October 18, 2010

Presentation looks at SIUC efforts in New Orleans

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- First-hand experiences in New Orleans, both before and after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, will be in the spotlight this week at “SIU in Treme’,” a presentation set for Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Part of the Saluki First Year program, the event is set for 7-9 p.m. in Parkinson Hall’s Browne Auditorium. Although the focus is on first-year Salukis, everyone is welcome to attend the free presentation.

Robert Swenson, SIUC associate professor and architect, will share information about the work SIUC faculty and students have been involved in since 2005 in the New Orleans area. He’ll talk of efforts in the hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward during the past three years and continuing this semester in the historic Treme’ district of New Orleans. Urban Design and Community students will present portions of their current urban design work, facilitated by SIUC anthropology Assistant Professor Roberto Barrios and Cheryl Austin with the Greater Treme’ Consortium.

“The main focus of our presentation is explaining why we believe it is important for the SIUC School of Architecture and others on campus to have a relationship with the Mississippi Delta region, from Cairo and southernmost Illinois to New Orleans,” Swenson said. “The objective is for first-year students to see upper-level students at work, actively engaged in community service and learning practical and useful applications of the various disciplines they learn in class.”

Saluki First Year is a campus-wide initiative launched in 2009 to help students reach their full potential and participate completely in their first year at SIUC. The theme of this year’s program is “The Storm Remembered: Tragedies and Triumphs of Katrina,” and special guest speakers, programs and activities are planned throughout the school year.