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Essay Review: The Neighborhood Story Project


by Amy Starecheski — May 11, 2006

In the summer of 2005, the first five books of the Neighborhood Story Project, written by students at John McDonogh Senior High, were released in New Orleans and became bestsellers in the city’s independent bookstores.   Almost as soon as these five slender volumes were sent out into the world, the world they describe was lost forever when New Orleans was flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  From a post-Katrina world, the reader looks back through a lens, not of changes accumulated slowly over time, or of cultural difference, but of catastrophic loss and destruction.  This community documentary program became a project of archiving, of history-writing, overnight.   Even if the teenagers who wrote these books knew that their work would shortly be one of the only windows into the precise worlds they describe, they could not have done a better job in fixing those worlds on the page.  Through words... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: May 11, 2006
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12508, Date Accessed: 10/18/2017 4:20:47 PM

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About the Author
  • Amy Starecheski
    Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    AMY STARECHESKI is an interviewer and educator for the Oral History Research Office at Columbia University, where she is currently the Chief Researcher and Interviewer for the Atlantic Philanthropies Oral History Project. Ms. Starecheski has taught oral history interviewing to students from kindergarten through high school, teachers, and museum professionals and has conducted hundreds of hours of archival oral history interviews. She is a co-author of the Telling Lives Oral History Curriculum Guide., based on oral history projects she designed and taught in New York City schools, and was the oral history consultant for Killing the Sky: Oral Histories from Horizon Academy, Rikers Island, published in 2005 by the Student Press Initiative at Teachers College. Her interests include oral history and literacy, the politics of transcription, and community oral history. She is a graduate of Columbia College and holds a Master's degree in Teaching of English from Columbia University Teachers College.
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