UNH’s Center For The
Study Of Community Welcomes New Orleans Scholar
Contact: Erika Mantz
UNH Media Relations
Sept. 22, 2005
DURHAM, N.H. -- The Center for the Study of Community, a collaborative
program of the University of New Hampshire and Portsmouth’s
Strawbery Banke Museum, recently welcomed its first visiting scholar,
a New Orleans historian displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Lydia Breen comes to the center from the Algiers Historical Society
where she focuses on maritime history and the Algiers neighborhood,
which is located in the bend of the river which gave the Crescent
City its name. In particular she has been researching the impact
of the shipbuilding industry on the neighborhood, which led her
to look at the people who lived there and where they came from.
Breen is tracking the immigration patterns in a GIS database and
creating multi-layered maps of the community.
The position of visiting scholar is unpaid, but Strawbery Banke
Museum is providing Breen with living and working accommodations
for the fall. She is expected to give some public talks about her
work, but is still trying to locate her collaborators in the geography
department at the University of New Orleans.
“Lydia and I first talked earlier this summer when her work
led her to Portsmouth,” said Thad Guldbrandsen, director of
the Center for the Study of Community. “She was looking at
where the people in the Algiers neighborhood in the 1800s came from,
and she discovered Daniel and Peter Marcy of Portsmouth, who were
living in New Orleans as privateers and possible Confederate sympathizers.
I e-mailed her the day after Katrina hit, and one thing led to another.”
Guldbrandsen said Breen’s research has interesting implications
for Strawbery Banke Museum, which is interested in developing a
similar GIS project for the Puddle Dock neighborhood.