UC Davis Summer Abroad


Status: Not Offered in 2018

Multicultural New Orleans


UC Davis Faculty Photo, McKee

Sally McKee



Sally McKee, author of The Exile’s Song: Edmond Dédé and the Unfinished Revolutions of the Atlantic World (Yale University Press, 2017), has conducted research in New Orleans every year since 2006, one year after Hurricane Katrina struck. She has worked extensively in archives and libraries in Venice, Bordeaux, Paris, and London, but no European city can match New Orleans for friendliness, food, and music.

A Message to Students and Parents

In the nearly twenty-five years since I received my doctorate at the University of Toronto, I have had the good fortune to work in some of Europe’s oldest and loveliest cities. When my research interests shifted to the nineteenth century and spanned the Atlantic Ocean, New Orleans became an annual destination. My book on Edmond Dédé (1827-1901), a little-known free African American composer who spent thirty-six years conducting orchestras in Bordeaux, France, appeared in the fall of 2016 – the culmination of a decade of research in Paris, Bordeaux, and New Orleans, where Dédé was born. Arriving there for the first time in the summer of 2006one year after Hurricane Katrina—I fell in love with New Orleans right away. It wasn’t just the music and the food. The people won me over. Even in the trying conditions of ongoing disaster-recovery, their sense of humor, courtesy, and humanity made a deep impression on me. I have returned to the city every year thereafter. I look forward to sharing with students the city I know and its history that I have learned.