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Land of Opportunity
Project mentors: Joel Dinerstein and Luisa Dantas, Intern: Cody Wild

LandofOpportunity is an interactive documentary project about post-Katrina reconstruction in New Orleans that is currently developing an innovative video-based online platform with support from the Ford Foundation’s Metropolitan Opportunity Unit.  

As cities all over the world struggle to recover from disaster, whether economic, natural or man-made, the lessons of post- Katrina New Orleans have only become more urgent. LandofOpportunity asks the question:  What kind of cities do we want to inhabit in the 21st century? Through the eyes of the privileged and the persecuted, the disenfranchised and the displaced, LandofOpportunity addresses and engages with this fundamental question.

The aim of the online platform is to utilize the diverse stories we’ve captured—over five years and 1,000+ hours of footage— to galvanize and educate urban America around contemporary urban issues: affordable housing, urban redevelopment/planning, immigration reform and economic displacement. This interactive online platform blends non-linear storytelling and additional, layered multimedia content, that extends far beyond the initial verite-style documentary film (Land of Opportunity).

We are partnering with educators, advocates and mediamakers locally and in “sister” cities to create content for the site. Regionally, we are working with partners like Tulane’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South and Bridge the Gulf, to highlight communities in and around the Gulf South who are recovering from both Katrina and the BP disaster. On a national scale, the project seeks to redefine what it means to (re)build after “disaster”. 

The student will play a first-hand and formative role in the creative development and production of Rich Media content for the site. The student will spearhead the archival process of our large bank of footage, implementing the organization and metadata tagging of content, as well as linking multimedia material back to the LandofOpporunity online story space. They will also assist our co-producer in all tasks pertaining to content production and management, including organizing and uploading all content to site. This exposure to a real-world, innovative transmedia project—and the cultivation of cutting-edge skills in the process—will enable student empowerment, independent leadership development, and invaluable experience in the area of new media. 

Women's Role in New Orleans Parade Culture
Project mentor: Thomas Beller, Intern: Alexandra Eiseman

Student will research the role of women in New Orlean’s krewes. Student will search for relevant articles, and interview female figures involved in leading and organizing parade krewes such as the Bearded Oysters, the Baby Dolls and The PussyFooters. Mentor will assist student in finding contact information for leaders in the community and finding relevant essays or articles surrounding the subject.

Motivation for the project includes a fascination with parade culture, its segregation and its history.  Student recently received the Lurcy Grant to purchase a pair of ‘powerbocking stilts’ to research their relationship to prosthetics. Student would like to integrate these stilts in the community by becoming involved in women’s krewes. Student will explore the relationship between performance art and the propagation of ideas about gender and sexuality.

After interviewing leaders of the Bearded Oysters, Baby Dolls, and Pussy Footers, the student will use media to present her findings. Each week student will work in the media lab to document pictures, video recordings, and blog posts pertaining to her research. Student will work with staff at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library to publish the media as an archival tool for educational purposes. Student will additionally continue working on modeling the ‘powerbocking’ stilts using three dimensional Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to improve their functionality and explore their relationship to prosthetics.


Down by The River: Exploring Environmental & African American History Along Louisiana's River Road
Project mentor: Kristin Wintersteen, Intern: Cody Wild

Down By the River is a public history project that coordinated by Kristin Wintersteen and Kristen Evans of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. It seeks to provide a platform through which the public—students, scholars, residents, and visitors—can engage the complex and multi-layered past of the Lower Mississippi region, bringing together the documentary fragments scattered about in local archives and building upon them with new stories to more deeply explore the contours of River Road environmental history.

This project currently incorporates the research of students in the service learning seminar that I taught in Fall 2012 and will again teach in Spring 2013, as well as three local volunteers of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (our service partner), and in Spring 2013 a part-time student Research Assistant. A central component of our project is the presentation of our work via an interactive website; at present we have synopses of the work-in-progress, including a newsletter with descriptions of student research, posted at

The media intern will be responsible for:

  • contributing design ideas, participating in team meetings and building the website, using content that has already been produced by students during Fall 2012, and new material generated by researches during Spring 2013.  This will require the incorporation of multimedia elements (audio, video, images, etc.) with the corresponding textual analyses. 
  • helping the team present the results of the project at the end of the semester. 

There will be other optional opportunities for training in use of archival documents, field trips and local events in conjunction with the project and the service learning course.

The Early Connections Project: Training Video for Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Natural Hair, Website and Community Parenting Blog
Marva Lewis

The media intern will create two related projects designed to support the community-based parent support group called Talk, Touch & Listen While Combing Natural Hair (TT&L).  This group is designed to strengthen mother-daughter attachment relationships through the routine and rituals associated with the everyday task of combing hair.  The goal of this 8-week intervention is to strengthen relationships with their young daughters ages zero to twelve.  When mothers spend ten minutes a day x 365 days a year x 12 years combing her daughter's hair, she will have 4,380 opportunities to bond with her daughter during this daily task.  TT&L serves as a compliment to community agency services. Local and national community partners planning to offer TT&L groups include the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center at the Children's Hospital, which serves sexually and physically abused children, and the San Diego State University Counseling program that will be conducting a group at an elementary school for homeless children. Copies of the training video will be made to agency staff trained to facilitate TT&L groups with their participants.  The intern will be responsible for two projects.

  •  Produce a 10-15 minute training video of the hair combing interaction of three African-American mother-daughter dyads asked to volunteer as models.  The video will be used to help caregivers participating in the TT&L support group to identify different ways that mothers will touch, talk and listen to their daughters during their hair-combing task. The intern will videotape their interaction in the visualization laboratory at the TSSW.
  •  Create an interactive website and blog for TT&L participants to comment on their relationship experiences combing their daughter's hair. Each week there will be a 'Thinking Question' stemming from the topic of the TT&L group that the mothers may log on from anywhere and participate in the '4,380' blog.  For example, at the end of Session #5, the mothers are asked "What are the memories you want for your daughter from the time you spent with her combing her hair?"

Participation in this project will enable the Newcomb student intern to develop media skills and contribute to an innovative project designed to help mother-daughter relationships.

Tulane Desegregation Documentary
project mentor: Melissa Harris-Perry, Intern: Leah Jaques

The media intern will be responsible for conducting interviews with alumni about the moment of Tulane’s desegregation and will be responsible for using this footage and interview transcriptions to story board a documentary about this historical moment. The student will then work to use the interview footage to create a documentary about Tulane’s desegregation, to be screened in 2013 and made available via social media.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000