Cementing its reputation and legacy as one of the city's premier research and museum facilities dedicated to the history and culture of New Orleans, the Historic New Orleans Collection on Monday unveiled a slate of programs it will use to celebrate the city's upcoming tricentennial.
At a press conference to unveil its plans, THNOC also detailed ongoing construction at what will become its third campus: 520 Royal Street, the historic building known as the Seignouret-Brulatour Building.
The building, set to open in the fall of 2018, will include an ambitious restoration of the historic structure, which was built in 1816. It will also feature a state-of-the-art rear addition plus a beautiful interior courtyard. The site, which was for many years the home of WDSU-TV and WDSU Radio, will house THNOC's largest exhibition facility, with over 12,000 square feet for permanent and changing exhibitions. The facility will be the third for THNOC, which is housed in historic buildings at 533 Royal and in the 400 block of Chartres Street.
In addition to the new building, THNOC unveiled four of its cornerstone projects that will commemorate New Orleans’ 300th birthday.
That includes a new exhibition titled “New Orleans, the Founding Era." The exhibition will be on view from Feb. 27 - May 27, 2018, in the upstairs galleries at THNOC's main building at 533 Royal St. It will feature an array of rare artifacts from THNOC’s holdings and from institutions across Europe and North America to tell the stories of the city’s early days. "It will focus on the challenges posed by the difficult environment and the various people in the area—namely Native Americans, European settlers, and enslaved laborers," according to THNOC.
The second tricentennial project, which was announced by former New Orleans first lady Sybil Morial, a member of the city's official tricentennial commission, was “Making New Orleans Home: A Tricentennial Symposium,” presented by the City of New Orleans 2018 Commission’s Cultural and Historical Committee, which is co-chaired by THNOC Executive Director Priscilla Lawrence and Mrs. Morial. The event will take place from March 8-11, 2018, at various locations throughout the city. It will feature speakers and panel discussions "exploring the 300-year history of how New Orleans came to be inhabited by diverse, vibrant people and how, in turn, the concept of home has been central to the life and culture of the city," THNOC said.
In addition to announcing more of its plans for its new campus at 520 Royal Street, THNOC on Monday also announced Brulatour’s inaugural exhibition, “Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina." The contemporary art exhibition, which will open in fall 2018, will feature works covering three decades of artists "reacting to the strife and progress of the city." Guest curator Jan Gilbert has assembled art works from more than 75 artists, including Lin Emery, Krista Jurisich, Douglas Bourgeois, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Candy Chang, Gina Phillips, Zarouhie Abdalian and Brandan Odums.
THNOC is also one of the presenting institutions involved in a book celebrating the city's tricentennial. Called "New Orleans: The First 300 Years," the book is being presented by WYES-TV and Pelican Publishing and will be released this fall.