Closer Walk NOLA is one part art project and one part community history project. It asks for the memories of New Orleans residents relating to shared music, dance and neighborhood culture in the wake of Katrina and the politics of rebuilding. There are many voices that attempt to speak for New Orleans' diverse culture of music and masking. Closer Walk NOLA asks after the experience of everyone: families and working folks of all kinds, amateur and professional musicians, people on sidewalks and in bars.

On the webpage, any New Orleans resident can click on her neighborhood to see her neighbors’ memories of 3 songs important to New Orleans culture—Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Indian Red, and When the Saints Go Marching In—and then add her own, or tell us about the songs and dance that currently draw people together in her neighborhood. Our partnered organizations and businesses are conducting a paper-and-pen version of this activity in their space which will be periodically documented for the website. The project’s founders will also be filming street interviews and talks with local musicians, dancers, guardians of culture and everyday people which focus on the same questions from March 16th - April 16th 2013. This project seeks to highlight and investigate shared memories, curious and contradictory stories, and personal narratives about local music from unscripted people. It looks for compelling history to emerge from the ground up, from the lived experience of people who call New Orleans their home.

If you would like to offer your support or link to Closer Walk NOLA please contact us.

About the Founders

Kelly C. Porter is a writer, oral historian, and research consultant who holds a graduate degree from the University of Washington Museology Program and a BA in both anthropology and archaeology from Oberlin College. Kelly is interested in design-based research and participatory projects which test new ways of conducting public history and creating relevant collaborative collections in the 21st Century. She has spent a good portion of her career working within collecting institutions which practice arts, science or public history education: The Cranbrook Institute of Science, The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, The London Science Museum, The Detroit Science Museum and The Allen Memorial Art Museum on the campus of Oberlin College. She is the founder of the Jazz Era Voices Project, an evolving digital history collective which explores local traditions of dance and music in the Jazz Era though the photos and oral histories of everyday people. Kelly has also had a decade-long research interest in the history of jazz, race, American music and social dance, and she has performed, taught, lectured and DJ'ed in North America and Europe to that end.

Kai Tuchmann studied theatre directing at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst “Ernst Busch”. From 2006 until 2008 he worked as a director at the Staatstheater Weimar. Since 2008 Tuchmann has coordinated and curated several projects in the Middle East and Northern Africa for the Goethe-Institut. In 2010/11 he was the executive head dramaturg of the Mainfranken Theater Würzburg. Since 2011 Kai Tuchmann is a member of the Interart- Research Group at the Freie Universität, Berlin. His artistic and academic focus lies on documentarism and its contribution to an alternative historiography. In 2012 Tuchmann was a Visiting Scholar at the Martin E. Segal Center in New York.