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Friday Nights at NOMA: Music by the Underground Railroad Freedom Singers | Lecture: “Navigating Rivers and Music East of the Mississippi” with Nick Spitzer and Captain Doc Hawley

Fri, December 1st, 2017 at 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Friday Nights at NOMA opens the museum’s doors for many interesting activities throughout the year: live music, movies, children’s activities, and more. Regular admission prices apply—NOMA members are FREE—but there is no extra charge for programs or films.

  • 5 – 8 pm: Art on the Spot family activity table 
  • 5:30 – 8:30 pm: Music by Underground Railroad Freedom Singers
  • 7 pm: “Navigating Rivers and Music East of the Mississippi” with Nick Spitzer and Captain Doc Hawley


Started by National Park rangers Matt Hampsey and well-known local musician Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, the Freedom Singers perform traditional spirituals that enslaved people sang in America in the early to mid-1800s, many of which were revived 100 years later and adopted by civil rights activists.


Nick Spitzer, the producer and host of the radio program American Routes, is a folklorist and a professor of anthropology and American studies at Tulane University. Nick specializes in American music and the cultures of the Gulf South, and received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Texas in 1986 with his dissertation on zydeco music and Afro-French Louisiana culture and identities.As Louisiana State Folklorist (1978-85), he created films, festivals, exhibits and recordings of regional music, and co-produced a 90-minute Folk Festival USA special on Louisiana music for NPR, helping to bring Cajun music and zydeco to national visibility. His work continued at the Smithsonian, where he curated folk festival programs and directed or served as commentator in films about American music, including Great Performances, broadcast on PBS and the Discovery Channel. He has also served on the boards of the Fund for Folk Culture and the National Council for the Traditional Arts. 

The original “Master of the Steamboat Natchez”—New Orleans’ only steamboat— Captain Clarke C. (Doc) Hawley, was awarded the River Legend Award as part of the Seamen’s Church Institute’s 2013 River Bell Awards. The award celebrated Captain Hawley as the “Pied Piper” of the French Quarter. During the course of his long river career, Captain Hawley has served as master of three out of five remaining Mississippi River steamboats, including the Steamboat Natchez—the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River. Although Captain Hawley retired in 1995, he continues to serve the Steamboat Natchez as a calliope player. 

Friday Nights at NOMA is supported in part by grant funds from the Azby Fund; Ruby K. Worner Charitable Trust; New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation; and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Arts Council of New Orleans.


Fri, December 1st, 2017
5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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