Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies

Major Professor

Ehrenreich, Jeffrey

Second Advisor

Gladstone, David

Third Advisor

Spitzer, Nicholas


Samba drumming and dance traditions work in New Orleans in ways that they do not elsewhere. Casa Samba, a drumming and dance troupe in the tradition of the Brazilian escolas de samba, shows how it works. Integral to this analysis of Casa Samba are the ways in which the group's identity and the identities of its individual members are processual, mutable, and "unfinished, always being remade" (Gilroy 1993:xi). This thesis examines how Casa Samba has situated itself in the New Orleans music scene. This work seeks, through ethnographic interviews with long term members, to identify what makes Casa Samba attractive to New Orleanians who choose to join this musical troupe as opposed to the myriad of other musical organizations available. Finally, this thesis looks at Casa Samba's post-Katrina rebirth and the ways in which the group's willingness to continuously evolve throughout its history has made this rebirth possible.


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