Coming To NOLA


Coming To NOLA


Moving Image


This is the story of Jawn Manning, a 2017 Alumni of Xavier, coming to New Orleans.


Jawn tells the story of how she ended up at Xavier and how that choice has turned New Orleans into her new home.


Kennedy Neal


My Nola My Story via Youtube


Mass Communications department at Xavier University of Louisiana.


December 10, 2019


Jawn Manning


My Nola, My Story.


My Nola, My Story 2019 Exhibit.




Adobe Premiere video mp4



A Digital Humanities project by Xavier University of Louisiana's Mass Communication departments students, led by Dr. Shearon Roberts.

Original Format


Can you introduce yourself?
Yes, my name is Jawn Manning, I'm 24 years old and I'm originally from Florissant, Missouri. I graduated from Xavier in May of 2017 and then from Tulane in May of 2018.

Tell me about your journey of choosing Xavier?
Well when I first started looking at colleges Xavier wasn't really on my list. I had several, at a time three older cousins who had attended Xavier, who loved it. At the time I was interested in becoming a physician and so that's one of the things they really pushed, that Xavier’s a great school for pre-medical students and all that kind of thing. I also wanted to go far away from home, so they said you know it’s great: it’s an HBCU, they have a great Pre-Med program, you’ll be far-- 10 hours away-- so it seemed like an interesting option, but I wasn't sold. I'd always pictured myself at a bigger school with more students and so just hearing the size of it intimidated me a little bit. So I was like wow that’s not what I thought I wanted, but I applied and I was like we’ll just see, you know keep your options open. Then I got a letter that I was accepted and I had a full tuition scholarship. That's when my parents kind of put the pressure on and were like we’re going to look at this Xavier. So my mom and grandparents actually planned a trip for my senior year spring break for me to come to Xavier to tour the school. I remember getting here and it was small, but you could tell that everyone knew each other very well and it made me feel very comfortable, it made me feel like this is the place that you need to be and so I decided I'm going Xavier.

Okay so can you compare your experiences of going to a predominantly white high school then coming to an HBCU like Xavier?
It was a culture shock for me definitely. I did one of the summer programs over the summer BSSP (Biomedical Summer Scholars Program). So I came here when I was 17, just finished high school like 4 weeks before and I moved in and they're all these different people who looked like me for the first time that were incredibly smart, incredibly talented, and incredibly driven and I was just like awestruck that-- which is sad-- but I was, I was awestruck that these are my classmates, these are the people that I am going to be learning with and this is what Xavier had to offer.

Okay so what were some of the highlights of attending Xavier?
Oh my goodness I have so many. Xavier was the best 4 years of my life so far and I have so many great experiences here at Xavier but also here in the city and I'm so thankful for Xavier for exposing me to New Orleans because it has become my home now. A highlight would have to be my senior year when I was able to serve as XAB President because I got to really put to use a lot of the skills I've learned and developed from other leaders by seeing them around. My best memory though would have to be graduation. It was really bitter sweet, but just like to walk across the stage and hear your name and you’ve worked so hard and to study so much for your courses and to now have that was really meaningful.

So since graduating Xavier, what is your current occupation?
I am currently a high school science teacher at Renew Accelerated High School here in New Orleans.

And who are the kids that you teach? My school is a non-traditional school, so we focus on students who are over age, so from 15 to 22 and under-credited. Hearing the student stories, seeing their resilience, their courage, and their perseverance, their attitudes that they are going to get it out the mud no matter what, to reach this accomplishment no matter what circumstances they faced in the past was really inspiring. It also brought to my attention based on my background in highschool that every student deserves a highly qualified educator who cares not only about them but like the level of rigor of instruction that they're getting. I ended up learning so much from my students. They are some of the brightest, most interesting people I've ever met in my life. Everyday is always a surprise and that's actually a good thing I found when you’re working, nothing ever really being the same.

Why did you choose New Orleans to be your new home?
It's perfect! I fell in love with New Orleans the moment I stepped here from my North County home in Missouri. New Orleans was so beautiful to me, so interesting to me, there’s so much depth to the city and the people that live here. I’ve lived here for 7 years now and I haven't stopped exploring and discovering new things. It’s so rich in culture and people say that all the time but it's nothing like stepping out on your balcony on a random Sunday to see it filled with like street vendors, of like the best barbecue you’ll ever have, mixed drinks galore off the back of a pickup truck watching the second line go down your street and that's one of the small things. The people here are-- I talked about it and I see it in my students-- but I think it's deeply reflective of the culture of New Orleans about the resilience of the people. Everyone here always has an attitude of it gets better or things could be worse or pushing through and just always give their best, always have the best attitudes. When I'm out and about like I don't know if I could go my day without hearing “thanks my baby”, like I don't think... it would be very weird not to experience that anymore. Also I love the pace of the city. Things are so slow going, easy moving and that really suits my personality. I'm very go with the flow and things like that. The food here is delicious. There are things I never even thought of having before that now I’m like ugh I cannot go a week without going to get Gumbo from the store near my house. I just really love it here. I can't picture myself anywhere else for a very long time, maybe not ever but don’t tell my mama that… it will stress her out.


7:54 (seven minutes, fifty-four seconds)




Kennedy Neal


Shearon Roberts


Date Added
November 12, 2019
Item Type
Moving Image
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Kennedy Neal, “Coming To NOLA,” MY NOLA, MY STORY , accessed August 15, 2022,