WYES’ Documentary ‘New Orleans And The Mississippi River’ Looks Back At One Of The Longest Rivers In The World

NEW ORLEANS – In WYES’ latest documentary from producer and narrator Peggy Scott Laborde, NEW ORLEANS AND THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER explores the unique relationship that exists between New Orleans and the body of water on which it was founded.

         The one-hour documentary premieres on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, at 7:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on WYES-TV/ Channel 12.

         The program features a combination of rare photos and films, along with present-day footage. Viewers will enjoy hearing stories from W. James Amoss, Jr., Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, John Barry, Angelo Brocato, III, Richard Campanella, Jacquelyn Clarkson, Clarke “Doc” Hawley, Dee Hurtt, Gary LaGrange, Judge Edwin Lomabard, Keith Marshall, Ben Sandmel, Nick Spitzer and Allen Toussaint.

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         Many luminaries have had a connection to the city and the river, including Mark Twain and a young Abraham Lincoln. In the almost 300 year history of New Orleans, its river location has proven pivotal many times, including the surrender of the city to Union Admiral David Farragut, who arrived by river to claim a starving New Orleans.

         Reflecting on the vitality of the present port, the documentary will look back at its history to Central America’s banana trade, as well as cotton, sugar, coee and rubber.

         In addition to commercial use, passenger river travel has also been very much a part of the New Orleans and Mississippi River connection. Steamboats carried passengers for years, but by the start of the 20th century, vessels, such as those owned by the Streckfus Family, oered moonlight excursions featuring jazz bands. A young Louis Armstrong honed his musical skills working on trips on the river. Still lingering are vivid memories of the steamer President, which docked at the foot of Canal Street and oered harbor tours, dance cruises, and hosted The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for years.

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         Grand views of the river started at Audubon Park’s Fly and later the Moon Walk in front of the French Quarter. Views of the river greatly expanded during the 1984 World’s Fair and later Woldenberg Park along the French Quarter. With developers anticipating the Fair and the visitors it would bring, the Jax Brewery was transformed into a festival marketplace. Among the World’s Fair structures was the International Pavilion, which was built to ultimately house another festival marketplace called the Riverwalk. Both structures boast a magnificent Mississippi River view. During our program we’ll recall the Mississippi Aerial River Transit, better known as the Gondola and the popular Amphitheater, located on the banks of the river.

         NEW ORLEANS AND THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER is produced and narrated by Peggy Scott Laborde. Editor is Larry Roussarie. Associate producers are Ashli Richard and Kelsi Schreiber. Photographers are Paul Combel and Lenny Delbert. Original music by Kevin George.

         NEW ORLEANS AND THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER is part of WYES-TV’s ongoing coverage of the city’s Tricentennial celebration, which is being produced in association with The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Meraux Foundation. Sponsors are the Port of New Orleans; WYES Producers Circle, a group of generous contributors dedicated to the support of WYES’ local programs; and Weeks Marine.

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         NEW ORLEANS AND THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER repeats Saturday, November 21, at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.; Sunday, November 22, at 10:00 a.m.; Thursday, November 26, at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.; Friday, November 27, at 11:00 p.m.

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