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Loyola 'blues travelers' explore Mississippi Delta, report on experiences

May 22, 2009

Twelve journalism students in the Loyola University New Orleans College of Social Sciences are on an eight-day tour of the Mississippi Delta, in search of stories and photos along its historic blues trails.

The students, who are traveling with visiting journalism professor Michael Perlstein, are enrolled in his Travel and Culture Journalism class in the School of Mass Communication.

While in Mississippi, students travelled to Hazelhurst, the birthplace of blues legend Robert Johnson; the B.B. King Museum in Indianola; and to Clarksdale to report on children learning blues music there. They then headed north to Memphis, Tenn., to visit Graceland and the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church, the church of soul-singer-turned-minister Al Green. They also dropped in at several juke joints and folk art museums along the way. At each stop, students photographed and wrote about the scene. The depictions of their journey can be seen at www.neworleans.com and at www.newsplink.com.

Perlstein said the trip has provided a plethora of story material for students to showcase the Mississippi blues culture.

“The journey was full of surprises, like the day we bumped into blues legend Mississippi Slim visiting some old friends and shooting the breeze in Greenville. He sang a couple of songs for us, and good thing too, because it kept alive our streak of hearing authentic blues and roots music every day of the trip,” Perlstein said. “My students were equally surprising, digging for hidden story angles, hustling to get remarkable photos and immersing themselves in a culture that is as elusive as it is amazing.”

Like students in Perlstein’s class last year, who traveled to Belize and Guatemala, the “blues travelers” will produce a multi-media spread for Sunday Travel section of The Times-Picayune and its affiliated Web site, nola.com.

For more information on the School of Mass Communication, contact Catherine Koppel in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5448 or ckoppel@loyno.edu.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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