National Writing Project

Stories from New Orleans Writing Marathon Hit the Airwaves

Date: April 2008

Summary: Teacher-consultants from the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project and other local sites that participated in the 2007 New Orleans Writing Marathon broadcast their writing on the radio. The marathon was a continuity opportunity, and also an occasion to revel in writing.


Ten months after the 2007 New Orleans Writing Marathon, teacher-consultants reunited to hear their prose broadcast on the radio. When the show began and teachers’ voices hit the airwaves, the room fell silent.

“There was just a feeling of community in the room,” said Richard Louth, director of the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project. “You could sense people going back in their minds, remembering this was about an experience that most of us had had together. So it was more than the show that was happening in this room. It was really a celebration of what we do, and how important writing is to us, and how important these writing project friends are to us.”

Writing about the Crescent City

Back in the summer of 2007, teacher-consultants from the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project and other sites headed to the French Quarter to soak in the sensations of the Crescent City and put their thoughts onto paper, writing and sharing after every stop. They covered a variety of subjects, from the actions of mimes, to murder in the streets, to folks still struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The guitarist leads in gently, playing slowly, an extended opening when the singer begins to quietly moan . . . a soft cry that becomes a wail.

Once the marathon ended, the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project sought a public venue for their writing and teamed up with radio station KSLU , which also produced the audio version of Katrina: In Their Own Words. After ten months of production and four draft revisions, the result was a polished, professional show, broadcast in Louisiana and also online.

“Part of my job as a director is to help provide continuity opportunities of all kinds during the year for teacher-consultants to come together and share their own excitement,” said Louth, “and to revel in each other’s work, and to remember what we have done together.”

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