Above the Fold: The History of Newspapers in Louisiana
The complex and transformative role that newspapers have played in Louisiana is the focus of the 2024 History Symposium. A vibrant slate of speakers will explore how the medium has evolved over the last two centuries, from the decades leading up to the Civil War to the present day. In the era surrounding the war, newspapers were filled with essays promoting the opposing views and perspectives that precipitated the conflict. During this time, the state’s first Black newspapers, founded by New Orleans’s influential community of free people of color, gave rise to powerful voices from the foundational era of the civil rights struggle. Following the war, newspapers began to cover a broader range of topics and their influence expanded. This era saw the advent of crime coverage and editorial cartoons. The counterculture tide of the 1960s gave rise to alternative newsweeklies like Figaro, which infused the New Orleans journalism landscape with inventive and occasionally audacious arts and culture coverage. Natural and manmade disasters and the rise of digital media in the 21st century have posed new challenges for the industry. Above the Fold will reach beyond these historical narratives to explore how newspapers have not only reported on but also actively shaped the Louisiana experience.