And you thought you had exciting summer plans!
Michael Perlstein and 12 students embark tomorrow morning (Thursday, May 14) for nine days on the road, chasing the ghosts of the blues. The class, Travel and Culture Journalism, has studied the history and happenings of this culture all semester, taking day trips to memorable music points here in the city. And now they’re heading out to Hazelhurst, Miss., the birthplace of blues legend Robert Johnson and headquarters of the foundation and museum that bear his name. Stopping at various scenic and historic points along the way, they’ll wind up in Memphis – for obvious reasons – to sample the cuisine and sounds of Beale Street. They’ll meet up with John Snyder, Loyola music business coordinator, when they arrive.
There’s a scheduled stop on Sunday morning at Al Green’s church, the Full Gospel Tabernacle, in south Memphis. Then it’s on to Clarksdale and the Delta Blues Museum. And then they’ll head for the B.B. King Museum in Vicksburg, with intermittent stops at folk art museums and other points of interest along the way.
Sure, it’s a great trip and a fabulous way to end the semester, but it’s not all fun and games. The students will be working – blogging about their experiences as they go and taking notes and photos in preparation for publishing their final projects, which include major stories for local media.
Based on last year’s class trip to Belize and the works that resulted in a huge layout in The Times-Picayune, I know we’re in for a treat as we follow them – virtually – on their journey. We (jealously) wish them bon voyage and wait anxiously to see the end results.