Monday, October 5, 2015

Page 42: Tulane's Newcomb Hall

Everything you read about Newcomb Hall in The Billionth Monkey is accurate, except that it is not home to the American Studies program. In fact, Tulane University doesn’t have a Department of American Studies. (It does, however, have the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies.) Nevertheless, Newcomb Hall seemed like the logical place to house my fictional American Studies program since it is home to the real-world Center for International Studies, School of Liberal Arts, Sociology, and Communication, along with several other departments.

In order to write an authentic description, it was important to me to walk the Tulane campus, and Newcomb Hall in particular. Unfortunately, the day I had set aside for touring Tulane turned out to be intensely downpoury. My itinerary didn’t allow for a rain day before flying back home. Fortunately my intrepid tour guide (and model for Dame Frances Beye-Cohn), Sophia Vera, was more than up for driving, parking and making a mad dash through the pouring rain to walk those hallowed halls. Along the way, we saw students queuing in the rain at the campus auditorium for what we later discovered was a guest lecture by Neil deGrasse Tyson. That might explain why we found Newcomb Hall so empty.

Our stealth visit also involved searching the Newcomb Hall high and low for a bathroom...from which we concluded that students and staff don’t actually micturate. However, I got plenty of reference photos of the building's interior. It’s so wonderful to have friends who will humor you by joining in your crazy quests!

My guide Sophia, rain-soaked but in good spirits,waves hello from the warm and dry comfort
of the top floor Newcomb Hall where the academic offices are located.

The hallowed Halls of Newcomb.

Example of a faculty member's door, coincidentally sharing the name of a friend of mine.

A stairwell leading to classrooms on the lower floors.
This photo highlights the building's spectacular windows.
Note flyers hung on the wall.
We didn't bump into Niels Belanger, though. He must have been at the Niel deGrasse Tyson talk.

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