Irvin Mayfield's Blog

Author Archive

Week 14: November 29th Lecture – “The Power of Culture”

by IrvinMayfield on Nov.17, 2010, under Weekly Topics

Lecture: November 29th (Monday), 12:30-2:00pm (Math 102)


During the lecture, I read excerpts from my upcoming book and CD “A Love Letter to New Orleans,” which reflects back to my 10 CDs with Basin Street Records during the past 12 years.

1. Mo’ Betta Blues

The first excerpt described my memory of seeing the movie “Mo’ Better Blues” as a teenager, which demonstrated to me the possibility of a successful career as a musician. In doing so, it affected my life’s path. In the same way, I choose each class guest to do the same for you: to allow you to see what is possible for your future and to expose you to opportunities you may never have considered.

2. Gordon Parks

When I was given the opportunity to work with Gordon Parks, I had never met anyone who was so many things at once: photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and film director. What was so impressive about him is that – despite having accomplished so much – he never lost the desire to investigate and to learn. Mr. Parks taught me many lessons that I will never forget; the most important was that I should never let anyone else define me. Within our class and life discussions, one thing we should consider is who is defining aspects of our culture or life.

3. Lynch Mob

Race affects us all the time, and I have never been one to avoid the topic, despite the tension that surrounds it. I believe that conversations about race and diversity must take place, because – when it comes to the power of the mind – diversity always adds value.

4. Super Star

The power of art is demonstrated when music can transport you back to a memory or feeling. We must always investigate what art and culture mean and can potentially mean to each of us and to our community. It is odd how little investment we typically make as a community in the arts, even though it is our most valuable local resource. We must always strive for success in what we’re best at and use it as a catalyst to move forward.

5. El Negro

Typically the first thing people learn about a culture is the worst thing (i.e. Bourbon Street or violence in New Orleans). I have been fortunate to visit many different cultures and to experience the true facets of each. I think as a city there are far too many of us that don’t experience, learn and appreciate our own culture; doing so should be a goal for each of us.

6. Fatimah

We must have the patience to be open to opportunities, and the gumption to pursue them when presented. We’re so often taught to be on the offense that we often miss opportunities that fall into our laps. These courses are about discovering not just what people think but also why and how they think it. Remember that the best idea will always win out if it’s voiced.

14 Comments more...

Week 12: Dr. Andre Perry

by IrvinMayfield on Nov.10, 2010, under Weekly Guests

Dr. Andre Perry is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of New Orleans, Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and CEO of the UNO Charter Schools.  

As chief executive of UNO’s charter school network, Perry is responsible for leading a pre-kindergarten through high school educational network and fulfilling its mission of providing access and placement in community colleges and The University of New Orleans. He also serves as an advocate for quality public education, leading UNO’s mission to rebuild its surrounding neighborhoods. Perry is charged with advancing the working partnership between UNO’s faculty and our charter school teachers, as well developing community partnerships with businesses, non-profit organizations, universities, schools and neighborhood organizations.

Perry also coordinates the Student Leadership Institute for the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Migrant Education Program. The college exposure summer camp, which is held on the campus of Penn State University, encourages academic achievement, civic engagement, and postsecondary retention among the children of migrant workers.

15 Comments more...

Week Ten: Kim Bondy

by IrvinMayfield on Oct.27, 2010, under Weekly Guests

Kim Bondy is an award-winning television executive, writer/producer and media strategist. She is also founder and president of The Bondy Group, a boutique media production, strategy and executive training firm. She most recently served as executive director of Katrina V: Commemoration & Determination where she produced a ceremony for the city of New Orleans marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Bondy is currently producing two documentaries and her most recent lifestyle television development work includes projects for Cooking Light and Real Simple magazines. Until 2006, she served as vice president of morning programming and executive producer of CNN’s American Morning with Soledad O’Brien and Miles O’Brien. During her news career, Bondy led breaking news coverage of some of the biggest stories of the past two decades including CNN’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina.

Before joining CNN, Bondy was with NBC News where she held executive and senior producing positions on the award-winning Today Show, Weekend Today, NBC News at Sunrise and Nightly News weekend edition.  Before joining NBC News in New York, Bondy was managing editor at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, news director, reporter and anchor at CITV and CITN in the Cayman Islands, and news producer at WXIA in Atlanta.  She began her career as a production assistant at WDSU in her hometown of New Orleans.  She has been featured in a number of publications including The New York Times, Real Simple Magazine, Odyssey Couleur Travel, and The Times Picayune.

Bondy was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of New Orleans where she completed a Masters of Business Administration. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from the university. Bondy is a past fellow of the National Association of Minorities in Communications’ Executive Leadership Program at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

In 2009, UNO named Bondy Distinguished Alumna of Year. In 2006, she received the Mickey Leland Humanitarian Award from the Congressional Black Caucus. That same year she was part of the CNN team that received a distinguished Peabody Award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage. In August 2010, Bondy received Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Lillian Award for Communications.

Bondy has served on the boards of Ursuline Academy New Orleans, the UNO-Capital One Charter Schools and the UNO International Alumni Association.

492 Comments more...

Week Seven: Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA

by IrvinMayfield on Oct.07, 2010, under Weekly Guests

Dean, Professor of Architecture, Tulane School of Architecture


Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA came to Tulane University from the University of Virginia where he was a professor of architecture, former department chair and associate dean, and chair of the Faculty Senate. He has over twenty-seven years of teaching and practice experience in architecture, preservation, urban design and community planning. As a founding principal of CP+D (Community Planning + Design) and Schwartz-Kinnard, Architects, he has won four national design competitions exploring the constructive force that progressive urbanism and architecture can play in rebuilding cities. In addition to his design work, Mr. Schwartz has served as a planning commissioner and member of the Board of Architectural Review for the City of Charlottesville, focusing on design and preservation issues in the community. Mr. Schwartz served on the University of Virginia Master Planning Committee and the Art and Architecture Review Board for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a Past President of the National Architecture Accrediting Board and recent board member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Schwartz was awarded UVA’s Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award, the university’s highest teaching honor given to one faculty member each year. Mr. Schwartz is pleased to be continuing his work as an educator, architect, and engaged citizen at the Tulane School of Architecture.

22 Comments more...

Week Four Assignment

by IrvinMayfield on Sep.12, 2010, under Weekly Topics

We will not have class this week.


Your assignment is to choose one of last semester’s class videos to watch HERE. Then please blog no less than 500 words about why you chose that video, your reflections and what you learned.

The list of guests from last semester is available HERE.

If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie –

11,953 Comments more...

Week Two: Karl J. Connor

by IrvinMayfield on Aug.29, 2010, under Weekly Guests

Karl J. Connor, Government Affairs Director for BP America, Inc., is a New Orleans, Louisiana native. He is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, Loyola New Orleans School of Law, and earned a Master of Laws degree, with distinction as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, from Columbia University Law School in the City of New York. He is a former law clerk to U. S. District Court Judges Ivan Lemelle and Carl Barbier, assistant U.S. attorney, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee and Managing Member of the Connor Group, LLC.

He is Vice President of the National Bar Association, Acting Chair of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association, a Director for the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, and the U. S. Oil & Gas Association (Mississippi), a New Orleans Redevelopment Authority Commissioner, a member of the Louisiana Law Institute, and a graduate of Leadership Arkansas. He was recently celebrated as a Young Leadership Council of Greater New Orleans Role Model, and is a past recipient of the Louisiana State Bar Association Crystal Gavel Award.

Connor is a founding member of the Knowledge Is Power (KIPP) New Orleans Charter School Board and the Helix Network Charter High Schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and past President of the Loyola University Alumni Association. At Loyola New Orleans School of Law he served as BLSA Chapter President and is a past Frederick Douglass Moot Court National Semifinalist.

He has been married fourteen years to Chimene Grant Connor.

6,485 Comments more...

Week One: Soledad O’Brien

by IrvinMayfield on Aug.24, 2010, under Weekly Guests


Twitter: soledad_obrien


Soledad O’Brien is an anchor and special correspondent for CNN/U.S. Since joining the network in 2003, O’Brien has reported breaking news from around the globe and has produced award-winning and record-breaking documentaries on the most important stories facing the world today. She also covers political news as part of CNN’s “Best Political Team on Television.”

O’Brien’s most recent documentaries include Rescued, a look at Haiti’s remarkable children before, during and after the devastating earthquake and Gary and Tony Have a Baby, the story of two gay men and their struggle to have a baby that has a biological and legal connection to both of them. In 2009, Soledad reported for Latino in America, a wide-ranging look at Latinos living in this country; how they’re reshaping America and how America is reshaping them. Prior, O’Brien reported for Black in America 2, a four-hour documentary focusing on successful community leaders who are improving the lives of African-Americans. O’Brien’s reporting for Black in America in 2008 revealed the state of Black America 40 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She has also reported for the CNN documentary Words That Changed a Nation, featuring a never-before-seen look at Dr. King’s private writings and notes, and investigated his assassination in Eyewitness to Murder: The King Assassination. Her Children of the Storm project and One Crime at a Time documentary demonstrate O’Brien’s continued commitment to covering stories out of New Orleans.

O’Brien joined CNN in July 2003 as the co-anchor of the network’s flagship morning program, American Morning, and distinguished herself by reporting from the scene on the transformational stories that broke on her watch, including Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Southeast Asia. For CNN’s Katrina coverage, O’Brien’s reports on the storm’s impact included an in-depth interview with former FEMA chief Michael Brown. She also covered the London terrorism attacks in July 2005, and in December 2004, she was among a handful of CNN anchors sent to Thailand to cover the disaster and aftermath of the tsunami.

O’Brien was part of the coverage teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for its Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of the tsunami. Her numerous other awards include a Gracie Allen Award in 2007 for her reporting from Cyprus on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict as well as her reports from the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. The NAACP honored her with its President’s Award in 2007 for her humanitarian efforts and journalistic excellence. In 2008, she was the first recipient of the Soledad O’Brien Freedom’s Voice Award from the Morehouse School of Medicine for being a catalyst for social change. Also in 2008, O’Brien was the first recipient of The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Goodermote Humanitarian Award for her efforts while reporting on the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asia tsunami. In 2009, she received the 2009 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

O’Brien came to CNN from NBC News where she anchored the network’s Weekend Today since July 1999. Prior, O’Brien anchored MSNBC’s award-winning technology program The Site. O’Brien joined NBC News in 1991 and was based in New York as a field producer for Nightly News and TODAY. Before her time at NBC, she served three years as a local reporter and bureau chief for the NBC affiliate KRON in San Francisco. She began her career as an associate producer and news writer at the then-NBC affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston.

O’Brien is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She is a graduate of Harvard University.

7,504 Comments more...

Fall 2010 Confirmed Guests

by IrvinMayfield on Jul.09, 2010, under Course Information

25-Aug: Soledad O’Brien, Anchor & Special Correspondent, CNN/U.S.
1-Sep: Karl J. Connor, Government Affairs Director, BP America, Inc.
8-Sep: James Carville & Mary Matalin
15-Sep: TBA
22-Sep: TBA
29-Sep: Gary Solomon, Jr., Solomon Group
6-Oct: Dean Kenneth Schwartz, Tulane School of Architecture
13-Oct: Barbara Major, community organizer & trainer
20-Oct: Alex Beard, Alex Beard Studio
27-Oct: TBA
3-Nov: TBA
10-Nov: Chef John Besh, Besh Restaurant Group
17-Nov: Ray Manning, Manning Architects
24-Nov: TBA
1-Dec: TBA


October 7-8: Mid-semester Break
October 11-15: Midterms
November 25-28: Thanksgiving Holidays
December 3: Last day of classes
December 4-10: Finals
3,382 Comments more...

Week 15 Guest: Tom Piazza

by IrvinMayfield on Apr.19, 2010, under Weekly Guests

Tom Piazza’s most recent work is the novel City Of Refuge, published by Harper in August 2008. His nine books also include the Faulkner Society Award-winning novel My Cold War, and the short-story collection Blues And Trouble, which won the James Michener Award for fiction. Of Piazza’s fiction, Bob Dylan wrote, “Tom Piazza’s writing pulsates with nervous electrical tension – reveals the emotions that we can’t define.”

His short book Why New Orleans Matters, written immediately after Hurricane Katrina, received the 2006 Humanities Book of the Year Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

Also well known as a music writer, Piazza won a 2004 Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey, and he is a three-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Music Writing. True Adventures With The King of Bluegrass, a portrait of bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin, was a finalist for the Ralph J. Gleason Award. He has been a regular contributor to the Sunday New York TimesThe Oxford American, and many other publications. A graduate of Williams College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he lives in New Orleans.


Author Tom Piazza writes for “Treme”

New York Times article on “Treme”

10,652 Comments more...

Final Project: “What this class means to me”

by IrvinMayfield on Apr.19, 2010, under Weekly Topics

Each student will blog a minimum of 1,000 words about what this class means in general and to you individually.

6,696 Comments more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!