Waking up to teach the day after the presidential election of 2016 was one of the most surreal moments of my more than decade-long teaching career. The demographics of the high school where I was teaching four years ago were roughly 50 percent white and 50 percent Black, Indigenous, and students of color. That morning,Continue reading “What I’ll Say to My History Class If There’s No Clear Winner on Election Night”
Throughout his presidency, Trump has accused teachers, especially history teachers, as “indoctrinating” students to “hate America.” I joined four other state teachers of the year,* who all teach history, to set the record straight about what transpires in our classrooms. In a somber back-to-school season gripped by the pandemic, President Donald Trump late last monthContinue reading “What President Trump Gets Wrong About ‘Patriotic Education’”
On June 5 of 2020, a few friends and I attended a Black Lives Matter rally right outside of Jackson Square, in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. We were fortunate to rendezvous with some of my former students. At the rally, protesters silently sat along the Mississippi River to reflect on the recentContinue reading “Our Students Deserve Spaces Not Named After White Supremacists”
June 19th was a day of remembrance in Louisiana, specifically in my home community of St. Bernard Parish, almost a century before Juneteenth. It was a day where people celebrated the life of Jean San Malo and what he came to symbolize – freedom and resistance. In the late eighteenth century in Spanish Louisiana, JeanContinue reading “The Legend of Jean Saint Malo”
There are quite a few speeches and letters circulating around the internet for the Class of 2020, understandably so. However, this particular one by Lina Abdellatif, a Chalmette High student, hits home and is more important than ever. Lina was one of the Valedictorians at Chalmette High, named Student of the Year, and a PosseContinue reading “Bella Ciao, Class of 2020”
投稿日2020年3月16日 クリス・ダイアー 高校を卒業する君たちへ 金曜日午後、学校終了のベルが鳴り終わった後、高校３年生数人が、私の教室に入ってきました。みんな、プロムパーティー（アメリカの高校の社交行事のダンスパーティ）や卒業旅行のことを心配していました。生徒の話を聞いているうちに、教師として胸が張り裂けそうになりました。今、これから卒業を迎えようとしている君たちも、これを読んできっと同じように心配していることでしょう。
Estimados Seniors de Escuela Secundaria: El viernes por la tarde, algunos estudiantes de último año entraron a mi clase después de que sonó la última campana. Estaban molestos porque su viaje de senior a Disneyworld probablemente será cancelado. Me rompió el corazón de maestro al escuchar. Porque esto es difícil. Se supone que este deberíaContinue reading “Una carta abierta a los estudiantes de último año de secundaria”
Dear High School Senior, On Friday afternoon a few seniors came into my classroom after the last bell rang. They were concerned about prom and their senior trip. It broke my teacher heart to listen. As you’re reading this, you most likely have similar concerns. This is supposed to be your year. The year forContinue reading “An Open Letter to High School Seniors”
Greetings! I am honored to have been invited to give lectures to discuss my research on the St. Bernard Parish Massacre of 1868 as the 150th anniversary approaches. They are all free and open to the public. 1. Thursday, September 13, 6pm The New Orleans Jazz Museum At The Old U.S. Mint 400 Esplanade Ave,Continue reading “Upcoming Lectures!”
Zócalo Public Square published an essay I wrote titled, “Unraveling a Forgotten Massacre in My Louisiana Hometown.” Click here to read. Enjoy!
The positive response to my book, The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre: Blood in the Cane Fields, from the local community has been unreal and humbling! There is a clear demand for this era in history. For those still interested in buying a copy and/or getting it signed, here are some upcoming book signings: Saturday,Continue reading “Upcoming Book Signings!”
Hello all! As you may or may not have noticed, I have been on hiatus from this blog for almost two years. This is for a few reasons. First, I decided to go back to graduate school, which is undauntedly time consuming as I teach high school. However, the main reason is that I haveContinue reading “Upcoming Book Available!”
I’ve compiled a listicle of my favorite historical photos of New Orleans. Through its complex history, New Orleans experienced a series of issues: slavery, war, riots, segregation, hurricanes, etc. I stopped prior to 1980 to keep it as historical as possible. I kept it at 100 to keep it succinct, but there are many moreContinue reading “100 Iconic Photos of New Orleans Through the Ages”
On September 14, 1874, over 5,000 heavily armed members of the White League, a white supremacist paramilitary organization, mobilized to overthrow the Reconstruction government of Louisiana. Under the guidance of John McEnery, a Democrat upset at his recent loss for governorship, they stormed Canal Street to initiate the coup. There they clashed with the MetropolitanContinue reading “The History Surrounding New Orleans’ Confederate Memorials”
In 1933, famed ethnomusicologist John Lomax and his son Alan Lomax pioneered on an arduous journey to capture the sounds of the American South. They wanted to find African-American folk songs in its purest form as close to the days of slavery as possible. Lomax believed prisons provided the best source as its walls createdContinue reading “The Historic Music of Angola Penitentiary”
Ever wondered why people use “axe” as opposed to “ask”? The linguistic history of the “mispronunciation” is much more intricate than you probably think.
The Chicago Tribune published an infuriating piece by Kristen McQueary, who claimed a feeling of “envy” for the “upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.” This sensationalized article justifiably struck a nerve among Katrina victims. It presented itself at perhaps the worst time: at the near precipice of our ten year anniversary.
On a Sunday afternoon on June 24, 1973, around sixty patrons were drinking at the Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter. At 7:56pm, the buzzer that signaled a cab sounded. The man that opened the steel door was greeted by a hurling Molotov cocktail that quickly engulfed the staircase and spreadContinue reading “The Upstairs Lounge Fire: The Largest Massacre of Gay People in U.S. History”
They are somewhat in chronological order by date taken. Hope you enjoy these as much as I did:
A fascinating yet painful look at some of New Orleans’ iconic landmarks that did not endure the test of time. As Benny Grunch would say, they just “ain’t dere no more.” 1. First Saint Charles Hotel The first Saint Charles Hotel was built in 1835. A traveling Brit called it the “finest piece of architectureContinue reading “15 Historic Landmarks New Orleans Lost”
As the United States entered the 20th century, increasing population and industrialization led to a nationwide meat shortage. Moving west to acquire more land for grazing or hunting became a limited option as the frontier closed and buffalos were hunted into near extinction. In southern Louisiana, newly invasive water hyacinths, similar to water lilies, transportedContinue reading “South Louisiana: The Almost Hippopotamus Capital of the West”
New Orleans’ St. Louis Cathedral faced a myriad of obstacles through its circa 300 years of existence. It was first built in 1718, the same year the city was founded under French explorer and colonizer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. The Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 scorched the original structure, and a new structureContinue reading “The Infamous Bombing of St. Louis Cathedral”
“A blow across the shins with a racket is permissible, and broken heads are not uncommon.” The Choctaw Nation of the lower Mississippi River Valley was one of the most influential yet lesser-known groups of 18th century New Orleans. Since French involvement in the region, interactions between the groups were frequent. Native-American and African-American relationsContinue reading “Raquette: The Lost Sport of New Orleans”
On December 11, 1941, days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Adolf Hitler addressed the Reichstag to declare war on the United States. Although American efforts to assist Great Britain were well underway, Hitler’s declaration officially brought the country into the European theatre. The United States was at war on both fronts. By earlyContinue reading “U-166: The Nazi Submarine Sunk in Louisiana Waters”
Background Despite common belief, the American Revolution was more than 13 colonies fighting an oppressive European force; it was a transatlantic conflict involving multiple countries and their colonies. Louisiana, then under the Spanish flag, waged impressive campaigns to attack British territories and undermine the British war effort. Spain decided to assist the rebels because ofContinue reading “Louisiana’s Fight in the Revolutionary War”
New Orleans’ once bustling Chinatown was one of the largest in the country, behind San Francisco and New York City. Due to numerous obstacles, ranging from stringent immigration policies to excessive demolition, Chinatown eventually faded from both modern maps and, for most residents, our collective memory. Tangible vestiges of this once active community are slim,Continue reading “The Lost Chinatown of New Orleans”
The Civil War broke out in 1861. The Union captured New Orleans in April, 1862, saving the city from the destruction faced by other Southern cities. New Orleans remained an occupied city until the end of the war.
The word levee comes from the French verb lever, “to raise”, and was first used in New Orleans shortly after its foundation. As humanity’s battle with water continues, millions depend on them. Nowhere is this truer than the New Orleans region, where battling nature is second nature. Unfortunately, Louisiana levees in 1927 faced an atypicalContinue reading “When the Levees Blew Up: A “Public Execution” of a Community”
After the United States took control of New Orleans via the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, thousands of Americans migrated there to seek better opportunities. Many of them moved into the emerging American sector of New Orleans as they did not mesh well with the already existing Creoles. The Creoles looked at them as barbaric, butContinue reading “Craps: A New Orleans Creation”