TITLE: Laborlore Keynote Address
SPEAKER: Nick Spitzer
EVENT DATE: 2007/08/16
RUNNING TIME: 55 minutes
Nick Spitzer presents a talk titled "In Katrina's Wake: The Building Trades in New Orleans." This presentation focuses on the historical and contemporary relationships of skilled building trades workers in New Orleans to the musical and visual culture of their place. Interviews with veteran workers in the local music and work communities point to the resilience and creative spirit of New Orleans communities as they struggle to rebuild after the devastation caused by the recent flooding of the city.
Speaker Biography: Nick Spitzer is host and creator of American Public Media's "American Routes," a weekly two-hour radio program devoted to vernacular music, musicians and culture. He is also professor of folklore and cultural conservation at the University of New Orleans and was named Mellon professor in the humanities at Tulane University. A commentator or producer for ABC's "Nightline," NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Fresh Air" and PBS's "Great Performances," Spitzer also directed the ethnographic film "Zydeco: Creole Music and Culture in Rural Louisiana" and has produced numerous annotated field recordings. Spitzer served as founding director of the Louisiana Folklife program, editing "Louisiana Folklife: A Guide to the State" and "Mississippi Delta Ethnographic Overview" for the National Park Service. He served as senior folklife specialist at the Smithsonian and as artistic director of the Folk Masters series at Carnegie Hall and the American Roots Independence Day concerts broadcast from the National Mall (1992-2001). In 2002, Spitzer lead a research and exhibition team for "Raised to the Trade: Creole Building Arts of New Orleans" at the New Orleans Museum of Art. A former scholar at the School of American Research in Santa Fe and a Fellow of the American Folklore Society, he received the Benjamin Botkin Award in Public Folklore, an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for American Routes and was named Louisiana Humanist of the Year for cultural recovery efforts after the 2005 catastrophe in New Orleans. In 2007, Nick was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for work on traditional creativity in Louisiana Creole communities.