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Tricentennial book reflects on New Orleans’ ‘First 300 Years’

November 22, 2017 11:00 AM
Tulane alumni and faculty contributed to the illustrated anthology ‘New Orleans: The First 300 Years,’ which showcases the work of 22 scholars covering 23 topics pertaining to the city’s identity. (Photo by Sally Asher)


Tulane University faculty members are among the contributors to the book New Orleans: The First 300 Years, which showcases the work of 22 authors in honor of the city's 2018 tricentennial.

The illustrated anthology was produced from a partnership between public TV station WYES and Pelican Publishing Co., with assistance from local museum and research center The Historic New Orleans Collection.

Editor Errol Laborde reached out to several Tulane faculty to write chapters for the book.

“There’s never been a better time to be in New Orleans.”

Peter Ricchiuti

Laborde invited Richard Campanella, senior professor of practice in architecture and geography, because he was familiar with Campanella’s earlier work on the historical geography of New Orleans.

“My chapter focuses on the environmental challenges of New Orleans over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries — namely soil subsidence, development of low-lying areas, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion and sea-level rise,” said Campanella.

“The book mostly focuses on the recent past — the 20th century — because it was envisioned as a follow-up to the influential 1968 publication New Orleans: The Past as Prelude, which covered the first 250 years,” Campanella added.

New Orleans: The Past as Prelude was originally produced as a joint venture between Pelican Publishing and Tulane University.

Peter Ricchiuti, senior professor of practice in the Freeman School of Business, dedicated his chapter to discussing the advent of local offshore drilling and the evolution of local commerce.

“Since Katrina, the city’s business community has changed dramatically,” he said.

Ricchiuti, founder of Tulane investment research program Burkenroad Reports, says that the city has become a hub for young entrepreneurs, noting that a number of prominent local business incubators were started by Tulane alumni.

“If you look back at where the city’s coming from and then look at where it’s headed, there’s never been a better time to be in New Orleans,” said Ricchiuti.

Tulane professor emeritus Lawrence Powell penned the book’s foreword, and Tulane alumni Sally Asher, Robert Dupont, Angus Lind, Brobson Lutz and Patricia Brady also contributed chapters. 

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