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Posted: October 5, 2010 9:49 a.m.

GPC Newton Hosts Symposium on Aftermath of Katrina

"New Orleans - Before and After Katrina" will be the focus of the annual Fall Symposium at Georgia Perimeter College Newton Campus. The three-day event, to be held on Oct. 6, and 7, will include speeches, student panel discussions, film screenings, New Orleans cuisine and a concert in the Crescent City's celebrated jazz tradition.

All events on campus are free and open to the public.

"Every American has a connection to New Orleans. The city is part of our cultural consciousness," said GPC Newton English professor and symposium committee chair Laura Edmunds. "We've all listened to jazz, eaten Cajun food, watched the Saints, read a Tennessee Williams play, watched a vampire movie, or dreamed of partying at Mardi Gras. We all have a connection to this city."

GPC Newton history professor George Pabis will deliver two keynote speeches: one on why Hurricane Katrina was so devastating to New Orleans and another on what is being done so that the kind of damage caused by that 2005 disaster won't happen again.
Pabis is an expert on the Mississippi River and has published two books on the subject. "He's a great example of the outstanding faculty and excellent resources we have right here at GPC," Edmunds said.

Three student panels and a poster presentation will explore images after Katrina, New Orleans ghost stories, the city's architecture and Katrina's affect on sports. There will be film screenings of Spike Lee's 2006 documentary "When the Levees Broke," and the feature films "Interview with a Vampire" and "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Some symposium events will be festive. Everyone at GPC Newton will be invited to patronize Covington's authentic New Orleans restaurant, RL's on the Square, for a delicious lunch. Back on campus, the Lake Trio with guest trumpeter Greg McLean will perform a New Orleans jazz concert.

"It will be a celebration of life in New Orleans," said Lake Trio leader Paul Vogler. "After Katrina, life goes on and this show will honor the resiliency of the city."

The symposium will underscore that resiliency as well as the tragedy of Katrina. "While impressed with the tremendous recovery made in New Orleans, I was equally struck with a sense of emptiness and confusion when I visited the Lower Ninth Ward and the Mississippi coast," Edmunds said. "These places are just gone. As a teacher I felt we owed our students a fruitful discussion about how absence and loss change our economic and cultural landscape."

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