Joseph Culotta, Jr. Collection

Manuscripts Collection
Louisiana Division
New Orleans Public Library


Date range: 1964-1990
Size of collection:
1,386 audiotapes
Guides to the programs (1 cu. ft.)
99 photographs
Source of Acquisition: Donation of Joseph Culotta, Jr., 1993
Terms of Access: Available to registered researchers by appointment


Biographical/Historical Note

Joseph Culotta, Jr. was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but moved to New Orleans at an early age. After service in the U.S. Navy, Culotta attended Tulane University, where he received a B.A. degree in 1964. Following graduation, he taught chemistry part-time at Tulane's University College and College of Arts and Sciences and at Newcomb College until 1971. He also worked full- time as a Southern regional supervisor for the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, representing veterans and their families before the Veterans Administration.

In 1962 Culotta took over as host of the "American Legion Hour" on New Orleans' WTIX radio station, revising the format of the program to one of comprehensive coverage of Veterans benefits. In May of 1965, he became moderator of "Let's Talk It Over," one of the city's first audience participation discussion programs, which aired on Sunday mornings on WTIX. In 1986, "Let's Talk It Over" moved to WNOE, where it remained until 1990.

In 1984, following his retirement from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, Cullotta began yet another career as a teacher of chemistry, physics and computer literacy at Pope John Paul High School II in Slidell, La. He retired from teaching in 1997.

Scope

The collection consists of audiotapes, primarily of the radio call-in/interview program "Let's Talk It Over" (1965-1990). Also included are several tapes of "The American Legion Hour" (1962-1965) radio program and scattered tapes of "Mid-Month in New Orleans" (1969-1981), a taped program heard on approximately the middle Sunday of each month. Programs airing prior to 1980 were recorded on reel-to-reel tape; thereafter, the programs, for the most part, were recorded on cassette tapes. A small series of promotional spots were recorded on radio broadcast cartridges. Approximately 80 audiotapes are unidentified; approximately 50 are undated. Accompanying the audio tapes are photocopies of two sets of guides developed by Joseph Culotta to facilitate access to the tapes:

Topics discussed on "Let's Talk It Over" range widely. Political events and social issues on a local, national and even international level figure prominently (e.g., elections and ballot issues on all levels, Riverfront Expressway, Hurricane Betsy, Mississippi River Bridge tolls, legalized gambling, Vietnam, student demonstrations, police brutality, urban renewal, the women's movement). The program also duscussed a virtually unlimited variety of other topics, among them history, popular culture, hobbies, religion, health and medical issues, and education. The list of guests is similarly varied--elected officials, civil service employees, civic and business leaders, educators, religious leaders, attorneys, sports figures and coaches, academics, representatives of organizations, social service agencies, and movements, authors, medical professionals, etc.

The collection also includes 99 snapshots of guests taken before, during, or after the airing of the program. [Sample Photographs]

Arrangement

The tapes are arranged chronologically and numbered individually within each box. Undated and/or partially identified tapes are filed at the end of the chronological series, followed by promotional spots and Culotta's descriptive guides. The earliest tape is from May 9, 1965 and the last from December 30, 1990.

Inventory of Audio Tapes

The inventory was transcribed from the date/name/subject portions of Culotta's descriptions of the individual "Let's Talk It Over" programs (the accompanying narrative description of the program is not included in the inventory). Additionally, notes found on the reel-to-reel boxes of some dated tapes not included in Culotta's descriptions were transcribed in a "Box Notes" field. These "box notes" may or may not accurately describe the contents of the tape.

Researchers should note that many of the recordings of programs, particularly those that aired before 1975, are missing, even though they are described in Culotta's guide. In the inventory below, only programs for which a box and number are recorded are extant. Additionally, the audio quality of some of the recordings is poor.

1965 1966
1967 1968
1969 1970
1971 1972
1973 1974
1975 1976
1977 1978
1979 1980
1981 1982
1983 1984
1985 1986
1987 1988
1989 1990
Undated/Partially Identified Promotional Spots


Thanks to Walter Dunn for database input.

8/21/2001 -- iw

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