This website is an expansion of interviews conducted by Tulane University students and American Routes staff members during the 2009 Fall semester.
Throughout the semester, students enrolled in Nick Spitzer’s “The Interview: Cultural Conversation as Cultural Conservation” seminar recorded and transcribed interviews of Prince of Wales Social Aid and Pleasure Club members, and assisted in the documentation of the club’s annual parade through video and audio recording, and through photographs.
Their work – made possible through the support of the University’s Center for Public Service – culminated in this website, as well as a February 2010 segment on American Routes, the nationally-syndicated public radio program hosted by Spitzer and produced in collaboration with Tulane.
The project also served as more than a learning opportunity: by documenting the Prince of Wales the students also assisted Sweet Home New Orleans – a local non-profit dedicated to assisting in the recovery of the city post-Katrina through a focus on the needs of individual “culture bearers” – in gaining a deeper understanding of its clients.
American Routes is a weekly two-hour public radio program produced in New Orleans, presenting a broad range of American music — blues and jazz, gospel and soul, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, Tejano and Latin, roots rock and pop, avant-garde and classical. Now in its twelfth year on the air, American Routes explores the shared musical and cultural threads in these American styles and genres of music — and how they are distinguished.
The songs and stories on American Routes describe both the community origins of our music, musicians and cultures — the “roots”— and the many directions they take over time — the “routes.”
Host and Producer
Mary Beth Kirchner
Founding Executive Producer
Research and Production Associate
Founded in 1834, Tulane University is one of the most highly regarded and selective independent research universities in the United States. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Tulane takes pride in being a part of this select group of 62 universities with “pre-eminent programs of graduate and professional education and scholarly research.”
Special thanks to Matt Sakakeeny. Additional support was provided by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and the National Endowment for the Arts.