Since 2009, communication professor Vicki Mayer has been the driving force behind MediaNOLA, an interactive repository for art and cultural resources. Now she’s hoping to take some of that information to the street with guided multimedia tours that can be accessed through a new mobile phone app called New Orleans Historical.
Mayer is teaching a class this semester called Hollywood South, in which students will do research and use MediaNOLA information to create mobile tours based on the film industry's history in New Orleans.
“It’s a different and more vibrant way to curate MediaNOLA content,” Mayer says. “You can be walking down a street and have New Orleans Historical open and the GPS locator will tell you what areas of historical note you are passing.”
The user will then have the option to access more MediaNOLA information in the form of archival images, written histories, podcasts and videos.
Mayer says they are using materials already posted by more than 100 Tulane students across six departments and three schools. She adds they may work with tourism agencies and neighborhood associations to make New Orleans Historical a tourism alternative.
“We’re trying to present a more holistic sense of the history of the film economy in New Orleans,” Mayer says, telling histories of lesser-known areas. "That could be more interesting for a particular kind of tourist who doesn’t want to just hang out on Bourbon Street.”
Mayer says the app, a collaboration between she and University of New Orleans history professor Michael Mizzell-Nelson, is the first digital humanities partnership between faculty at the two universities. There is potential for future projects.
“The more we collaborate between different universities, the stronger we’ll all be,” Mayer says. “All boats will rise.”
The app is currently available for iPhone and Android devices. The film industry guided tours will be added to the app by the end of the spring semester. For more information, go to www.neworleanshistorical.org.