NOLA Research

September 21, 2010

I have finally made an appointment in Louisiana! He is a professor at LOYOLA University, and he is going to participate in my film discussing Muslim Culture and Islamic Faith. I’ve also made contact with Meena Magazine, and I’m in the process with setting up a time to meet with them. MSA Tulane has also been very cooperative in helping me in my endeavor, and I must set up an exact date to meet with them as well. I am so grateful and appreciative of the people of Louisiana for their willingness to help me with my project.


September 14, 2010

Alright, I’m just going to give you all a quick update of where I’m at in my research and interview status. I have contacted someone who lives here in Minnesota about my project, and they have decided to participate in my documentary. We have decided to do an interview next week, but we do not have a specific time.

In New Orleans, I have contacted the Professor in LOYOLA University, and he has given another contact, and multiple links to Muslim activist groups. I feel that he will be a great resource to finding other resources.

I called over to the superintendent, and I got a hold of her assistant and will be emailing her my request to film at the school and get an interview as well.

One of my biggest challenges so far is contacting Meena, the magazine dealing with Muslim culture, I have sent multiple emails and now must resort to the phone. I really really want to get them on camera, for I feel that their mission in the community is to bridge the gap between Muslim culture and American culture and that’s what I’m trying to do too!

Now, the next step in this documentary is just making a “shot list”, or things that I want to get on camera for my documentary, so back to research and contacting as many people as I possibly can!  

September 7, 2010

I have recently been trying to contact potential people to interview and film in my documentary. I have found that the process of getting people to contact you back is difficult. My one successful contact has been an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota and  is currently out-of-town, but has given me another contact that would be interested in talking about the Muslim culture and Islamic faith, and who is also involved in a civil rights association involving Muslim Americans. I have also found a magazine that is based in New Orleans that specifically deals with the Muslim culture called, Meena Magazine, and I am trying to get a hold of them. My next big step is getting a hold of the Superintendent at Jefferson High School, LA. My name and project is out there, and I am getting some nibbles it’s just a matter of getting an actual set up time and appointment set up with someone for an interview. My goal now is by the end of the week have set times and schedules for filming in Louisiana.

Aug. 31, 2010

I have just ran into a revelation! I was reading the book “Zeitoun”, and I stumbled across a little section in the book that discussed some of the struggles of followers of Muslim faith in Louisiana. Specifically, there was a story about a 10th grade student who was wearing her traditional headdress or hijab, and her teacher ended up saying some very insulting things to her and her religion. He then continued with the spectacle by ripping off her hijab and saying, “I hope God punishes you. No, I’m sorry, I hope Allah punishes you.” This incident peaked my interest, for I find these kind of incidents infuriating and disheartening, for the United States is suppose to be a land of freedom and that includes the freedom to practice whatever religion you wish to practice.I found that the girl that was harassed by her teacher was named Maryam Motar, and the superintendent that was working and still works at Jefferson is, Dr. Diane Roussel. My plan now is to contact Dr. Roussel and ask if she would be interested in an interview. I do have her contact information, but I am fairly nervous to contact her, for the subject is of some controversy.

Now, from this incident I wanted to research the Muslim culture and influence in Louisiana, specifically the New Orleans area. This search then led me to Yaser Mostafa Nasr Eddin Al-Khooly, who is a Imam at the Islamic Society of Central Louisiana. Through this search it led me to a site that had a new image that showed protestors in Manhattan on August 22, 2010, protesting against the possibility of building a mosque near the World Trade Center. As I read the news line and viewed the picture it really irked me that still to this day people who practice Islamic faith are still discriminated against.

Now, with my new found motivation I delved in deeper and discovered that Jefferson Parish is a neighboring parish to Orleans Parish, and that the Jefferson Parish is the most Muslim populated community in Louisiana. On top of that exciting news, I found out, with a little help, that Zeitoun’s original house that he lived in during Katrina is right on the borderline of the Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish!

My plan now is to contact these people and find out who I can interview during my stay in NOLA. I want to also find some mosques here in Minnesota before I go, so I am more familiar with the culture, and to prevent myself from offending anyone from the Islamic faith.

Aug. 23, 2010

After looking at a few articles and looking over some of my previous ideas, I believe I want to focus on the demographics of New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, I want to answer the question, “Who’s moving back in?” Are people that originally lived in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina moving back in, or are we getting all new people? Will this change in people change the culture of New Orleans? Will it be changed for the better or worse?

I would still like to take a look at the Creole culture in New Orleans, but research for that has been a little difficult. I think I’m going to try to mention or have a segment on the Creole culture, and if they are being affected by the demographic change in NOLA .

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