Making New Orleans Home: A Tricentennial Symposium

March 8-11, 2018

The Historic New Orleans Collection will join the City of New Orleans 2018 Commission’s Cultural and Historical Committee to present “Making New Orleans Home: A Tricentennial Symposium,” Thursday, March 8, through Sunday, March 11, 2018. The symposium is the capstone of the committee, which is chaired by author and former Associate Vice President for External Affairs at Xavier University Sybil Morial and THNOC Executive Director Priscilla Lawrence.

Featuring lectures and cultural programming throughout the city, the four-day event will explore the 300-year history of how New Orleans came to be inhabited by diverse, vibrant people and how, in turn, the concept of home has been central to the life and culture of the city.

“This is a unique opportunity to gather as a community, reflect on our city’s 300-year legacy, share groundbreaking scholarship and examine this fascinating place we call home,” said Lawrence.

Comprising individual lectures and panel discussions, the symposium will be held at a different location each day. Thursday’s keynote session will take place at Tulane University’s McAlister Auditorium. Friday’s sessions will be held in the French Quarter at the Hotel Monteleone. Xavier University will host the programs for Saturday, and the University of New Orleans will host Sunday’s events. Additional evening events will take place on the 500 block of Royal Street at The Historic New Orleans Collection (Friday, March 9) and the New Orleans Jazz Museum (Saturday, March 10).

Emily Clark, the Clement Chambers Benenson Professor in American Colonial History at Tulane University, chaired the subcommittee that selected more than two dozen speakers and panelists.

Cokie Roberts, a native New Orleanian, will present the keynote address on Thursday evening, March 8, at Tulane University’s McAlister Auditorium.  Roberts is an NPR Morning Edition commentator, a political commentator for ABC News and the author of numerous books on American history.

Isabel Wilkerson, author of the award-winning book “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” (Random House, 2010), is the featured speaker on Saturday morning, March 10, when talks will be held at Xavier University’s McCaffrey Ballroom in the University Center. Wilkerson won a Pulitzer Prize for her earlier work at the New York Times, making her both the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer and the first African American reporter to win for individual reporting.

In addition to Roberts and Wilkerson, the following individuals will present at the symposium:


  • Raphael Cassimere Jr., professor emeritus of history, University of New Orleans
  • Hasia Diner, professor, New York University
  • Tara Dudley, lecturer, School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Daniel Hammer, deputy director, The Historic New Orleans Collection
  • Jonn Hankins, executive director, New Orleans Master Crafts Guild
  • Laura D. Kelley, adjunct professor of history and program director of Tulane Summer in Dublin program, Tulane University
  • Ann M. Masson, architectural historian, Tulane School of Architecture
  • Sybil Morial, co-chair of the City of New Orleans 2018 Commission’s Cultural and Historical Committee, author and former associate vice president for external affairs at Xavier University of Louisiana
  • Justin A, Nystrom, director, Center for the Study of New Orleans, Loyola University, New Orleans
  • Lawrence N. Powell, professor emeritus of history, Tulane University
  • Bruce Boyd Raeburn, head of Special Collections and director of Hogan Jazz Archives (emeritus), Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University
  •   Kodi Roberts, assistant professor of history, Louisiana State University
  • Doratha “Dodie” Smith-Simmons, civil rights activist, founding member of the local chapter of CORE (the Congress for Racial Equality), NAACP Youth Council
  • Nicholas R. Spitzer, producer of the public radio program “American Routes;” professor of anthropology, Tulane University
  • Alexander P. Tureaud, retired educator, author, public speaker, artist
  • Noël M. Voltz, assistant professor of history, University of Utah
  • Michael White, New Orleans jazz clarinetist; Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities, Xavier University


  • Shannon Lee Dawdy, professor of anthropology, University of Chicago
  • Nathalie Dessens, professor of American history, Université de Toulouse
  • Richard Campanella, geographer, Tulane University School of Architecture
  • Kathleen DuVal, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professor of History University of North Carolina
  • David Fleming, director, National Museums Liverpool, England
  • D. Ryan Gray, Richard Wallin Boebel Endowed Professor in Anthropology, University of New Orleans
  • Leslie M. Harris, professor of history and African American studies, Northwestern University
  • Jessica Marie Johnson, assistant professor of history, Johns Hopkins University
  • Walter Johnson, Winthrop Professor of History; professor of African and African American studies; director, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, Harvard University, interviewed by Erin M. Greenwald, curator of programs, New Orleans Museum of Art
  • Rebecca J. Scott, professor of history and law, University of Michigan
  • Daniel H. Usner, Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
  • Sophie White, associate professor of American studies, University of Notre Dame

Admission to the symposium is free. The complete schedule of talks and events is available at

The symposium is presented by the City of New Orleans 2018 Commission’s Cultural and Historical Committee with the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, The Historic New Orleans Collection, the Ethel and Herman L. Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies at the University of New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana

Posted: January 29, 2018