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

Recent Additions

  • Biden Inaugurated

    This afternoon, around 11 am in New Orleans, while in cultural geography class, Joe Biden was officially inaugurated as president in Washington D.C, just outside of the United States Capitol Building, a place that was overrun with insurrectionists inspired to help fight for Donald Trump against the “rigged election”. Upon his ceremony, Biden became the 45th man to hold the power of commander-in-chief, and the 46th president. This is because Grover Cleveland served 2 non-consecutive terms in the 19th century. Biden’s presidency comes in a time of political darkness and separation, so it makes sense that he spent his final moments on the campaign trail preaching for a unified America, but as things are, it’s tough to see one in our future. America is also facing its worst crisis since the economic crash of 2008, as more than 400,000 American’s have lost their lives to coronavirus. It’s probably the craziest political scene that any president has inherited. It’s a tough job from here on out and I wish him the best of luck for the next 4 years. It’s been a dramatic week and a crazy 4 years of my life. It feels like yesterday, but also 100 years ago when I was in 4th grade casting my vote for Hillary via google form with classmates. It is certainly a new day in America, after what feels like a century of frustration for some, and pure joy for others.
  • 13-year-old in Pfizer Covid vaccine trial who wants to be an epidemiologist: ‘I like to learn everything I can

    Recently CNBC has released an article on my story in the Pfizer Vaccine Trial. I got interviewed about a week ago, and I helped in the making of the article. It is on a division of CNBC called CNBC Make It. CNBC Make It is a section of CNBC that specializes in money, wellness, and heartwarming stories. I have gotten to know the writer, Cory Stieg, well and it was great working with her. The article goes into detail about how the trial works and my experience with the trial. This experience has been amazing from both ends, Pfizer and CNBC. I hope that I inspired others to make a change in the world and to try and pursue your passions. Link to Article in Description
  • Old Hobbies, New Beginnings

    This is my first day back from the new year and I am making my resolutions. I had recently found out that Stefan and Hudson play tennis which is a sport I used to play. I also just finished music class where we played the piano and I thought it was really fun so I wanted to get into it. Tyler 1/4/21 New Orleans, LA Coronavirus Journal I am going to start playing tennis again. I used to play it, but because of covid I stopped taking lessons and never really got back into it. I am also getting into piano, so my mom said she could get me some lessons for that. I don't know if I will have time to do these both considering the fact that I have baseball 3 days a week and workouts 2 days a week, but I will try and make it work. Piano is also an old habit as I played it a couple years ago. I didn't really know much, but now I understand the piano and not just memorize the notes, so I think I could be successful in getting much better at piano by taking lessons. I also hope that I will improve more than I did at tennis the first time. But of course this will all take a lot of hard work and practice. Stefan and Hudson also play tennis and they play each other sometimes, so I hope that once I am good enough I will be able to beat them. I will need to remind my mom that I want to begin practicing these things though as I think she forgot to sign me up for piano lessons and about me playing tennis in general. I am excited to start practicing these things and improve. Especially tennis because I haven't played in a long time and I really enjoy it.
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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.