’m an architecture student at Tulane,” I said. “I was just wondering if … ” She stopped me and went to call the gentleman of the house. “May I help you?” said the Rev. N.P. Williams, in a stern voice, while staring down at me from the balcony above. “I wanted to know if this house was built by an African American,” I replied. Without hesitation, he answered, “Why, yes, young man. It was built by S.W. Green [see sidebar], the richest black man in New Orleans.” Rev. Williams invited me to tour his 14-room manse. I admired the interior, doors and windows trimmed with pediments and flat casings, baseboards detailed with dapper plinth blocks. Old-fashioned sofas and club chairs lined the living room around a Karastan-like rug. The dining room was well proportioned and bright; it acted as an anteroom, charged with funneling staff to the pantry, butlery, scullery and kitchen—a state-of-the art cookery, unheard of for blacks in the early 20th century. Upstairs, the master suite comprised a bedroom chamber, sleeping porch, boudoir and separate bathroom. Sitting in a recliner, Rev. Williams, a sedentary 84-year-old chap, explained that no blacks lived in this part of town when the house was built in 1928, and that it was set afire (possibly by the Ku Klux Klan) during its construction. These acts, said Williams, “demonstrated the ravages of segregation—how unreasonable and devastating.” The next day I shared my find with professor Ellen Weiss. Despite a less-than-stellar first two years at Tulane, which in retrospect should be a purple-hazed fog, I had possibly discovered the best example of early-20th-century Afro-American residential architecture in New Orleans. But who was the architect? Suddenly focused, I went on a scholarly chase, which included walks to City Hall and the public library. But, no luck. I’d nearly given up when at Tulane’s Southeastern Architectural Archive, I found an obscure file labeled “Weiss, Dreyfous & Seiferth Architects” (the firm
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that designed the Louisiana state capitol and governor’s mansion). There it was—a notation, “S.W. Green Residence, location unknown.” Eureka! Mystery solved! Consequently, last year, when I read that the house’s neighborhood would be demolished, I found myself unable to concentrate on anything else. I decided to write an op-ed about the situation. How could I live with myself if I remained silent? The article, “A Crucial Piece of Black History Faces the Wrecking Ball in Louisiana,” is an indictment of the historical amnesia that allows such buildings to be demolished. People then started contacting me—first historians, then concerned citizens and the press, which made politicians take notice. Leon Waters, a community activist and chair of the Louisiana Museum of African American History, organized a press conference. And, in summer 2010, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that $3.2 million would be set aside to move historic houses, including the Green mansion, off the site of the future Veterans Administration hospital. Hallelujah! The house is saved and moved,
Author and architect Kenneth Bryant.
intact, to the corner of Banks and South Rocheblave, where it will be restored to its former glory. All this, I’d like to think, because of a little essay that made a great impact. Kenneth Bryant is an architect in New York City. He focuses on traditional and contemporary residences. He thanks his professor Ellen Weiss, who, too, champions historic African American architecture. Having bounced around boarding schools in Virginia, New England and Winchester, outside London, Bryant says,“Tulane was the place I landed safely and, finally, found my footing.”
Smith wendell g reen, the man who built the mansion on Miro Street, was born a slave in 1861 on a cotton plantation near waterproof, l a. a successful businessman, g reen was a grocer, printer, saloonkeeper and president of the l iberty independent l ife insurance Co. a civic and political leader, g reen went as a delegate to r epublican national Conventions from 1896 to 1920. in new Orleans, he advocated for better schools for black children and fought the segregation of Charity Hospital. He was a benefactor for the Times-Picayune Colored toy and Doll Fund. g reen also served as a charter member and international officer of the Colored Knights of pythias, an african american social fraternity. His affiliation with the pythias organization provided opportunity for his social and business advancement when Jim Crow laws restricted options for black people. in addition to his own mansion, g reen built the $1.4 million Knights of pythias building in Chicago, the pythian Bathhouse in Hot Springs, ark., and the pythian temple, a 7-story building on l oyola avenue in new Orleans. g reen died in new Orleans in 1946.
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photographs by stephen hilger
A photographer stands witness to the disappearance of a neighborhood.
he demise of a neighborhood is “incredibly sad, tragic and problematic,” says Stephen Hilger, visiting professor of photography in the Newcomb Department of Art at Tulane. Not even a listing in the National Register of Historic Districts has prevented the march of bulldozers and swipes of backhoes in Lower Mid City New Orleans. All structures, including homes, businesses, schools, breweries, utility stations, and trees, streets and sidewalks in the 70-acre footprint of the new biomedical corridor have been or soon will be, dismantled and moved or wrecked and hauled off to landfills. After being displaced for a time by the 2005 Katrina flooding, some residents of the neighborhood returned and rebuilt. But by 2007, a building moratorium was passed by the New Orleans City Council, and no more building permits were issued. Two years ago, though, when Hilger began photographing the neighborhood, he found life among empty spaces and vacant houses. “It was portrayed as a blighted neighborhood,” says Hilger. “But from my point of view, there were quite a few people living there and businesses functioning.” Hilger photographs “things that are disappearing—neighborhoods, communities, buildings, individuals who are disintegrating, running out of time.” When Hilger first went to the Lower Mid City neighborhood, he says that it had a sleepy, quiet, vacant feeling. “And then all of a sudden the construction crews move in, the hustling and bustling. The earth is shaking. And that’s a completely different picture.” Hilger also has photographed displaced architecture in Los Angeles, chronicling the Ambassador Hotel, now gone. He says that there gets to be a point in chasing down the history of a disappearing neighborhood when “there’s no saving it. It’s almost like a cancer patient where you can try to pay attention and you can try to spend time with this person but inevitably they are going to die.” Hilger is intrigued that Builders of Hope (see story on page 12) is saving houses from demolition and moving them to other neighborhoods. “That is one small element of the neighborhood that they are saving. “I like to think of my pictures in a way as similarly saving aspects of the neighborhood for the sake of history.” —Mary Ann Travis
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(Previous page) A pay phone, a technology itself disappearing from the urban landscape, rests at the corner of Canal and Galvez streets. Galvez is the dividing line between the VA and UMC hospital footprints. (This page, top) The stillness of the increasingly empty neighborhood is echoed by blank signs along a stretch of Canal Street where Charity Hospital can be seen in the distance in this photograph from December 2008. (Bottom) Flags and pennants cast shadows on an exterior surface of Deutsches Haus. Located on S. Galvez Street since 1928, the cultural center celebrated its last Oktoberfest at its longtime Mid City home in October 2010.
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(Top left) Gaynell Blatcher, a registered nurse, sits for a photograph in front of her childhood home on Palmyra Street. Blatcher settled with the state on fair compensation for her property after several months of appeals. (Top right) The double-bay shotgun house with distinctive architectural details located at 227â€“229 S. Miro St. was photographed before its relocation to 2546 Conti St., nearby. (Bottom right) Wally Thurman, an 80-year-old veteran, who was born in his home that was built in the 19th century, places his belongings into his car. (Bottom left) Catâ€™s claw vines overtake a double shotgun located on the corner of Johnson Street and Cleveland Avenue and dating from the 1890s.
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Close Encounters With Art by Tom Nugent photography by Tom Maday
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In bringing edgy, contemporary artIn to people bringing edgy, contemporary art to the people
Madeleine Grynsztejn Madeleine Grynsztejn is fulfilling a lifelong dream.
is fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Attendance? It’s at an all-time high. And the reviews? “This woman is amazing,” says Paul Klein, one of Chicago’s most influential art critics. “She’s making art accessible to people in ways Chicago hasn’t seen before.” High praise, indeed. But if you spend a few hours hanging out with Madeleine Grynsztejn, NC ’83, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, you’ll soon discover that she’s more interested in how ordinary Chicagoans respond to her daring exhibitions than in the glowing reviews the museum has been racking up of late. “What we’re trying to do in Chicago is to bring people into close personal contact with the wonder of art,” says the 48-year-old Grynsztejn (pronunciation: GRIN-Shtain), who’s been directing the museum since landing in the Windy City from San Francisco in early 2008. “As an art historian, I’ve always been interested in how the viewer interacts with a painting or a piece of sculpture. “In a very real sense, the viewer completes the work. The painting doesn’t happen until
the eye of the beholder falls on the canvas— which is why we work so hard to make that encounter as powerfully involving as we can.”
DEEP BREATH aA deep breath To understand what Grynsztejn means, you have only to look at the museum’s first major exhibit under her direction. As the newly appointed Pritzker director of the nonprofit MCA, Grynsztejn took a long, hard look at the upcoming exhibition schedule. She concluded that it was “too predictable and too safe” to accomplish her goal of powerfully engaging museum visitors, so she decided to take a risk. Instead of presenting the “safe” stuff to Chicago, Grynsztejn chose to go with “Take your time: Olafur Eliasson,” a retrospective she organized that featured the works by the groundbreaking Danish-Icelandic installation artist. Eliasson is a “conceptual” artist whose works are nevertheless deeply physical and even sensual to experience. In recent years, Eliasson
has dyed several European rivers bright green, made an automobile out of ice, and created a series of giant artificial waterfalls in the heart of New York City. Like much of Eliasson’s work, the retrospective strove to break down the imaginative space between viewer and art object so that museum-goers could experience “the feeling of their bodies in space” in unexpected ways. Among the startling displays was a mist-filled “rainbow room” that enveloped visitors in a cloud of colors—along with a towering stone wall furred by clumps of springy reindeer moss imported from the Arctic. The MCA audiences loved it, and so did the critics. “There’s no choice but to keel over with delight,” raved Chicago art reviewer Jason Foumberg. “Lighting, scenery, special effects: they’re all employed to a spectacularly entertaining end.” For Grynsztejn, staging the Eliasson exhibition represented a huge gamble. “I do think I took a bit of a risk on that one,” she says with a smile, squinting from behind
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the duo-toned glasses that today make her instantly recognizable on the Chicago art scene. “It was a little scary, to tell you the truth. But I was determined to get started at the MCA with a show that would signal our overriding goal: audience engagement, activated by artists.” Grynsztejn doesn’t deny that she was struggling with a bad case of the jitters during the show’s opening night. But that changed when she suddenly found herself face to face with Richard M. Daley, the city’s down-to-earth, six-term mayor who had come to the opener along with his wife and daughter. “I just took a deep breath and shook his hand,” she recalls with a peal of laughter, “and you can imagine how I felt when he said he loved it. “And he said he especially liked the rainbow room (titled Beauty by the artist) because of the way it put it him right in the middle of the action.”
LOOKING looking veryVERY closelyCLOSELY Born in Lima, Perú, and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, (until age 11) and London, Grynsztejn is the granddaughter of Central European Jewish immigrants who eventually migrated to South America. Her father, a career Shell oil executive, settled his family on New York’s Long Island in the late 1970s. By 1979, Grynsztejn had landed in New Orleans, intent on studying painting and printmaking at Newcomb College. But her dream of becoming a self-supporting artist ran into “a slight stumbling block” when she discovered that she lacked the talent for a successful career with a paintbrush. “I worked very hard,” she says, “but the truth is that my painting was awful. The proportions of the figures I drew were all wrong, and my ideas were average at best.” She struggled for a while, she says. But then she had the “great good fortune” to sign up for an art history class—and her vision of her future changed dramatically. “I sat in a lecture hall at Newcomb one day,” she remembers, “during a course that was being taught by [art history professor] Marilyn Brown— and the moment those slides went
Madeleine Grynsztejn arrived at the Newcomb Art Department with aspirations to create art, but soon realized that her talents were more geared toward linking art back to the society that produced it.
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up on the screen, I was done for. I was absolutely fascinated by what I was seeing up there, as Professor Brown talked about how a painting can be looked at as a window into the society that created it.” During the next few semesters, under the guidance of Marilyn Brown and Richard Tuttle, also a professor of art history, Grynsztejn gradually came to see art history as a way of studying the inner dynamics of society. “I became enormously excited about the ways in which you could understand a society’s values by looking very closely at a painting, or at a piece of sculpture created by one of its artists.” Fired up by her new sense of vocation and further inspired by the Tulane/Newcombsponsored Junior Year Abroad spent studying at the Université de Sorbonne in Paris, Grynsztejn was now determined to become an art museum curator.
TWELVE HOURS twelve hours a day A DAY What followed was a fast-moving career as a curator with a knack for bringing art lovers to exhibitions that were edgy, cerebral and lots of fun. After a six-year stint at San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art (1986–92), the peripatetic Grynsztejn signed on as the curator in the Chicago Art Institute’s department of 20th-century painting and sculpture collection, where she distinguished herself as a supersavvy designer of shows that won plaudits from the media in Chicago and around the world, while also bringing lots of fans through the doors. During six years at the Art Institute (the city’s largest art museum and not affiliated with the MCA), Grynsztejn built a large following of art lovers. But she left Chicago in 1997, after being tapped to direct the contemporary art wing at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, where she curated 1999’s high-profile “Carnegie International” exhibition. Her success in Pittsburgh led her to another plum position, this time as the senior curator of painting and sculpture at San Francisco’s famed Museum of Modern Art, in 2000.
INSIDE THE MCA’S TREASURE TROVE OF ART With more than 5,700 art objects contained in its sprawling collections, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, now ranks as one of the world’s largest venues for contemporary painting, sculpture, photography and performance. Launched in 1967, the four-story, 151,000-square-foot art facility in downtown Chicago permanently hosts the work of such internationally renowned contemporary artists as mobile maker Alexander Calder (Polychrome and Horizontal Bluebird, 1954); photographer-filmmaker Cindy Sherman (Untitled Film Still #14, 1978); Jeff Koons (Rabbit, 1986) and the ubiquitous pop art guru Andy Warhol (Campbell’s Soup Cans II, 1969).
Art can be cerebal, but it also can be fun, says Madeleine Grynsztehn. Here, Chicagoans are invited to walk through One Way Color Tunnel, a stainless steel and acrylic installation by Olafar Eliasson.
Inverted Berlin Sphere, also by Eliasson, is a kind of funky disco ball made of a kaleidoscope of mirrors. Shards of light dance against the walls, ﬂoors and ceiling as the ball rotates.
Eight years later, when the Chicago’s MCA went looking for a new chief exec, Grynsztejn was a well-established figure on the international art scene. But her stock was especially high in Chicago, where the local art community remembered her as a dynamic, galvanizing figure. The MCA board summoned her to Chicago twice, and each time grilled her at length about her visions for the museum. When the offer came, Grynsztejn was about to board a flight. “I was at O’Hare [airport],” she recalls, “when my cell phone suddenly went off. The caller was a representative of the MCA board— and he said they needed to know right away if I’d take the job. I didn’t hesitate. “I sat on that plane for four hours, thinking about how this would finally be my chance to
help bring people to contemporary art.” These days, Grynsztejn works 12 hours a day, six days a week—a brutal schedule but necessary, she says, if she’s to raise more than $14 million each year while managing a hundred full-time employees and overseeing MCA shows. So far, the Chicago response to her daring approach to contemporary art has verged on the ecstatic. “Madeleine is an extraordinary person,” says Art Chicago vice president Tony Karman, a major cultural figure in the city. “I think the key to her success is that she’s got a really sharp curatorial eye, combined with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for modern art.” “The thing about Madeleine is that she’s brilliant, but in an unconventional way,” adds
longtime Chicago arts guru Paul Klein. “She understands modern art, and she also cares deeply about the people and the artists who live in this community.” Describing the challenges she faces at the MCA, Grynsztejn is characteristically frank: “Right after I got here, the Wall Street meltdown took off and it became far more difficult to raise money for the museum. But I’m okay with that. And I’m ready to work very hard to defend and support contemporary art in Chicago. “I don’t look at this as a job, really. I just see it as doing the thing I love—and what I love most is turning people on to art.” Tom Nugent is freelance writer who has worked at the Detroit Free Press, the Charlotte Observer and the Baltimore Sun.
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Affable and charming, Shayne Lee is one of the most winning subversives youâ€™re likely to meet.
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STRUC N O DE C Tulanian goes postmodern, contextualizing the strange trajectory of sociology professor Shayne Lee.
L LO ARINE M K C BY N I PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAULA BURCH-CELENTANO
you “canClaphearoncemyifvoice, ” says Shayne Lee over the racket. It’s 12:30 p.m., smack in the middle of the lunch hour and, honestly, not the best time to begin class. But the students roll with it, ebulliently chatting, some between bites of food they’ve picked up on the way. “Clap twice if you can hear my voice,” says Lee, with a tad more umph. The students comply —Pdlap Pdlap—and the hubbub recedes to a hushed murmur. Wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt, Lee is a tall, dark, handsome figure in the front of the room. His manner is relaxed, his vibe simultaneously cool and goofy.
“OK, let’s begin with a friendly quiz,” says Lee, with a mischievous smile. “In fact, let’s not call it a quiz, let’s call it a ‘writing opportunity.’” Amused with himself, he chuckles: yuck, yuck. It’s artless, unselfconscious laughter— the guffaw of a teenager or, maybe, an adult who is having way too much fun. At age 39, Lee, associate professor of sociology, has found himself practicing in what he calls the “best profession in the world.” In the five years since he arrived at Tulane, Lee has been able to convert his interests in the seemingly disparate subjects of religion and popular culture into three books and a number of
course topics that have made him a favorite among students. Along the way, he has become a go-to source for stories appearing in the national media. And while he sympathizes with fellow African Americans who experience obstacles working in predominantly white academic environments, he says he’s never had difficulty dealing with the issue. There was a time in his life when he would likely have felt “blessed” by the way things have turned out, but these days he’s cheerfully disinclined to believe in any power higher than those deriving from the arbitrary quirks of fate.
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I think I’m more birac ial than Barack Obama.
HAPHAZARD, WEIRD AND WACKY “The existentialist side of me embraces how random life is—how we are these weird, random creations, and my life is totally like that,” says Lee. It’s a Tuesday morning in the middle of the fall semester and Lee is leaning back comfortably in the chair as he talks. His Newcomb Hall office is strewn with stacks of papers, columns of books and boxes of CDs. A bare, cork bulletin board spans about six feet of one wall with nary a thumbtack. As Lee talks about the odyssey from his working class roots in Queens, N.Y., to his career as a college professor, the story unfolds as a kind of postmodern American dream, spiked with words like “haphazard,” “weird” and “wacky.” For a guy who wears the sensible shoes of an existentialist, Lee recounts every random step along the way as if it holds an almost magical significance. Such as the time when his parents “accidentally” found out about a program that bussed children out of the family’s poor, underclass neighborhood and across town to a wellperforming, predominantly white school district. The move had consequences. Not only did Lee receive a quality education he would not otherwise have had, it also trained him to
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move “fluidly and naturally” through the mainstream culture. “I think I’m more biracial than Barack Obama,” Lee jokes (yuck yuck). “He is by phenotype, I am by experience because I grew up in a black neighborhood, through the black church experience, black family—and then went to predominantly white schools. My best friends were white.” In recounting what he calls his “weird trajectory” through higher education, Lee pauses here and there to consider the odd little nuggets that stud his story. Such as getting a full-ride basketball scholarship to a junior college based solely on the recommendation of the high school coach who cut him from the team in his junior year. (The coach reinstalled Lee to the team in his senior year.) Or in his final year at Oral Roberts University (more on that later), when, acting on a “wacky idea,” he presented the university president his fledgling curricula vitae, figuring that if he could secure a presidential recommendation he would be able to obtain a scholarship anywhere he wanted. Or how he parlayed that recommendation into a scholarship to Regent University—despite a certain lack of polish. “I didn’t have the wherewithal then to even type the application,” he says. “I handwrote it.” Or the “completely random” nature of taking a class in church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and having his mind blown by a textbook that was being used by the instructor largely so he could lampoon it. The book was The Rise of Christianity by sociologist Rodney Stark. “I read the book and it was the most explosive, life-changing experience I have had to this day,” says Lee. “I remember reading chapter seven, and that’s when I decided I wanted to be a sociologist.” And so his story goes, here and there, this way and that. “Whereas middle-class kids have maybe more direction and more mentorship,” says Lee, “with me it is always accidentally finding myself in places.”
NO HARM, NO FOUL Maybe there are such accidents, but maybe there aren’t. Maybe there is divine order to how things happen. Maybe. But Lee, a devout atheist, will have no part of that. But you wonder if his acute awareness of life’s twists and turns comes from the fact that in them he once saw the hand of God. Connect the dots: two years of junior college at the Catholic-run Villa Maria College, three years of undergraduate study at Oral Roberts University, two graduate degrees from Regent University (a Christian school) and another graduate degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Guided by his faith and academic interest in religion, Lee meandered toward a doctorate in church history. “I think it was my own religious experience and the desire to contextualize it better, to understand it better.” Safe to say, however, that his own religious experience began to grow thin at about the same time he was learning to use words like “contextualize.” It was in his third year at Oral Roberts University that he began to question his faith. On one hand, he says, ORU provided a vibrant evangelical environment. On the other, it equipped him with the knowledge and methodology to deconstruct some of the excesses of that environment. “So you would get these wacky chapel speakers, and then a half hour later you are in a class and the professor is like, ‘OK, let’s explain why that speaker was insane.” While his professors at ORU were able to hold their faith in tension with the complexities and contradictions of church history, the scripture and canon of Christianity, Lee was not.
“For me, if the Bible had errors, then why should I base my life on it?” he says. But as they say on the basketball court: no harm, no foul. Lee shows no trace of bitterness about his investment in faith. “Christianity was great to me,” he says. “It gave me a great worldview that kept me out of trouble.” It also made him a particularly attractive candidate for the doctoral program in sociology at Northwestern University in Chicago. “They said, ‘You don’t need a sociology undergraduate degree,’” says Lee. Later, a professor would share with him that it was the singularity of his academic path that drew the department’s attention. In his dissertation, an ethnography of two Baptist churches, Lee drew from his wealth of knowledge about the Protestant church in examining how postmodern changes in society and popular culture were affecting the two congregations and their pastors. “I was interested in the power of beliefs and how they change over time,” says Lee. That interest, perhaps, was shaped by some measure of introspection. “I needed to find out how I was captivated all those years,” he says.
Christianity was great to me. It gave me a great world view that kept me out of troub le.
DICEYCURRENTS With three books now under his belt and two currently in the works, Lee says writing is getting easier all the time. “I’m at a point in my career where I finally get it,” he says. “I’m like a quarterback in his seventh or eighth year who can read the defense, see the blitz. The game is moving slow.” In his first book, T.D. Jakes: America’s New Preacher, Lee continued to explore the relationship between religion and popular culture. In the phenomenal popularity of evangelist Jakes, who runs a multimillion-dollar religious enterprise, Lee saw a window into an emerging dynamic. In the preface to the book, Lee writes, “Televangelists demonstrate that it is now technologically possible to reproduce and market spirituality though a variety of media,” an idea he further developed in his next book, Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace, a collaboration with historian Phillip Luke Sinitiere. In examining the success of five influential contemporary leaders in American Protestantism, the authors apply an economic model of supply and demand to the commercially competitive struggle of religious institutions. Lee next waded into the dicey currents of race and sex in a book published this year: Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality and Popular Culture. Challenging the “politics of respectability” and what he calls the “defensive stance” of black feminist thought, Lee trumpets a number of cultural icons, including pop stars Beyoncé and Janet Jackson, who through the hypersexualization of their own bodies have created a new front for gender equality by introducing women to empowering new guidelines for sexual identity and behavior. His forthcoming book, a collection of nonacademic essays about what he calls the “absurdity of black life,” is titled God Don’t Like Black People. It doesn’t take long to realize that part of Lee’s joy is his role as provocateur. “Some people like to put things together; I like to explode things,” he says.
Some people like to put things together; I like to explode things.
Asked if his “biracial” perspective might lend itself to racial healing, Lee replies, “The thing that precludes that from happening is that I’m so postmodern that I don’t want to put the energy toward being a bridge in any way.” Fair enough. Not everyone can be gunning for the Nobel Peace Prize. The thing is, Lee is probably the most affable subversive that you’ll likely ever meet. He’s friendly, funny and downto-earth. Humbled by his own failed quest to play Division I basketball, Lee has retained a special interest in student-athletes, supporting them through his work with the athletics department. And, importantly, students seem to really respond to Lee. Back in the classroom, Lee is projecting music videos by contemporary divas onto a large screen in the front of the room. The course, based on his third book, is called “Black Women, Sex and Pop Culture.” The students watch the video, and then Lee invites them to deconstruct the social messages that are woven into it about how women should look, act, be. “Why do we give credence to one construct over another?” Lee asks. A million hands go up and the level of chatter rises. If only all classes were this fun. Let the little explosions begin. Nick Marinello is features editor of Tulanian.
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givingBack n eighbors helping neighbors With less than two weeks to go before the start of winter break, a group of Tulane University School of Architecture students huddled in the back yard of a women’s shelter in the Mid City neighborhood of New Orleans and talked shop. The clock was ticking on their latest Tulane City Center project—a back porch designed to give the shelter’s youngest residents a safe, colorful and comfortable place to do homework, play games and relax—and they needed a game plan. “We do as much as we can this week, and then we’ll start working around the clock,” said Oren Mitzner, a fourth-year master’s student from Miami. “No matter what, we’re going to make sure we finish the job.” The architecture classmates were racing to complete a design-build project launched just three and a half months earlier with a $10,000 budget and an abundance of ideas to transform a barren back yard into a child-friendly sanctuary. The purpose of the program is to train budding architects not just to work with real clients but to become partners in the process, said Emilie Taylor, senior program coordinator at Tulane City Center. “They can’t just build whatever they want to build,” said Taylor. “They have to meet the needs of the client first and foremost.” The constant give-and-take challenges students to approach their designs from multiple perspectives, and it’s an essential component of the City Center’s mission of taking on projects that resonate with neighborhood residents. The center’s collaborative philosophy is representative of the myriad community engagement initiatives that are at the heart of the $100 million “Tulane Empowers” campaign, and donors are taking notice. Tina and Albert “Sonny” Small Jr. of Bethesda, Md., have committed $500,000 in support of the City Center’s outreach efforts in New Orleans, the largest gift from a single donor in the center’s history and one that promises to chart the course of the School of Architecture’s community-based work during the next few years, said director
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Scott Bernhard. Sonny Small, A&S ’79, and his wife are the parents of Ben Small, a firstyear business student. “Without Sonny, I think we would have closed the doors,” said Bernhard. “This is an extraordinary gift because it moves us closer to where we want to be, which is in the community, engaging with residents on a daily basis.” To that end, the City Center’s four-person team is embarking on a number of ambitious projects aimed at better serving the New Orleans community. Funds are currently being raised for Grow Dat Youth Farm, an urban agriculture initiative planned at a four-acre site in New Orleans City Park. Using an interdisciplinary team of Tulane experts, the farm will teach student interns from city high schools to grow and sell fresh produce— and learn how to prepare it for their families. With the potential to be self-sustaining in just three years, Grow Dat has caught on with a number of donors, and more than $165,000 has been raised since August, said Bernhard. Another proposed project is identifying—and raising the money to purchase—a centrally located off-campus home for the City Center. The ideal space would be in a neighborhood easily accessible and visible to the center’s mostly low-income clients, with plenty of room for computer equipment, meeting space, and tools to share with like-minded nonprofits and social entrepreneurs. “We have done a lot in the community since Katrina, but there is so much more to be done, and there’s a new generation of students and faculty who want to work on projects that really matter,” said Bernhard. For information on the Tulane City Center, visit tulanecitycenter.org. —Kimberly Krupa Kimberly Krupa is a writer in the Office of Development.
Architecture students build a back porch that they designed for a women’s shelter in the Mid City neighborhood of New Orleans.
Gif t ex pan d s heal t h c l in ic A $1.9 million gift from Gerry and Bill Brinton and the late Mary Jane Brinton of Sonoma, Calif., is expanding the footprint of the Ruth Fertel Community Health Center at Broad Street and Orleans Avenue in the Mid City neighborhood of New Orleans. Expected to open later this year, the Fertel site is the newest addition to Tulane’s assortment of neighborhood- and school-based clinics. Plans are for the Brinton Family Health and Healing Center to offer community outreach programs focused on preventive steps to better health. Tulane City Center is exploring ways to link the Brinton center and two nearby parking lots to the 10,000-square-foot Fertel primary care clinic through landscape features such as walking paths, a community garden, benches and trees. “We want this site to be an anchor in the community,” says Leah Berger, director of community health programs, planning and development at the Tulane School of Medicine’s Office of Community Affairs and Health Policy.
s e s s a l C the
Before the advent of laptops, iPads and megapixel cameras there was—audiotape. Lots and lots of audiotape. Pictured in this 1976 photo are members of TUVAC, the Tulane University Video Access Center. It wasn’t all just clowning around; if something happened on campus, TUVAC provided the equipment and know-how for students to record it for posterity. (Photo by Mark Sindler, A&S ’76)
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SAM McGREW (A&S ’45) was featured in The Times-Picayune’s “Military Salute” in September 2010. McGrew, who was a member of n aval r OTC at Tulane, received many honors for his service as a lieutenant in World War II and the Korean War. He served in the South Pacific and the Philippines. McGrew lives in Metairie, La.
to nine other local charities. The organization has more than 50 full-time employees and benefits from the work of 100 volu n te e r s . Fo r m o r e i n fo r m a t i o n , v i s i t www.feedthehungrysma.org.
MICHAEL R. BLAIS (M ’49) celebrated his
JAMES “MAC” HYMAN (A&S ’72) was elected a
90th birthday at the Palmetto Club in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Oct. 24, 2010.
fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society. Hyman holds the Evelyn and John G. Phillips Distinguished Chair in Mathematics at Tulane.
The Louisiana chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded E. EEAN McNAUGHTON (A ’55) a medal of honor for outstanding service in the field of architecture and to the community. Mcn aughton has been a professor of practice at Tulane University School of Architecture for the past 20 years, teaching courses in design and site planning. Among Mcn aughton’s projects are: Benjamin Franklin High School, First Baptist Church n ew O r l e a n s , U n i te d S t a te s P av i l i o n at the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, Louisiana nature and Science Center–Phase II, and the n ew Orleans Public Library Master Plan. Mcn aughton’s work in historic preservation and restoration and adaptive use is also significant, including the Old Louisiana State Capitol Center for Political and Governmental History and the Old U.S. Mint in n ew Orleans.
VIVIAN BURCH MARTIN (n C ’57) announces the p u b l i c a t i o n o f T h e C e l e st i a l S o c i et y : A Life in Medicine. The book is about her father, the late GEORGE E. BURCH (A&S ’29, M ’33), who was chair of internal medicine in the Tulane University School of Medicine from 1947 to 1975. For more information, visit www.thecelestialsociety.com.
HOWARD W. GLEASON (B ’59) is president of the board of Feed the Hungry in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The organization serves hot, nutritionally balanced meals to more than 3,900 children each day of the school year, which totals more than 750,000 meals annua l l y. A d d i t i o n a l l y, Fe e d t h e H u n g r y supplies supplemental food commodities
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by treatment programs and reducing the stigma associated with the condition. His discoveries have been fundamental in developing pharmaceutical and behavioral therapies for addiction. With a colleague, O’Brien developed the Addiction Severity Index, used worldwide to determine the extent of patients’ problems and to tailor appropriate treatment approaches.
ROY STOLL (A&S ’57) will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on March 23, 2011, in Indianapolis. Stoll played for four years on the Green Wave basketball team. Also inducted in the 2011 class of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame is IVAN WILHELM (A&S ’52), who lettered three year s and was co-
EDWARD M. “NED” HALLOWELL ( M Main Street r ag has published Eliza: The New Orleans Years, the latest book of poetry by DEDE WILSON (A&S ’59). Wilson has published three other books of poetry: Glass, Sea of Small Fears and One Nightstand, as well the memoir Fourth Child, Second Daughter. Eliza can be ordered from www.mainstreetrag.com.
CHARLES P. O’BRIEN ( A & S ’ 61, M ’ 6 4 , G ’66), the Kenneth Appel Professor of Psychiatry and vice chair of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, received a 2010 r hoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health from the Institute of Medicine. The prize, awarded for achievements in addiction science, recognizes O’Brien’s leading role in elucidating the biological mechanics of addiction, improving the quality of care offered
’78) announces publication by Harvard Business Press of his latest book, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best From Your People. In Shine, Hallowell draws on brain science, performance research and his experience helping people maximize their potential. Hallowell is a psychiatrist, instructor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health, which serves individuals with emotional and learning problems. He has authored 18 major articles and books, including the best-seller Driven to Distraction.
LEE-LEE PRINA (n C ’75) manages Grant/ Watch, a blog launched in March 2010. The blog is hosted by Health Affairs, the nation’s leading health policy journal, and covers
theClasses | classn otes philanthropic foundations and the health policy and healthcare efforts they are funding. Prina has worked for the journal since 1991, and is now a senior editor. Visit the blog at www.healthaffairs.org/blog/grantwatch.
won Italy’s 2007 Premio r oma for foreign fiction. Essex lives in Los Angeles. Her blog is www.karenessex.com/blog.
NINA J. CRIMM (B ’79, L ’79) is co-author of
the publication of I Love You, Be Careful, a picture/gift book for adults. Snider collaborated on the book with her sister, Cady Driver, the book’s illustrator.
Politics, Taxes and the Pulpit: Provocative First Amendment Conflicts, published by Oxford University Press. Crimm is a professor at St. John’s University School of Law in new York and is “The Quarterly Commentator” for The Exempt Organization Tax Review.
STEPHEN WEBRE (G ’75, ’80) is the W.Y.
JUDY KOZONIS SNIDER (SW ’75) announces
Thompson Endowed Professor of History and chair of the Department of History at Louisiana Te c h U n i v e r s i t y i n r u s t o n , L a . A former president and current fellow of the Louisiana Historical Association, he is a corresponding member of the Guatemalan Academy of Geography and History and a contributing editor of the Handbook of Latin American Studies.
ANTHONY LACIURA (G ’79) portrays Eddie Kessler, the personal valet of “n ucky” Thompson, in the HBO series, “Boardwalk Empire.” In January, “Boardwalk Empire” received the Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble cast in a dramatic series. Laciura had retired from a long career with the Metropolitan Opera and was teaching and directing when he received the casting call for the part of Eddie Kessler.
Dracula in Love by KAREN ESSEX (n C ’77) was p u b l i s h e d by D o u b l e d ay. E s s ex a l s o is the author of Stealing Athena, Kleopatra and the best-seller Leonardo’s Swans, which
PHOTO, LEFT, BY ABBOT GENSER.
ASHLEY L. BELLEAU (n C ’80, L ’84) was installed as the 83rd national president of the Federal Bar Association in September 2010. The Federal Bar Association, founded in 1920, ser ves as the national representative
Robert Ivy is the newly appointed executive vice president and CEO of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the premiere organization representing licensed architects and professionals in the design and construction industry. The AIA has more than 300 chapters nationwide and approximately 80,000 members around he world. Before moving to Washington, D.C., this year, Ivy had been based in New York since 1996 as editor in chief of Architectural r ecord, the world’s most widely read architectural journal. He also was vice president and editorial director for McGraw-Hill Construction, responsible for the company’s design and construction publications. He has long been an advocate for the architecture profession on social, political and environmental issues related to the built environment. Ivy is on the board of advisors for the Tulane School of Architecture. Kenneth Schwartz, dean of the architecture school, says, “I have known Robert for a number of years. … All of us share pride in this exciting step in Robert’s already impressive career.” Ivy received the Crane Award in 2009 from American Business Media for lifetime contributions to business media, and the architectural fraternity Alpha Rho Chi recognized him in 2010 as a master architect for communicating the value of design to a new generation. —f ran Simon
of federal legal practitioners. Belleau is a partner in the n ew Orleans office of Mont-gomery, Barnett, Brown, r ead, Hammond and Mintz. She maintains a commercial practice with a concentration in arbitration, litigation on the federal and state court levels, mediation and transactional work. Belleau also has been selected as a Louisiana super lawyer in the area of business litigation.
DEBORAH MARTIN GONZALES (G ’82, ’86) announces that her novel, How to Woo a Reluctant Lady, was published in January and hit n o. 4 on The New York Times and n o. 22 on the USA Today best-seller lists. It is the third book in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series, written under the name Sabrina Jeffries. The second book in the series, A
advo cat e f o r ar c HIt ec t Ur e TULANE DEGREE: MArch, ’76
PROf ESSION: Architect
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classn otes | theClasses Hellion in Her Bed, was published in September 2010 by Pocket Books. The first book in the series, The Truth About Lord Stoneville, spent five weeks on the USA Today and The New York Times best-seller lists. Gonzales received an r T Book r eviews Career Achievement Award and served as emcee at the r ITA Awards at the r omance Writers of America 30th annual conference. Her website is www.sabrinajeffries.com.
MARK KLINE (A&S ’82) was named council president by new York Life Insurance Co., America’s largest mutual life insurer. The honor is
MELODY GILBERT r eeL LIf e
BA, sociology, nC ’80
Saint Paul, Minn.
“Do you think living a pain-free life sounds great? Think again.”
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bestowed annually on the agent with the nation’s highest sales and service achievements. Kline, who has been associated with n ew York Life for 28 years, is a registered representative and financial adviser specializing in permanent life insurance coverage for closely held private businesses. He is a life member of the Million Dollar r ound Table, having qualified for 27 years, and has been a Top of the Table member for the past 10 years. Kline is based in new Orleans and Little r ock, Ark. Kline, his wife and their three children moved to Little r ock after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home in n ew Orleans.
Melody Gilbert has directed and produced six feature-length independent documentary films since 2002. Gilbert currently is working on a sequel to her 2005 documentary, A Life Without Pain, about three girls with a genetic defect that does not allow them to feel pain. She also is working on two new films: one about a controversial religious commune “smack dab in the middle of the city in St. Paul,” and another about what happens when a person stops taking antidepressants. For her film Fritz, about Walter “Fritz” Mondale, Gilbert interviewed the former vice president and many others including former president Jimmy Carter, Al Gore and Geraldine Ferraro. “It was such an honor to sit down to chat with people who played such a big role in our history,” says Gilbert. Disconnected, a film she made with students at Carleton College in Minnesota, is about “digital detox” in which students give up their computers for a month while in college. The films have been shown in major film festivals, broadcast on television around the world, and most are available on iTunes and Netflix. Gilbert has taught college courses in filmmaking and broadcast journalism at Carleton and the University of Minnesota, the College of Visual Arts, and in Krygzstan and Romania. She also teaches documentary workshops internationally. This past summer, there was a monthlong retrospective of her films in Sofia, Bulgaria, and this winter she was honored in Minnesota with a “Melody Gilbert Week .” To s ee th e f i l ms ’ trai l er s , go to www.frozenfeetfilms.com. —f ran Simon
The latest book by BENERSON LITTLE (A&S ’81), Pirate Hunting: The Fight Against Pirates, Privateers and Sea Raiders From Antiquity to the Present, was published by Potomac Books in September 2010. Little lives in Huntsville, Ala., where he writes, consults and teaches fencing.
THOMAS J. KERN (A&S ’84, B ’86) is serving as the 2010–11 president of r isk Management Association’s Middle Tennessee chapter. Kern has been involved with the chapter since he moved to the n ashville, Tenn., area in 2007 to work with Civic Bank and Trust. He is a big brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee and enjoys spending time with his little brother, Timothy.
TIMOTHY M. ROOD (A&S ’84) was honored for 20 years of outstanding teaching at East Hampton (n .Y.) High School. The recipient of a James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship and two n ational Endowment for the Humanities seminar awards, r ood was recognized as the Long Island University Secondary School Teacher of the Year in 2001. In addition to teaching advanced placement U.S. history and economics, r ood advises students in the college application process and has had more than 25 former students attend Tulane. His oldest daughter is on track to graduate from Tulane in 2012.
LUIS E. DUBON III (L ’85) was elected to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates as one of the five delegates from Puerto r ico. In September 2010, he was elected to the Puerto r ico Bar Association board of governors for a two-year term.
PHOTO, LEFT, BY ADRIAN DANCIU.
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ERIC AMES (L ’90), senior attorney with the n ew Mexico Environment Department, announces the success of his case that led the n ew Mexico Environmental Improvement Board to adopt the most comprehensive greenhouse gas pollution reduction regulations in the nation. The rules will reduce pollution through a regional cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
director of ArtStart, a platform for Dutch artists. For more information, go to www.elizabethkleinveld.com.
MITCHELL THROWER (B ’90) was elected chair of the Hillsborough County, Fla., Charter r eview Board in 2010. Since 1998, Thrower has worked for Tampa International Airport, where he is presently deputy director of administration. Thrower and his wife, BRENDA WILLIAMS (n C ’90) have three children who are 11, 10 and 3.
ANTHONY RICCI (G ’92) is the Edward C. and Amy H. Sewall Professor in the Stanford School of Medicine. As a professor of otolaryngology (head and neck surgery) and molecular and cellular physiology, he studies how the cells of the ear turn mechanical stimulation into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain. His lab uses a variety electrop hy s i o l o g i c , i m a g i n g , m o l e c u l a r a n d pharmacologic techniques to understand this process.
DAVID W. VORDICK (E ’92) is the first chief information officer of Cn A, a not-for-profit research organization serving the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies. The particular emphasis of his work is the capture and retention of information and data produced as part of Cn A’s research operations. Vordick previously was the chief information officer for USEC in Bethesda, Md. In 2005 and 2006, Vordick was nominated for the Information Security Executive of the Year national award. He also was a nominee for the Information Security Executive of the Year Mid-Atlantic award in 2006.
NIMROD “ROD” CHAPEL JR. (L ’95), a commissioner of the Administrative Hearing Commission in Jefferson City, Mo., successfully completed the administrative law fair hearing course at the national Judicial College in r eno, n ev. The course covered best practices, techniques and specialized training for state and federal administrative law. Chapel taught a
LACI NASH SCHAIBLE (n C ’92) and her husband, Jed Schaible, announce the launch of www.vetlive.com. The website allows pet owners to chat with accredited veterinarians, including the Schaibles, to get second opinions and ask questions, for a fee. Users can rate and review the site’s veterinarians, upload medical documents and pictures of pets’ problems for veterinarian review, and can opt to donate to VetLIVE Charity. Jed and Laci Schaible met when he interviewed her for a job. She got the job and a year later they said their vows in Santorini, Greece. The Schaibles live in Bethlehem, Pa., and their only children, so far, are the four-legged kind.
JAMES STEf ANIC
dr ILL, SKILL aNd WILL TULANE DEGREE:
BS, mechanical engineering, E ’82 Before (During) After: Louisiana Photographers’ Visual Reactions to Hurricane Katrina was the concept of ELIZABETH KLEINVELD (n C ’90). The book focuses on the work of 12 photographers, including f RANK RELLE (TC ’00) and MARK SINDLER (A&S ’76). In February, the Louisiana State Museum exhibited photography from the book. Kleinveld lives in Amsterdam, the n etherlands, where she is
Operations manager, Geotec Boyles Brothers
“When you drill, there’s a little bit of art to it.”
PHOTO, LEFT, BY T YESHA ROANE. PHOTO, CENTER, AP PHOTO/PABLO MARTINEz MONSIVAIS.
With the whole world watching, James Stefanic led the drilling operation to locate and then widen the shaft to extract 33 miners trapped for 10 weeks in the San Jose de Copiapo mine in Chile. “Geotec and other companies worked together to find the miners,” Stefanic says. “We drilled a lot of holes to find the guys—I think there were 28 holes altogether. Fortunately, they were alive and we drilled a pathway to keep them alive by sending them food and water.” Stefanic says that “Plan B” was successful in drilling the channel through which all the miners were safely extracted due to a combination of technical expertise, planning, good teamwork and a little bit of luck. “Something like that had never been done anywhere else in the world—2,000 feet was by far the deepest,” says Stefanic, adding that drilling at an angle made the job more difficult. As Geotec’s man in charge of all operations in Chile and other Latin American countries, Stefanic oversees drilling projects involving 85 rigs in copper and gold mines, water wells to process minerals and geothermal energy exploration holes. —f ran Simon
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Jorge Fernandez, who is from Colombia, and their two dogs.
RICHARD f ONTENOT (UC ’96) announces the publication of Lady Undefined: Carriage to Concorde, a book he edited with David Knapp. He is currently working on a book called Here’s Daddy! with Katherine McMahon, the adopted daughter of Ed McMahon. As well as being a writer, Fontenot is a marriage and family therapist; he hopes to help families with parenting issues that are unique to adoption.
DEBRA GOLDSTEIN GOLDSCHMIDT (n C ’96) and DAVID GOLDSCHMIDT (A ’97) along with their TIM GRIf f IN (L ’94), a r epublican, was elected as a representative to the U.S. House of r epresentatives of the 112th Congress from the 2nd District in Arkansas. Griffin, a fifth-generation Arkansan, is a veteran and currently is serving his 14th year as an officer in the U.S. Army r eserve JAG Corps, with the rank of major. He founded Griffin Law Firm in Little r ock, Ark., which fo c u s e s primarily on commercial litigation in federal court. He also is the principal and founder of Griffin Public Affairs, a communications consulting firm. Griffin lives in Little r ock with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children.
JASON PARKHOUSE (E ’95) and his wife, Teresa, w e l c o m e d L aw s o n J a m e s o n S e p t . 9, 2010.
CHRISTINA DUKES (nC ’96) is a program specialist at the U.S. Department of Education’s n ational Center for Homeless Education. The center provides training and information to state departments of education and school districts about federal laws pertaining to educating children and youth experiencing homelessness. Dukes’ main responsibilities at n CHE include providing training sessions at national- and state-level conferences, presenting online training sessions, maintaining the n CHE website, aiding in the creation and dissemination of new publications, and responding to Spanish calls to the n CHE hotline. She lives in Bradenton, Fla., with her husband,
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son, Avi, welcomed Zev Meier to the family in n ovember 2009. After spending the past eight years in n ew York, the family has relocated to At l a n t a , w h e r e D e b r a G o l d s c h m i d t is a producer for Cn n ’s “In America” unit and David Goldschmidt is an architect at Perkins+Will.
REBECCA SIEGEL BURSTEIN (n C ’97), her husband, Eli, and son, Oliver, 3, welcomed Charlotte n ora on Sept. 18, 2010. The family lives in Wellesley, Mass. r ebecca Burstein manages print advertising for Staples and Eli Burstein is a senior principal at Trite Solutions. Destiny Entertainment, headed by STEPHANIE R. BURNS (B ’98), presented N.O. Soul at the McKenna Museum in n ovember as part of the n ew Orleans Film Festival. Loosely based on Douglas Turner Ward’s classic play, A Day of Absence, this comical satire explores the cultural impact new Orleans feels when all black people are suddenly missing from the city on Super Sunday.
KELLIE GRENGS (G ’96) is a board member for the Freret Business and Property Owner Association, also known as The n ew Freret. The association, which works to promote business on Freret Street between Jefferson and n apoleon avenues in uptown n ew Orleans, recently won a Markham Mark of Distinction Award from Markham Vineyards. The award money will help support a regional marketing campaign and web development. Grengs owns a business (brottworks.com) in the Freret corridor. She also is the co-stume director for the Loyola University Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. For more information, visit www.thenewfreret.com.
NICKI HAIRRELL URBAN (E ’96) is working on validating a computational model of one major pathway for apoptosis, which may prove useful i n t h e s e a r c h fo r t h e r a p e u t i c targets for cancers that go unseen by the immune system. She is conducting her research in Leal Ken Lauderbaugh’s laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs. Urban, her husband, Tim, and their sons are making plans to homestead in the mountains west of Colorado Springs.
CEDRIC RICHMOND (L ’98), a Democrat, was elected as the 2nd District of Louisiana representative to the U.S. House of r epresentatives of the 112th Congress. After passing the Louisiana bar exam, r ichmond was elected to the Louisiana House of r epresentatives where he has served since 2000. In the Louisiana House he was chair of the judiciary committee and a mem-ber of the ways and means, house ex-ecutive and legislative audit advisory committees. He developed the State n ew Markets Tax Credit program that spurred more than $250 million in investment in Louisiana’s devastated areas after the storms of 2005. He also secured funding for small business incubators and grant programs. r ichmond has lived in eastern n ew Orleans his whole life.
PHOTO, LEFT, COURTESY OF TIM GRIFFIN. PHOTO, RIGHT, COURTESY OF CEDRIC RICHMOND.
theClasses | classn otes TIMOTHY J. SMITH (TC ’98) has published
GILLIAN NEVERS (A ’04) and SUNIL DUBEY
his second book, After the Coup: An Ethnographic Reframing of Guatemala 1954 (University of Illinois Press, 2010). The book details the ongoing consequences of the coup that overthrew Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz and started 36 years of armed conflict.
(A ’05) were married on Aug. 14, 2010, in Chicago. The wedding party included EDUARDO NAVARRO (A ’05) and SCOTT McCORMICK (TC ’05). Guests included REBECCA SACHS McCORMICK (A ’05), JULIE f ORD (A ’05), SUZANNE HAYES ( A ’ 0 4 ) a n d NATE LIELA SUS (A ’04). The couple lives in Houston.
WILLIAM AVERILL (E ’02) and his wife, Mary Katherine, announce the birth of Tessa Katherine on Sept. 17, 2010. The baby joins siblings Matthew, 8, and Kenzie, 4. Averill was licensed as a professional engineer by the state of Texas this spring. He is a senior mechanical engineer with Oceaneering International, where he designs blowout preventer control systems.
KRISTYN BREZINSKY (B ’02) married n athan Ulrich on July 10, 2010, at St. Louis Cathedral in n ew Orleans. JAIME KIEHN (B ’02) was a bridesmaid. Guests included MEGAN CHE-NAULT VONDRA (n C ’02), JESSICA HEILMAN TREGO (UC ’02), and RUTH ARNBERGER (n C ’02). The couple resides in Boston. Kristyn Brezinsky Ulrich is a senior financial analyst in mergers and acquisitions at r aytheon Co. in Waltham, Mass.
MARLENE ESKIND MOSES (n C ’72, SW ’73), founder and partner of Moses & Townsend, announces that MARISSA MOSES RUSS (B ’02) has been named a partner at the n ashville, Tenn., firm. The firm’s name has been changed to Moses Townsend & r uss to reflect the new partnership; it is also known as MTr Family Law, reflecting the focus of its practice. r uss was previously associated with Gullett Sanford r obinson & Martin in the firm’s litigation department. r uss is listed as a r ule 31 media-tor and is trained in collaborative law.
MEREDITH BRIZENDINE (n C ’04) and E. GLENN CASE (E ’05) welcomed Greyson Glenwood on Aug. 30, 2010. The couple was married on July 22, 2006. The wedding par ty included LAUREN GOLDSMITH (n C ’04), STEPHANIE SPICER (n C ’08), CHRIS-TOPHER BOND (TC ’05), SEAN TOTH (TC ’05) and ADAM f REY ( E ’ 0 6 ) . T h e fa m i l y l i ve s i n n ew Orleans.
PHOTO BY RYAN GALL.
PATRICK J. BABIN (TC ’05) and JULIE A. KAMINSKI (A ’06) were married on n ov. 6, 2010, in n ew Orleans. Members of the wedding party included CURTIS LAUB (A ’06), SEAN McCLOSKEY (TC ’05) and STEVEN SNOW (TC ’05). Also in attendance were TRACIE ASHE (A ’02), KATHERINE CHAMPAGNE (A ’07), ALISON CLARK-BINf ORD (A ’06), TONI DIMAGGIO (A ’03), HENRY f ITZHUGH (TC ’05), ADIE KAPLAN (A ’06), ROSS KARSEN (A ’06), JAIME O’KEEf E (TC ’05), MARC McCLOSKEY (E’08), JAMIE OPPENHEIM (TC ’05), SERGIO PADILLA (A ’03) and JESSICA WALKER (A ’07). The couple resides in n ew Orleans where Patrick Babin is a lawyer at Moule-
Don’t try telling New Orleans native Reneé Wilson to slow down or “focus” her career. The accomplished actress and filmmaker, who recently released her first CD and also is a motivational speaker, says, “It feels right to me to focus on the thing that I’m most passionate about at that moment.” In the early 2000s, that was acting. Wilson is perhaps best known for her role as Raelette Pat Lyle in the Academy Award–winning film r ay. But after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Wilson turned to filmmaking. She directed and produced Crepe Covered Sidewalks, a documentary about her return home and her family’s experiences with the storm. Making the film was “cathartic,” says Wilson. She hopes it helps people realize that “we don’t have to be defined by [Katrina].” Among other festivals, the film was screened in August at the Peachtree Village International Film Festival in Atlanta, where Wilson won the Best New Filmmaker award. Wilson is busy shooting a music video for her single “I Was the One” and promoting her album “Voodoo Queen.” —Catherine f reshley
doux, Bland, Legrand and Brackett, and Julie Babin is an architect at Wayne Troyer Architects.
ARIEL BOWMAN SCHUETZ (n C ’05) deployed in n ovember 2010 to Ansbach, Germany, for her second Operation Iraqi Freedom combat tour as an Army captain. She is a UH-60 pilot in the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. Schuetz and her husband, Max Schuetz, will be moving to Ft. r ucker, Ala., so that she can attend the captain’s career course.
ELIZABETH CHEN (A ’06), EMMA CHAMMAH (A ’07), ARTHUR TERRY (A ’08), DANIEL KAUTZ (A ’09) and GREG BARTON (A ’09) participated in the fourth annual n ew Orleans DesCours in December 2010. The free and public, 10-day architecture and art event that encourages experimentation invited ar-chitects and artists to create 15 architectural installations within “hidden” locations in the city. Chen and Terry created “Bottles,” which presented a natural
f o c US o N t He Mo MeNt TULANE DEGREE:
BA, communication, nC ’97
Actress, filmmaker, singer and motivational speaker
“You make an impact on people when you follow your dream.”
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classn otes | theClasses deterioration and transformation of elements over the duration of the installation. Chammah, Kautz and Barton, with Chimera+ of new York, created “Offshore,” an installation masquerading as a multimedia catalogue. STEPHANIE PHILIS (n C ’06, G ’07) and PAUL LENTZ (E ’06) were married on July 10, 2010, in
with Crowel on the Tulane baseball team. Crowel is divisional vice president of AXA Advisors in Austin, Texas, where he is a registered representative and investment adviser.
MARIANNE HALPHEN (’07) and ANDREW GELTER (’07) were married on July 10, 2010, in n ew Orleans. Members of the wedding party included MATT GORDON (’07), DANIEL SIEGEL (’08), AUSTIN ZAUNBRECHER (’07), PHIL ANDREWS (’07), LISA f RANKEL (’07), LESLIE f RANKEL (’07), DAISY GURDIAN (’07, L ’10), MAKENZIE MORRIS HILL (’07), LAUREN HOTARD (’07) and TANNIA SUAREZ (’07).
KATHERINE B. McCOY (B ’07) became marketing
LISA BERGERON (SW ’05) is a caseworker at Gladney Center for Adoption in Fort Worth, Texas, where she works with birth parents. Bergeron is passionate about adoption and educating others about the option. Among many efforts Ber-geron undertook in n ovember, which is n ational Adoption Awareness Month, she wrote about adoption on various social networking sites; distributed brochures and other information at crisis pregnancy centers, doctor’s offices and schools; and conducted educational training sessions on adoption. Bergeron lives in Keller, Texas.
coordinator at Liskow and Lewis, a law firm in n ew Orleans, in September 2010. Previously, she was a marketing communications and public relations assistant at Jones Walker, another law firm, for three years.
J.R. CROWEL (B ’07) married Lindsay Helberg in Austin, Texas, on nov. 5, 2010. Guests at the wedding included MATT GOEBEL (B ’07) and BRANDON GOMES (B ’07), both of whom played
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KENDALL PLAIN (B ’10) won first place at the
RICHARD NERE (’08) reports that his peerreviewed paper, “Democracy Promotion and the U.S. n ational Security Strategy: U.S. n ational Interest, U.S. Primacy and Coercion,” was cited by U.S. Army Major Samuel Kyle Simpson in “r estructuring Civil Affairs for Persistent Engagement,” a monograph for the School of Advanced Military Studies, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
JUSTIN COOPER (E ’09) works for Engineering
n ew Orleans. THOMAS f ULMER (TC ’06) was a groomsman. In attendance were AM-BER LUPIN (n C ’06), RACHAEL BLEY WOLLET (n C ’06), BRIE DARRAGH (n C ’06), DWIGHT BLASS (TC ’06), DAVID EMERSON (TC ’06), NOAH MARION (TC ’06), DRAKE CARDWELL (’07), CHRISTIN TAYLOR (’07) and JUSTON WESTERN (E ’04). Paul Lentz is a captain in the Air Force flying C-21s out of Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. In the spring, Stephanie Lentz will be a secondary social studies teacher.
a te a m c o m p l e te d t h e n a n o Fex business plan for which they received accolades at the Wake Forest Elevator Competition and the Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition. Levy also led teams of student interns in the preparation of invention disclosures, provisional patents, market analyses and business plans, and sought management teams and strategic partners for the startups he helped foster. Levy also was an assistant research fellow at the Tulane Center for Intellectual Property Law and Culture, where he assisted in the development of a Web tool that determines copyright duration. Levy works in the Tulane Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Development.
World Health as a biomedical equipment technician coordinator for Ghana and Honduras. The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of health care available to those living in impoverished nations. Cooper also has worked with EWH in Haiti, Ethiopia, Honduras, Ghana a n d r wa n d a . Ad d i t i o n a l l y, C o o p e r has taught electronics and computer skills at the university level in the United States and r wanda. His master’s thesis project was in robotics.
JUSTIN LEVY (L ’09) completed a yearlong graduate-level internship at the n ew Orleans BioInnovation Center. He played a key role supporting several research commercialization projects including nanoFex, a startup nanotechnology company based in n ew Orleans. Levy and
ANDREW SPIEL (’07) and DANIEL J. THOMAS (’08) are among the ecstatic n ew Orleans Saints fans featured in an n FL commercial composed of homemade video of fan reaction to the Tracy Porter interception during Super Bowl XLIV. Spiel and Thomas are medical students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at r ockford.
national 2010 Belford V. Lawson oratorical competition in Las Vegas at the 104th general convention of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. The topic of his winning speech was “Losing the Common Touch: The Impact of the Inter-net on the Socialization of Contemporary American Society.” Plain had previously won state and regional competitions. He works in global commodities trading.
PHOTO, LEFT, BY JENNIFER LANTER.
theClasses | Deaths
SAMUEL LOGAN (A&S ’44, M ’46)
of New Orleans on Nov. 30, 2010 Jill Schwartz Jackson (nC ’33) of Los Angeles on Sept. 8, 2010. Jeanne Laidlaw Crum (n C ’35) of Dallas on Sept. 14, 2010. Dorothy Beckemeyer Skau (nC ’36) of new Orleans on Oct. 14, 2010. Bestor T. Bell (A&S ’37) of Sandy Spring, Md., on Sept. 7, 2010. Louis R. Otto Jr. (E ’38) of new Orleans on Sept. 13, 2010. DuVal f. Dickey Sr. (B ’39) of Houston on Oct. 13, 2010. Thelma Welch Dicks (UC ’39, G ’42) of Alexandria, La., on Oct. 15, 2010. Warren M. Jacobs (A&S ’39, M ’42) of Houston on Sept. 9, 2010. Betty Van Cleave White (nC ’39) of Metairie, La., on Sept. 11, 2010. John W. Anthony (A&S ’40, L ’42) of Bogalusa, La., on Oct. 20, 2010. Bernard M. Altschuler (A&S ’41, M ’44) of Maplewood, n.J., on Sept. 11, 2010. Jane Mcintosh Barden (n C ’41) of Memphis, Tenn., on Oct. 4, 2010. John f. McKenney Jr. (M ’41) of Temple, Texas, on Feb. 2, 2010. Joseph T. Ainsworth (M ’42) of Houston on Aug. 31, 2010. f red E. Boettner (G ’42) of High Point, n.C., on Feb. 3, 2010. Elvia Morales Cooney (n C ’42) of
Sam Logan served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. He later played a leading role in the founding of West Jefferson Medical Center on the West Bank of Jefferson Parish, La., in 1960. Logan worked as a surgeon at West Jeff and Charity Hospital in New Orleans. He found inspiration as a doctor on medical missions in India and Central America. He set up a program through the Episcopal Church in which dozens of medical personnel have traveled annually for 19 years to Honduras and Nicaragua to treat more than 25,000 patients.
Durham, n.C., on Oct. 12, 2010. Leo B. Rosenzweig (B ’42) of Boulder, Colo., on Sept. 15, 2010. Beulah Sterbcow Title (n C ’42, SW ’47) of n ew Orleans on Oct. 14, 2010. Edward L. Burke (M ’43) of Lakeland, Fla., on Oct. 19, 2010. Cynthia Landry Clark (n C ’43) of Arlington, Va., on Aug. 16, 2010. Alvin G. Gottschall (E ’43) of Point Clear, Ala., on Sept. 19, 2010. Carey C. Womble Jr. (M ’43) of Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 12, 2010. Robert S. Ellis (M ’44) of niceville, Fla., on Sept. 20, 2010. Kathryn Gould Hesslow (n C ’44) of Lund, Sweden, on Aug. 25, 2010. Anita L. Crozat Cassilly (n C ’45) of Glendale, Mo., on Oct. 12, 2010. Thomas Naum James (A&S ’46, M ’49) of Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 13, 2010. Peter J. Morgane (A&S ’48) of Worcester, Mass., on Sept. 27, 2010. Paul W. Brosman Jr. (A&S ’49, G ’50) of new Orleans on Oct. 23, 2010. John C. Dodt III (B ’49) of Mandeville, La., on Oct. 20, 2010. George B. Paxton Jr. (A&S ’49, M ’53) of Pinecrest, Fla., on Sept. 22, 2010.
Howard A. Schrieffer (B ’49) of new Orleans on Sept. 28, 2010. Walter W. Whitlock (A&S ’49) of Winter Haven, Fla., on Sept. 8, 2010. Donald A. Bousquet (A&S ’50) of new Orleans on Oct. 7, 2010. Leonard f. Harmeyer (B ’50) of Dallas on Aug. 21, 2010. Allen L. Schindler (B ’50) of Abita, La., on Dec. 19, 2009. Salvador J. Trupiano (A&S ’50) of new Orleans on Feb. 7, 2010. Henry K. f reedman (A&S ’51, M ’55) of new York on Sept. 12, 2010. John N. Harrington Sr. (M ’51) of Columbus, Miss., on Aug. 11. 2010. Robert T. Jones (A&S ’51) of Kerrville, Texas, on Sept. 25, 2010. Gerald L. Schwark (A&S ’51) of Metairie, La., on Oct. 4, 2010. R. Wayne Vincent (B ’51, L ’53) of Lake Charles, La., on Oct. 5, 2010. Marvin E. Chernosky (M ’52) of Houston on Aug. 15, 2010. Walter B. f leming (B ’53) of new Iberia, La., on Aug. 31, 2010. Vincent D. Spear (E ’53, G ’62) of Metairie, La., on Sept. 28, 2010. Arthur W. Alderson Jr. (A&S ’54) of Columbia, S.C., on July 1, 2010. Donald A. Hammett (L ’54) of Metairie, La., on Sept. 8, 2010. J. Kavanaugh Jackson (A&S ’54, M ’61) of Brandon, Miss., on June 27, 2010. Edward B. Ludwig Jr. (A ’54) of Metairie, La., on Sept. 24, 2010. Glenn L. Gore (M ’57) of Osprey, Fla., on July 13, 2010. Robert J. Vandiver (A ’58) of Chicago on Sept. 10, 2010. Anthony Ziegler Jr. (M ’58) of Conroe, Texas, on Oct. 8, 2010. J.A. Davenport III (A&S ’59) of Bastrop, La., on Oct. 7, 2010. Jon B. Roth (B ’59) of Pass Christian, Miss., on Sept. 24, 2010. Leo V. Grucza (G ’61) of Champaign, Ill., on Oct. 10, 2010. Lynette Chalona Kendall (n C ’61) of Sardis, Ala., on Aug. 9, 2010. Glenn f . Sanford (A&S ’61) of
Montgomery, Ala., on Oct. 11, 2010. Charles A. Snyder (B ’63) of Covington, La., on Oct. 2, 2010. Ar thur E. Diamond (M ’6 4) of Melbourne, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2010. Royce O. Johnson Jr. (B ’64) of Pine Bluff, Ark., on Sept. 21, 2010. Richard E. Norred (L ’64) of Houston on Aug. 23, 2010. Joe E. Wardlaw (UC ’65) of Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 5, 2009. Arthur C. Reuter Jr. (A&S ’66) of Metairie, La., on Oct. 26, 2010. K. Perrell f uselier (L ’68) of Oakdale, La., on May 3, 2010. Clifford E. King (SW ’70) of Colorado Springs, Colo., on May 19, 2010. William G. Tabb III (L ’70) of Mandeville, La., on Oct. 8, 2010. Robert William Burrill (A&S ’72) of Appleton, Wis., on Oct. 6, 2010. Robert B. Glendening (A&S ’72) of Celina, Texas, on Sept. 25, 2010. Jeffrey H. Goldman (A ’75) of n ew Orleans on Sept. 4, 2010. John f. LeBlanc (A&S ’75, B ’76) of Mandeville, La., on Sept. 6, 2010. Dirk H. Lueders (G ’75) of Gainesville, Va., on June 25, 2010. Matthias Walter (L ’75) of Bonn, Germany, on Sept. 1, 2009. Debra Zvibleman Kiske (nC ’77) of St. Louis on May 29, 2010. Martha Koorie Luciani (n C ’78) of Sarasota, Fla., on Sept. 24, 2010. W. f . Bernell James Jr. (SW ’80) of nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 19, 2010. Linda A. Lawlor (A ’80) of San Francisco on Sept. 27, 2010. Edward A. Connelly (A&S ’84) of Boston on Oct. 15, 2010. Walter E. Spencer (UC ’84) of Lakewood, Ohio, on Sept. 30, 2010. Teressa Tobin Johnson (n C ’86) of Humble, Texas, on Sept. 16, 2010. Peter A. Landry (L ’86) of new Iberia, La., on Aug. 24, 2010. James A. Oswald (L ’88) of Metairie, La., on Oct. 24, 2010. William M. Gottliebson (M ’92, G ’92) of Cincinnati on Sept. 17, 2010.
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newOrleans Where you from? by Nick Marinello
Presented for your consideration: the preposition “from.” Look at it. F-R-O-M. A goofy array of letters, no? A vowel bullied by three consonants. Scribbled onto paper it reveals itself an awkward arrangement of letters that only an etymologist—or Scrabble player in desperation—could love. Pronounce it. “From.” Again. “From.” Now repeatedly. “From, from, from, from, from.” More of a drumbeat than a word. An utterance that is nearly over before it is begun. But here’s the thing: What the word “from” lacks in style it delivers in substance. Look it up in the dictionary. The first listing reads: indicating the point in space at which a journey, motion or action starts. Second listing: indicating the point in time at which a particular process, event or activity starts. In other words, “from” marks the beginning in both space and time. Awesome. You’d never know to look at it. “From”—you humble little four-lettered word. From now on, you’ll get the respect you deserve. Not like you don’t already get it in buckets from the folks in this town. The native New Orleanian, more than most, is aware of the relevance of “from,” a state of being pertinent to understanding the city’s psyche. Being from New Orleans means that you believe you are a product of a peculiar concatenation of historical happenings, cultural digressions and geographic improbabilities that is formulated beyond the reckoning of the larger world.
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“I’m a Charity Hospital baby,” New Orleans musician Ernie K-Doe famously (and repeatedly) noted, as if that might tell you all that you need to know about him. K-Doe, like most New Orleanians, bore down narrowly to his roots. So where you from? Carrollton, the Pearl, Broadmoor, Lakeview, Lower Nine, Holy Cross, Hollygrove, Gentilly Woods, Treme, the East, By-water, Marigny, Gert Town, Irish Channel?
Everyone’s from somewhere, and all of these somewheres confer a perceived street cred upon the New Orleanian. If you are from here, for instance, you may feel that you can indulge in all sorts of social peccadilloes. You don’t suck the heads? No problem—if you are a native. You find the St. Charles streetcar to be a tedious, uncomfortable ride? Cool. You don’t have to like it. You’re a lifelong fan of the Atlanta Falcons? Well, keep that one to yourself. Nonnatives, however, may feel that they
must constantly validate their localness. Thusly, it’s fairly easy to identify the New Orleanian who was not born in New Orleans (aka not from here): He or she can list the local charter schools in alphabetical order, advise you on real estate in Bywater, recommend the best lunch joints by neighborhood, cross-referenced by affordability as well as the seasonal availability of mustard greens. It can be a chore being a nonnative, but, hey, someone has to know what’s going on in this town. So, where you from, pilgrim? St. Louis, Santa Barbara, Sopchoppy, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Bartlesville, Buffalo? From places too cold, too dull, too hip, too civilized to bind you to the singularity of their orbits? You came to be educated, you came to goof, you came to rebuild, you came one by one and in droves, bringing with you the scattered stuff of a thousand towns and cities and threading all of it seamlessly into the content of this one until the distinction between what is from here and what is not becomes blurred to the point of being a somewhat arbitrary demarcation. In the beginning there were the heavens and the earth, or the Grandmother Moon, or maybe just rapidly expanding cosmic matter. In any case, everything has somehow come from somewhere, and each of us are sent hurtling from our origins through the modest dimensions of the time and space that circumscribe our lives, inevitably to find ourselves—here. So, where you from? Cool. But it could just possibly be that where y’at rules. Nick Marinello is features editor for Tulanian.
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hiddenTulane Medical arts. Panels on Hutchinson Memorial Building, home of Tulane School of Medicine, were designed by Douglass Freret (A â€™25) of Favrot and Livaudais Architects. The building was erected in 1930.