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Filmmaker and Xavier Prep grad gives back by way of her craft

28th October 2013   ·   0 Comments

Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

Though a semester is well underway for students at the newly formed St. Katharine Drexel Preparatory, the movement to secure the legacy of the renowned uptown institution continues by many alumni.

Filmmaker Tachic Hickman-Piazza of the class of 1997 found a way to do her part by way of her craft.

Tell Her Vision, LLC, in association with Xavier University, presents, “We Are the Prep: The Fight to Continue our Legacy,” Nov­em­ber 2 at Xavier Univ­ersity Grand Ballroom; 1 Drexel Drive.

The event; titled: “An Evening with the Prep,” hosted by B97 radio personality and Xavier Prep alum TPot, will also feature guest performances by spoken word artists John Lacarbiere III and Roosevelt “Hero 44” Wright. There will also be an informative question and answer period with Piazza and other alumni featured in the documentary. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., the screening will begin at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door.

Piazza was part of a group of classmates that were planning a reunion celebration when most of the community, and alumni became aware of Xavier Prep’s possible fate.

“I had a meeting with my graduating class; we were in the midst of planning our reunion,” she told The Louisiana Weekly. “It was a shock; no one could believe it. We (our class) were in a state of euphoria; excited to plan this amazing reunion, and then we got the news.”

The group immediately shifted their efforts to working to help keep the school open.

“That was pretty disheartening, it was definitely a state of emotional shock,” she adds. “But we all knew that we were ready to do whatever we could.”

Piazza began to follow the efforts to keep the school open though social media campaigns and knew she had to become involved. She was one of many Preppers that went down to the school when Channel 4 news interviewed alumni soon after the news broke.

“That was when the idea hit me-this is about to become a serious movement,” she said “And it was then that I thought; this has to be documented.”

After taking part in several initial meetings with fellow alumni, Piazza had planned to contribute by way of a PSA.

The Xavier Prep graduate is a filmmaker, writer and producer with 10 years of experience working in Hollywood. She has worked with various networks and production companies, such as HBO, Sony, Warner Brothers, Disney, Lifetime and MTV Networks just to name a few.

“I believed that if we were trying to solicit people to join our cause, and donate their funds, we had to give them a visual of why this school is so important to us,” she stated. “I really thought it was imperative put some type of media short together, to promote and include on the website, but I never thought about it as a documentary. I was really thinking to interview a few Preppers to have some visual images. “

Her plan quickly changed as she experienced an outpouring of alumni and members of the uptown community willing to participate.

The first person interviewed for the project was actually a (non-Prepper); Marvin Matherne, owner of Guy’s Po-Boys, a popular Magazine St. eatery, frequented by students for many years.

“After my interview with (Uptown neighborhood group) Friends of Wisner Park, I realized this would not be a video short; the stories were just too compelling, and I hadn’t interviewed one Prepper yet,” Piazza said.

From emotional alumni meetings, to fond memories from former students, ‘We Are the Prep’ includes stories from Preppers representing countless generations; including the Braud family; who Piazza noted, has one of the largest numbers of family members to walk the halls of 5116 Magazine St. She included many old photos and contributed DVD footage of the nearly central old institution in the documentary as well.

“The first photo featured is from the 1920’s,” Piazza states. “And we just take the audience from the beginning: the 50 and 60’s, to the 80’s, to current day. So you see that journey. You see what Preppers used to look like from the very beginning, to what they look like today.”

To purchase tickets to the documentary, visit

This article originally published in the October 28, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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