J. David Maxson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Communication Arts and Sciences Department. He has long been fascinated with the relationship between rhetoric and everyday civic engagement. As an instructor, he believes that grappling with the complexity of communication improves critical thinking and lays the groundwork for meaningful participation in a democratic society. His research focuses on public commemorations of death and trauma in New Orleans with special attention given to the role local brass bands play in recovery efforts. In his free time, he enjoys digging through old records at Goodwill and playing his ukulele.