The Oak Trees That Were Saved From North Claiborne Avenue

Mr. Milton Reese, member of the Live Oak Society shows CAHP Documentary Director / Producer Katherine Cecil the oak trees that were saved from N. Claiborne Avenue

Thanks to an introduction facilitated by Dr. Ingrid Labat, on November 25th, 2019 CAHP Documentary Director / Producer Katherine Cecil met Mr. Milton Reese, member of SoulNola and the Louisiana Live Oak Society. Mr. Reese had sought assistance from the Louisiana Live Oak Society in order to explain the discrepancy between the ages of the Lake Vista oak trees, and the answer came from their files.

The late Beau Bassich (d. 2015), Executive Director to the City Park Board and a resident of Lake Vista, told Coleen Landry of the Louisiana Live Oak Society that Ms. Ruth Douglas Voelkel’s love of live oak trees and outrage at the construction of the I-10 through Tremé prompted her to save over a hundred of the oak trees that once graced N. Claiborne Avenue. Thanks to trucks and equipment from the Douglas Warehouses, Ms. Voelkel and her team removed as many of the N. Claiborne oak trees as possible to save them from obliteration. Mr. Reese said “Driving around on streets that at the time led to the Lakefront from N. Claiborne yields many dozens of candidates that likely came from there as well”.

Mr. Reese has cataloged over 150 trees that he believes to be N. Claiborne oaks, most of which were planted along St. Bernard Avenue between Robert E. Lee and Lakeshore Drive, and also within the five parks of Lake Vista: Ozone; Zephyr; Floral; Foliage; and Breeze. In 2020 Mr. Reese and others will complete their inventory of the oak trees in Lake Vista, and thereafter endeavors to catalog other live oak trees along St. Bernard; Paris Avenue; St. Anthony; Elysian Fields; and Franklin Avenue that are likely to have come from N. Claiborne ~ beginning at the Lakefront and then back towards N. Claiborne.

Katherine Cecil will assist Mr. Reese in inventorying the remaining N. Claiborne live oak trees in the blocks from the I-10 Claiborne Avenue down-ramp until Elysian Fields. Please contact us if you have any information about the N. Claiborne oak trees that might be useful to The Claiborne Avenue History Project and the Louisiana Live Oak Society.

CAHP Featured in Charisse Gibson’s Three-Part Series on Tremé for WWL-TV

Dr. Raynard Sanders is interviewed in Part 2 of Charisse Gibson’s WWL-TV series “Tremé: Death of a Neighborhood Survival of a Culture”, which aired on November 26th, 2019.

As one of many strong community voices featured in Charisse Gibson’s important three-part series for WWL-TV “Treme: Death of a Neighborhood Survival of a Culture”, Dr. Raynard Sanders discusses the significance of Black-owned businesses along North Claiborne Avenue and the study put out by the Claiborne Avenue Design Team (CADT) that attempted to mitigate the devastating effects of the I-10 through Tremé, but which was ultimately never implemented.

The series touches on what was lost by the construction of the Municipal Auditorium, which opened in 1930; urban renewal and the construction of Armstrong Park; the displacement of Tremé residents after the failure of federally-built levees in 2005; gentrification; affordable housing; and most recently, the controversial effects of short-term rentals. The series features interviews with Al Jackson of Treme’s Petit Jazz Museum; Louis Charbonnet III of Charbonnet Family Services; Fred Johnson of Black Men of Labor & Neighborhood Development Foundation; musicians and bandleaders John Boutté and Glen David Andrews; and many others. To view all three of Ms. Gibson’s pieces please visit WWL or find their link on the CAHP Facebook page.

Dr. Raynard Sanders is Honored by the Sudan Social & Pleasure Club at its 36th Annual Parade

Sudan Social & Pleasure Club honored CAHP Executive Director Dr. Raynard Sanders at its 36th Annual Parade through Treme.

The Sudan Social & Pleasure Club honored CAHP Executive Dirctor Dr. Raynard Sanders as the 2019 Grand Marshall of its 36th Annual Parade. Festivities began with cocktails and dinner at Burnell’s Square Reception Hall on November 2nd, and the evening honored Dr. Sanders for his many contributions to the New Orleans community, especially within the field of New Orleans education.

Friends and colleagues from numerous organizations including the Plessy and Ferguson Foundation and The Claiborne Avenue History Project gave tributes within a film shown that evening, as well as those from attendees with whom Dr. Sanders has worked for many years. Attendees also watched the CAHP introductory short film.

On Sunday, November 10th 2019 the parade started at the Treme Center at 900 N. Villere with multiple tributes and stops along the way, and ended at Hunter’s Field at 1659 N. Claiborne Avenue. It was a beautiful day with high attendance and great weather. To see more photographs from the day, please check out our CAHP Instagram and Facebook pages.

The 2019 CAHP Soirée

The Wendell Brunious Band plays to a packed house at the New Orleans Jazz Museum for the 2019 CAHP Soirée

The Claiborne Avenue History Project held its second annual CAHP Soirée at the New Orleans Jazz Museum on Friday, November 8, 2019. That evening The Wendell Brunious Band played to a packed house and showcased music that was popular along N. Claiborne Avenue prior to the construction of the I-10. Mr. Brunious shared his deep knowledge of New Orleans music history giving introductions to songs made famous by artists long-associated with N. Claiborne Avenue.

Executive Director Dr. Raynard Sanders introduced the project and emceed the event, and CAHP documentary director/producer Katherine Cecil and CAHP editor Toby Arturi showed the latest short film. This documentary short examines some of the rich music history associated with N. Claiborne Avenue from early jazz to rhythm’n’blues. This film was made possible by funding from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation; Threadhead Cultural Foundation; our Kickstarter Campaign supporters; and by all of you who’ve bought CAHP t-shirts, hats, and bags. We will post this film online soon, so please stay tuned.

Many thanks to Charmaine & Chanda Washington of C& C Catering for wonderful food; to all of the New Orleans Jazz Museum staff; and to all who bid on the wonderful items provided by our generous Silent Auction donors:

Pamala Bishop, Simon Blake, Bywater Bakery, Ali Duffey, Michael Fedor, Phoebe Ferguson & Keith Plessy, Justin Nunnink Photography, Meryt Harding, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Kappa Horn at Nadine Blake, Olandra Lickter / From This Dance Forward, Kate McNee, National World War II Museum, Neo Jazz School of Music & Yah’el Yisrael, New Orleans Athletic Club, New Orleans Film Society, Palm Court Jazz Café, Alexa Pulitzer, Julie Schexnayder / Community Pilates, John Slade, Sólo Espresso Bar, Eric Waters, & Sean Yseult.

To see more photographs of the event please see our CAHP Facebook and Instagram pages, and follow us on Twitter.

CAHP Panels: Claiborne Revisited

From left: Al Jackson, Merline Kimble, Dr. Kara T. Olidge, and Irma Thomas

On Friday May 24, 2019 we held our first panel in the CAHP series “Claiborne Revisited”. Generously hosted by the New Orleans Jazz Museum, “Claiborne Revisited: The Music” touched upon some of the important music history associated with North Claiborne Avenue. This panel featured Merline Kimble, Al Jackson, and Irma Thomas, and was moderated by Dr. Kara T. Olidge, Executive Director of Amistad Research Center. Please visit our CAHP Facebook page to see links to the New Orleans Jazz Museum’s archived livestream video as well as photographs from the event. We welcome feedback and suggestions for future topics within this series of panels.

We also showed material from our “work in progress” documentary short on the music history of North Claiborne Avenue. This piece included excerpts from CAHP interviews with Chuck Badie; Dr. Michael White; Deacon John Moore; Wendell Brunious; Al “Carnival Time” Johnson; Merline Kimble; Herreast Harrison; among others. The filming of these interviews has been possible thanks to the support of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation; the Threadhead Cultural Foundation; to our 2018 Kickstarter donors, and to donors like you.

CAHP Articles in The New Orleans Tribune

The New Orleans Tribune, April 2019, Volume 35, No. 4

The New Orleans Tribune has published our first CAHP article in the April 2019 edition, Volume 35 No. 4 titled “The Death of American Slavery: A Claiborne Avenue Funeral for ‘The Monster’ at the End of the Civil War”, written by Greg Beaman, CAHP Director of Research. This article is the first in a CAHP series published by The New Orleans Tribune, and also calls on New Orleanians to share their memories of this historic street. Please consider e-mailing us at info[at] with your Claiborne Avenue photograph or memory, and pick up your copy of The New Orleans Tribune today!

CAHP Roundtables

One of our CAHP Roundtables with Jolene Jeff, Elaine Yost, Herreast Harrison, Linda Lewis, and Merline Kimble, led by Dr. Raynard Sanders

We are continuing to shoot roundtable discussions for our CAHP archives as well as for use within our CAHP short films. We included material from these roundtables within a short film screened at our CAHP Soirée in October, 2018 as well as short films screened at our recent panel “Claiborne Revisited: The Music” in May, 2019.

These roundtables are filmed conversations between community members about N. Claiborne Avenue and are led by Dr. Raynard Sanders. We are drawing upon this material for our documentary feature film and also plan to use excerpts within our Interactive Website. If you are interested in participating in one of our CAHP Roundtables please contact us via the CAHP website or via e-mail.

The 2018 CAHP Soirée

Bandleader Detroit Brooks and Emcee Fred Johnson

CAHP held its first annual CAHP Soirée at the New Orleans Jazz Museum on October 24, 2018. Dr. Raynard Sanders introduced the project and CAHP team members showed video materials illustrating what we’ve been up to.

This evening provides a wonderful opportunity for community members to participate further in the project and make suggestions of areas related to the rich history of N. Claiborne Avenue that we should investigate further. The evening’s live music was organized by Detroit Brooks and included many other New Orleans musicians who paid homage to the great R&B artists associated with N. Claiborne Avenue in its heyday. 

Thanks to Charmaine & Chanda Washington of C&C Catering; to Mia Matassa and our Silent Auction donors, and to all who bid on the items included. Thanks especially to the New Orleans Jazz Museum for hosting the event. We plan for the CAHP Soirée to be an annual Fall event, so please follow us on Facebook for updates.

Television & News Appearances

CAHP on WWL-TV’s Great Day Louisiana:

CAHP Executive Director Dr. Raynard Sanders & CAHP Documentary Director Katherine Cecil will be featured on WWL-TV’s Great Day Louisiana morning show on June 18, 2019

CAHP Executive Director Dr. Raynard Sanders and CAHP Documentary Director / Producer Katherine Cecil will appear on Jacqueline Mazur’s WWL-TV’s morning show Great Day Louisiana on June 18, 2019. Thank you to Jacqueline Mazur and the team at WWL for your interest in CAHP. Please tune in to watch the show, starting at 9:00 am. We hope that this upcoming television appearance, combined with CAHP Research Director Greg Beaman’s recent article in The New Orleans Tribune will result in the community sending us more photographs and memories relating to N. Claiborne Avenue.

Our ongoing campaign to collect photographs and other images will continue indefinitely, but please don’t delay ~ we’re looking for all kinds of images relating to N. Claiborne Avenue: family photographs; photographs of businesses along the avenue; music fliers from clubs within the corridor, advertisements; restaurant menus (Irma Thomas pointed out at our recent CAHP panel that most menus were on chalk boards, but we remain hopeful!).

If you have items but are unsure if they would interest CAHP, please feel free to drop us a line to ask. We will coordinate the digitization of these images at your convenience, traveling to you with a still camera or scanner so that the images never leave your possession. Should you wish, we will attribute your contributions within CAHP short film credits, under archival materials.

CAHP on Fox 8:

Fox 8 Local First profiles The Claiborne Avenue History Project

Thank you to Fox 8 and its team for profiling our work at CAHP on October 24, 2018. To watch this segment please click on the following link:


WWL-TV profiles The Claiborne Avenue History Project and other organizations

Thank you to Derek Waldrip and WWL-TV for profiling CAHP among other organizations such as Treme’s Petit Jazz Museum and the Claiborne Avenue Alliance (formerly Claiborne Reborn) in their segment “Claiborne Then and Now”, which aired on WWL-TV October 18, 2018. To watch the video please click on the following link:

Interactive Website 

We are exploring different ways of constructing an Interactive Website that uses various maps to show the development of N. Claiborne through the 19th & 20th centuries as well as the businesses along the 22 blocks from Canal Street to Elysian Fields

We hope to launch our Interactive Website within the next few years. Fully integrating text, image, video, and audio formats layered as thumbnails over a map of North Claiborne Avenue, the Interactive Website will be the culmination of the different platforms that make up the entire Claiborne Avenue History Project, with all the various collected media and data accessible in one central place.

The general public and researchers alike will be able to access every type of media in the growing CAHP archive, as well as to discuss, engage, and connect with others in discovering North Claiborne’s rich history. The site will include:

  • An interactive archive of external photographs, CAHP photographs, maps, renderings, film clips & videos related to North Claiborne, as well as CAHP oral histories & video interviews
  • Scholarly essays, research papers, & architectural & development studies
  • Elements from the work-in-progress Documentary Film Project will be shown online regularly as “webisodes” for community input and feedback
  • The most recent and archived versions of a Quarterly E-Newsletter

Featured on both the website and within the newsletter, CAHP’s The Circle will highlight three living voices from the community.

  • The Young Historian’s Corner “I Discovered…” section will feature students’ impressions of North Claiborne either through a photograph, video, non-fiction or fiction essay, rap, song, or spoken word poetry.
  • The “I Remember” column will feature older voices from the surrounding community describing life along North Claiborne Avenue.
  • The “I would like to see” section features an artist’s idea, sketch or comment about current uses or a future use of North Claiborne’s resources.

CAHP is gathering and disseminating historical data about North Claiborne Avenue and hopes to serve as a trusted source for citizens, researchers, students, teachers, tourists, policymakers, and city planners alike.