A Work in Progress

Many years of sleuthing through records -- a treasure chest of journals kept by her father in the family's closet, ledgers in the civil courts and city hall buildings, markers on old houses, and the activities on New Orleans streets -- are going into the making of Shaik's non-fiction account of the Société d'Economie and its 20th century extended community. The Economie began in 1836 as a secret organization of men of African descent. The members later built the Economy Hall, an incubator of early jazz and founded a multi-racial community in the heart of the city. Shaik's work in progress is a story beyond stereotypes, describing altruistic and imperfect men over two centuries and the schemes they used to operate outside and within the laws of a racially charged South.

Selected Works

The true story of 15 free men of African descent who began a secret organization in 1836 that lasted more than 100 years -- and whose records were held until the 21st century by Shaik's father in the family closet.
Streetcar to Calcutta
Filmmaker Kavery Kaul follows Shaik as she retraces her Muslim grandfather's 19th century journey from a small village near Calcutta to the intimate community of 7th ward New Orleans.