At the River’s Edge: Performing Water in New Orleans

In discussing a performance ‘walk’, a floating laboratory, and arts venues and practices by the water, we ask:

How can artistic performances of the Mississippi in New Orleans reimagine relationships between water and land in the city, and reveal new ideas, practices, and strategies of living with water?

A section of Rising Tables (2017), by Jennifer Odem, installed in Crescent Park, New Orleans for Prospect.4.

Join Stuart Andrews and Patrick Duggan, two performance studies academics from the UK, as they reflect on the ways that artists in New Orleans make sense of the river and the city. Andrews and Duggan will explore innovative performance practices, reflect on performances at points along the Mississippi, and identify ways that arts projects reveal critical understandings, practices, and strategies for living with water.

In this session, Andrews and Duggan will share work from their forthcoming book on the significance of performance in New Orleans (LSU Press). In this work, they argue that arts and culture are not simply ‘nice to have’, they are critical modes by which people in a place make sense of that place and manage the risks that can impact on it. After an initial presentation, Andrews and Duggan will invite conversation and reflection on the ways that performance, and arts and culture more broadly, help us make sense of the river in and beyond the city. 

Andrews and Duggan are outsiders to the city, and, as a result, conversation with people in the city has been vital, and a valued part of their work. In writing a book on the city, they regard it as essential to share their emerging work through conversation with people in the city. They are delighted to be a part of River Fest and very much hope you’ll be able to join them for this event. There is more information on Andrews and Duggan’s work in New Orleans, in which they’ve worked with Hazard Mitigation in City Hall, the Arts Council, and arts organisations in the city, here.

Read our initial reflections on this event here.

Rethinking Resilience 2023