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Loyola brings environmental geographer, biologist to campus

July 6, 2012

In the spring of 2012, Loyola University New Orleans offered its first course in urban geography and the geography of New Orleans through the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences. Richard Campanella, a highly-regarded environmental geographer, was brought to campus to teach the course, Urban Geography: New Orleans Case Study.

The class was designed to explore how to analyze cities spatially by using New Orleans as a case study. Among the activities included were two all-day geography field trips and two bike rides around town. Students conducted and presented research on a variety of topics, including: why and how the city of Paris was situated, aestheticization of urban spaces in New Orleans, deforestation and flooding in Haiti, the geography of Mardi Gras Indians and second-lines and the geography of recycling in New Orleans, among several others.

According to Campanella, roughly half of the students who participated in the class were New Orleans natives, so there was an ideal mix of insider vs. outsider perspectives.

Campanella is a geographer and author of six critically-acclaimed books on the physical and human geography of New Orleans. His research has been praised in the Journal of Southern History, Journal of Urban History, Places Journal, Louisiana History and Bloomsbury Review. The only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award, Campanella is cited regularly as an expert by a multitude of media outlets, including the Times-Picayune, New York Times, NPR and CNN.

In the fall, Loyola will bring an ecological biologist to campus to teach full-time for the academic year of 2012-13. This appointment, in addition to Campanella’s guest-teaching position, is thanks to a generous gift of $100,000 from the Entergy Charitable Foundation.

The foundation’s gift also supports library acquisitions, including subscriptions, periodicals and books, which support research in the ecological and environmental area. Additionally, the funds have helped to support research by biology professor David White, Ph.D., who studies plant community and population ecology in wetland ecosystems. His recent research has focused on study of the establishment and spread of the invasive marsh reed, Phragmites australis, within the Mississippi River Delta. White’s research has required multiple trips to the field to collect data, which has included hands-on participation of Loyola biology students.

For more information, contact Jess Brown in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at jlbrown@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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