University gets rid of New Orleans Studies


Zia Sampson

Students who previously declared a New Orleans Studies minor returned to campus this fall to find the minor was no more.

Due to a perceived lack of interest, the minor began transitioning into the American Studies minor, according to Justin Nystrom, director of the Center for the Study of New Orleans.

The New Orleans Studies minor started in 2009, according to Nystrom, in an effort to celebrate New Orleans culture after Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Studies minor previously fell under the category of regional studies. Nystrom said he believes that a lack of applicability is part of the reason students have become disinterested in the minor.

“Probably because it’s like ‘what do I do with a New Orleans Studies minor?'” Nystrom said.

Other professors who previously taught classes within the minor noticed a rising lack of student interest as well.

“For the summer micro courses, I offered one entitled environmental architecture of the French quarter,” Robert Thomas, environmental communication professor, said. “Not one person signed up for it.”

Now, the New Orleans minor is being absolved into the more general American Studies minor. Nystrom believes this will better serve Loyola students because it better translates to graduate schools across the country. The program will still emphasize a study on the New Orleans region, but will also delve into how to study different cultures.

Nystrom predicts the minor will take about a year and a half to fully develop, but in the meantime, there are still many New Orleans-centric classes that students can take. Those classes include things ranging from New Orleans literature to the ecology of the Mississippi river delta.

Thomas said he hopes students will find the motivation to take the classes even though the minor no longer exists.

“Many students are enamored with New Orleans and all its’ interesting aspects,” Thomas said.