As another toxic train derailment empties another American town, the author faces a reckoning with his past and a similar incident he witnessed in Louisiana in 2000, and asks, Why is this still happening?
Mémwa Nwa (Black Memory) traces how themes of love and memory in AfroCreole music by modern Louisiana composers and musicians rearticulate and reaffirm the socio-political and historical condition and context in which they were created. This generated a practice of performative resistance to the forgotten memory of AfroCreole sonic contributions in the nineteenth century.
This is a coming-of-age story of kids who play in southern marching bands and the teachers who mentor them. In the South, "show-style" bands are Black excellence personified.
Examining the Hard Rock Hotel collapse of October 2019 in New Orleans and the Indura Resort in coastal Honduras through a transnational and comparative lens reveals two landscapes of redevelopment in the US South. These places are linked by narratives of cultural extractivism, disaster capitalism, and labor exploitation. Due to increasing privatization, they have also undergone a loss of public oversight and workers' rights. Deregulation driven by economic development stretches beyond New Orleans to Honduras, where residents have been displaced due to similar forms of corporate privatization that seize land for an ever-hungry tourism industry. These landscapes of development reveal the historical and transnational characteristics of the Hard Rock Hotel site by situating the US South within the circum-Caribbean and linking it to Honduras via extractive, globalized models of privatization.
Giving fresh attention to Carrie Mae Weems's photography, this photo essay focuses on the artist's critical engagement with architecture through a series of black and white images in the "Louisiana Project." We argue that by contrasting the built environment of Greek Revival houses with industrial and impoverished neighborhood spaces in and around New Orleans, Weems leverages a subtle and searing critique of entrenched systems of racism and racial oppression. The photographs, centered on a mysterious witness figure dressed in period clothing and portrayed by Weems herself, point out long-lasting effects of racial hierarchy expressed in architectural and preservationist practices. Weems's critical subjectivity evokes the colonized body trapped in a mythos that created and still, in the twenty-first century, sustains systemic racism in economic and social modalities, particularly in the southeastern United States. Our article interprets Weems's photography, here, as an indictment of and a protest against continuing patterns of racism.
For this short “Snapshot” feature, photographers selected one of their photographs and wrote a short reflection on what it shows us about the ever-shifting relationship between people and place in the South.
Black trail-riding clubs have their roots in Creole culture that formed in South Louisiana in the eighteenth century. Today, trail rides are an opportunity for generations of people to gather, celebrate, and ride horseback. The riders form a distinctive yet little-known subculture in Southwest Louisiana, one that exists in stark contrast to most depictions of cowboys and serves as a reminder that Black equestrian culture stems from a time when the Louisiana Territory was in fact the American West. Black riders across the country have received greater prominence with the rise of Black Lives Matter and have taken the reins of a symbol long associated with independence and power.
This article is a critical reflection that explores the histories of water, marronage, and Black placemaking in the southern United States. It uses insights from history, ethnography, and cultural geography to connect the dual histories of racial slavery and environmental degradation in the Tidewater region of Virginia and the Mississippi Delta. This essay argues that, during slavery, swamps, bayous, rivers, and wetlands were geographies in which a fleeting Black commons could be sustained hidden away from the violence of the plantation. These same ecologies are now under extreme duress from coastal subsidence, the petrochemical industry, and climate change. This reflection argues that by charting the meaningful cultural, spiritual, intellectual, and practical insights of Black southern communities, an alternative ecological practice born of maroon imaginaries might be developed that could resist the degradation of these vulnerable southern ecologies.