A B O U T   U S

Our work in New Orleans is mostly behind-the-scenes—learning, listening & making connections across cities.

We enjoy making personal introductions & sharing urban insights whenever we can.

Let us know if we can help.

"There is no place like New Orleans. It's a must-see city because there's no explaining it, no describing it. You can't compare it to anything." -Anthony Bourdain

We came to New Orleans by way of Detroit to learn about what happened here post-Katrina, and to better understand the do's & don'ts of urban revitalization. We were also curious how this city fiercely preserves its local music, food, architecture, history & culture while other places struggle to protect & value theirs.  

We're also learning how to be new in an old city with deep roots & strong traditions. New Orleans is experiencing the same tensions around development & gentrification that all cities are—but here, it feels even more imperative to enter gently and tread lightly with respect & humility, so as not to do inadvertent harm to what makes this place so unique.

With this in mind, we try to be good ambassadors & stewards. We've hosted nearly 100 guests from Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland, Memphis, San Francisco & beyond, and we enjoy pointing visitors to places & projects beyond the usual tourist fare.

In May 2016, we convened an Urban Exchange between comrades from Detroit & New Orleans. And we brought the NOLA-born Blackness in America dinner series to Detroit. We filmed interviews for Change & The City and hosted a documentary crew from The New York Times. We worked with Urban Innovation Exchange to publish profiles of innovators.

We keep a list of recommendations & referrals—scroll down below. If you are planning a visit, take a glance before you come and share with any friends. 


E X P L O R E

Visiting New Orleans? May we suggest—


V I S I T

The Whitney Plantation

5099 Louisiana Highway 18, Wallace, LA 70049

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The Whitney Plantation is unlike other plantations. It's the only plantation museum in Louisiana with a focus on slavery.

If you're visiting New Orleans, we highly recommend a half-day trip to Wallace, Louisiana—a one-hour drive from the city.

Through museum exhibits, memorial artwork, restored buildings and hundreds of first-person slave narratives, visitors to Whitney will gain a unique perspective on the lives of Louisiana's enslaved people.

To visit, we recommend holding 4-5 hours for the full experience (two hours roundtrip travel and two hours on site). Admission is $22 and guided tours are 1.5 hours.

Transportation & tour options here. We have found good deals for a 1-day car rental from Enterprise on Canal Street, which offers complimentary pick-up from your hotel. (Note: Uber/Lyft can get you there, but not always back!) Stop at nearby B&C Seafood Market before or after for a traditional Cajun lunch.


E A T

A few of our (women-led) favorites —


J A Z Z

For live music, get yourself to two places—Preservation Hall and Frenchmen Street

 
 

L I S T E N

THIS AMERICAN LIFE: Lower 9 +10 

If you're interested in visiting the Lower 9th Ward, one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by Katrina, we highly suggest listening to this episode of This American Life before you go. Recorded on the 10th anniversary of Katrina.

R E A D

STATE OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS

More than 175,000 Black residents left New Orleans in the year after the storm; more than 75,000 never came back. Read this report from the Urban League of New Orleans published 10 years after Katrina.


U R B A N   E X C H A N G E 

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On May 12, 2016, we hosted a cross-city exchange between community leaders from Detroit & New Orleans at the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Center on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.

The evening began with a screening of Change & The City, featuring perspectives on urban revitalization & gentrification from Detroit, Philadelphia & New Orleans.

The screening was followed by dialogue between guest speakers:

The conversation continued across the street at Casa Borrega, and the following day with neighborhood site visits led by Linda Pompa of OC Haley Merchants Association and Joel Ross of Concordia:

Many thanks to all who participated and to Knight Foundation for sponsoring. To watch the film online, click here.


 I N N O V A T O R S

Want to meet New Orleanians working toward a more equitable & sustainable city? Here are just a few profiles from Urban Innovation Exchange, published with Meeting of the Minds & Kresge Foundation. Read about their work and follow on social media—


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