New Orleans Collection

The New Orleans Collection in the Journal of the Plague Year: An Archive of Covid-19 features materials drawn from the city and surrounding areas. New Orleanians are asked to share their stories - photographs, blog entries, text messages, cancellation notices - any materials related to the effects of Covid-19 on our community.

All are welcome to contribute. We are particularly interested in the experiences of those involved in our city’s cultural community – hospitality workers, musicians, artists, family businesses. Let the world know what is happening in New Orleans and help create an archive for the future.

The New Orleans Collection was initiated by Connie Zeanah Atkinson and Mary Niall Mitchell of The Ethel and Herman L. Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies at The University of New Orleans (UNO). UNO alum Kathryn O'Dwyer serves as the project manager. The Midlo Center promotes understanding of the city’s history and culture, with an emphasis on civil rights. By supporting new scholarship on New Orleans and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and community partnerships, the Midlo Center promotes public engagement with the cultural life of the city. For inquiries about the New Orleans Collection, please contact the Midlo Center at midlocenter@uno.edu.

Recent Additions

  • Coronaland -- “Cast Away COVID Island”

    With Carnival parades cancelled, somebody had the bright idea to start the Krewe of House Floats to (a) make up for it and (b) to offer work to unemployed float artisans. The results have gone beyond everyone's wildest imagination with 5,000+ people signing up in New Orleans, surrounding parishes, and around the world.“Cast Away COVID Island” on Vallette St. in Algiers Point shows all the craziness we put up with this past year.
  • Coronaland -- “Little Shop of 2020 Horrors”

    With Carnival parades cancelled, somebody had the bright idea to start the Krewe of House Floats to (a) make up for it and (b) to offer work to unemployed float artisans. The results have gone beyond everyone's wildest imagination with 5,000+ people signing up in New Orleans, surrounding parishes, and around the world. “Little Shop of 2020 Horrors” on Bouny St. in Algiers Point paid tribute to a variety of things that made 2020 a crazy year including the coronavirus.
  • Coronaland -- “2021 -- Here We Go Again!”

    With Carnival parades cancelled, somebody had the bright idea to start the Krewe of House Floats to (a) make up for it and (b) to offer work to unemployed float artisans. The results have gone beyond everyone's wildest imagination with 5,000+ people signing up in New Orleans, surrounding parishes, and around the world. “2021 -- Here We Go Again!” on St. Charles used ABBA songs and a "Mamma Mia!" theme to send up a variety of things related to the pandemic.
Browse all

Join us in documenting our uncertain moment. We are acting not just as historians, but as chroniclers, recorders, memoirists, as image collectors. We invite you to share your stories about how the pandemic has affected our lives, from the mundane to the extraordinary, including the ways things haven't changed at all. Share your story in text, images, video, tweets, texts, Facebook posts, Instagram or Snapchat memes, and screenshots of the news and emails--anything that speaks to paradoxes of the moment. Imagine, as we are, what future historian might need to write about and understand this historical moment. 

What Stories to Share?

Allow this Journal of the Plague Year to become your personal diary--a place where you share moments of your life, along with hundreds of others to create a historical record of the pandemic. 

We imagine that there will be both traumatic and dislocating moments in this year of the pandemic, and ask you to share as you encounter them. The same is true for moments of unexpected joy--of spending more time with family or friends.  Your contributions can and should come from the landscapes of your daily life, both in suburbs and cities, but also through the social media and interwebs that increasingly connect us. Stories can be deeply personal, political,  or mundane.  Help your communities to understand the extraordinary, as well as the ordinary of this moment. In the future, historians will be able to use this record of daily life to better understand the changing nature of our lives.

This archive took its title and inspiration from Daniel Defoe's novel of the same name. First published in March 1722 the novel, A Journal of the Plague Year, tells story of one man's experiences of the year 1665, in which the bubonic plague shook London. 

A Journal of the Plague Year was initiated by Catherine O'Donnell, Richard Amesbury, and Mark Tebeau in the School for Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University.  The project is supported financially by the public history endowment at Arizona State University, a fund endowed by Noel Stowe.

The project has emerged as a curatorial consortium that includes faculty and graduate students from around the United States and now the world.