shadow_tr

Also in this issue

items - array
1
items - struct
AuthorID 1080799
ControlID 2286
DateAdded 2007-09-12 14:12:57
DateApproved 2009-09-08 16:26:46
FIELDNAMES author,authoremail,teaser,body,pubdate,tulanianvolume,othercredit,active,title
FIELDS
items - struct
active
items - struct
ID 1986
VALUE yes
author
items - struct
ID 1981
VALUE Mary Ann Travis
authoremail
items - struct
ID 1984
VALUE mtravis@tulane.edu
body
items - struct
ID 1980
VALUE <p>Psychology textbooks used to have a gap in them. They left out the “normative” experience of African American adolescence.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997595|" title="sum07_cartoon1_1" height="432" alt="sum07_cartoon1_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_cartoon1_1_1.jpg" width="320" border="0" /> Books talked only about pathology among the black youth population, says Michael Cunningham, associate professor of psychology.<br /> <br /> But Cunningham knew better. As an undergraduate student-teaching elementary-school children, he’d seen that “most kids don’t have all these horrible experiences.” He set out to do basic research that would change what textbooks say.<br /> <br /> What Cunningham experienced at the beginning of his academic career—although he didn’t call it that at the time—was service learning.<br /> <br /> Now all Tulane full-time undergraduate students have the opportunity to be transformed through service learning—as Cunningham was—by fulfilling the university’s new public-service graduation requirement. Tulane is the first national research university to institute such a requirement.<br /> <br /> Service learning “provides opportunities for students to expand their boundaries, challenge their assumptions about the world and its people, and think about how they, as educated individuals, can use their knowledge and skills in ways that make the world a better place,” says Andrew Furco, a professor at the University of California–Berkeley and a consultant to Tulane on the implementation of the public-service graduation requirement.<br /> <br /> The National Commission on Service Learning defines service learning as “a teaching and learning approach that integrates community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.”<br /> <br /> Cunningham says, simply, “Service learning brings abstract things to life.”<br /> <br /> <img id="||CPIMAGE:15314|" height="271" alt="Vicki Mayer" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_sl_2.jpg" width="180" align="left" border="0" /></p> <h2>Decision by storm</h2> <p>The Katrina factor is huge.<br /> <br /> “Quite frankly, we realized that we were potentially coming out of the storm with a stigma,” says Ana Lopez, senior associate provost and associate professor of communication.</p> <p>Lopez huddled with Tulane President Scott Cowen and other university leaders in a Houston hotel in September 2005 in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The leaders made the bold decision to reinvent Tulane in order to save it.<br /> <br /> The post-storm restructuring of the university built on the university’s strengths. Tulane would be smaller and more focused but stronger and take an active role in the rebuilding of New Orleans.<br /> <br /> In the process of evaluating what was best about Tulane, Lopez says the Tulane leaders looked at service learning—a program popular and effective, but optional at Tulane pre-Katrina. “We said, here is a perfect opportunity to show how the new Tulane is going to produce a different kind of student.”<br /> <br /> Service learning taps into the yearnings of the “millennial generation”—the generation of Americans born after 1980.<br /> <br /> “These millennial students characterize themselves as wanting to make a difference,” says Lopez. “And they want to make a difference now—not when they’re 60.”<br /> <br /> As New Orleans goes, so goes Tulane. And vice-versa. After the storm, Tulane in New Orleans is a place where one can make a difference.<br /> <br /> Lopez says she could tell that the students entering Tulane in fall 2006 “really wanted to be here. They talked their parents into coming here. And part of what attracted them was the public-service requirement, the commitment to engagement. This allows them to actually see if they can make a difference.”<br /> <br /> <img id="||CPIMAGE:15315|" height="271" alt="Carol Burdsal" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_sl_3.jpg" width="180" align="left" border="0" /></p> <h2>Cell by cell</h2> <p>“Students’ eyes light up when they talk about seeing things out in the community,” says Carol Burdsal.<br /> <br /> Burdsal is associate professor of cell and molecular biology and associate dean of undergraduate studies for the Tulane School of Science and Engineering. She teaches “Molecular Biology of Cancer” to upper-level cell and molecular biology majors.</p> <p>Students taking the course often have plans to go to medical school. In previous years, Burdsal has integrated service learning into the course by having the students volunteer at an oncology ward at a local hospital.<br /> <br /> The students protected the patients’ anonymity while doing case studies based on the patients’ particular type of cancer and treatments they were receiving. Students explored the mechanisms involved when cells become cancerous and how drugs treatments work.</p> <p>Learning about cancerous cells in an actual hospital setting made the academic class material much more relevant to the students, says Burdsal.<br /> <br /> But not content to repeat the same thing over and over, Burdsal has found a new service-learning project for fall 2007. Her students will work with the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. The brigade is a public-awareness group that provides air-sampling buckets to people living in an area—the notorious Cancer Alley—where petrochemical and other companies might be releasing carcinogens and contaminating the air. The sensors allow individuals and community groups to gather data about exposure to harmful carcinogens.</p> <p>Burdsal’s students will help the Bucket Brigade write a community-health handbook to distribute to people in Saint Bernard Parish, La., where the brigade is active.<br /> <br /> The project ties into the biology of cancer course but from a different angle. In the Bucket Brigade project, students will learn in a real-life setting about the sources of chemical mutagenesis and how chemicals and exposure to carcinogens can trigger cancer.<br /> <br /> Burdsal says service learning is worth the time and energy she’s put into it. “The first time you do it, it is extra effort but if you find the right service activity that fits with your class, then it complements it and makes it stronger.”<br /> <br /> Burdsal thinks the public-service graduation requirement at Tulane will elevate service learning to an accepted part of a university education—like math competency or the language requirement. It will be added to stu<img id="||CPIMAGE:15345|" height="271" alt="Jimmy Huck" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_sl_1.jpg" width="180" align="right" border="0" />dents’ vocabulary as a building block in their education.<br /> <br /> “Students are going to see service as a basic thing that they add to their repertoire. It will be part of what they learn to do in their college education—and hopefully they will carry that with them.”<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>World beyond campus</h2> <p>Students participating in service learning get a sense of the diversity and complexity of the world beyond the Tulane campus and beyond their pre-college experiences, says Jimmy Huck, assistant director and graduate studies adviser for the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane.<br /> <br /> Huck has long used service learning in his courses, working with community partners such as the Hispanic Apostolate of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and after-school programs to arrange for Tulane students to tutor or teach English.<br /> <br /> Huck oversees the “Introduction to Latin American Studies” course and has incorporated service learning as a fundamental element of the curriculum.<br /> <br /> Every semester more than 200, usually first-year, students take the introductory Latin American studies course through one of eight sections. Students can opt to go into the community and write essays reflecting on their experiences related to the course’s general themes—land, welfare, creativity, exchange and encounter.<br /> <br /> Huck says he’s often surprised at the sophistication of the students’ essays as they link their community experiences with their scholarly reading assignments. Through the rather mundane task of tutoring, the students make creative connections with the academic topics.<br /> <br /> “They are learning from their community experiences about Latin America in ways that I never would have expected them to—in ways that I never could have taught them in the class,” says Huck.<br /> <br /> Students begin to understand different realities in different cultures—and that is Huck’s aim all along.<br /> <br /> At Tulane and similar institutions of higher education, Huck has observed a disconnect between the learning environment in the university and the reality just across the street. “I always felt that it was important to bridge the gap. And service learning is a way to do that,” he says.<br /> <br /> Through service learning, “intellectual growth is not disconnected from the reality of the world around you.”<br /> <br /> Students can’t help but intellectually question authority and scrutinize the methods by which information is obtained. They read journal articles and books and compare the findings of the authors with what they’ve witnessed in the community. They are prompted to ask what drives the research, says Huck.<br /> <br /> “No teacher wants students to think that a book is the be-all and end-all—that they only digest it, regurgitate it and accept it as gospel truth. Part of the intellectual and academic college experience is to become a critical thinker, to look at data and say, OK, that makes sense but is it the whole story? What’s missing out of it? What can be challenged here?”<br /> <br /> Huck believes Tulane is on the road to profound change as its graduates become more civically engaged and the community more involved in educating the students. “Most of our students have things to offer the community and want to be good citizens. And this translates into a different level of appreciation and respect for Tulane as an institution,” he adds.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Out of the bubble</h2> <p>A common way of conceptualizing a university campus is as a “bubble.” The protective bubble may be considered geographic, intellectual or social.<br /> <br /> But for Tulane students, the bubble has been pierced, says Vicki Mayer, associate professor and chair of the communication department.<br /> <br /> Students are coming to Tulane thinking that those walls are already either porous or do not exist.<br /> <br /> “And that is a huge change,” says Mayer. “That Tulane graduates have a conception of their education as not just about them but about the community at large is a different way of seeing education.”<br /> <br /> The educational experience at Tulane is unlike what students can get anywhere else, says Mayer. “They will get an education that is integrated with community needs from the get-go.”<br /> <br /> Mayer is the author of <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Producing Dreams, Consuming Youth: Mexican Americans and Mass Media</span> (Rutgers, 2003), and she has done community service and activism as part of her research for the last decade, studying media consumption and community video.<br /> <br /> She finds it exciting that her teaching, research and service “pair up so incredibly nicely” with the public-service graduation requirement.<br /> <br /> As part of service learning for her course “Alternative Journalism,” Mayer’s students have written and published articles in an international publication—<span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Social Policy.<br /> <br /> </span> Headquartered in New Orleans, <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Social Policy</span> is sponsored by ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), a community organization dedicated to social justice and stronger communities.<br /> <br /> Partnering with <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Social Policy</span> is “the perfect marriage between learning how to do non-mainstream forms of journalism and journalistic practice and serving a community nonprofit that needs reporters and wants to capture community voices and make stories about them,” says Mayer.<br /> <br /> This summer, Mayer and Lopez, who took a short leave from her provost office duties, went to Brazil to teach summer school courses to a group of Tulane students in an international setting. The students had the opportunity to do service learning, working with Brazilian university students to produce a community video.<br /> <br /> Talking about ideas is fine but until ideas are put into a practical setting, they aren’t retained and they don’t become integrated into basic knowledge, Mayer contends.</p> <p>She says, “The ideal educational setting is not one in which theory and skills are considered two separate nodes of learning but one in which they are completely integrated into each other, so that we can’t actually even tell the difference between them. If we think about theory and practice separately, to me that’s not learning.”<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Resiliency in real life</h2> <p><br /> <img id="||CPIMAGE:15384|" height="271" alt="Michael Cunningham" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_sl_4.jpg" width="180" align="left" border="0" />Cunningham, the psychology professor, continues to conduct community-based research focused on adolescent psychology. He has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, including a chapter in <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Educating African American Males: Voices From the Field</span> (Corwin Press, 2005), changing old ideas about the resiliency and vulnerability of children of color in urban school settings.<br /> <br /> In his college teaching, Cunningham early on introduced service learning to his students. Although that’s not what he called it. “I called it ‘participant observation experience,’” he says.<br /> <br /> He has sent his Tulane students into New Orleans public schools to tutor and to retirement homes to get to know the life stories of elderly African Americans.<br /> <br /> The students see real-life examples of adolescent behavior and reflect on issues such as abstract thinking and egocentrism in the teenage population. They gain firsthand knowledge of the structural and socioeconomic barriers to success in urban schools. They observe the common things all children experience as they go through puberty.</p> <p>Cunningham’s students sometimes pursue legal careers, where they may change public policy. Or they go into social services, education or business. Or they may follow Cunningham’s path to graduate study and research in psychology.<br /> <br /> Whatever the endeavor, he expects they will better understand American society because of their service-learning experiences.<br /> <br /> And now all Tulane students have the opportunity to leave the bubble and connect what they’ve learned in books with their lives as citizens of the world.<br /> <br style="FONT-STYLE: italic" /> <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Mary Ann Travis is a senior editor in the Office of University Publications and editor</span> <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">of</span> Tulanian<span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">.</span><br style="FONT-STYLE: italic" /> <br /> </p>
othercredit
items - struct
ID 1987
VALUE Illustrations by Mike Henry; Photos by Jackson Hill
pubdate
items - struct
ID 1982
VALUE 2007-09-09 14:12:00
teaser
items - struct
ID 1979
VALUE Tulane pioneers a public-service graduation requirement that takes learning outside the classroom and appeals to the desire of the millennial generation to make a difference.
title
items - struct
ID 1978
VALUE Outside the Books
tulanianvolume
items - struct
ID 1983
VALUE Summer 2007
FORMID 1976
PageID 15300
2
items - struct
AuthorID 1080799
ControlID 2286
DateAdded 2007-09-11 13:55:25
DateApproved 2010-09-22 16:06:44
FIELDNAMES author,authoremail,teaser,body,pubdate,tulanianvolume,othercredit,active,title
FIELDS
items - struct
active
items - struct
ID 1986
VALUE yes
author
items - struct
ID 1981
VALUE Fran Simon
authoremail
items - struct
ID 1984
VALUE fsimon@tulane.edu
body
items - struct
ID 1980
VALUE <p>A photograph holds the power to draw you into the scene, evoking memories of the rhythms of life at a precise moment in time. Few possessions are more priceless.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997610|" title="sum07_suares_main_1" height="496" alt="sum07_suares_main_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_suares_main_1_1.jpg" width="330" border="0" />Just ask those in the New Orleans area who lost their photographic memories with all their other possessions in the flooding after Hurricane Katrina. Or ask an archivist who painstakingly catalogues images as a gift to future generations.<br /> <br /> You could also ask John Suares (M ’37), the retired physician, now in his 90s, whose memory was first triggered by a photograph recently taken and then by a set of photographs taken long ago.<br /> <br /> It all began when Suares was reading a current issue of his university’s magazine and spied a photo of the newly revitalized Tulane Marching Band in their forest green and sky blue uniforms.<br /> <br /> Scrutinizing the young faces in the photograph, he thought back to a time 75 years earlier, when he and his band mates played on a cross–country trip to the 1932 Rose Bowl—a giddy moment of glory during the tough days of the Great Depression.<br /> <br /> Moments later the spry Suares was rummaging through a collection of black-and-white photos from the trip, his mind drifting back to that time, to playing saxophone in the band, to being young again. …<br /> <br /> It is late December 1931, a heady time for the young men in the Tulane University Marching Band. An excited contingent of Tulane students boards a steam locomotive heading for Pasadena, Calif., for the 30th installment of the Rose Bowl, which this year pits the Green Wave against the Trojans of the University of Southern California.<br /> <br /> The football team dominated the Southeastern Conference throughout the season, playing home games in the venerable Tulane Stadium, where the seats are always packed, the fans noisy and you can look skyward and see pigeons swooping up and away from the press box, rolls of film strapped to their legs as they dart to the offices of the Times-Picayune.<br /> <br /> The trip by rail is the high point in the 19-year-old Suares’ first year at college. About 70 young men in the marching band clamber aboard the chartered Southern Pacific Railway train that is pulling several dining cars, a baggage car crammed with the band’s equipment and 15 Pullman sleeper cars filled with Tulane supporters who can afford the trip despite the hard times. There are no local bridges across the Mississippi River, so railway workers load the entire train onto a transfer boat to ferry it across the mighty waters that split the country into halves.<br /> <br /> On the way, the train makes whistle-stops along the route with a gaggle of the band members playing a chorus of “The Olive and Blue March” and yelling a “Hullabaloo!” at each stop. The train makes a longer stop at San Antonio, where the band deploys to parade in uniform, their green capes flashing under bright Texas skies.<br /> <br /> A pre-medical student intent on pursuing his medical degree after two years of undergraduate work, Suares temporarily forgets his studies as he rides the train. For the moment he is blissfully away from his academic load of 21 hours and anxiety about the additional extra hours he’ll face during summer school. With a crushing $300 tuition for each year of school and money so tight, there is little incentive to spend time in college.<br /> <br /> Suares loves playing the sax, and a highlight of each week is practicing with the Tulane Marching Band under the stadium stands along Freret Street on Friday afternoon. Times are tough, but it’s good to be young.<br /> <br /> The boys don’t know it, but the marching band nearly doesn’t make the trip to Pasadena. The cost of transporting such a large group cross-country during the Depression is a challenge and was an uncertainty up to a week before their departure.<br /> <br /> Having left as paupers, band members arrive as princes as the Rose Bowl host committee treats the visiting football team and its compatriots like royalty, pulling out all the stops in a show of hospitality. The band receives an invitation to the ritzy Pasadena Breakfast Club, where under sparkling chandeliers a glamorous starlet sings “Sleepy Time Down South,” a popular Hoagie Carmichael tune.<br /> <br /> That afternoon, a local resident appointed by the host committee gives Suares and a few of his band mates a tour of Pasadena, then invites the visitors to an elegant dinner at his home. During the meal, the host, straight-faced, announces that he had hoped to make the boys from New Orleans feel at home by serving roast possum but says he couldn’t find it at any of the local markets.<br /> <br /> On the morning of New Year’s Day 1932, the band marches in the seven-mile Tournament of Roses Parade. Onlookers clutch souvenir programs proclaiming the extravaganza as “landing one more effective body-blow at Old Man Depression.” It has been an unusually wet winter in Pasadena and rain sprinkles but does not dampen the spirits of either the crowds or the marchers.</p> <p><img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997612|" title="sum07_suares_band_1" height="217" alt="sum07_suares_band_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_suares_band_1_1.jpg" width="339" border="0" />Suares does not feel tired or nervous walking the lengthy parade route. Rather, he feels like he’s cruising along the boulevard in the finest of automobiles—maybe a shiny new Chevrolet—with his friends in the rumble seat and everyone cheering.<br /> <br /> Playing the Tulane fight song over and over again, the musicians excitedly look about to pick out the various starlets and movie stars seated in the stands along the route. Is that Carole Lombard? Myrna Loy? Jean Harlow or Barbara Stanwyck?<br /> <br /> Immediately after the parade, the band is taken to Rose Bowl Stadium, where they join the USC band in performing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a popular patriotic tune that Congress has only just declared the official national anthem. As the Tulane Marching Band takes the field to assemble in the signature “T,” the flag bearers wave both the American flag and the Tulane flag.</p> <p>Overhead, two blimps and two autogiros circle the rain-washed stadium. An estimated 83,000 cheering spectators are dazzled and somewhat shocked as the greatest team to come out of the South outplays the greatest team in the history of the Pacific Coast. The Pasadena Star News reports that the “fast-stepping Greenies” made twice as many first downs, gained more yardage from scrimmage, completed more passes and had a better punting average than their opponent. There’s one set of numbers, however, in which Tulane is deficient and that is the score. The outplayed Trojans win the game, 21 to 12, handing Tulane its only defeat of the season.</p> <p>Despite the loss, everyone is in great spirits on the train ride back to New Orleans. The highlight of the return trip is a stop at the Grand Canyon, but the entire trip is something of a party, as the young men skirt the laws of Prohibition and obtain a copious supply of alcohol.<br /> <br /> As the train carrying the Tulane supporters and band is ferried back across the Mississippi River, the whistles of the ships in the harbor sound a celebratory and deafening welcome home.<br /> <br /> At home in Brandon, Miss., Suares strokes the burnished sax he played 75 years ago. Over the years, he has acquired three more instruments—a B-flat straight soprano, an E-flat alto and a B-flat tenor. Like photographs, each saxophone stirs up its own memories.<br /> <br /> After he retired from his ophthalmology practice in his 70s, Suares formed a band with five friends. His first wife, Marie, named the band “The Retreads,” and though they formed for their own amusement, the combo became quite popular, entertaining at wedding receptions and country club events.<br /> <br /> The heady days of Suares’ freshman year at Tulane have crystallized as a point in time before medical school, before his military service in World War II, before his long career as an ophthalmologist and the many aches of a life well-lived, including the death of the each of the other Retreads and all but five others in his medical class of ’37.  <br /> <br /> “Senility is a terrible disease, by golly,” chuckles Suares, who will turn 94 in September. “I can’t recall what happened yesterday but I can tell you every detail about going to the Rose Bowl in 1932.”<br /> <br /> His voice strong and clear, Suares launches into “Olive and Blue” with gusto. “Roll, Green Wave, Roll them down the field. …”<br /> <br /> </p>
othercredit
items - struct
ID 1987
VALUE Photography by Paula Burch-Celentano
pubdate
items - struct
ID 1982
VALUE 2007-09-11 13:54:56
teaser
items - struct
ID 1979
VALUE Seventy-five years ago, John Suares and his band mates joined Tulane’s mighty football team on a trip to the Rose Bowl.
title
items - struct
ID 1978
VALUE The March of Time
tulanianvolume
items - struct
ID 1983
VALUE Summer 2007
FORMID 1976
PageID 15022
3
items - struct
AuthorID 1080799
ControlID 2286
DateAdded 2007-09-12 16:19:22
DateApproved 2010-09-22 16:04:04
FIELDNAMES author,authoremail,teaser,body,pubdate,tulanianvolume,othercredit,active,title
FIELDS
items - struct
active
items - struct
ID 1986
VALUE yes
author
items - struct
ID 1981
VALUE Nick Marinello
authoremail
items - struct
ID 1984
VALUE mr4@tulane.edu
body
items - struct
ID 1980
VALUE <p>“OK, stay on 107. Keep on going. Keep on truckin’ baby. …”<br /> <br /> Only a few hours ago, Judge David Young was sitting behind the bench in his courtroom, presiding over the fate of nearly 20 defendants during a long string of probation hearings so varied and so often heart wrenching that it would test the wisdom of Solomon had he a job at the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court.<br /> <br /> <img id="||CPIMAGE:993140|" title="sum07_JDY_stand" height="594" alt="sum07_JDY_stand" hspace="7" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_JDY_stand_1.jpg" width="250" align="right" vspace="7" border="0" />But at this moment the judge, who is accustomed to the convenience of power and can command the dynamics of a courtroom with a lift of an eyebrow, is attempting to take hold of a situation that seems to be uncoiling faster than he can wind it back in. It’s 1 p.m. and his parents are already 30 minutes late for a presentation he is to receive from Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez.<br /> <br /> They appear to be lost as they sample a variety of wrong turns on their way to the mayor’s satellite office on the west side of town.<br /> <br /> “You should have listened to your son and met him at the courthouse,” Young (A&amp;S ’81) teases his father over the cell phone. “I know the way you drive.”<br /> <br /> You could forgive Young if he were to be a tad petulant about the developing wrinkle in a day that has already been overstuffed with emotions. There are few things more uncertain in an adult’s life than when his parents are behind the wheel, and while Young counts Alvarez as a friend, no one wants to keep the mayor of a major city on hold.<br /> <br /> Yet, interestingly, Young remains calmly buoyant as he waits with the mayor and the small group of media, family and friends who are on hand for the presentation.<br /> <br /> “You have every good intention, my dear father, but you will end up taking Fidel over in Cuba if you continue heading south,” cracks Young. And who knows if his father is smiling on the other end of the line, but the joke loosens up everyone in the mayor’s office, so when a police deputy delivers a round of hot, sweet Cuban coffee the vibe is muy tranquilo.<br /> <br /> Welcome to the David Young show—not to be confused with the “Judge David Young” show that will air coast to coast in most major television markets next fall, but, rather, the engaging, entertaining and ongoing string of reality-based moments that comprise Young’s life, which is in its 48th season.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Closure</h2> <p>It’s a beautiful day in what for Miami passes as late spring. Blue skies with puffy clouds, it’s the kind of day that wears well in memory over time, and you have to figure it’s a day that will have a special place on Young’s growing docket of memorable achievements. Mayor Alvarez, by the way, is waiting to present Young with a proclamation declaring this day, Friday, May 25, 2007, as David Young Day in recognition of the judge’s 15 years of exemplary service in circuit court. But as cool as that is, it’s rather like icing on a cake.<br /> <br /> Young is stepping down from the bench in order to move into the national spotlight as the star of Sony Pictures’ “Judge David Young,” a program that will air in syndication on Sept. 10. (Check local listings for time and channel.) A daytime court show that will feature Young dispatching justice as he sees fit, it was the first new syndicated program to gain national distribution for the fall season. Amidst all the buzz, Sony execs are sensing that there is something in Young’s candid, funny, sometimes quirky demeanor that is going to connect big-time with viewers.<br /> <br /> “You’re going to love him. He’s a crack-up!” says Jennifer Kahn, when scheduling a press interview for Young. Kahn, a Sony publicity executive who is handling media relations for Young, is probably supposed to say things like that, but it doesn’t take long before you get the feeling that she really likes the guy. In town from New York, Kahn is hanging out today as Young starts out on what in many ways is a new life.<br /> <br /> In a few weeks Young will be commuting to New York to begin taping the first season of shows. But before that there is the business of closure. When you are a sitting judge for 15 years, a lot of life passes by your gavel.<br /> <br /> Young’s day began at 8:30 a.m. in his chambers, where the walls are decorated by only the dozens of clips that once supported framed art and photographs. His conference table is cluttered with a number of boxes containing stuff he’s acquired over the years, including a portion of his extensive collection of penguins. It’s Young’s last day in court, and among his staff there is that sweet, electric, sad vibe that feels something like the last day of school before summer vacation. After trading a few backstage barbs with the bailiff and a courthouse deputy, Young dons his black robe and makes for the courtroom.<br /> <br /> Ask Young why Sony wanted him to be on a television show and he’ll tell you they like his humor and personality and believes he can bring a fresh perspective to the daytime court genre. In his 15 years on the bench Young has earned a reputation for being tough, compassionate, opinionated and entertaining. He has a flare for the provocative, too, as in the time he dismissed disorderly conduct charges against an elderly opera singer after she agreed to sing in court.<br /> <br /> If Young’s name rings a bell, it’s most likely because in 2005 he presided over the much-publicized case of the two America West airline pilots who were eventually convicted and sentenced for intending to operate a plane while intoxicated. But in Miami he is perhaps better known for implementing an 18-month judicial monitoring program in which he meets with defendants on a monthly basis to oversee their progress.<br /> <br /> By the time Young enters the courtroom at 9 a.m. the quiet hum of conversation is pitched at a key somewhere between anxiety and expectation as assistant state attorneys as well as public and private defenders gather before the bar while offenders who are on probation and their family members nervously wait in the gallery. Over to the side of the courtroom a group of young men, some shackled and all in orange jumpsuits, occupy the jury box in stony silence.<br /> <br /> The bailiff calls the court to order and what transpires during the next two hours is compelling stuff—so sad and joyous and funny and human that you might think it’s all been carefully scripted.<br /> <br /> Young recites the names of offenders and, one by one, each comes before him with his or her own story, his or her own journey in, through or out of the system.<br /> <br /> “Anthony Johnson,” calls out Young, and a man dressed in jeans and a blue T-shirt stands up, making what he hopes is his last monthly appearance before the judge. On his shirt are the words “Hey yo, I got the ya yo.”<br /> <br /> “Ya yo?” questions Young. “What’s that about?” “It’s a song,” says Johnson, as he studies the floor.<br /> <br /> “Yeah? Sing it,” says Young.<br /> <br /> Johnson looks up, confused. Did he say sing it? Young waits and Johnson begins to mumble through the lyric: “Hey you, I got the ya yo, you got the money.”<br /> <br /> Wow, the guy’s wearing gangsta rap to his probation hearing.<br /> <br /> “See you in 30 days,” sighs Young. “With the money.”<br /> <br /> In the next minute, Young is talking to a 15-year-old kid who wound up in his courtroom because of an armed robbery conviction and, despite his age, is eligible for time in the state penitentiary. When Young tells the kid that he’s sending him instead to the juvenile sanction system for rehabilitation the boy blurts out, “I’m tired of being in jail.”<br /> <br /> “All you should be saying is ‘thank you’ for sending you to a juvenile program,” snaps Young. “I’m saving you from state prison.”<br /> <br /> Then shifting gears, Young asks the child for the names of the people he loves. The boy mentions his brother, Kevin, and his grandmother.<br /> <br /> “Then put Kevin on your shoulder and don’t do anything you don’t want him to see,” says Young gently. “Put your grandmother on your other shoulder and don’t do anything you don’t want her to see. … Now, can you give me a smile? Come on, I’ve given you a break.”<br /> <br /> A few minutes later, Young is terminating the probation of a young man who—ever cool—receives the good news with a nod. But standing beside him, his mother calls out, “God bless you,” to Young, who asks the woman if she wants a hug. Rising from behind the bench, Young meets the mother halfway for a big embrace that lasts long enough to warrant a commercial break. Kahn, the Sony media exec, begins to tear up.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_left" id="||CPIMAGE:997605|" title="sum07_JDY_1_1" height="225" alt="sum07_JDY_1_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_JDY_1_1_1.jpg" width="339" border="0" />Before you know it, Young is getting another hug, this time from a woman whose probation has been terminated. She squeezes him tight then spins around and, shouting “I can go!,” nearly runs out the courtroom.<br /> <br /> And the morning is still young. The line of attorneys waiting to present their clients’ cases stretches from the bar to the gallery. They carry their overstuffed portfolios like weary passengers waiting to check in before a flight, and despite the human drama that is playing out, the sheer volume of stuff would make the morning a drudgery except that Young conducts his court like, well, like a television show that keeps you glued to the screen.<br /> <br /> Turns out the Sony execs are right. The guy is funny. After one defendant pleads guilty to drug charges, Young, who is a member of Weight Watchers, says, “I know it’s tough [dealing with addiction]. I can end up like a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade if I don’t watch out.”<br /> <br /> In the middle of proceedings, Young begins to talk about the time someone stole his identity on a credit card and purchased a quantity of inexpensive baubles. After about a minute of sharing, Young concludes, “I digress, but I will not pay retail for jewelry. …”<br /> <br /> A moment later, the courtroom is hushed as a longtime Miami attorney confronts Young about the sluggishness of the courts in setting a date for a murder trial. The attorney has probably made hundreds of similar appeals in his career, but this time it’s personal. His wife was murdered and he was blinded when an adopted son allegedly became unhinged and shot them both. Standing at the bar with his daughter holding onto his elbow, the attorney wants the system to move faster.<br /> <br /> “I’m just as frustrated as you,” says Young, who pauses as he looks into the face of the man who can’t look back. “No. I’m sorry, I could never be as frustrated as you are with this.”<br /> <br /> Seated at a table on the floor off to the side of the courtroom, Kahn watches, transfixed. Her eyes are glistening, and hers are not the only ones.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Drive time</h2> <p>After the morning session ends, Young attends a going-away party held in the upstairs lounge before he has to hustle to the mayor’s crosstown office to receive the proclamation. Folks from every strata of courthouse society arrive to wish Young well, give him a hug, and tease him a bit about being a big star. Downstairs, in the courthouse parking garage, it’s more of the same as workers wave and give Young a shout-out.<br /> <br /> Driving through Miami’s lunchtime traffic, Young has time to reflect and talk. It’s gratifying, he says, to see people who18 months earlier were ensnarled in drug and alcohol addiction now come before him, their lives intact. He admits there’s some sadness to leaving the Miami criminal court system after 22 years and recalls how he started out as a prosecutor in the state attorney’s office, working under Janet Reno. He still remembers Reno telling him that his job was to seek justice, and he admires her compassion in instituting drug courts to help non-violent offenders.<br /> <br /> He talks about his life partner, Scott Bernstein, a judge in Miami-Dade County criminal circuit court who oversees a drug court and who has been influential in Young’s understanding of the powerful role that government can play in a person’s life. He says that television, too, can play a role, that come this fall, he will tackle not only legal problems but social problems as well on “Judge David Young.”<br /> <br /> He talks about his reputation for being funny and how he uses humor to loosen up people so they don’t miss his message. He says he was never a cutup in school and was too busy running things to clown around. He talks fondly of his time at Tulane, his degree in political science, his involvement in student governance and, in his junior year, his election as president of Tulane’s Associated Student Body.<br /> <br /> He says he still maintains contact with Tulane by sitting on the Newcomb-Tulane College Dean’s Advisory Council. He says that his father, a well-known Miami attorney, probably first kindled his interest in politics. He jokes that he was not a great athlete and that politics is a great sport for not-great athletes.<br /> <br /> And before you know it, Young is pulling into the parking lot of a sprawling strip mall where Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez has humbly located his west-side office.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Live and direct</h2> <p>Alvarez has such an unassuming persona, dressed in a four-pocketed Guayabera, that it takes a beat before you realize he’s the guy in charge. He’s happy to wait for Young’s parents to arrive, but after about 45 minutes his schedule requires that he reads the proclamation aloud for the benefit of a local TV news cameraman on hand for the event. It’s funny how television somehow makes things real. It’s like the tree falling in the woods—if an event takes place but Channel 4 isn’t there to record it, did it happen? To what extent does reality exist outside the glare of media scrutiny?<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997606|" title="sum07_JDY_2_1" height="331" alt="sum07_JDY_2_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_JDY_2_1_1.jpg" width="330" border="0" />You could keep pondering these things, but then you’d miss the arrival of Young’s parents, and how their son went out into the parking lot to be visual cue for them to know they’ve arrived at the correct place.<br /> <br /> You’d miss the sweet moment of Young helping his mom out of the car and how, once inside the mayor’s office, the three sit closely side-by-side for a TV interview. And you wouldn’t see Young’s mother lean her head on his shoulder right in the middle of the interview, blissfully unconcerned by the camera planted just a few feet away.<br /> <br /> On the evening news this will be a television moment, edited into a few sound bites and images. But right now it’s live and direct. The cameraman, who is also functioning as reporter, asks Burton Young if he will be watching his son on TV this fall.<br /> </p> <p>“Well,” quips Burton, “I watched the show for all these 40-some-odd years and I will continue to.”<br /> <br /> And like his son, Burton, too, can change gears to make a point. “David’s a person of grace,” he replies. “I don’t know anyone who has the depth of compassion that my son has, and all America will be the beneficiary of seeing what one human being can do.<br /> <br /> “This was one heck of a trip getting here,” he continues, “and it demonstrated the love that we have for this kid.”<br /> <br /> That’s good stuff, real stuff, and if Burton Young’s words don’t make it to the 6 p.m. news and to the ears of the Miami community, it will be a shame. Or, just maybe, it won’t. Kahn is smiling a smile that suggests she’s not thinking about sound bites or media kits or press releases.<br /> <br />  It’s just another good moment in the David Young show.<br /> <br /> <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Nick Marinello is a senior editor in the Office of University Publications and features</span> <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">editor of</span> Tulanian.<br /> <br /> </p>
othercredit
items - struct
ID 1987
VALUE [empty string]
pubdate
items - struct
ID 1982
VALUE 2007-09-12 15:47:55
teaser
items - struct
ID 1979
VALUE He may become television's next household name, but first Judge David Young has one more day behind the bench.
title
items - struct
ID 1978
VALUE Show Time
tulanianvolume
items - struct
ID 1983
VALUE Summer 2007
FORMID 1976
PageID 15422
4
items - struct
AuthorID 1080799
ControlID 2286
DateAdded 2007-09-12 16:39:03
DateApproved 2009-09-08 16:31:37
FIELDNAMES author,authoremail,teaser,body,pubdate,tulanianvolume,othercredit,active,title
FIELDS
items - struct
active
items - struct
ID 1986
VALUE yes
author
items - struct
ID 1981
VALUE No. 2 Audubon Place [as told to Suzanne Johnson]
authoremail
items - struct
ID 1984
VALUE [empty string]
body
items - struct
ID 1980
VALUE <p>People used to call me “the house that United Fruit built” but, as usual, they were wrong.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997600|" title="sum07_no2" height="187" alt="sum07_no2" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_no2_1.jpg" width="330" border="0" />I think in fragments and echoes, not in terms of years—what is time, really, when you aren’t bound by age or lifespan? But humans have a most peculiar fascination with anniversaries and dates, and the people whose lives have crossed paths with mine mark my years as 100.<br /> <br /> I’m quite fond of these people whose lives have been so inextricably entwined with mine, even when they want me to do something uncomfortable such as reminisce. Their lives are messy, irregular things, while mine is a smooth track from past to present to future.<br /> <br /> But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because, first of all, I’m not the house that United Fruit built.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>My Birth As A Belle</h2> <p>I have good bones. Over the years, as people tried to flatter me with fresh paint and what they consider the latest fashions, I try them on and must admit I look good no matter what I’m wearing. Only good bones can account for that.<br /> <br /> If you really want to know how I came to be, start with William Theodore Jay. I’m told that W.T. was a first-generation American who had built an empire as owner of a big lumber company and sawmill north of Lake Pontchartrain. When he sold the company in 1906, he left his Madisonville mansion and came to New Orleans.<br /> <br /> Along with two architects, Albert Toledano and Victor Wogan, who were known in their day for designing such local landmarks as the Monteleone Hotel, W.T. Jay seized on the idea of building a grand house in a new residential area to be called Audubon Place.<br /> <br /> And so I was born, a large Beaux Arts beauty, three stories tall and positively grand.<br /> <br /> I started out wearing a coat of dark brown pressed brick and Bedford stone. My interiors were hewn from exotic hardwood forests abroad, hand-sawn from Louisiana yellow pine and chiseled from rock-hard virgin cypress. My exteriors were baked in the brickyards of New Orleans and, if you must know, carved in plaster by the finest masters of a craft long past. This was to be my wardrobe for the first 50 years of my life.<br /> <br /> I was quite a beauty, if I do say so myself, and I was able to see so much more because I had front doors on two sides. Humans, I’ve learned, can be very stubborn, and W.T. Jay had wanted me facing St. Charles Avenue, while the neighborhood planners wanted me to face east toward Tulane University.<br /> <br /> It seems only appropriate to me now that I should face in both directions, with two main entrances and a faux circular drive from the Avenue. After all, how better to watch the world as it swirled around me year after year?<br /> <br /> I don’t go on about such things as money—a bothersome human invention—but I’m told that W.T. Jay paid $36,000 to have me built and received $60,000 a decade later when my new family, Samuel and Sara Zemurray, moved in.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Here’s Where United Fruit Comes In</h2> <p>I was 10 years old, and Samuel Zemurray was 40 when he and Sara moved in with their children, Sam and Doris, in 1917 and began my first major renovation. They created a beautiful ballroom on the third floor, complete with a built-in player organ. And on the second floor was the most spectacular bathroom in the city, complete with a steam bath. An elevator and dumbwaiter made traveling or taking things between floors easier.<br /> <br /> <img class="float_right" id="||CPIMAGE:997601|" title="sum07_zemurray_bananas_1" height="273" alt="sum07_zemurray_bananas_1" hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_zemurray_bananas_1_1.jpg" width="330" border="0" />For the next four decades, I became a major part of the social swirl of New Orleans and even some backroom power discussions revolving around New Orleans, Boston and Latin America. Funny how when the doors are closed, humans think no one is listening.<br /> <br /> Oh, I heard all the stories about Schmuel Zmurri, born into a poor Russian farming family that scraped together money to send him to America at 14, riding steerage to New York and then changing his name to Samuel Zemurray.<br /> <br /> How he first worked for an aged tinkerer in Selma, Ala., chasing down the pigs customers gave him in exchange for tinware, and then worked his way into a small business selling bananas out of Mobile.<br /> <br /> How he brought his family over from Russia in 1896 and settled them in Selma, and then moved his operation to New Orleans in 1899. How he married Sara Weinberger a month after he met her.<br /> <br /> I heard how Sam formed the Cuyamel Fruit Co. in 1910, and the rumors of his part in the overthrow of government in Honduras. I heard how he sold Cuyamel to United Fruit, becoming its major shareholder, and then taking charge of the company when he saw his investment draining away. I heard that in Latin America they called him the “fish that swallowed the whale.”<br /> <br /> What I didn’t hear for myself, I heard on the wind that blew through the open windows of the rich and powerful.<br /> <br /> My memories of those years flow together in a river of images. Of the Zemurray’s niece, Lillian Hellman—who I hear later became quite a famous writer herself—running in and out of the house on visits. Of young Doris and Sam, who both grew up with me and then went off to college in Boston before pursuing their careers.<br /> <br /> I remember Doris’ fine wedding to Roger Thayer Stone in my third-floor ballroom—the same room where her mother Sara would play the organ, the balcony doors opened up to St. Charles Avenue.<br /> <br /> I remember how quiet it became when news reached us that Sam Jr., a captain in the Army Air Corps, had died in a plane crash over the western coast of Africa during World War II. I don’t think the old man was ever the same afterward, although when Sam Jr.’s children, Sam III and Ann, came here to live I was happy to hear their laughter as they played hide-and-seek or slid down the banister when they knew no one but me could see.<br /> <br /> I remember dinner parties and frequent visitors from all parts of government and business. I particularly liked when “Tommy the Cork” came calling. Thomas Corcoran was one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s righthand men. But the “Tommy the Cork” I knew enjoyed a good party, and would whip out his accordion when he came to visit.<br /> <br /> And the food—good thing I didn’t mind the smell of cooking all the time. I know Sam Zemurray III likes to joke that they had bananas at every meal, but his grandmother Sara was quite the hostess and collector of recipes, both with and without bananas. She even wrote two books while living here—<span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">A Thousand Useful Hints for Every Household</span> became very popular.<br /> <br /> And I remember when Sam Sr. died in 1961; he and Sara had already decided that I should be passed on to neighboring Tulane University as a residence for the university president. Not an educated man himself, Sam Sr. admired the university and saw its continued welfare as an important part of his legacy. So I sat patiently, waiting for the next chapter in my life to begin.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>The President’s Residence</h2> <p>It was a kind of confusing time when I first became a part of Tulane, so I just sat back and enjoyed the peace and quiet for several years while the people figured out what to do with me.<br /> <br /> The problem was, as I understand it, that Tulane President Herbert Longenecker, and his wife, Jane, had already settled into No. 12 Audubon Place, a neighboring house belonging to a board member. Finally, in 1967, they arrived at my door.<br /> <br /> It’s always quite a chuckle to see people’s reactions when they come to me for the first time, especially if they’re expected to live here. The Longeneckers were no exception.<br /> <br /> Their furniture didn’t quite fill my space, and they were concerned that I needed a lot of upkeep.<br /> <br /> But Jane Longenecker was up to the task as she set about to make me both an elegant place to entertain and a comfortable family home. Architect Charles Gresham did a rendering of the living room to blend with the Zemurrays’ silk-walled dining room. My elegant plaster ceilings were restored by the sons of the master craftsmen who had first created them.<br /> <br /> Someone gave the university a few beautiful pieces of Prudent Mallard furniture and a fine desk that once belonged to historian Charles Gayarre, grandson of Etienne de Bore, on whose long-ago plantation lands I now stand.<br /> <br /> It was a new role for me to play—as the host for university affairs—and I took to it readily. The Longeneckers decided to make my first floor the public spaces and took the second floor as their living space. My third floor was used for occasional dinners or large meetings, but no one quite knew what to do with the ballroom, and my organ became something of a novelty.<br /> <br /> I also had a major change to my appearance. After 50 years with my brown pressed brick, I was painted white. My columns gleamed and I truly became the jewel of the avenue.<br /> <br /> The next eight years were filled with university life—parties around football games, faculty meetings, women’s meetings and even a grandparent’s association that met on the third floor. The Longeneckers were ebullient hosts–they never met a stranger, and through them I quickly became an important part of Tulane life. There were huge bowls of punch, finger sandwiches from Gambino’s Bakery, and whiskey sours for the adults.<br /> <br /> One of my first events for Tulane was an engagement party for the Longeneckers’ daughter, Marjorie, on New Year’s Eve 1968. And my largest event of the Longenecker years was Marjorie’s wedding reception—with 500 people filling my rooms and grounds and everyone so filled with joy.<br /> <br /> Things weren’t always so festive. There were tense times in those years of transition, and I saw many changes before Herbert Longenecker stepped down in 1975. I heard voices of righteousness, fear, anger and conciliation in many meetings as the university went through desegregation and then became a center of student unrest over Vietnam.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>What I—and the Dog Door—Saw</h2> <p>I clearly remember the first time I met Sheldon and Lucy Hackney—they had come down to look at Tulane from Princeton, where he was provost and she had just finished her degree. His hair was a bit long, and her dress was a bit short—and they thought I was seriously overdressed, in an architectural sort of way.<br /> <br /> I knew we would have fun together.<br /> <br /> The Hackneys lived with me during 1975–80, along with two of their children, Elizabeth and Fein, who were 11 and 14 when the family moved in. A third daughter was in boarding school.<br /> <br /> By now, the Tulane community considered me as much a public space as a private home, and I think the Hackney children found the idea of tourists exiting the streetcars out front and posing for photos by the front columns a bit disconcerting. I’m used to being the center of attention, but for families it seems to take a little getting used to.<br /> <br /> But I enjoyed having children in my halls again, playing what they called “knee football” in the upstairs hallway and shooting baskets in the back driveway. And, as young families do, they got caught in some amusing situations.<br /> <br /> They may think no one knows this, but I clearly recall the evening when Sheldon and Lucy had gone to a formal affair and came home late without their house key. There was nothing to be done but for the tuxedo-clad president to enter by climbing through the flapping dog door in the back.<br /> <br /> My third floor was generally used only for the children’s parties—which had to be chaperoned after it was discovered that the young whippersnappers could climb out onto the roof and sit.<br /> <br /> But I do recall one formal event on the third floor. Jordan’s King Hussein came to dinner, passing students silently holding pro-Israeli protest signs along the way. I think the king was a bit tense about it all, but everything went smoothly once he settled into the reception on the first floor and then the dinner in my third-floor ballroom.<br /> <br /> A couple of times, humorist Art Buchwald came to visit, and talk show host Dick Cavett and other famous people. And it was during these years that I had the chance to renew my acquaintance with Lillian Hellman, who you already know ran through my halls as a youngster growing up in New Orleans.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Don’t Call Me a Fraternity House</h2> <p>I met Eamon and Margaret Kelly before they ever came to live with me, but when he became Tulane’s president in 1981 I must admit I was a bit taken aback when he and Margaret arrived with Margaret’s mother, Sue Ellen, and the four Kelly teenage sons in tow. I knew that Martin, Paul, Andrew and Peter would be entertaining inhabitants. In fact, visitors once wandered mistakenly into the family’s living area and commented that it was very kind of the Kellys to allow a fraternity to live with them. The young men were quite indignant about this, as was I.<br /> <br /> Other than a bit of painting, the Kellys made few changes to me. But they used my spaces differently, incorporating their family into the whole instead of limiting their personal space to the second floor. This was rather good for me, as I was better able to stay involved with everything—after 80 years, you rather get used to having people around. In my third-floor ballroom, which was rarely used except for large events, the boys had a pool table and pinball games.<br /> <br /> As I look back, I realize the Kelly years were among the most interesting periods of my life. They entertained at least three nights a week for university functions, so I was always filled with the sounds of laughter and the clink of china and fine glasses. I met students, faculty members, athletes and alumni. I met famous guests, particularly, as I recall, a lot of politicians—Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson. I don’t remember all their names—only that most commented on my grandeur and beauty.<br /> <br /> And there was a spectacular wedding, as Paul Kelly was married with about 600 guests enjoying themselves throughout my rooms as well as in air-conditioned tents on my lawns. And an old friend, Doris Zemurray Stone, came back and celebrated her 80th birthday.<br /> <br /> There was sadness in my halls during these years too, as the Kellys’ eldest son, Martin, died in an automobile accident. The family retreated inside these walls as they mourned such a horrible loss.<br /> <br /> After 17 years with the Kellys—the people I’d spent the most time and space with since the Zemurray family—I felt in my bones a transition period was coming when I heard that a new president was headed to Tulane.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>I Get a Facelift</h2> <p>I was surprised when the new Tulane president, Scott Cowen, first visited me with the new “first lady” of Tulane, Marjorie Cowen. On the one hand, they recognized my beauty and grandeur. On the other, they said they thought I looked tired. Hmph!<br /> <br /> But maybe they were right, and I had to admit as they set to work to bring me “up to date,“ I began to shine as I hadn’t in many, many years. It took 13 months, and during most of that time the Cowens lived elsewhere so the workers would have the freedom to come and go as they needed. It also gave me a chance to reconnect in a way to Sam Stone, Sam Zemurray Sr.’s eldest grandson, who used to visit his grandparents here as a boy and who funded all of my renovations. Sam passed away recently, but I’m glad that he was able to see me brought back to the grandeur he remembered as a child.<br /> <br /> What did they do to me? One big change was in my third-floor ballroom, which no one had really figured out how to use since the grand days of the Zemurray parties. Now it is an elegant living and dining area, with a solarium overlooking St. Charles Avenue and Audubon Park. There’s a small kitchen installed on the third floor so that late-night snacks don’t have to be prepared in the big catering kitchen on the first floor.<br /> <br /> The old organ purchased for Sara Zemurray has gone into storage now—it no longer worked, though I have hopes that someday it will be restored.<br /> <br /> The greatest changes occurred on the second floor, where the Cowens spend their time. I now have a sunlit study where the president checks his e-mail first thing in the morning and last thing at night—it once was Sam Zemurray’s state-of-the-art bathroom. A sitting room creates a transition between the stairway and the private living spaces. Closets were carved out of the vast expanse of the second floor.<br /> <br /> The first floor remains my public space, where visitors come to dine and to bask in the elegance of gleaming hardwoods and intricate plasterwork, and enjoy the university art and the fine antiques. And this is where most of the visitors come, and they do so about four times a week when the Cowens are in town. I particularly remember a visit by Alan Lomax, the famous musicologist, who sat in my sitting room telling tales of the great blues music of the 1920s.<br /> <br /> And there are still special family occasions. When the Cowens’ grandchildren come to visit I once again enjoy the sound of small, running feet. The rest of the time, I settle for the softly trotting feet of Gibson, the family’s golden retriever. And, recently, I held another wedding reception, with 125 out-of-town guests both inside and spilling onto my grounds to celebrate the wedding of the Cowens’ daughter.<br /> <br /> </p> <h2>Happy Birthday to Me</h2> <p>It has been quite a satisfying first century, now that I think back on it, and my transition from private home to university icon has been an interesting one. Yet I always will remain a family home for the Tulane presidents and their families. And the university’s history—and the history of New Orleans—will always live in me.<br /> <br /> “If walls could talk,” people like to say.<br /> <br /> Ain’t it the truth?<br /> <br /> <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Editor’s Note: Information for this article was taken from transcripts of oral histories as part of Marjorie Cowen’s No. 2 Audubon DVD project.</span><br /> </p>
othercredit
items - struct
ID 1987
VALUE [empty string]
pubdate
items - struct
ID 1982
VALUE 2007-09-12 16:25:00
teaser
items - struct
ID 1979
VALUE After a century as a grand dame of St. Charles Avenue, what tales could the president’s mansion tell?
title
items - struct
ID 1978
VALUE If Walls Could Talk
tulanianvolume
items - struct
ID 1983
VALUE Summer 2007
FORMID 1976
PageID 15442
5
items - struct
AuthorID 1080799
ControlID 2286
DateAdded 2007-09-12 16:50:53
DateApproved 2010-09-22 16:08:42
FIELDNAMES author,authoremail,teaser,body,pubdate,tulanianvolume,othercredit,active,title
FIELDS
items - struct
active
items - struct
ID 1986
VALUE yes
author
items - struct
ID 1981
VALUE Nick Marinello
authoremail
items - struct
ID 1984
VALUE mr4@tulane.edu
body
items - struct
ID 1980
VALUE <p><img id="||CPIMAGE:15473|" height="333" alt="Gone Fishin...." hspace="0" src="/news/tulanian/images/sum07_fishingfinal.jpg" width="339" align="right" border="0" />If you concentrate, you can almost tune out the shouting and focus on the gentle tug of the tide on your fishing line.<br /> <br /> Here, beneath the Seabrook Bridge, where the Industrial Canal opens into Lake Pontchartrain, amidst the shattered hunks of concrete and iron twists of rebar that comprise the shoreline, the fishing is generally pretty good, and the show is often better.<br /> <br /> It’s Saturday morning and the sun barely made its way into the world when the dispute began between a number of guys on the fishing pier and those angling from a boat anchored offshore.<br /> <br /> At issue is whether or not the boat, pitching gently over the deepest part of the shipping channel—where, presumably, fishing is best—is too close to shore to be in compliance with local ordinances.<br /> <br /> Mercifully, it is far enough away to allow for the histrionics of fist-shaking and name-calling while keeping both parties perfectly safe. One pier fisherman goes as far as to threaten to cast his heavily weighted line at the boat, and maybe the ab-surdity of the threat is enough to humble everyone into silence, or maybe it has occurred to all of them that fish don’t really like the sound of people. In any case, quiet finally settles upon the water and fishing resumes in earnest.<br /> <br /> Fishing is a strange way to pass the time. Depending on your skill, fishing is little more than untangling lines, fumbling with knots and reaching for another shrimp after your hook has once again been liberated from its bait. Or maybe it’s an excuse to wake up early, find some space to cast a line and stare at the morning’s horizon, the single strand of twine sloping into the water separating the fisherman from the total goof-off. In any case, there will be 75 seconds less daylight tomorrow than today, and only so many days of summer, and only so many summers.<br /> <br /> “If I told you that I’ve caught 1,000 speckled trout with this rod in the last year I would be lyin’ to you,” says a guy named Jim, holding out a lightweight pole into the midmorning sunlight. “I’ve caught nearly 2,000.”<br /> <br /> Wow. That means Jim catches an average of five-and-a-half trout per day, assuming he’s fishing seven days a week, which doesn’t give him much time to sell used cars, or whatever it is he does for a living. You look for the twinkle in his eye that lets you know that he knows he’s full of bunk, but Jim has turned away, crouching down to his tackle box and pulling out the flat, shiny lure that has snagged a couple thousand reds.<br /> <br /> Fish are renowned for their lack of personality. Not so with fishermen. You have to go no further than the Bible to know this. Or go out to the Rigolets when the wind and tide are just right and find a guy named “Rock” tending to the hooks, lines and sinkers of a small group for a day of fishing.<br /> <br /> The Rigolets is a strait that connects Lake Pontchartrain to Lake Borgne, the group is a collection of out-of-town volunteers helping in Katrina rebuilding and Rock, wearing a Saints cap and sleeveless T-shirt, is a tough-as-beef-jerky local who at the moment is cast in the role of charter boat captain/kindergarten teacher as he keeps the half-dozen lines baited, untangled and in the water.<br /> <br /> They are fishing off of the hobbled remnant of a pier that belonged to a fishing camp wiped away in the hurricane. There is a spooky, industrial-strength beauty in the mix of water, concrete and splintered wood. The volunteers measure their footsteps over the bric-a-brac as they gather for a demonstration on how to hook a wriggling, live shrimp through the second joint of its tail. In a few minutes Rock will be showing them the way to hold a freshly caught, 8-pound sheephead—by first jamming your thumb into its eye socket.<br /> <br /> It’s no time to get squeamish. “You want a photograph with that fish then you will hold him like that,” he says, with the patience of not so much a saint but of the construction foreman he is.<br /> <br /> The volunteers nod, and soon they are casting for themselves and even baiting their own hooks—until a rumble rolls in from somewhere in the middle of Lake Borgne. A rogue thunderhead deepens on the horizon. Lightning flashes in the gut of the storm. Rock shrugs. No big deal. Only so many days. …<br /> <br /> The volunteers look at each other. They shrug, tough like beef jerky, and keep fishing.<br /> <br /> <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Nick Marinello is</span> Tulanian <span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">features editor.</span><br /> <br /> </p>
othercredit
items - struct
ID 1987
VALUE [empty string]
pubdate
items - struct
ID 1982
VALUE 2007-09-12 16:49:24
teaser
items - struct
ID 1979
VALUE Gone Fishin'.
title
items - struct
ID 1978
VALUE New Orleans: Hook, Line and Sinker
tulanianvolume
items - struct
ID 1983
VALUE Summer 2007
FORMID 1976
PageID 15463

Tulane in the news

Error in custom script module
Tulanian Logo

Show Time

September 12, 2007

Nick Marinello
mr4@tulane.edu

“OK, stay on 107. Keep on going. Keep on truckin’ baby. …”

Only a few hours ago, Judge David Young was sitting behind the bench in his courtroom, presiding over the fate of nearly 20 defendants during a long string of probation hearings so varied and so often heart wrenching that it would test the wisdom of Solomon had he a job at the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court.

sum07_JDY_standBut at this moment the judge, who is accustomed to the convenience of power and can command the dynamics of a courtroom with a lift of an eyebrow, is attempting to take hold of a situation that seems to be uncoiling faster than he can wind it back in. It’s 1 p.m. and his parents are already 30 minutes late for a presentation he is to receive from Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

They appear to be lost as they sample a variety of wrong turns on their way to the mayor’s satellite office on the west side of town.

“You should have listened to your son and met him at the courthouse,” Young (A&S ’81) teases his father over the cell phone. “I know the way you drive.”

You could forgive Young if he were to be a tad petulant about the developing wrinkle in a day that has already been overstuffed with emotions. There are few things more uncertain in an adult’s life than when his parents are behind the wheel, and while Young counts Alvarez as a friend, no one wants to keep the mayor of a major city on hold.

Yet, interestingly, Young remains calmly buoyant as he waits with the mayor and the small group of media, family and friends who are on hand for the presentation.

“You have every good intention, my dear father, but you will end up taking Fidel over in Cuba if you continue heading south,” cracks Young. And who knows if his father is smiling on the other end of the line, but the joke loosens up everyone in the mayor’s office, so when a police deputy delivers a round of hot, sweet Cuban coffee the vibe is muy tranquilo.

Welcome to the David Young show—not to be confused with the “Judge David Young” show that will air coast to coast in most major television markets next fall, but, rather, the engaging, entertaining and ongoing string of reality-based moments that comprise Young’s life, which is in its 48th season.

Closure

It’s a beautiful day in what for Miami passes as late spring. Blue skies with puffy clouds, it’s the kind of day that wears well in memory over time, and you have to figure it’s a day that will have a special place on Young’s growing docket of memorable achievements. Mayor Alvarez, by the way, is waiting to present Young with a proclamation declaring this day, Friday, May 25, 2007, as David Young Day in recognition of the judge’s 15 years of exemplary service in circuit court. But as cool as that is, it’s rather like icing on a cake.

Young is stepping down from the bench in order to move into the national spotlight as the star of Sony Pictures’ “Judge David Young,” a program that will air in syndication on Sept. 10. (Check local listings for time and channel.) A daytime court show that will feature Young dispatching justice as he sees fit, it was the first new syndicated program to gain national distribution for the fall season. Amidst all the buzz, Sony execs are sensing that there is something in Young’s candid, funny, sometimes quirky demeanor that is going to connect big-time with viewers.

“You’re going to love him. He’s a crack-up!” says Jennifer Kahn, when scheduling a press interview for Young. Kahn, a Sony publicity executive who is handling media relations for Young, is probably supposed to say things like that, but it doesn’t take long before you get the feeling that she really likes the guy. In town from New York, Kahn is hanging out today as Young starts out on what in many ways is a new life.

In a few weeks Young will be commuting to New York to begin taping the first season of shows. But before that there is the business of closure. When you are a sitting judge for 15 years, a lot of life passes by your gavel.

Young’s day began at 8:30 a.m. in his chambers, where the walls are decorated by only the dozens of clips that once supported framed art and photographs. His conference table is cluttered with a number of boxes containing stuff he’s acquired over the years, including a portion of his extensive collection of penguins. It’s Young’s last day in court, and among his staff there is that sweet, electric, sad vibe that feels something like the last day of school before summer vacation. After trading a few backstage barbs with the bailiff and a courthouse deputy, Young dons his black robe and makes for the courtroom.

Ask Young why Sony wanted him to be on a television show and he’ll tell you they like his humor and personality and believes he can bring a fresh perspective to the daytime court genre. In his 15 years on the bench Young has earned a reputation for being tough, compassionate, opinionated and entertaining. He has a flare for the provocative, too, as in the time he dismissed disorderly conduct charges against an elderly opera singer after she agreed to sing in court.

If Young’s name rings a bell, it’s most likely because in 2005 he presided over the much-publicized case of the two America West airline pilots who were eventually convicted and sentenced for intending to operate a plane while intoxicated. But in Miami he is perhaps better known for implementing an 18-month judicial monitoring program in which he meets with defendants on a monthly basis to oversee their progress.

By the time Young enters the courtroom at 9 a.m. the quiet hum of conversation is pitched at a key somewhere between anxiety and expectation as assistant state attorneys as well as public and private defenders gather before the bar while offenders who are on probation and their family members nervously wait in the gallery. Over to the side of the courtroom a group of young men, some shackled and all in orange jumpsuits, occupy the jury box in stony silence.

The bailiff calls the court to order and what transpires during the next two hours is compelling stuff—so sad and joyous and funny and human that you might think it’s all been carefully scripted.

Young recites the names of offenders and, one by one, each comes before him with his or her own story, his or her own journey in, through or out of the system.

“Anthony Johnson,” calls out Young, and a man dressed in jeans and a blue T-shirt stands up, making what he hopes is his last monthly appearance before the judge. On his shirt are the words “Hey yo, I got the ya yo.”

“Ya yo?” questions Young. “What’s that about?” “It’s a song,” says Johnson, as he studies the floor.

“Yeah? Sing it,” says Young.

Johnson looks up, confused. Did he say sing it? Young waits and Johnson begins to mumble through the lyric: “Hey you, I got the ya yo, you got the money.”

Wow, the guy’s wearing gangsta rap to his probation hearing.

“See you in 30 days,” sighs Young. “With the money.”

In the next minute, Young is talking to a 15-year-old kid who wound up in his courtroom because of an armed robbery conviction and, despite his age, is eligible for time in the state penitentiary. When Young tells the kid that he’s sending him instead to the juvenile sanction system for rehabilitation the boy blurts out, “I’m tired of being in jail.”

“All you should be saying is ‘thank you’ for sending you to a juvenile program,” snaps Young. “I’m saving you from state prison.”

Then shifting gears, Young asks the child for the names of the people he loves. The boy mentions his brother, Kevin, and his grandmother.

“Then put Kevin on your shoulder and don’t do anything you don’t want him to see,” says Young gently. “Put your grandmother on your other shoulder and don’t do anything you don’t want her to see. … Now, can you give me a smile? Come on, I’ve given you a break.”

A few minutes later, Young is terminating the probation of a young man who—ever cool—receives the good news with a nod. But standing beside him, his mother calls out, “God bless you,” to Young, who asks the woman if she wants a hug. Rising from behind the bench, Young meets the mother halfway for a big embrace that lasts long enough to warrant a commercial break. Kahn, the Sony media exec, begins to tear up.

sum07_JDY_1_1Before you know it, Young is getting another hug, this time from a woman whose probation has been terminated. She squeezes him tight then spins around and, shouting “I can go!,” nearly runs out the courtroom.

And the morning is still young. The line of attorneys waiting to present their clients’ cases stretches from the bar to the gallery. They carry their overstuffed portfolios like weary passengers waiting to check in before a flight, and despite the human drama that is playing out, the sheer volume of stuff would make the morning a drudgery except that Young conducts his court like, well, like a television show that keeps you glued to the screen.

Turns out the Sony execs are right. The guy is funny. After one defendant pleads guilty to drug charges, Young, who is a member of Weight Watchers, says, “I know it’s tough [dealing with addiction]. I can end up like a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade if I don’t watch out.”

In the middle of proceedings, Young begins to talk about the time someone stole his identity on a credit card and purchased a quantity of inexpensive baubles. After about a minute of sharing, Young concludes, “I digress, but I will not pay retail for jewelry. …”

A moment later, the courtroom is hushed as a longtime Miami attorney confronts Young about the sluggishness of the courts in setting a date for a murder trial. The attorney has probably made hundreds of similar appeals in his career, but this time it’s personal. His wife was murdered and he was blinded when an adopted son allegedly became unhinged and shot them both. Standing at the bar with his daughter holding onto his elbow, the attorney wants the system to move faster.

“I’m just as frustrated as you,” says Young, who pauses as he looks into the face of the man who can’t look back. “No. I’m sorry, I could never be as frustrated as you are with this.”

Seated at a table on the floor off to the side of the courtroom, Kahn watches, transfixed. Her eyes are glistening, and hers are not the only ones.

Drive time

After the morning session ends, Young attends a going-away party held in the upstairs lounge before he has to hustle to the mayor’s crosstown office to receive the proclamation. Folks from every strata of courthouse society arrive to wish Young well, give him a hug, and tease him a bit about being a big star. Downstairs, in the courthouse parking garage, it’s more of the same as workers wave and give Young a shout-out.

Driving through Miami’s lunchtime traffic, Young has time to reflect and talk. It’s gratifying, he says, to see people who18 months earlier were ensnarled in drug and alcohol addiction now come before him, their lives intact. He admits there’s some sadness to leaving the Miami criminal court system after 22 years and recalls how he started out as a prosecutor in the state attorney’s office, working under Janet Reno. He still remembers Reno telling him that his job was to seek justice, and he admires her compassion in instituting drug courts to help non-violent offenders.

He talks about his life partner, Scott Bernstein, a judge in Miami-Dade County criminal circuit court who oversees a drug court and who has been influential in Young’s understanding of the powerful role that government can play in a person’s life. He says that television, too, can play a role, that come this fall, he will tackle not only legal problems but social problems as well on “Judge David Young.”

He talks about his reputation for being funny and how he uses humor to loosen up people so they don’t miss his message. He says he was never a cutup in school and was too busy running things to clown around. He talks fondly of his time at Tulane, his degree in political science, his involvement in student governance and, in his junior year, his election as president of Tulane’s Associated Student Body.

He says he still maintains contact with Tulane by sitting on the Newcomb-Tulane College Dean’s Advisory Council. He says that his father, a well-known Miami attorney, probably first kindled his interest in politics. He jokes that he was not a great athlete and that politics is a great sport for not-great athletes.

And before you know it, Young is pulling into the parking lot of a sprawling strip mall where Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez has humbly located his west-side office.

Live and direct

Alvarez has such an unassuming persona, dressed in a four-pocketed Guayabera, that it takes a beat before you realize he’s the guy in charge. He’s happy to wait for Young’s parents to arrive, but after about 45 minutes his schedule requires that he reads the proclamation aloud for the benefit of a local TV news cameraman on hand for the event. It’s funny how television somehow makes things real. It’s like the tree falling in the woods—if an event takes place but Channel 4 isn’t there to record it, did it happen? To what extent does reality exist outside the glare of media scrutiny?

sum07_JDY_2_1You could keep pondering these things, but then you’d miss the arrival of Young’s parents, and how their son went out into the parking lot to be visual cue for them to know they’ve arrived at the correct place.

You’d miss the sweet moment of Young helping his mom out of the car and how, once inside the mayor’s office, the three sit closely side-by-side for a TV interview. And you wouldn’t see Young’s mother lean her head on his shoulder right in the middle of the interview, blissfully unconcerned by the camera planted just a few feet away.

On the evening news this will be a television moment, edited into a few sound bites and images. But right now it’s live and direct. The cameraman, who is also functioning as reporter, asks Burton Young if he will be watching his son on TV this fall.

“Well,” quips Burton, “I watched the show for all these 40-some-odd years and I will continue to.”

And like his son, Burton, too, can change gears to make a point. “David’s a person of grace,” he replies. “I don’t know anyone who has the depth of compassion that my son has, and all America will be the beneficiary of seeing what one human being can do.

“This was one heck of a trip getting here,” he continues, “and it demonstrated the love that we have for this kid.”

That’s good stuff, real stuff, and if Burton Young’s words don’t make it to the 6 p.m. news and to the ears of the Miami community, it will be a shame. Or, just maybe, it won’t. Kahn is smiling a smile that suggests she’s not thinking about sound bites or media kits or press releases.

 It’s just another good moment in the David Young show.

Nick Marinello is a senior editor in the Office of University Publications and features editor of Tulanian.

Tulanian
Summer 2007

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu