For the last several years, one local company has been working to bring the history of New Orleans into the modern day. Nola DNA provides access to historical records through research opportunities, historic content, merchandising, and mobile media platforms.
Founder and CEO Joseph Makkos wants to change the way residents and visitors experience New Orleans.
The company was a finalist in the Downtown NOLA Arts-Based Business Pitch, a competition highlighting entrepreneurs with an arts-based project or product that benefits the Downtown Development District.
“Many of the sponsoring agencies are eager to work with us and learn more about how our ‘History on Demand’ app will transform downtown for residents and visitors alike,” said Makkos.
Nola DNA is also already of interest to many outside of New Orleans. The story of how Makkos found 30,000 antique New Orleans newspapers on Craigslist was published on The Atlantic a few years back.
“Today’s technologies and analytical tools will allow us to revisit these newspapers and extract more meaning from them than was ever possible when they were first printed,” shared Makkos. “Although there are many books about historical New Orleans, there is a dearth of material about the technological evolution of these newspapers.”
While the archive is in his possession, Makkos says that’s not enough. He is looking toward the future, planning to transform the collection through technology into digital media projects such as installations, 3D renderings, AR and VR applications, GIS mobile media apps, and more.
Makkos hopes to continue engaging the local community to build these bridges: “discovering new ways to uncover hidden histories of New Orleans’ storied past,” as Makkos puts it.