New Orleans’ printers have been getting the word out for 250 years.
Joseph Makkos’s background comes from “the creative writing side of things.” However, he likes the hands-on feel of old printing presses, and has four of his own (along with some 30,000 or so very old issues of The Times-Picayune.) “I print small run commissions, book covers, broadsides, CD covers for bands.” The Cleveland, Ohio, native has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from UNO.
Makkos hopes to make use of artwork from his old newspapers in new ways, and you can learn more from his websites: LanguageFoundry.org and NolaDna.org (the DNA is for “Digital Newspaper Archives). He has a particular goal for printing his own poetry: “When I put it on the page, it’s the bridge between language and painting.”
Even after 250 years, New Orleans printers are still making an impression.
Assault on Paper
Older printed material is endangered today. The pervasive use of online storage, digitization and microfilm has drastically reduced library newspaper collections, according to author Nicholas Baker’s 2001 book Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper. Downsizing had one good result: New Orleanian Joseph Makkos, who teaches English at Delgado Community College, found a truckload of 1888-1929 issues of The Times-Picayune on Craigslist in the “free” listings. Makkos’ remarkable find was reported in the Columbia Journalism Review this January. Surprisingly, the copies may have come from the British Library, where they had gone through a Nazi bombardment only to be auctioned off in 1999.
From Coverage in New Orleans Magazine