UNO History Professor and WWNO Radio Host Co-Produced Seminar Series at Satchmo Summerfest 2012

Famed jazz trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong hailed from New Orleans, where he performed songs such as “Ain’t Misbehaving” or “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?” and went by the nickname Satchmo.

Who better to co-produce a series of seminars on Louis Armstrong for New Orleans’ Satchmo Summerfest than a history professor and a radio producer and host at the University of New Orleans?

UNO history professor Connie Zeanah Atkinson and WWNO’s Fred Kasten teamed earlier this month to help produce the 12th annual Satchmo Summerfest seminars, held Aug. 4-8 at the Old Mint, Louisiana State Museum, during the annual Satchmo Summerfest Festival.  They worked together with Tulane University’s Bruce Raeburn and historian Jon Pult, as well as Marci Schramm, executive director of French Quarter Festivals, Inc., to plan the seminar series.

Atkinson, who is acting director of The Ethel and Herman Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies at UNO, is a board member of the French Quarter Festival and chair of the Satchmo Summerfest Committee. She was instrumental in creating the first seminar series to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Louis Armstrong’s birth in 2001. Since then, the city of New Orleans has held a celebration on the trumpeter’s birthday each summer, produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc., she said.

Raeburn, an adjunct faculty member at Tulane researches and teaches on jazz, particularly in New Orleans. He is Curator of the Hogan Jazz Archives and Assistant Dean of Libraries for Special Collections.

Kasten is an independent contributing radio producer/host at WWNO, an NPR affiliate operating at UNO. He worked previously at WWNO for over 20 years as an on-air talent, producer and program director and retired from full-time work in May of 2007. A long-time resident of New Orleans, Kasten develops independent audio projects from a home studio, producing radio features, commercials and podcasts. Fred also does marketing and media consulting for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Historian Jon Pult is a writer. His many publications include "The Bakelite Radio Theater," a former weekly program he created on WTIX-AM in New Orleans, patterned on radio comedies of the 1930's, a cookbook “Cooking My Way Back Home,” and a variety of articles for local periodicals.

Graduate students from the UNO Department of History were among the volunteers who welcomed guests and VIPs to the Satchmo Summerfest.  Attendance included some of the nation’s top Armstrong scholars -- and friends of Satchmo, Atkinson said, including George Avakian, producer and executive of Columbia Records who produced Armstrong and other greats, including Miles Davis, Benny Goodman, Bill Haley, Johnny Mathis, Dave Brubeck, Keith Jarrett and many more.