Nominations for 2019 Louisiana Humanities Awards Now Open

Photo by Morgan Randall

In order to honor Louisianans who have made outstanding contributions to the understanding of the state’s culture and history, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) is now accepting nominations for the 2019 Humanities Awards. Awardees will be chosen by committee and recognized for their achievements at the annual Bright Lights Awards dinner this spring.

Since 1985, LEH has honored hundreds of Louisianans for their work in the realms of literature, art history, philosophy, photography, and more. Previous awardees have included Ernest Gaines, Ellis Marsalis, Cokie Roberts, and William Joyce. The 2018 Humanist of the Year was culinary giant and civil rights icon Leah Chase.

Letters of nomination are currently being accepted for the following categories:

  • Lifetime Contributions: Honors citizens who have supported and been involved in public appreciation of issues central to the humanities.
  • Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography: Honors documentary photographers whose subject matter exemplifies Louisiana topics and aesthetics. Nominations may be for a complete body of work or for a single project.
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Awarded to the documentary film that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana documentary filmmakers.
  • Humanities Book of the Year: Awarded to the book that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana writers.
  • Light Up for Literacy: Honors individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to literacy efforts in the state. The award is presented in partnership with the State Library of Louisiana’s Center for the Book and the Library of Congress.
  • Museum Exhibition of the Year: Recognizes an exhibition held during the prior calendar year (2018) that brought new insights to our understanding of the state, its artists, and/or its history.

“We believe that genius runs deep in the fields and bayous of Louisiana,” said LEH Executive Director Miranda Restovic. “The annual Bright Lights in the Humanities Awards Celebration is an opportunity for us to recognize and honor that genius, whether it be expressed through writing, film, photography, activism or philanthropy. We invite the public to nominate those individuals and organizations working to explore our past, reflect on our present, and imagine our future through the humanities.”

Anyone may submit nominations, but letters must be received in the LEH office no later than 5 p.m. on November 1, 2018, and should be addressed to: Humanities Awards Committee, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 938 Lafayette St., Suite 300, New Orleans, LA 70113. Nominations also may be emailed to

For more information about submitting nominations, click here.