Friday Nights at NOMA: Arts and Letters with Jesmyn Ward

Tonight at NOMA, don’t miss this edition of Arts and Letters with authors Thomas Beller and Jesmyn Ward. Before the discussion, learn more about self-taught art at a gallery talk on Self-Taught Genius with curatorial assistant Anne C. B. Roberts.

5-8 pm: Art on the Spot
5:30-8:30 pm: Daria Dzruik & The Hip Drops
6 pm: Self-Taught Genius gallery talk with Anne C. B. Roberts
7:30 pm: Arts and Letters with Thomas Beller and Jesmyn Ward

Author Jesmyn Ward won a National Book Award for Salvage the Bones, her gritty and lyrical novel of Hurricane Katrina-era Mississippi. Her latest work is the 2013 memoir Men We Reaped. She is the recipient of Tulane’s first Paul and Debra Gibbons Professorship. Thomas Beller has penned four volumes, including Seduction Theory, a collection of short stories published in 1995, and The Sleep-Over Artist, which was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000 and a New York Times Notable Book. He is also an Associate Professor of English at Tulane University.

Thomas Beller and Jesmyn Ward will discuss issues of identity, originality, creativity, fiction and fact, being a refugee in your own country, and Beyonce and the Blues, among other topics for this edition of Arts and Letters.


Most frequently compared to Lily Allen, or an unexpected blend of No Doubt colliding with Regina Spektor, Daria & The Hip Drops win over listeners with every performance and recording. The group got their start recording Daria’s first solo album Calliope in 2010, and has continued to grow under the name of the full band, Daria & The Hip Drops, consisting of teamwork between singer, steel pannist, and keyboardist Daria Dzurik and producer Graham Robinson, and a collaboration of other artists that provide backing grooves. Although the group has its roots in upbeat indie pop and rock, influences are wide with steel drums and Caribbean influences, heavy funk bass lines, and the occasional electro-synth sample. Artists and bands like Santigold, The Talking Heads, and Toots & The Maytals have present influences in the band’s sound, as well as the music and culture from the southeast region of the United States, from New Orleans to Miami.

Our Local Publisher Partners

The Arts Council of New Orleans

The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

Southern Food

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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