Multimedia Show to Present Sancton’s New Orleans

April 15, 2010 5:43 AM

Kathryn Hobgood

Tulane University will present a multimedia stage production on Monday (April 19) based on Tom Sancton's widely acclaimed book, Song For My Fathers: A New Orleans Story in Black and White. The free presentation will take place at 8 p.m. in Dixon Hall and will feature readings by Sancton, historic video and photography and live musical interludes by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

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This video offers a preview of Thomas Sancton's New Orleans memoir, which will be in the spotlight in a stage production with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the uptown campus Monday (April 19).

Song For My Fathers is an insider's account of the so-called revival of traditional jazz, spearheaded by the founding of Preservation Hall in 1961. Published in 2006, the book was hailed as a "newly minted classic" by the Times-Picayune and was selected for the Tulane Reading Project that year.

Sancton grew up in New Orleans. After studies at Harvard and Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar, he began a 22-year career as a writer, editor and foreign correspondent for Time magazine. In August 2007, Sancton returned to live in New Orleans to take up the Andrew W. Mellon Professorship in the Humanities at Tulane, where he currently teaches creative writing.

Preservation Hall is the main venue of Sancton's coming-of-age memoir; his relationship with the old jazz musicians, who called themselves "the mens," is the central theme. Most of the original "mens" are long since departed, but the current Preservation Hall players are their successors in carrying forward the New Orleans jazz tradition.  

The performance at Tulane is not merely a literary reading, but a unique stage performance that shifts between words and music, past and present, memory and experience. Hear Sancton talk about his book in an interview that aired on Wednesday (April 14) on WWNO-FM radio.

The event coincides with the publication by Other Press of a new paperback edition of Song For My Fathers, updated with additional photos and text that chronicles the author's return to live in his hometown after 40 years.  

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000