NOLA Life Stories

NOLA Life Stories features first person perspectives of the individuals who have helped shape our community.

Created by The Historic New Orleans Collection with the collaboration of WWNO, the show features excerpts from oral history interviews conducted as part of THNOC’s Oral History Program, an ongoing effort to record and archive the voices and experiences of the people that have made New Orleans what it is today.

Sarah Holtz, Producer

Mark Cave, Executive Producer

10 Years After BP Oil Spill, A Volunteer Remembers The Pelicans

Mar 20, 2020
Keely Merritt / The Historic New Orleans Collection

Next month marks 10 years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that took lives and damaged the Gulf Coast and its wildlife. In the wake of the disaster, the Louisiana State Animal Response Team dispatched a crew of volunteers to care for thousands of oiled pelicans. Jean Beaston was one of those volunteers. From her home in Youngsville, Louisiana, she chronicled her experiences at the bird rescue center in this edition of NOLA Life Stories.


The NFL, The USFL & The Making Of The Saints

Feb 21, 2020
The Historic New Orleans Collection

The United States Football League was big news in the 1980s, but few realize the league was conceived right here in New Orleans in the 1960s. Local businessman Dave Dixon threatened to create this new league as a means to leverage the NFL into awarding the city a pro football franchise. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, Dave’s son, Shea, looks back on this early history of the USFL.


The Making Of A Champion: Vince Dooley

Jan 10, 2020
The Historic New Orleans Collection

On Monday the 13th, the LSU Tigers square off against the Clemson Tigers at the Superdome for the College Football National Championship. To mark the occasion, oral historian Mark Cave of the Historic New Orleans Collection shared an interview with a coach who earned the same honor in 1980. Vince Dooley was the head coach for the Georgia Bulldogs for over twenty years. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, Mr.

Stars Of The Sugar Bowl: Pepper Rodgers

Dec 27, 2019
The Historic New Orleans Collection

The 86th annual Sugar Bowl arrives at the Superdome on New Year’s Day, and by the end of that game, one athlete will be named Most Valuable Player. Back in 1954, Pepper Rodgers was that player. He earned the title while playing quarterback for Georgia Tech. Rodgers went on to enjoy many moments in the limelight. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, Rodgers shares memories from a life well-lived on and off the field.


29 Years In Solitary: Robert King Of The Angola 3

Nov 15, 2019
The Historic New Orleans Collection

Robert King, Herman Wallace, and Albert Woodfox became known as the Angola 3 during the decades they were incarcerated and held in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. The first to be released was Robert King, who spent 29 of his 31 years served in solitary, and also co-founded the Angola chapter of the Black Panther party. Since his release in 2001, Mr. King has continued to advocate for prison reform throughout the US. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, he shares reflections from his time at Angola.