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History department screens documentary on Deutsches Haus

Loyola press release - October 1, 2012

The Department of History at Loyola University New Orleans presents a film screening of “This Haus of Memories,” a first film by assistant history professor Justin Nystrom, Ph.D., on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Nunemaker Auditorium in Monroe Hall.

For 80 years, the Deutsches Haus in Mid-City served as the hub of everything German in New Orleans. It survived some lean years during World War II, and the general decline of the neighborhood around it, but when Hurricane Katrina hit, the club's historic home was all but destroyed. When members of the Haus united to rebuild, it became a symbol of renewal and offered New Orleanians a hopeful moment for a city in need of victories.

Unfortunately, the newly renovated and historic clubhouse was bulldozed in 2011 after the city announced plans for a massive hospital complex in lower Mid-City, an area many viewed as being too blighted to save. Shot mostly between May and November of 2010, this 55-minute feature, which includes footage by Loyola students, follows the members of the Deutsches Haus as they prepare for their last Oktoberfest.

According to Nystrom, the film's genesis came during a freshman seminar class, "New Orleans, Immigrant City," that he taught in the spring semester of 2010. Students produced simple documentary short-films that reflected some aspect of the immigrant experience in New Orleans. By the end of the semester, a film based on interviews conducted at the Deutsches Haus really stood out. Elizabeth Wadsworth and Kristen Blomeyer, now seniors, had uncovered a story that deserved more thorough treatment. When other filmmakers rejected the project, Nystrom decided to make the film himself.

Edited from more than 15 hours of interviews and nearly as many hours of live footage, “This Haus of Memories” is a story about the power of community and the tough choices faced by the residents of New Orleans as they tried to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

The screening is co-sponsored by Loyola’s Center for the Study of New Orleans.

For more information, contact Nystrom at jnystrom@loyno.edu.

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LoyNews is an e-newswire produced by the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. LoyNews is distributed weekly to local, regional and national news media outlets, communicating the latest news and accomplishments of the university and its community.

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