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From Tulane Hullabaloo: Tulane community recognizes NOLA ties to Haiti

February 16, 2018 2:30 PM
Riley Moran

This story originally appeared in the Tulane Hullabaloo written by Matt Saletta.

Though the French are recognized most publicly for their influence in New Orleans, many feel the French are not alone in shaping the city's cultural landscape. According to several New Orleanians, substantial ties between New Orleans and Haiti are often missed, despite the extensive history shared by the two societies.

Marky Jean-Pierre, a Tulane professor who emigrated from Haiti to the U.S. more than 20 years ago, explained the significance of the Haitian Revolution in the Louisiana Purchase, a historic deal in which the U.S. purchased more than 800,000 acres of French land, including New Orleans.

“France sent a huge army to Haiti to quash the revolutionary army in Haiti," Jean-Pierre said. "What France had in mind was to have the army make its way to New Orleans, to occupy Louisiana and to build a strong empire before facing the United States. The Haitian revolution completely quashed the French forces. It is because of that Napoleon decided to sell Louisiana to the U.S."

Recently, Tulane has begun taking steps to strengthen students' familiarity with Haiti and its diaspora. Annie Gibson, the associate director of intercultural learning at Tulane's Center for Global Education, will be leading Tulane's first summer program to focus on Haitian culture.

"We are running a summer program to the Dominican Republic with a focus on Haitian-Dominican race, identity and immigration," Gibson said. "We're looking at how race and immigration works between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, how politics and economics work on this one island. This program is a way of helping students think about a new understanding of their home in a global dimension."

Read the full article here.