June 2011
Governor names Natchitoches English Professor Louisiana's new Poet Laureate
Julie Kane, Ph.D.

Governor Bobby Jindal has named Natchitoches English professor Julie Kane the 2011-2013 Poet Laureate of Louisiana.


Julie Kane, PhD, is a professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.  A tireless promoter of poetry in the state, she is a recipient of the National Poetry Series award (2002), the Donald Justice Poetry Prize (2009), and a Fulbright Scholarship (2002).  In 2005, she was selected as a juror for the National Book Award in Poetry. Subject to confirmation by the state Senate, Kane will succeed the state's current poet laureate Darrell Bourque on May 21.


Dr. Kane's poetry collections - Jazz Funeral, Rhythm & Booze and Body and Soul - celebrate the culture of New Orleans. She is also the co-author of the Vietnam memoir Counterpart: A South Vietnamese Naval Officer's War and an editor of the anthologies Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical and Creative Responses to Everette Maddox and Voices of the American South.


The LEH will confer the award on Julie Kane, Louisiana's Poet Laureate at 6 p.m. June 23 at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, or LEH, Louisiana Humanities Center, 938 Lafayette St., in New Orleans. She also will give her first official public reading as Poet Laureate. The program will be free and open to the public. 


Governor Jindal made his selection from three nominations submitted by the state's Poet Laureate Panel of scholars and poets that includes Michael Sartisky, PhD, panel chair and LEH President/Executive Director; John Biguenet, LEH board member and the Robert Hunter Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans; Brian Boyles, Program Director, Louisiana Humanities Center; poets represented by Peter Cooley, PhD, Tulane University; David Middleton, PhD, Nichols State University; professors Reggie Young, PhD, University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Prof. Jack Heflin, University of Louisiana at Monroe; and MaryKatherine Callaway, director of LSU Press in Baton Rouge.  The other two poet nominees submitted by the panel were Jack Bedell, PhD, professor of English and humanities at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond and Ava Leavell Haymon, poet and teacher, Baton Rouge.


"After lengthy deliberation the panel felt that these accomplished and reputable poets are the most qualified of those nominated," the Poet Laureate Panel stated in its written recommendations to the governor. "Each writes about his or her own cultural experiences in Louisiana - three different voices with three different expressions. We realize that only one can be chosen for this honor, but I am compelled to express the panel's agreement that several others, in addition to the aforementioned, are worthy of this award to represent the state of Louisiana as its literary ambassador in the years to come."  


"The LEH is honored to be able to confer this award on so worthy a poet as Julie Kane," said Dr. Michael Sartisky. 


McIlhenny Family Foundation and new Poet Laureate to be honored in New Orleans

On June 23, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, or LEH, will hold a special ceremony to dedicate the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Family Foundation board room, located within the state-of-the-art Louisiana Humanities Center, 938 Lafayette St., New Orleans.


During the LEH's 2006-2009 capital campaign, the McIlhenny Foundation donated $100,000 for capital improvements in the Humanities Center. "The ultimate result of this support was much larger," said LEH President and Executive Director Michael Sartisky. "The McIlhenny Foundation's leadership gift spurred additional major gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and also leveraged significant matching gifts from the Kresge Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities."


Representing the McIlhenny Foundation at the naming ceremony will be Edwin R. Rodriguez, Jr., the Foundation's President.


In addition to the McIlhenny dedication, Julie Kane, PhD, will be recognized as Louisiana's new Poet Laureate. Following the recognition, she will give her first reading in her new position. The LEH will host the reading at the Humanities Center. See preceding story for more information about Dr. Kane.


Both events, which begin at 6 p.m., will be free and open to the public.  


 American History teacher institutes in North Louisiana


In June, approximately 120 public school American history teachers in Northeast and Northwest Louisiana are scheduled to attend summer institutes in American history 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.


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.


KnowLA online encyclopedia

Louisiana residents were reminded this May of the power of the Mississippi River when floodwaters tore through the region. Many local families recalled the horrific stories their grandparents shared of the last great Mississippi River flood in 1927. That spring, the river, swollen with rainwater from the Midwest, began moving south into Louisiana, threatening the major population centers of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Governor O.H. Simpson eventually acquiesced to a plea from New Orleans leaders and blasted a hole in the levees south of the city to relieve pressure on the city's fragile levees. New Orleans was spared but southern Louisiana was inundated with catastrophic flooding.


The Flood of 1927 revealed that levees alone would not solve the problem of Mississippi River flooding and, as a result, the current system of spillways was set aside to divert future floodwaters. These very spillways were crucial to saving the city this spring as the river, once again swollen from heavy Midwestern snow and rain, bore down on the area. Much more information on the Flood of 1927 and its aftermath can be found here in the KnowLA entry on the topic by Jim Bradshaw: www.knowla.org/entry.php?rec=763. The entry, which 2,625 people have viewed in the last few weeks, includes images and footage of the devastation and response with links to many other informative websites.


Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine

The summer 2011 issue of Louisiana Cultural Vistas will debut in mid-June with a cover story excerpted from the book New Orleans: What Can't Be Lost, a collection of 88 essays by writers and residents of the city about cherished institutions, foods, landmarks and memories. The book was funded in part by a Louisiana Publishing Initiative Grant from the LEH. Other stories to be found in the next issue include:

  • A history of the Rost Home Colony, an agricultural collective operated by the Freedmen's Bureau that provided safe haven for ex-slaves at the close of the Civil War. The experimental enterprise operated at Destrehan Plantation for 18 months from 1865-66.
  • A photo essay titled "Alluvia," of black-and-white images of the Louisiana coast and its people by Samuel Portera.
  • Excerpts from Acadiana, a collaborative book between photographer Philip Gould and historian Carl Brasseaux that surveys the parishes of Southwest Louisiana most identified with Cajun culture.
  • A history of jazz scholarship, focusing on the revival of New Orleans traditional jazz in the 1940s and newfound appreciation for early jazz musicians Kid Ory and Bunk Johnson.
  • A look at the little-known sculptures of Louisiana artist George Rodrigue, best known for his famed Blue Dog prints.

Upon the completion of each issue, editors Michael Sartisky and David Johnson discuss the magazine's content on the radio program "All Things New Orleans," hosted by Paul Maassen, general manager of WWNO FM 89.9, an NPR affiliate. Podcasts of past interviews can be heard by logging on to www.wwno.org.


PRIME TIME Family Reading Time

PRIME TIME announces fall 2011 Louisiana sites

Congratulations to all fall 2011 PRIME TIME grant recipients! The LEHE received approximately 45 requests for PRIME TIME funding for the fall 2011 term in Louisiana. However, due to drastically reduced state funding for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, only 4 programs could be underwritten (or partially underwritten) by those funds. Grants and donations solicited from other private sources will fund an additional 26 programs in the state. Click here to view a listing of the award recipients. 


2011 American Library Association in New Orleans

The annual conference of the American Library Association is returning to New Orleans this year!  "The world's largest and most dynamic library conference and exhibition" will take place at the Ernest M.  Morial Convention Center, just blocks away from Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and PRIME TIME headquarters in downtown New Orleans. Please visit the 2011 ALA conference website for additional details on the conference. 


On June 25 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., PRIME TIME is scheduled to host a session titled:  "ABCs of Sustainable Partnerships:  Affiliations Build Communities." Across the nation, libraries and humanities councils have partnered to fund public programming in libraries and schools.  A variety of successful outreach models, including the award-winning PRIME TIME Family Reading Time program, will be showcased. 


Additionally, the LEH and PRIME TIME staff will host a reception for past, present and future PRIME TIME team members attending the ALA conference. This will be a fun and informal gathering for the national PRIME TIME community. The reception, which will feature New Orleans cuisine, will be held at the Louisiana Humanities Center at Turners' Hall.  RSVP here.  


Are YOU attending this year's ALA conference in New Orleans?

We welcome opportunities to see old and new friends.  View details on the PRIME TIME conference sessions and the reception here. 


lhc_outsideJuly 2011 training workshop dates

The PRIME TIME Training Workshop is set to take place 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 held 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.



RELIC: Readings in Literature and Culture

The RELIC library reading program schedule for fall programs is taking shape with a program in every major region of the state.  A list of confirmed locations and programs follows:

  • Abbeville - Vermilion Parish Library. "Folktales and Stories of the South and Louisiana." Sept. 15-Oct. 20. 
  • Alexandria - Westside Regional Branch, Alexandria, Rapides Parish Library. "Encounter in Louisiana." Sept. 8-Oct. 13.
  • Bossier City - Bossier Parish Historical Center, Bossier Parish Library. "The Louisiana Purchase: Impact and Legacy." Sept. 8-Oct. 13.
  • Covington - St. Tammany Parish Library. "Encounter in Louisiana." Sept. 7-Oct. 12. 
  • Gonzales - Ascension Parish Library. "Encounter in Louisiana."  Sept. 22-Oct. 27.
  • Gray, Terrebonne Parish Library.  "The Louisiana Purchase: Impact and Legacy." Sept. 12-Oct. 17.
  • Napoleonville - Assumption Parish Library.   "I'll Be Seeing You . . . America and World War II."  Oct. 13-Nov. 17.
  • Ringgold - Bienville Parish Library. "Battleground Louisiana: Civil War Events and Experiences." Sept. 20-Oct. 25.
  • Vidalia - Concordia Parish Library. "In the Cross Hairs: Louisiana's Hurricane Experience." Sept. 29-Oct. 13.

Don't see one near you?  Ask your public library to consider offering one in the future.

For additional information about RELIC programs, contact Jim Segreto at 504-620-2477 or segreto@leh.org.


LEH Capital Campaign successfully concluded

All outstanding pledges for the LEH's 2006+ Capital Campaign have now been redeemed.  All-told, this first-ever LEH campaign raised more than $4.5 million, exceeding our goal by $1.5 million and accomplishing the following: (1) retiring the debt on the Louisiana Humanities Center and parking lot; (2) completely renovating our Turner's Hall property after 20 years of deferred maintenance; (3) constructing a state-of-the-art Humanities Education Center; (4) acquiring the 35-piece collection of John Scott's art - the largest collection anywhere; and (5) securing $2.1 million in long-term endowment. 


The campaign's lead donors included the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Gustaf W. McIlhenny Family Foundation, the Helis Foundation, the Community Foundation of Shreveport-Bossier, The Historic New Orleans Collection, the Zemurray Foundation, Booth-Bricker Fund, and the State of Louisiana. Additionally, LEH Board participation and leadership in the campaign was pivotal to its success.


"This was an unprecedented achievement for any state humanities council in the nation. One for which we should all be proud,"  said Kevin Kelly, Chair of the LEH Board of Directors.  "I join Dr. Sartisky in thanking each and every LEH supporter who made our first campaign a success!"


Boh Brothers Construction renews PRIME TIME sponsorship


Robert S. Boh, President of Boh Brothers Construction, has renewed the company's $10,000 annual sponsorship of PRIME TIME Family Reading Time for 2011-2012. From the first days of the company's 2010-2011 sponsorship, Mr. Boh's commitment to improving education across Greater New Orleans was evident. Despite a busy schedule and many competing commitments, he personally visited both PRIME TIME programs made possible by his company's generosity. In short, Boh Brothers Construction is actively partnering with the LEH and PRIME TIME to change lives for the better by ending the cycle of illiteracy and low-literacy in our community.


Jones Family Foundation supports PRIME TIME

The LEH is honored to welcome a new private foundation supporter - The Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation of New Orleans - to our family of corporate and foundation sponsors of PRIME TIME Family Reading Time. Thanks to LEH Board Member Betsy Nalty's introductions, the foundation's recent $5,000 donation will support PRIME TIME at a high-need New Orleans site this fall. The LEH personally thanks Susan Jones Gundlach of the Jones Family Foundation for her strong commitment to a more literate and successful community, as well as her genuine interest in the LEH's PRIME TIME program.  


LEH Annual Fund seeks defenders of Louisiana culture and education

May 1 marked the start of the third quarter in the LEH's 2010-2011 Annual Fund. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation of any size to the LEH. A gift of $50 or more entitles you to an annual subscription to this award-winning, quarterly magazine, while larger donations bring many additional benefits.  If you already subscribe, please consider a gift subscription for a family member or friend.  For details, visit our website  www.leh.org and click on "Support the LEH" or contact Dr. Jeff A. Hale, director of institutional advancement at 504-606-4628 or hale@leh.org.  If you are already an LEH supporter, you have our sincere thanks.


The Smithsonian is going to St. Martinville!

The Smithsonian Institution's Journey Stories exhibition will be in St. Martinville, La., from May 28 to July 9. Journey Stories uses imagery, audio and artifacts to "tell the individual stories that illustrate the critical roles travel and movement have played in building our diverse American Society." The exhibition is mounted at Maison Duchamp, 201 South Main Street, St. Martinville. The schedule follows:


May 28

6 p.m.: Opening lecture:  "St. Martin Parish Journeys."

Dr. Michael Martin, University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Location: Trinity School Gymnasium, 201 Evangeline Blvd, within a block of the exhibition.

7-9 p.m.: Opening reception.

Location: Trinity School Gymnasium, 201 Evangeline Blvd, within a block of the exhibition.

7 p.m.-9 p.m.: Exhibition opens to the public, Maison Duchamp, 201 South Main St.


May 29

7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m. & 5:30 p.m.: Mass, journey theme.

Location: St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church, 133 South Main St.


June 2

6:30 p.m.: Lecture: "African Founders of the Teche Country."

Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Michigan State University.

Location: Trinity School Gymnasium, 201 Evangeline Blvd.


June 9

6:30 p.m.: Lecture: "Attakapas/Ishak: Exiled from a Home They Never Left."

Dr. Ray Brassieur, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Rachel Mouton, Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.

Location: Trinity School Gymnasium, 201 Evangeline Blvd.


June 16

6:30 p.m.: Lecture:  "The Civil War Experience of Amanda and Kate Stone."

Dr.  Mary Farmer-Kaiser.

Location: Trinity School Gymnasium, 201 Evangeline Blvd.


June 17

7:30 p.m.:  Lecture: "Levert Family Journey Story."

Ira Harkey III, author of Black Sugar, based on the life and times of Jean Baptiste Levert.

Location: Levert-St. John Plantation House, 6000 block of Resweber Hwy (Hwy 347).  Limited seating, call 337-394-2258 for reservations.           


June 23

6:30 p.m.: Lecture:  "To Honor Our Veterans: An Oral History of World War II Veterans from the Bayou Country."

Dr. Jason Theriot, University of Houston.

Location: Trinity School Gymnasium, 201 Evangeline Blvd.


July 2

6 p.m.: Lecture: "I'm Comin' Home:  Dislocation and Return in the Music of South Louisiana."

Dr. Kevin Fontenot, Tulane University.

Location: AV Room at Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, 1200 North Main St.


July 5-9

7:30 p.m.: Evangeline Players present an updated version of the musical Grand-Pré by local artists Cody Daigle and Roy Bertucci. Pre-show special feature: one-act vignette, created by Christy Dugas Maraist, based on the novel Acadian Reminiscences

Location: Duchamp Opera House,200 South Main St., call 337-394-6604


This program is funded by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.Visit the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities website to read more about Journey Stories! www.leh.org/html/museum.html