America’s Lost Treasures: New Orleans

This week on America’s Lost Treasures, hosts Curt Doussett and Kinga Phillips host an open call for artifacts and items at the historic Cabildo Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.  People from all around show up to share their personal treasures and stories.  The mission: to select one item that is worthy of being displayed in a special National Geographic exhibit in Washington, D.C. The duo steps back in time, learning all about Pre- and Post-Civil War New Orleans.

In the open call Curt discovers plantation tokens and is intrigued by their rarity and history. He learns they were used by plantation owners after the Civil War to pay former slaves. Once the item owner tells him all she knows about the tokens he decides to pursue them as one of his lost treasure contenders. Meanwhile, Kinga is delighted to have found an old steamboat chair. Following the history of their chosen items, Kinga takes a Steamboat ride up the Mississippi River to snoop out the story of the chair, while Curt heads 60 miles west of the city as he finds out that the plantation his item comes from still exists today.

Finding that her steamboat chair is even more rare than she assumed, Kinga wraps up her informative fling with river boat Captain Hawley, and heads to curator Ina Fandrich of the New Orleans African American Museum to find out more about her second chosen item, a voodoo drum. Hoping the Voodoo Drum will reveal its secrets, Kinga and Dr. Fandrich take the piece to Priestess Mariam for interpretation. As Curt’s second item is an old clarinet, he follows the music to the jazz legend Omer Simeon’s stomping grounds. Curt takes center stage at the iconic d.b.a. jazz club, where he literally shares a kiss with the past— pressing his lips against the reed of what he hopes is a clarinet once belonging to Omer Simeon.

The adventure finally leads Curt and Kinga back to the Cabildo Museum to tell the treasure contenders the stories they’ve gathered relating to their artifacts. Ultimately, one of proffered items is chosen by the National Geographic representative for exhibition as one of America’s Lost Treasures. Which item will be chosen as this week’s America’s Lost Treasure?  Tune in to find out!


Don’t miss America’s Lost Treasures: New Orleans tonight, August 8th at 10P et/pt.


  1. David
    August 8, 2012, 8:58 pm

    I think I have a lost treasure! A painting by Philip E Stretton from 1888.

  2. Kermit Albritton
    Modesto, CA
    August 8, 2012, 11:03 pm

    The emancipation of 1863 did not free slaves; perhaps in New Orleans, as it was occupied by Federals, but it was Lincoln’s Vice President, Johonson who wrote and proglamied the actual Emacipation of the Africans in this country. Lincoln’s proclimation kept thousands of Africans in bondage, to keep the boarder states from joining the Confederacy. Check your facts Curt; not all your views buy your presentaitons as fact.

  3. Emily
    New Mexico
    September 8, 2012, 12:54 am

    I have a lost treasure in a small handmade typing table made and signed by Ernie Pyle, colored by his wife.