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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.