Grooving into a Grammy

Southeastern alum and New Orleans jazz musician Craig Klein is making his mark on the city’s brass band tradition and earning recognition for it, including by taking home the music industry’s top honor.

Craig Klein embodies the spirit of New Orleans music—a unique mash-up of skill, soul, creativity, and endurance that draws from diverse influences. A class of ’84 marketing major who also played at Southeastern throughout his college career, he has combined the knowledge obtained from this degree with his talent and passion for jazz to achieve a highly successful and storied career as a professional musician. His most recent album with his band New Orleans Nightcrawlers helped solidify his place in the national spotlight, earning a Grammy.

A born musician, Craig grew up in New Orleans and embraced the area’s thriving arts scene from the time he was a small child. His uncle Gerry Dallmann, whom Craig always looked up to, was a professional trombonist. By third grade, Craig had begun following in his footsteps—taking up the trombone himself. Throughout his teenage years, he immersed himself in a world of improvisation, rhythm and swing, instruments, harmony, and form, often within the walls of Preservation Hall.

With the goal of being a professional musician but also enticed by the career opportunities of marketing, Craig began Southeastern in 1980. He was personally recruited by then Director of Bands Ron Nethercutt. Along with the personal faculty connection, Craig chose the University for its excellent music program and performance opportunities combined with an ability to achieve a solid foundation in marketing. The school’s convenient proximity to New Orleans’ rich music scene further enhanced the draw.

“[My time at Southeastern] kept me reading music. It really was a pivotal part of helping me to stay in music and keep my flow going because it provided me with the opportunity to continue playing,” Craig said.

Craig Klein

Along with playing in several bands on and off campus while a student, Craig served as a member of Delta Tau Delta and as a KSLU DJ, helping implement a jazz program for the station. “When I started at KSLU there was no jazz program, so I went to the director and asked to start a jazz hour—or three hours. Because such a program didn’t yet exist, I started with Southern rock—which I knew nothing about—while we worked on creating the jazz program. Man, I love KSLU. You can bet every time I am driving down I-55 that I am tuning in!” Craig said.

In his free time, Craig often visited New Orleans, where he began discovering and falling in love with the brass band scene. His uncle Jerry, who had initially sparked his passion for music, convinced him to join his brass band The Paradise Tumblers. Enjoying his time with this band and ready for an additional avenue for creating and performing, Craig started The Storyville Stompers. This traditional brass band remains together to this day, performing over 6,000 times and secondlining in the streets of New Orleans for 40 years and counting.

New Orleans

By the time Craig earned his Southeastern degree in 1984, he had already begun making a name for himself. He performed regularly with his bands, while also using his marketing skills to sell real estate. Then in 1990 he was hired as trombonist for Harry Connick Jr. He soon embarked on an international tour, playing alongside the legendary musician for several years.

While Craig enjoyed performing with Harry and felt honored at the opportunity, the bug to channel his creative energy into projects of his own began chasing him. After leaving Harry’s band, Craig returned home to New Orleans and began implementing these new projects: Bonerama, The New Orleans Jazz Vipers, and a little side project called New Orleans Nightcrawlers.

Fellow current members of the Nightcrawlers are Matt Perrine, Kevin Clark, Barney Floyd, Jason Mingledorff, Brent Rose, Cayetano Hingle, Kerry Hunter, and Miles Lyons—the latter of whom also attended Southeastern before earning his own renown as a professional musician.

Official Nightcrawlers hi res band shot copy

“The Nightcrawlers started as a side project because all nine people in this band are first-call players; it was almost impossible to book gigs for the Nightcrawlers because of our schedules. One person may be on tour here and another on tour there. So sometimes we would only play twice a year at French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest, and that would be it all year long. When the pandemic suddenly hit, it cleared up space in everybody’s schedule. Then we received the [Grammy] nomination, and it blew it up,” explained Craig.

Because of the acclaim received, the once side project has now become each member of the band’s main focus.

Craig and the Nightcrawlers’ response to the pandemic and cancellations—and desire to still bring new music to people—is part of what helped them earn the nomination.

rs=w_400,cg_true“We recorded this record in 2019 in three different sessions,” he said. “The idea was to put this record out for French Quarter Fest and roll with it. We liked it and knew it was a good one. When French Quarter Fest was canceled, everyone else was holding their records so they could use them for tour. But we decided to go ahead and put ours out so people could hear it.”

After hearing the record, titled Atmosphere, a local record producer and Recording Academy member submitted the Nightcrawlers for consideration for Best Regional Roots album for the 2020 Grammys. Craig commented how, after remaining dedicated to his calling for decades, he will never forget the moment he learned his passion project was nominated for the biggest honor in the American music industry.

“I’m in the grocery store shopping, buying some food. The next thing I know I’m getting messages saying we are nominated! My phone was blowing up, and I was so excited in the store that I wanted to tell someone in person, so I walked up to one of the guys stocking shelves and tapped him on the shoulder. I said ‘Hey man, can I share something with you?’ And from there, it just started unfolding,” Craig said.

The marketing savvy he obtained during his time at Southeastern and put into practice throughout his career to promote himself and his bands was utilized to help secure the win.

“There are only 10,000 people who can vote, and of the 80 categories, there are a limited number they can actually vote in. But they can choose where they want to vote,” Craig explained of the process. “For the category we were in, Best Regional Roots Album, we felt the need to really get the word out. We hired a publicist and began working the phones.”

On the night of the Grammys, the Nightcrawlers hosted a joint watch party with Cameron Dupuy and the Cajun Troubadours, a fellow New Orleans band nominated in the same category. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, they were unable to attend the ceremony in Los Angeles, but still made the most of it at home in New Orleans—where it all began. Sitting on stage with their families behind them, the Nightcrawlers received word they had won Best Regional Roots Album for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.


With natural talent, well-refined skills, and an unbreakable passion for creating and performing music, Craig may one day have another Grammy to add to his shelf. The Nightcrawlers have been hard at work on a new album, which is expected to drop before the end of the year.

But despite the national acclaim, Craig remains humble, crediting Southeastern for helping him get to where he
is today.

“Without Southeastern, we may not have had this opportunity,” he said. “Big thanks to Southeastern and the
experience it gave me; it allowed me to play and learn and become a better musician.”

By Allen Cutrer and Sheri Gibson

Tinsley Learning Center

Southeastern’s new Tinsley Learning Center is helping enhance student learning opportunities and success.

Tinsley Hall reopened this past year after undergoing a suite of renovations. A campus landmark for over 60 years, its array of physical updates were designed to better meet the needs of today’s campus community—and to provide even more opportunities for deeper learning and increased academic achievement through its new Tinsley Learning Center.

The building has emerged as a student center that includes an expansion of the Center for Student Excellence along with transformed tutoring spaces, a computer lab, and an SGA-funded lounge and meeting room.

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Greater energy efficiency was also a goal in the renovation of Tinsley Hall, with changes including replacement of the original single-paned glass with modern energy-saving windows.

Along with contributing to Southeastern’s efforts to become an even greener and more energy-efficient campus, one feature of the freshly remodeled building, which sits adjacent to historic Friendship Circle, is also making an impact.

The Southeastern Tutoring Center was reimagined and renamed upon its reopening in Tinsley Hall in August 2020. Measuring 3,076 square feet, the Tinsley Learning Center (TLC) is located on the second floor of the newly renovated building and creates a warm, welcoming space.

“The TLC overlooks the beautiful oak trees that line Friendship Circle,” said Marie Bernard, Tinsley Learning Center
coordinator. “The Center has an abundance of natural light that the students and staff love. Many of our students remain in the TLC to study because they love the beautiful space and friendly environment. Several departments have utilized the Tinsley Learning Center for meetings due to the spaciousness and adaptability of the room.”
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A College Reading and Learning Association certified lab, TLC offers a variety of educational resources where students are empowered to cultivate the skills needed for life-long learning. These resources include tutoring by appointment, drop-in tutoring, supplemental instruction, the Speech Critique Hub, peer assisted study sessions, French and Spanish conversation hour, Capstone presentation assistance, and a variety of study skills workshops. In addition to the TLC, Tinsley Hall offers a student lounge, computer lab and student accessibility services.

More than 40 student workers are employed at the TLC during the fall and spring semesters, and students are taking advantage of and benefitting from the resources it offers.

The enhancement of TLC to better meet the needs of today’s students and offer a more visually welcoming space is a physical extension of Southeastern’s core values. As even the initialism reflects, TLC is intent on providing caring, as well as innovative, programs to help students achieve all of their goals.

“Our impact on the academic success of our students cannot be overstated,” said Bernard. “One former client, for example, escorted two incoming freshmen to our office for introductions because our help was instrumental to his success as a student at Southeastern. He explained that when he was a student, he lived at the Tinsley Learning Center and wanted others to benefit from it as well.”

By Sheri Gibson and Tonya Lowentritt

Health Sciences Program

Providing New Educational and Career Opportunities Across the Healthcare Industry

A new program in Southeastern’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences is helping students achieve a strong, interdisciplinary foundation in healthcare, providing them flexibility to pursue fulfilling careers in a wide variety of
healthcare settings.

The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program, part of the Kinesiology and Health Studies Department, began in the Spring of 2020 to help students broaden their knowledge and obtain a cutting edge in the ever-changing and multifaceted healthcare field. This contributes to not only better career opportunities for students but also a stronger workforce that is able to tackle the unpredictable challenges of today and tomorrow.

Department Head of Kinesiology and Health Studies Dr. Charity Bryan explained how this is preparing Southeastern students for the next step in their education, offering “a flexible curriculum to complete requirements for admission into physical therapy, physician assistant, dental hygiene, public health, and athletic training programs.”


Southeastern has already seen an interest in the program from the community. Bryan said, “The new Health Sciences program has proven very popular with over 235 majors.” In response to the growth and interest, Southeastern has welcomed new faculty members to “expand our class offerings and provide additional research opportunities for students.”

The faculty members are knowledgeable about the program and excited to share their knowledge with future health professionals. Professor of Health Sciences Dr. Ralph Wood said, “This is the perfect degree for students who want to pursue careers in public health and healthcare-related fields, such as health coaching and patient navigation.”

The Health Sciences degree will have a direct benefit to our local and state community. According to a study published in 2018 by the United Health Foundation, Louisiana was ranked the unhealthiest state. The program aims to help alleviate this problem. “The Health Science degree will allow graduates to specifically address health problems and help individuals pursue better health outcomes, improve health literacy, and make healthier choices for themselves and their families,” said Bryan.

This program gives students the opportunity to pursue many career paths across the health field. It includes a solid foundation in public health courses including epidemiology and two-course sequences on chronic disease management; a course solely focused on motivational interviewing and health coaching; and the necessary training to plan, implement, manage, and evaluate evidence-based programs.

The flexibility throughout the program offers students the opportunity to choose 22 hours of health science electives. They can pick from courses in athletic training, biology, physics, chemistry, kinesiology, health systems management, psychology, nursing, microbiology, zoology, and family and consumer sciences. The electives provide students the option to complete coursework to gain prerequisites required for graduate school programs in athletic training, occupational therapy, physician assistant, physical therapy, or other allied health professions. Students can also complete the requirements to earn a certificate in digital health management or population health management. Program Coordinator Carrie M. Edwards said, “The 22 hours of elective provide a framework for students to not only complete prerequisites for graduate programs in the allied health
sciences but also the flexibility to choose courses of interest in health and wellness to create a more holistic health degree.”

Students can collaborate with nationally recognized faculty through research opportunities. Faculty members within the program have research experience in health coaching and counseling; drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention; chronic illness in children; nutrition and physical activity; worksite health programming; health disparities; minority health; stress and health risk behaviors; and other research topics.

Students are encouraged to engage in learning opportunities beyond the classroom and interact with other students and health professionals through attending professional conferences. Some of the conferences include the National Health & Physical Literacy Summit, Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), American School Health Association (ASHA), and American Public Health Association (APHA).

The career options post-graduation for students obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences are bright. “Graduates will be prepared with a solid undergraduate foundation to pursue careers in public health, health
education, and health coaching, as well as graduate study and/or professional degrees in pre-health, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, dental hygiene, public health, and athletic training,” said Edwards. Students completing this program will be equipped to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination to become CHES certified.

For more information on Southeastern’s Health Sciences program, email or visit

By Mary Grace Kelley

Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Presents Speaker Series “Voices of Justice and Change”

Southeastern’s Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the Social Justice Speaker Series are hosting the Criminal Justice Colloquium event “Voices of Justice and Change.”

Three speakers are scheduled for March 14, 23, and 29 on Southeastern’s campus in Fayard Hall, room 207. All events are free and open to the public.

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice William A. Chernoff said for the first time ever, changemakers transforming the face and soul of the justice system today will speak about their experiences with the justice system.

“By amplifying these voices, this speaker series aims to build lasting bridges between justice system professionals, service providers, scholars, advocates, and system-involved peoples and share the secrets to a more people-centered system of justice,” he said.

The first speaker in the series is Alex Johnson on March 14 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. Known as “PoeticSoul,” the Lafayette native encourages others to never give up, stand up, be fearless, and be heard, Chernoff said. She has worked as a teaching artist in Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home and was a featured panelist during the 2016 Split this Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, DC, where she discussed Language of the Unheard: Rural Children of Color. Johnson recently published a book of poetry titled Poisonous Thoughts and lead the Eyes of the Sun mural in Lafayette, a project sponsored by 24 Hour Citizen Project.

For more information, click here.

Giving Back: Freda Oddo Green and Ruth Settoon Kenelly

Two beloved members of the Southeastern community have left a lasting legacy on students, the University, and those who knew them, embodying the spirit of giving back and of true Lion Pride.

Some people become members of our Southeastern Family by earning their degree here, some by joining the ranks of staff and faculty. Others are initially drawn to becoming part of the community on their own through a variety of reasons—an appreciation for or interest in helping boost the economic and cultural impact the University has on the region, the fun and welcoming atmosphere, a desire to help current students successfully achieve all of their goals, and even love.

This past year Southeastern lost two very special members of its community: Freda Oddo Green and Ruth Settoon Kenelly. Each became a deeply rooted member of the Lion Pride through a beautiful, social personality; a desire to give back; and love for a fellow Lion. And each left an indelible mark on the institution and on those who knew them.



Freda was a force of nature. Born January 19, 1923, as an only child, she was a woman before her time—independent, strong, hard-working, determined, and not afraid to speak her mind, but also always displaying an impeccable sense of fashion and etiquette.

Freda had a passion for teaching younger generations the importance of etiquette, for traveling, and for spending time with family and friends. Wherever she went, she would form lasting friendships with the people she met, and she traveled the world.

Freda Green with grandaughter Cheryl BrunoAfter living in New York and New Orleans, Freda moved to Hammond from Amite for the great-granddaughter she raised, Michelle, who was attending Trafton Academy. Freda was first introduced to campus through Michelle, whose school used the facilities at Southeastern for running track. As Freda increasingly became involved in the local community with organizations like the Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce and her church, she began meeting proud Lions. Recognizing Freda’s talent for getting things done, they invited her to join their activities at the University. When it was time for Michelle to enter college, she chose to attend Southeastern, strengthening Freda’s ties to and love for the University.

freda-green-new-orleans-la-obituaryFreda had a strong philanthropic spirit, and she never hesitated to lend her time and talents to organizations across the region. At Southeastern, she served as a member of the Community Advisory Council, a charter and past board member of F.E.Lions (Female Enthusiasts for Southeastern Athletics), a past mentor of the Women’s Basketball team, and a member of the Columbia Theatre Advisory Board.


IMG-1354Ruth was born in Denham Springs, Louisiana, on July 13, 1929, to Carl Chambers and Lela Barnett Chambers, the latter of whom started the family’s Lion legacy by becoming a 1934 graduate of Southeastern. After graduating from Denham Springs High School, Ruth attended Baton Rouge Business College. In 1947, she married V.E. “Son” Settoon. The pair owned and operated a general goods store together in Springfield, Louisiana, for close to 40 years, until Son’s passing.

In April of 1990, Ruth married legendary Southeastern director of athletics and Hall of Fame coach Pat Kenelly, attending almost all Southeastern home football and baseball games from then on. She also became a warm friend, generous supporter, and advocate of Southeastern, getting to see her two daughters, three granddaughters, and a grandson-in-law earn their degrees from the University.

“Whether she was called ‘Mama Ruth’ or the ‘Queen of Hammond,’ to know her was to love her,” said Mary Hannah (Prevot) Johnson, her granddaughter and the prior assistant athletics director for athletic advancement at Southeastern.
As a loyal supporter of Southeastern over the years, Ruth made a profound impact on countless students and the University through the establishment of the Pat Kenelly Endowed Scholarship in Baseball in 2004 and the naming of the Coach Pat Kenelly Baseball Diamond in 2006, along with additional annual program support. And, her memory keeps on giving through the newly initiated Ruth Settoon Kenelly Memorial Scholarship in Baseball, currently being funded by her devoted family and friends.

“Ms. Ruth was loved by her Southeastern Family,” added Wendy Lauderdale, vice president of University Advancement. “She had a way of making everyone feel special. And, she had an amazing ability of always reaching out and showing love and support at just the right time. It was like she was emotionally connected to all of us.

Scan Feb 27, 2021“Ms. Ruth could usually be found having breakfast with one of the members of the Southeastern Family at Yellow Bird, a local establishment in Hammond. She invited President Crain every time, hoping to have yet another opportunity to let ‘John’ know just how special she thought he was. Ms. Ruth loved everything about Southeastern and Southeastern loved everything about Ms. Ruth. We have all been blessed to have known her and rest assured that her memory will live on for generations to come in the hearts of her Southeastern Family.”

By Sheri Gibson

Cyber Security Summit for Educators

Southeastern will host a free professional development workshop for educators on Saturday, March 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for seventh through 12th-grade teachers. Scheduled in the Innovation Hub in Sims Memorial Library, the summit will cover basic cybersecurity concepts and give an overview of the summer GenCyber Professional Development Program.

The National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation have provided funding for this CyberSecurity Summit and the GenCyber Professional Development Program, also for educators, to be held in July. Southeastern was one of 32 universities and colleges nationally to be selected as a camp host last year and is the only university in Louisiana to offer it this year.

Computer Science faculty member Bonnie Achee will serve as program director for the GenCyber program with Southeastern faculty teaching camp courses. The event is free, and both in-person and virtual attendance options are available.

For more information or to register, visit