April 2011
2011 LEH Humanities of the Year Awards Ceremony
From left to right and seated, Debbie Caffery Fleming, Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography, and Erika Hamilton, Public Humanities Programming. Standing from left to right, Patty Gay, Lifetime Contributions to the Humanities; Winston Riley, Humanities Documentary Film of the Year; Dr. Dana Kress, Humanist of the Year; and Georgiann Potts, Individual Achievement in the Humanities. Award winners not pictured include The Helis Foundation, Chair's Award for Institutional Support, and Drs. Albert Valdman and Kevin J. Rottet for the Humanities Book of the Year.   

The LEH held its 2011 Humanities of the Year awards ceremony on April 2 at Houmas House Plantation and Gardens on River Road in Darrow, La., just south of Baton Rouge. Each year, the LEH honors Louisianians who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. Click here to view photos of this year's event. This year's recipients include:


Humanist of the Year - Dana Kress, Ph.D., of Centenary College in Shreveport - Dr. David Rowe, president of Centenary College in Shreveport, described Dr. Kress as embodying "a deep commitment to life-long learning, a passionate engagement with the past that will help us transform the future, and a faith that education is the cornerstone of a life well-lived." Since arriving at Centenary, Dr. Kress has greatly expanded our understanding of Louisiana's French heritage statewide, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Kress is responsible for founding the only French language newspaper in the United States, operated and written by college students, Le Tintamarre, and establishing Les Cahiers du Tintamarre and Les Editions Tintamarre - a press dedicated to re-printing, and printing for the first time, texts from the lost and suppressed history of French Louisiana. He is editor-in-chief of this series of publications that now includes 40 published books with ten more in preparation. In 2000, the French government named Dr. Kress a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, among the world's oldest orders of chivalry, given to those who have made major contributions to the advancement of French culture worldwide. In 1997 the Centenary College Alumni Association named Dr. Kress "Outstanding Teacher" and in 1998 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education dubbed him "Louisiana Professor of the Year."


Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities - Patricia Gay of New Orleans - Ms Gay is the Director of the Preservation Resource Center in New Orleans, a position she has held since its inception in 1980. Through her leadership, the organization has grown from a staff of two and an annual budget of $100,000 to a staff of 45 full and part-time professionals with an annual budget of $6 million. In nominating Ms Gay, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Program Director Brian Boyles lauded her efforts to preserve historic architecture before and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, describing her as having "made an essential, irreplaceable impact on the shape and soul of a great American city."


Chair's Award for Institutional Support -The Helis Foundation of New Orleans for its significant contributions to the LEH over the last three years. As one of the LEH's largest foundation supporters, The Helis Foundation has been almost solely responsible for the acquisition of a significant number of John Scott sculptures, making the LEH Humanities Center home to the largest collection of John Scott's art.


Public Humanities Programming - Jane Hood, Erika Hamilton and the Nebraska Humanities Council - The Nebraska Humanities Council has been responsible for the second highest number of affiliate PRIME TIME sites in any state. PRIME TIME is the LEH's national award-winning family literacy program that serves low-income families throughout Louisiana and in many other states. After PRIME TIME funding from the LEH ended in 2002, all subsequent programs in schools and libraries throughout Nebraska have been funded by the council's diligent fundraising efforts. One of several who nominated Hood and the Nebraska Humanities Council, LEH PRIME TIME former Director Dianne Brady said, "Jane understand the value of humanities programming and libraries and has the vision to bring them together for the mutual benefit of both."


Individual Achievement in the Humanities - Georgiann Potts of Monroe - During and after her long career at the University of Louisiana Monroe teaching literature and later as director of public relations, Potts has been an active researcher in Louisiana's cultural heritage. She retired from ULM in 2002. Perhaps most relevant to this LEH honor is her participation in the LEH's Readings in Literature and Culture, or RELIC, a special adult reading program that partners with local libraries. She has lead 15 programs in six subjects since 2003. In nominating Potts for the award, LEH RELIC Director Jim Segreto said: "Georgian Potts has demonstrated the highest standards of professional dedication to the preparation and implementation of the RELIC programs, enabling the LEH to maintain consistently its standards for intellectually stimulating programs that are equally appealing to the adult reading population of Louisiana."


Humanities Documentary Film of the Year - Walker Percy: A Documentary Film, by Winston Riley of New Orleans - Walker Percy: A Documentary Film follows Percy's attempt to overcome a fateful family legacy of suicide and despair, place and history. A physician turned novelist, Percy won the National Book Award in 1962 for The Moviegoer, now an iconic novel describing a young man in New Orleans who searched for the meaning of life, a theme that occurs throughout Percy's other novels. Riley also weaves insights into this profoundly philosophical novelist's life through interviews with Robert Coles, Richard Ford, Walter Isaacson and others.


Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography - Debbie Fleming Caffery of Breaux Bridge - Over the course of 30 years, Caffery has had more than 20 one-woman exhibitions at museums and galleries, including the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and Galerie Camera Obscura in Paris. Her work is in the collections of more than 30 important museums, including the Whitney, Metropolitan and Modern art museums in New York, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Caffery received a Katrina Media Fellowship from the Open Society in 2006 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. In addition to numerous awards in Louisiana, Caffery conducts photography workshops on Cajun Mardi Gras, south Louisiana Cajun culture, and Halloween in New Orleans. She also has photographed and documented the last generation of workers to harvest sugarcane by hand.


2011 Humanities Book of the Year - Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities, published by the University Press of Mississippi and edited by Albert Valdman, Ph.D., and Kevin J. Rottet, Ph.D, Indiana University in Bloomington. Drs.Valdman and Rottet, and the seven assistant editors, did a masterful job in compiling an educational and reference resource based on thorough scholarship. Though dictionaries on Cajun and Creole French have been published, this new one-volume Dictionary of Louisiana French is a long-awaited and comprehensive contribution to the understanding and evolution of the French language as spoken by various ethnic groups in Louisiana. Each entry gives not only the English meaning of the word, and contextual usage in French with English translation, but also how the colloquial meaning of the word might vary in each parish and among the three French-speaking groups in Louisiana. This Dictionary of Louisiana French is indispensible to the study of French culture in Louisiana.


LEH awards publishing grants

The LEH recently awarded four grants through its annual Louisiana Publishing Initiative to:

  • The West Baton Rouge Historical Association for its forthcoming history of that parish, $4,000.
  • Albert Meek of Baton Rouge for his photo-documentary book, Vanishing Sugar:  Photographs of Louisiana's Declining Sugar Cane Industry, $4,000.
  • LSU Press to help publish The Plantation Photographs of Robert W. Tebbs, $4,000.
  • Karen Celestan of New Orleans for the photo-documentary book, Freedom's Dance, that explores the second-line marching clubs of New Orleans. $4,000.

The purpose of this grant is to help give the general public greater access to Louisiana's history and culture by providing assistance to non-fiction writers, documentary photographers and publishers who are writing about, publishing or documenting various aspects of that history and culture.


American History teacher institutes in North Louisiana


The LEH is now recruiting public school American history teachers in Northeast and Northwest Louisiana to attend summer institutes at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) and LSU in Shreveport (LSUS). Underwritten by two, five-year $1.6 million grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the LEH has formed partnerships with Caddo, Ouachita, Morehouse, East Carroll, Richland and Monroe City public school districts to create educational opportunities in American history for public school teachers in those districts. Those opportunities include graduate level summer institutes at the ULM and LSUS, as well as professional development workshops during the school year. This summer, the LEH has organized three summer institutes for elementary, middle and high school teachers at LSUS and three at ULM. For more information, contact John Kemp, LEH Deputy Director, at 504-620-2481 or at kemp@leh.org or visit www.leh.org.


Since 2003, the LEH has secured five Teaching American History grants, totaling $6.2 million, for the following school districts - Calcasieu, Caddo, East Carroll, Morehouse, Richland, Orleans and Ouachita parishes and Monroe City schools. In each program, the LEH partnered with area universities and other humanities organizations to provide tuition-free graduate credit summer institutes and in-service teacher professional development programs for American and social studies elementary, middle and high school teachers.


 PRIME TIME receives $50,000 Entergy grant


The LEH is pleased to announce a new $50,000 philanthropic partnership with the New Orleans-based Entergy Charitable Foundation. The donation will underwrite an expansion of LEH's award-winning PRIME TIME Family Reading Time program across the Greater New Orleans area throughout 2011 and 2012. A total of ten Entergy-funded PRIME TIME programs will make possible the program's expansion to serve approximately four hundred 6-to-10-year-old students who are at risk for low literacy.

"This donation comes at a pivotal time in the evolution of education and family literacy in Greater New Orleans," said Miranda Restovic, director of the PRIME TIME program. "While the ongoing educational reform movement is certainly making positive strides, the lingering problem of intergenerational illiteracy and low literacy remains a systemic inhibitor of basic educational progress. We are extremely grateful to Jennifer Quezergue, Patty Riddlebarger and everyone at the Entergy Charitable Foundation for assisting with PRIME TIME's program expansion in one of the highest need regions of our state."


PRIME TIME fall grant applications now available

The PRIME TIME staff is now accepting applications for fall 2011 programs in Louisiana. Public libraries, schools, community centers, and other public institutions throughout the State of Louisiana are encouraged to apply. 


PRIME TIME Family Reading Time is a unique humanities-focused and outcomes-based family literacy program. Created by the LEH in 1991, PRIME TIME's mission is to create the precondition for future learning among economically and educationally vulnerable familiesPRIME TIME's methodology is proven to generate long-term improvements in student achievement by transforming families into individual and collective communities that continue to read and learn together long after the program ends.  Read more about PRIME TIME and student achievement here.


Using state and private funds, PRIME TIME grants are awarded twice annually for fall and spring/summer sessions. The deadline to apply for fall 2011 is April 15. Due to an extreme reduction in state funding for PRIME TIME, the number of awards available for fall 2011 programming has been reduced. Eligible applicants not successful for fall 2011 grants will be asked to reapply for future terms when additional funding becomes available. 


Click here to access a PRIME TIME grant application.  For more information about PRIME TIME please download our program brochure or contact Miranda Restovic at 504-620-2486.


July 2011 PRIME TIME workshop

The PRIME TIME training workshop is set to take place the weekend of July 16 - 17.  Consultants and trainees from several states are expected to join the PRIME TIME staff for two days of intense instruction and practice based on the PRIME TIME methodology. 

The workshop will be hosted at the Louisiana Humanities Center at Turners' Hall in New Orleans. As always, it will be an enlightening and exciting occasion. Contact Shantrell Adams with questions regarding upcoming grant and training opportunities.


knowla_webpageKnowLA, the online Encyclopedia of Louisiana History and Culture, is adding new content to the site daily. This month, new entries were published on Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin, record labels in Louisiana, and Allison "Tootie" Montana, among many others. T create informative and engaging entries, KnowLA partners top scholars with images and media from contributors across the state and country.
For example, the "Civil War in Louisiana" entry was written by John M. Sacher and illustrated with images provided by the Library of Congress, the Louisiana State Museum, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Louisiana State University Libraries, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Duke University, the State Library of Louisiana, and the Virginia Historical Society. Included in the entry is a page from the 1864 Louisiana State Constitution that can be viewed with tool created specifically for KnowLA, enabling users to pass a digital magnifying glass over the primary document which provides a translation to modern English. In addition to the reading the entry, viewing the images, and exploring the document viewer, visitors can also watch a video on the federal occupation of New Orleans provided by the Historic New Orleans Collection.

By building strong partnerships, KnowLA is able to bring previously unavailable or inaccessible materials to a wide audience. Kimberly King, a reader from Tennessee, recently contacted KnowLA regarding the entry on her relative, author Sidonie Delahoussaye. Ms. King offered for publication with the entry the use of two previously unpublished photographs of the author as well as original letters written in Ms. Delahoussaye's hand. With the support of such dedicated partners, KnowLA intends to become the first point of reference for people seeking information on Louisiana's history and culture.

RELIC: Readings in Literature and Culture

The ALA Public Programs Office and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced an increase in funding for the Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War reading and discussion program grant. Following the application process, 50 selected public, academic and community college libraries will receive a $3,000 grant to support the reading and discussion series in their libraries with books, promotional materials and other programming support. Applications, available at www.ala.org/civilwarprograms, must be completed by April 19.


Given the austere environment in which the RELIC project and its partner institutions find themselves, any straw is worth grasping. This offer from the ALA and the NEH is an opportunity to land a program that will be very popular with any reading pubic in any parish. RELIC is not eligible to apply for this grant. RELIC is prepared to assist individual libraries in applying for this program by recruiting scholars to lead discussions on the Civil War. Contact Jim Segreto at 504-620-2477 or at segreto@leh.org.

RELIC programs now underway in Louisiana:

  • Baton Rouge - Goodwood Branch, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish Library, "Folktales and Stories of the South and Louisiana." March 14-April 18.
  • Homer - Claiborne Parish Library, "Where Is North Louisiana?" March 15-April 26.
  • Lake Charles - Calcasieu Parish Public Library. "Folktales and Stories of the South and Louisiana." March 10-April 14.
  • Lafayette - South Regional Branch, Lafayette, Lafayette Parish Public Library. "Louisiana History: Perspectives on the Pelican State." April 5-May 17.
  • LaPlace - St. John the Baptist Parish Library, "The Louisiana Purchase: Impact and Legacy."  March 28-May 2.
  • Napoleonville - Assumption Parish Library, "Battleground Louisiana: Civil War Events and Experiences." March 3-April 7.
  • Shreveport - Broadmoor Branch, Shreve Memorial Library, "The Creole Identity and Experience in Louisiana Literature and History." March 8-April 12.
  • Slidell - St. Tammany Parish Library, "Elizabeth I of England and Her Times." March 16-April 20.
  • Winnsboro - Franklin Parish Library, "The American West in Fact and Fiction." April 5-May 10.


Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine


The spring 2011 issue of Louisiana Cultural Vistas debuted in late March. Now in its 21st year of publication, the quarterly magazine of Louisiana's arts, culture, history and literature continues to share the best of the state's talent with its readers. Topics in the next edition will include:

  • Photo essay spanning the career of Debbie Fleming Caffery, the 2011 Humanities Photographer of the Year.
  • Photo essay by Kevin Levine, a Mississippi River boat pilot who has photographed the decaying lighthouses along the Gulf coast.
  • Profile of Louisiana's poet laureate, Darrell Bourque of Church Point, La.
  • History of Abraham Lincoln's voyage by flatboat, down the Mississippi to New Orleans in 1828 when he was age 19.
  •  A chronicle of the West Florida Rebellion, a land dispute in 1810 at which time the Florida parishes became an independent republic for a mere 90 days.
  • Paintings of the south Louisiana landscape by Cleland Powell, a New Orleans banker and LEH board member.


Upcoming events at the Louisiana Humanities Center
John O'Neal

On Tuesday, April 5, The People Say Project continues with a focus on local theater.  John O'Neal of Junebug Productions and Andrew Vaught of Cripple Creek Theatre Company will join us for a conversation about culture and money in New Orleans. Doors open at 5 p.m. for a happy hour reception with the interview beginning at 6 p.m.

The People Say Project is a partnership between the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Loyola University. In four events this spring, the LHC hosts artists of different generations to discuss their experiences making a living and working in New Orleans. The series aims to contribute new public dialogue centered on a sustainable local culture. For a video of our March 22 conversation, visit www.thepeoplesayproject.org. 

The 5 p.m. reception features complimentary beer from Abita and food from Stein's Deli and Cupcake Fairies. The LHC thanks these local companies for their generosity!

Next event at the LHC

April 19 - Film: Glen Pitre (Côte Blanche) & Brandan Odums (2-Cent)

These events are free and open to the public. Parking is available in the lot behind the Center.  For more information, call Brian Boyles at 504-620-2632 or boyles@leh.org. The Louisiana Humanities Center is located at 938 Lafayette Street in the New Orleans CBD.