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, November 25, 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.

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 10, 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 @TheCAHP.

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

CAHP Roundtable discussions are filmed conversations between community members about N. Claiborne Avenue and are led by Dr. Raynard Sanders. These discussions continue to expand the organization’s archive, and excepts from them have been featured within short films exhibited at the CAHP Soirée in October, 2018 as well as short films screened at the panel event “Claiborne Revisited: The Music” in May, 2019.

We are also drawing from this material for the CAHP  documentary feature film Claiborne Revisited, 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.

Interactive Website in Development

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 N. 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 N. Claiborne, as well as CAHP oral histories & video interviews
  • Scholarly essays, research papers, & architectural & development studies
  • Elements from the work-in-progress documentary film Claiborne Revisited for community input and feedback

Within the website we also plan to feature a column titled The Circle to highlight living voices from the community:

  • Young Historian’s Corner, featuring students’ discoveries of N. Claiborne history
  • I Remember, featuring elders’ voices describing life along N. Claiborne pre-Interstate-10
  • I Would Like to See, featuring N. Claiborne artists’ ideas about N. Claiborne in the 21st century

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