Local historian, licensed nurse, family genealogist, founder of the Black Storyville Baby Dolls™, the Amazons Benevolent Society™, and co-founder of Unheard Voices of Louisiana™, Dianne believes in awakening the past by giving voice to history. She has written, produced and presented many history-related music and food events, classes, film screenings, panel discussions, tours, and exhibits over several decades. She has made appearences on nationally syndicated television, appeared in commercials, print ads, and promotional materials for Lousiana tourism as well as hosted a live local tv show focused on New Orleans history and current events. She developed an "exhibit-store" called "Gumbo Marie" in which she curated rotating exhibits on Louisiana history, held classes, and sold locally crafted products to support the exhibit space. Annually she produces "Gumbo Marie Fest™" in conjuction with The Amazons Benevolent Society™. The Fest raises funds for local cancer fighters and awareness of the devastating disease which is often driven by genetics.
Her Louisiana Creole ancestry dates back to ca.1738 New Orleans with the birth of her 6th generation grandmother Creole Mulatress Catiche Destrehan and includes a plethora of Louisiana notables. Growing up in the French Quarter and her family's authentic Creole restaurant she embodies a passion for her heritage and serving others. As a child, she fondly remembers meeting a Voodoo practitioner at the back gates of school in the French Quarter, 2 blocks from Marie Laveau's former home, and receiving a blessing with bones and pennies. She also recalls dancing in the numerous secondlines that passed her home in Treme, spending time in local cemeteries, and studying music as a child at St. Louis Cathedral Academy noting that New Orleans music roots go far deeper than Jazz! Jackson Square was her Sunday playground and Congo Square was part of her neighborhood.
By embracing and learning from history as well as being a 3 time cancer survivor and professional nurse Dianne is currently developing a ground breaking program called "Healing through History" which she believes is a remarkable journey for each person ready to embrace peace through historical events and their own genealogy.
Dr. Ronnie Schumann is a native of the River Parishes, having grown up in LaPlace and Destrehan. He co-founded Unheard Voices of Louisiana™. His passion for Louisiana history was sparked through a program for elementary students called Education Through Historic Preservation. At 8 yrs old he was introduced to a world of colorful characters: casket girls, Creole heiresses, French explorers, Spanish priests, and Voodoo queen Marie Laveau. He began work as a historical interpreter at Destrehan Plantation in 2000 and studied to became a licensed New Orleans tour guide while still in high school. Since then he has lived across the southeast and worked in a variety of cultural tourism roles while ultimately earning a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of South Carolina. He served as an administrative docent and special programs coordinator at Oakleigh Historic Complex in Mobile, Alabama and he currently serves as a resident scholar and living history performer at Historic Rosedale Plantation in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ronnie is currently working on a project called Unmapping Rosedale, which aims to trace descendants (both free and enslaved) and neighboring families from the antebellum years to present-day using historic land deeds, archival records, computerized mapping (GIS) technologies, and newly collected oral histories.
Researching his own family tree, Ronnie has discovered that his 8th great grandfather, Conrad Friedrich, was among the original German Coast settlers from the 1720s. Another branch traces to Louisiana’s first ranchers, the Acadians, who settled at La Vacherie in 1764. Italians, Irish, Germans, southern Scots-Irish, and Pennsylvania Dutch stock are all represented in his lineage as well—proof of Louisiana as a true cultural gumbo pot!
Today, Dr. Schumann works as an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science at the University of North Texas. His dissertation research on long-term recovery in coastal Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and won the Gilbert White Award through the American Association of Geographers. Schumann’s current research investigates locations where cultural preservation, social memory, and place attachment conflict with efforts to reduce risks to natural hazards.