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The audible memoirs of local flood victims

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School may be out for the summer, but a University of Louisiana at Lafayette summer program is hoping to continue th

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History Harvest is at it again with a new arrangement of anthropological inventory.

For the past few years, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's public history program has recorded local community members’ oral histories, touching upon topics like the 2015 Grand Theatre shooting, Louisiana’s French past, flooding and immigration.

Fusing together more than a hundred interviews that were initially recorded during the first anniversary of the August 2016 floods, undergraduate student researchers Zachary Henry and Mark Mallory have created a new podcast called “Underwater: The Memories of the 2016 Flood.”

The first episode of “Underwater” is now available for public download and will focus on the stories of those residing in Lafayette. Subsequent episodes, which will be released at later dates, will focus on the communities of Baton Rouge and Denham Springs. “Underwater” will also air on UL Lafayette’s radio station, KRVS.

“We embarked on this journey to create a podcast for the community,” said Henry. “The main purpose was to pay respect and bring attention to the hardships that our community faced and are continuing to face as a result of the flood. We also just wanted to use the podcast as a ‘thank you’ to those that were willing to share their story at the 2017 History Harvests.”

Both Henry and Mallory are graduating seniors in the history program and serve as research assistants through grants from the National Science Foundation and the University’s Undergraduate Research Council. Under the direction of UL Lafayette history professor Dr. Liz Skilton, Henry mixed and produced the series, while Mallory assisted and created the accompanying website.

In addition, Skilton said she encourages anyone with a similar flood story to attend the next several Harvests.

On Friday, Aug. 10 from 8 a.m. until noon, students will be collecting stories at Coffee Depot in Scott. On Saturday, Aug. 11 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., interviews will take place at the East Regional Library in Youngsville and again on Sunday, Aug. 12 from noon until 4 p.m. at the South Regional Library in Lafayette. The program will host a final flood “harvest” on Saturday, September 22 from 9 a.m. until noon at Moore Park in Lafayette.

Visit the program’s website to learn more about the podcast and the research team’s efforts to collect community history as part of the Recent Louisiana Disasters Oral History Project.

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