New Orleans Center for Creative Arts

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The NOCCA campus as of 2008

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, or NOCCA, opened in 1973 as a professional arts training center for secondary school-age children. Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, NOCCA provides intensive instruction in classical music, creative writing, culinary arts, dance, drama, jazz, media arts, musical theatre, theatre design, visual arts, vocal music, and academics to students from public, private, and parochial schools across Louisiana. Admission is by audition, and NOCCA is tuition-fee.

Until recently, NOCCA students studied academic subjects at a public, private, parochial, or home-school, then transferred to NOCCA for their arts classes. In 2011, however, NOCCA opened its brand new Academic Studio, allowing students to spend their full day studying at NOCCA. Students now attend via full-day, after-school, weekend, and summer sessions.

In 2000, NOCCA moved to a newly built campus located in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Prior to that, NOCCA was housed for many years in an old elementary school building located on Perrier Street in Uptown New Orleans.

NOCCA holds a prominent position among art schools throughout the United States and around the world. Every year, 90–95% percent of NOCCA graduates continue their studies at colleges and conservatories, and roughly 80% receive scholarships to do so. Many world-class artists have graduated from NOCCA, including Harry Connick Jr., Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, the Marsalis brothers, Trombone Shorty, Jonathan Batiste, Matt Rinard, Gustave Blache III, 3D Na'Tee, Anthony Mackie, and Wendell Pierce.

NOCCA Institute[edit]

The NOCCA Institute is NOCCA's community support and advocacy arm, providing supplemental funding for NOCCA students and advocacy for NOCCA’s world-class program. With the support of corporations, foundations, and individuals across Louisiana and the globe, the Institute has helped turn NOCCA into a flagship professional arts training facility. Some of the Institute’s more notable endeavors include: the Term-Time Financial Aid Program, the NOCCA Summer Term Financial Aid Program, the Summer Study Financial Aid Program, the Artists-in-Residence Program, the capital campaign for NOCCA’s current home and future capital expansion, and numerous arts programs for the general public.

NOCCA's curriculum[edit]

The music program includes classical, jazz and vocal. The jazz program was recently headed by noted New Orleans clarinetist Alvin Batiste before his death; the original head of the jazz department was renowned pianist Ellis Marsalis (father of the musicians and producers Branford, Wynton and Delfeayo). The jazz department is now headed by pianist Michael Pellera. The classical vocal program centers on operatic-style singing, and is headed by Phyllis Treigle; the original vocal department head was Lorraine Alfaro. Bert Braud was the original classical music head (from which Wynton Marsalis was an early graduate); one of the original classical graduates was award-winning pianist and composer Moses Hogan (now deceased). Currently, the classical instrumental program is headed by cellist, Dr. Jee Yeoun Ko and emphasizes chamber music along with personalized one-on-one training.

The creative writing program includes studies in poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and a variety of other genres. Students study works in depth, and produce a literary magazine each year, Umbra.

The theatre arts program includes drama, musical theatre and theatre design. The Drama department is headed by Amy Holtcamp and Silas Cooper. The Musical Theatre program is headed by Blake Coheley.

The media arts department includes instruction in film/video arts taught by Paul Werner and Courtney Egan and audio engineering and record production taught by Grammy-winning engineer Steve Reynolds.

NOCCA's visual arts department trains students in a range of media, including photography, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, and digital work. The chair of the program is Mary Jane Parker.

NOCCA's newest arts discipline, culinary arts, it led by Chef Dana D'Anzi Tuohy. Chef Dana is the former Chef de Cuisine at Delmonico Steakhouse and the former Pastry Chef at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House.

NOCCA's innovative Academic Studio takes a comprehensive approach to learning, working across the full spectrum of the arts, science, and humanities. The curriculum is designed to be highly integrated: math and science are taught together, humanities are taught together, and each academic area is connected to arts-training. The Academic Studio is grounded in the same master-apprentice approach that sits at the heart of NOCCA’s arts-training program. In addition to their academic faculty, students have the opportunity to learn from guest lecturers and the team of scholars from around the world who have helped develop the new curriculum structure. To enroll in the Academic Studio, prospective students must successfully complete an arts audition and be accepted into a Level I program in one of NOCCA’s eleven arts disciplines.



Hurricane Katrina[edit]

While the facilities experienced some wind and rain damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, NOCCA's location on the high ground of the Faubourg Marigny saved it from the flooding that other parts of New Orleans experienced (see effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans).

During the aftermath of the storm, several students were placed temporarily at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, the Coronado School of the Arts in San Diego, California, and other arts schools for high school students around the country.


  1. ^ "Awards for Arts Achievements". Retrieved 2011-12-10. 

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