From Cameo to Close-up: Louisiana in FilmFrom Cameo to Close-up: Louisiana in Film

From the unique urban landscapes of New Orleans’s French Quarter to the exotic swamps along the Gulf Coast, the picturesque scenery of Louisiana has provided the backdrop for films since the early 1900s. Filmmakers and screen icons such as Bette Davis, Elia Kazan, Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, and Brad Pitt all make up the rich fabric of filmmaking in Louisiana. From Cameo to Close-Up: Louisiana in Film highlights the important role film has played in shaping national and international perceptions of our region and how it has helped fuel the rapid growth of the Louisiana tourism economy in the second half of the 20th century. This exhibit is complimented by The Historic New Orleans Collection’s #NolaMovieNight, where film buffs and casual fans alike can interact with staff and experts on twitter during screenings of some of the most recognizable Louisiana films.

 

 

Storyville: Madams and MusicStoryville: Madams and Music

Formed by an 1897 ordinance introduced by Alderman Sidney Story, Storyville was a legally sanctioned prostitution district located just north of the French Quarter. The varied attractions of sex, music, and dance emanating from the District’s brothels, saloons, and beer halls lured visitors from around the country, giving rise to a nationally important tourism center. Pioneering musicians like Manuel “Fess” Manetta, Jelly Roll Morton, and Joe “King” Oliver experimented with new styles and techniques there, and in the same year the District closed—1917—the Original Dixieland Jazz Band released the first jazz record, “Livery Stable Blues.”

 

 

Enigmatic Stream: Industrial Landscapes of the Lower Mississippi River - Photographs by Richard SextonEnigmatic Stream: Industrial Landscapes of the Lower Mississippi River

As it churns toward its terminus in southeastern Louisiana, the Mississippi River becomes a wide, muddy superhighway of activity, matched in might only by the megastructures of heavy industry that line its banks. The section of the river from Baton Rouge to New Orleans doubles as one of the most potent economic corridors in the country. For two decades, photographer Richard Sexton has explored this complicated region. Enigmatic Stream: Industrial Landscapes of the Lower Mississippi River features more than 100 black-and-white photographs by Sexton, accented by other materials drawn from and inspired by the Mississippi River, capturing the essence of a complex and often mysterious section of the country’s largest waterway.

 

 

Money, Money, Money: Currency Holdings from The Historic New Orleans CollectionMoney, Money, Money!: Currency Holdings from The Historic New Orleans Collection

American banknotes in the twenty-first century are recognizable for their uniform size, green ink, built-in anti-counterfeiting features, and universal acceptance as the United States’ only paper money. But prior to the American Civil War, we had no single currency, except for small-denomination coinage issued by US mints following the American Revolution. Between 1810 and 1865 thousands of American banks, states, counties, parishes, and municipalities printed their own banknotes for circulation. Because they varied in appearance and quality, counterfeiters easily capitalized on merchants’ lack of familiarity with notes from lesser-known banks. From 1719 French banknotes to early twentieth-century coins minted in New Orleans, this virtual exhibition illustrates the history of money in America, with a special focus on Louisiana.

 

 

Andrew Jackson: Hero of New OrleansAndrew Jackson: Hero of New Orleans

For many, Andrew Jackson is a figure from a remote past—a portrait on a twenty-dollar bill, a statue in an old city square, a lyric in a Johnny Horton song. Yet Jackson was the nineteenth-century equivalent of a rock star, one of the United States’s most famous heroes, as well as one of its most polarizing figures. Originally presented to commemorate the bicentennial of his famous victory at the Battle of New Orleans, this exhibition—now in virtual form—uses original manuscript documents, prints, artworks, and material culture artifacts to take a retrospective look at this American icon.

 

 

French Quarter LifeFrench Quarter Life: People and Places in the Vieux Carré

For more than 150 years, artists from around the world have worked to capture and share their impressions of New Orleans’s most iconic and historic neighborhood. This virtual exhibition gathers 22 paintings from the museum’s permanent collection. From the bustle of the French Market to the jazzmen of Preservation Hall, these artworks explore the streets, buildings, and people of the Quarter over time and through a variety of techniques. Additionally, each image has been paired with a literary quotation that we hope will complement it and convey an even more vivid sense of French Quarter life.

 

 

New Orleans MedleyNew Orleans Medley: Sounds of the City

The music of New Orleans is the living product of dynamic cultural interactions played out over centuries in this diverse southern port city. While the city’s music is often characterized by a single style, rhythm, or beat, the reality is much more layered and complex. New Orleans Medley: Sounds of the City explores how the interactions between many musical cultures shaped the city’s music. Selections from THNOC’s extensive musical holdings weave the narrative of the city’s rich musical story. Visitors will see the first music published in New Orleans, tickets from the French Opera House, Jelly Roll Morton’s handwritten sheet music, video footage of Mardi Gras Indians from the 1970s, and much more.

 

 

Shout, Sister, Shout!Shout, Sister, Shout! The Boswell Sisters of New Orleans

Shout, Sister, Shout! features memorabilia documenting the Boswells’ upbringing in New Orleans, where they received formal lessons in classical music while thoroughly absorbing the sounds of the city’s jazz scene; images from their radio appearances; notes from fans and peers; and photographs of the women’s journey to stardom. The exhibition also includes audio tracks of the Boswell Sisters’ hits, such as “I’m Gonna Cry (Cryin’ Blues),” “Old Yazoo,” and “Heebie Jeebies.”

 

 

Purchased LivesPurchased Lives: New Orleans and the Domestic Slave Trade

In 1808, America abolished the international slave trade, ending the export of people from the African continent to the Americas. The domestic slave trade, however—the buying and selling of slaves within the US—continued until the close of the Civil War in 1865. During those 57 years, an estimated one million people found themselves at the center of a forced migration that wrought havoc on the lives of enslaved families, as owners and traders in the Upper South sold and shipped surplus laborers to the expanding Lower South. Many of those individuals passed through New Orleans, the largest slave market in antebellum America. The exhibition Purchased Lives: New Orleans and the Domestic Slave Trade examines the individuals involved in the trade and considers New Orleans’s role in this era of US history.

 

 

Goods of Every Description: Shopping in New Orleans, 1825–1925

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, New Orleans was at the center of a crisscrossing network of global trade routes.The city’s retail stores were filled with goods from New York, Boston, Cincinnati, England, France, Germany, and other manufacturing centers around the world, making New Orleans a popular shopping destination. From the china and silver shops on Chartres Street, down Furniture Row on Royal Street, to the colossal luxury and department stores along Canal Street, the world’s latest fashions converged in the shops lining the city’s muddy thoroughfares. Goods of Every Description: Shopping in New Orleans, 1825–1925 invites visitors to peer into 19th- and early 20th-century shop windows and see the variety of goods available in the cosmopolitan Crescent City.

 

 

Voices of Progress: Twenty Women Who Changed New Orleans

Since the founding of New Orleans, women have played an active role in shaping the city. The city's tricentennial in 2018 provides an ideal opportunity for reflecting on the many women who fought for the welfare and rights of their fellow citizens and the preservation of the city’s rich heritage. The exhibition Voices of Progress: Twenty Women Who Changed New Orleans presents the stories of twenty remarkable women whose contributions range from the nineteenth-century campaign for child welfare, through the early twentieth-century suffrage movement, to the mid-twentieth-century fight for civil rights and equality. Through letters, objects, photographs, film, and more, Voices of Progress spotlights the achievements of these extraordinary women in New Orleans history.