Maria DeLouise earned her B.S. Degree in Elementary Education from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, her Master’s degree in School Administration from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and her Plus 30 from LSU, Baton Rouge where her focus of study was educational technology and library and information science. She began her teaching career in 1977 teaching 8th grade reading in LA. She has taught elementary, middle, and high school students as well as serving as a high school librarian. She spent 10 years teaching in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (North Carolina) where she taught elementary and middle grades; some of which was gifted education. Professor DeLouise has also been an adjunct at LSU, BR for three years where she taught in the College of Education. Maria worked as a Distinguished Educator for the LA Department of Education for five years before serving the students in LA as an elementary, middle, and high school principal.
Brooke Grant, Ph.D., is currently a Professor of Practice in the Tulane Teacher Preparation and Certification Program. Her main focus is on secondary teaching methods and supervising student teachers and resident teachers in the field. Prior to coming to Tulane, she worked in the Educational Leadership Department at the University of Wisconsin – Superior serving as an assistant professor. Brooke’s teaching career began outside of Buffalo, NY where she spent over ten years teaching middle school social studies.
Luther has been active in the New Orleans arts community since 1984. He co-founded the Congo Square Foundation in 1989, which was renamed the Congo Square Preservation Society in 2011. The Society has been instrumental in the resurrection of drumming and cultural activities in Congo Square. In 1993, the Congo Square Foundation was successful in placing Congo Square on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1997 the Foundation led the effort to erect the Congo Square historic marker. In addition, he with a team of drum makers including Douglas Redd carved three Bamboula drums from a one hundred year old cypress tree that are now on display at the new Louisiana State Museum of History in Baton Rouge. The Congo Square Preservation Society sponsors weekly Sunday drum circles in Congo Square that date back to 1988. In 2013, the Congo Square Preservation society launched the Congo Square Living Classroom Fieldtrip which consists of a on-site tour of the Armstrong Park Sculpture Garden followed by the Congo Square Drum & Dance Workshop.
Luther founded two major musical groups, Percussion Incorporated in 1985 and Bamboula 2000 in 1994. He has produced 7 compact discs for these two groups; “Windswept”, “Congo Square”, “Cultural Warrior”, “New Society”, “Live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival”, We Got It Goin’ One” and “The Wild Bamboulas”. Luther Gray and Bamboula 2000 annually teach approximately 5,000 students in elementary, middle, high schools and universities around the country with The Imagination Tour.
Sonya Robinson has over 20 years’ experience in the field of arts integrated learning, creating programs for educational, nonprofit, and corporate audiences. Her extensive experience designing and implementing summer institutes for teachers includes facilitating programs for Lincoln Center Institute, Mississippi Arts Commission, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Louisiana ICI, and Fordham University. Sonya empowers educators with practical tools and authentic models of integrating the arts and humanities to build relevant, transferable skills across academic content. She has implemented professional development series, served as a curriculum coach, and designed teaching artist residencies in over 50 schools, colleges and universities, for organizations including National A+ Schools Consortium, Symphony Space, Ballet Hispanico, and KID smART. Sonya currently serves as the Director of Artist Corps New Orleans and as the Director of Educator Engagement for Music Rising at Tulane University.
Rebecca Snedeker is the Clark Executive Director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University. Previously, as an independent documentary filmmaker, writer, and program curator, she cultivated a body of work that supports human rights, creative expression, and care for place in her native city, New Orleans. Snedeker co-authored Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas (University of California Press, 2013), a book of 22 imaginative maps and essays, with Rebecca Solnit. She has produced several documentaries that take place in the Gulf South, including Preservation Hall (commission, 2000), By Invitation Only (PBS, 2007), Witness: Katrina (National Geographic Channel, 2010), and Land of Opportunity (ARTE, 2010) and contributed to many others, including Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (PBS, 2007) and A Village Called Versailles (PBS, 2008). Snedeker served on the Steering Committee of New Day Films, a filmmaker-owned educational distribution company and the boards of the New Orleans Film Society and Patois: The New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival. She is the recipient of an Emmy Award and director of projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Dr. Denise Frazier is Assistant Director for the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South. An interest in Cuban politics and African Diaspora culture within Latin America led her to New Orleans where she received an MA and PhD in Latin American Studies at Tulane University. She has taught Spanish, Latin American Studies, and African Diaspora-related courses on the university level at Tulane University, Xavier University, and Southern University of New Orleans. Frazier has also taught violin with Make Music NOLA. She has lectured and presented seminars and workshops on diversity, African Diaspora culture, contemporary music and performance all around the country.