To protect the uninterrupted work time of our residents, A Studio in the Woods is open to the public by invitation or appointment only.
We must first acknowledge the river, this land would not exist without the water. The earth beneath A Studio in the Woods is young – built up over the past 5000 years from the alluvial soil carried by the Mississippi River. Early Native Peoples of this land were the Washa and Chawasha tribes; later communities included the Houma, Chitimacha, Biloxi, Choctaw, Bayagoula, Quinipissa, Tangipahoa and others. The city we now call New Orleans has been a site of exchange and commerce for more than 1000 years and is known as Bulbancha – “the place of other languages” in Choctaw.
Later this land was claimed by colonizers and cleared to varying degrees for agriculture, first in 1700s for indigo and then in the 1800s for sugar cane. By 1860, there were up to 94 enslaved African and Afro-Indigenous people living and laboring on this plantation. The land has been fallow since about 1920.
Our founders stewarded this 7.66 acres of bottomland hardwood forest for almost 50 years and shared it with the community as a powerful source of creative inspiration and education. It is in this spirit that we continue to care for and learn from this land as well as its people. 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.