Denise Frazier is a scholar, educator, violinist, and Gulf South native—a resume that has primed her for her new role as Assistant Director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South.
“I’m fascinated by this region,” says Frazier “and I’m enthusiastic to work with other people who are excited to discuss it as well and put it in a larger and more global context.”
The New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, within the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane, is dedicated to preserving, perpetuating and celebrating the distinctive cultures of New Orleans and the Gulf South.
Frazier remarks that the Center’s interdisciplinary role of supporting research, teaching and engagement that examines the complexities of the Gulf South region is a meaningful one. “The world here is not just music or the environment. It’s a mixture of a lot of different things, and I think the Center does a great job of curating programming related to this symbiosis and forging more cohesive understandings of what is happening here.”
Frazier earned her Master’s and PhD in Latin American Studies from Tulane, an educational experience that has permeated her work in a diversity of educational settings.
“She's really an extraordinary person, and she brings beautiful energy and understanding to the work we do at the Center for the Gulf South,” says Rebecca Snedeker, the Center’s James H. Clark Executive Director. Originally from Houston, Frazier has lived in New Orleans for many years. “She is deeply knowledgable about the Gulf South and Latin America, and she believes in interdisciplinary place-based learning.”
Because of her extensive experience working with students, Frazier will engage with undergraduates in the Musical Cultures of the Gulf South coordinate major as well as with affiliated faculty.
She also manages the Music Rising at Tulane website, a wide-ranging database of Gulf South music. The website features an impressive collection of musicians’ interview transcripts from the Hogan Jazz Archives, and website users can also read about and find video clips from various musical genres, including bounce, Cajun fiddle music and big band jazz. Student assistants will support the maintenance of the Center’s budding social media and have the chance to explore the web of content that the site offers. “I look forward to reaching new audiences by highlighting the daily musical treasures that we find,” Frazier says.
In addition, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South plans to host a residential learning community called Third Coast this fall. Shared living spaces connect students with common interests and feature programming that brings together students and faculty. Third Coast will be aimed at first-year undergraduates who want to engage in a wide variety of cultural and intellectual experiences related to this region, such as urban and coastal field trips.
“Often I hear students say ‘I’m very interested in New Orleans, but I haven’t had the opportunity to get out and really understand different facets of the city,’” Frazier says, adding that the residential learning community experience will give the cohort of students a sense of “rootedness” in their new home.