To protect the uninterrupted work time of our residents, A Studio in the Woods is open to the public by invitation or appointment only.
The land where A Studio in the Woods sits is young – built up about 5000 – 750 years ago from the alluvial soil of the Mississippi River. Indigenous peoples who might have lived on or passed through this land include the Washa or Chawasha tribes, who probably became members of communities identifiable as the Houma, Chitimacha, Bayagoula, and others. New Orleans, with a roughly 1000 year pre-European colonizer history of exchange and commerce, was and still is known as Bulbancha, a Choctaw word meaning “place of many languages,” reflective of the 40+ Native groups who interacted in this pre-colonial hub.
This land was later cleared to varying degrees for agriculture, first in the 1700’s for indigo and then in the 1800’s for sugar cane as fields of the Delacroix Plantation, where up to 100 enslaved African and Indigenous people labored at any given time. The land has been fallow since the 1910’s.
With the help of resident artists and scholars, we are still uncovering and trying to understand the history of this land and invite you to read more about it in an excerpt from our field guide here.
A Studio in the Woods is located at the nexus of the City of New Orleans, a larger 5,000-acre bottomland hardwood forest, the Mississippi River’s lower reaches, the Gulf of Mexico, and the largest swath of alluvial wetlands in North America. Each of these systems has undergone profound changes over the past several decades, creating a dynamic context for artists. For 50 years Joe and Lucianne Carmichael, and now A Studio in the Woods, have stewarded these 7.66 acres of bottomland hardwood forest directly adjoining 1000 acres of government owned forest.
A Hardwood Bottomland Forest is made up of Oak, Elm, Hickory, Maple, Hackberry, Cypress, and Sweetgum trees situated in organic peat soils usually deposited through rise and fall of rivers. The Mississippi River has deposited thousands of layers of organic soil creating the substrate for this Louisiana Hardwood Bottomland Forest. A bottomland is an area which floods on a regular basis and holds a percentage of that water, creating a saturated environment. This saturated environment is the limiting factor that affects the species capable of being present. Ecosystems of this nature are special for their diversity, tree density, foraging area for animals, and hurricane protection.
Since 2004, Environmental Curator David Baker has been working to remove invasive species on the land and research the forest, tracking hurricane response and the effects of climate change on our 7.66 acres. Learn more about his research here.
Click here to download a list of species known or expected in the vicinity of A Studio in the Woods. Prepared by Bob Thomas.
If you have questions about accessibility, please contact our office: [email protected] or 504-392-4460.