The Center for Louisiana Studies maintains healthy ties to several local, regional and state organizations as part of its mission to foster scholarly inquiry and active preservation of Louisiana traditions and folkways. Assistant Director for Programming and Special Projects, Jennifer Ritter Guidry, serves as the Lafayette Parish Commissioner for the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, on the Acadiana Open Channel board of directors and is completing the national creative placemaking certification program.
Other projects we're excited about include:
Bayou Teche Paddle Trail
Partnering with local volunteer organizations, including the TECHE Project and Acadiana RC&D and under the guidance of the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, we developed a comprehensive plan for a new paddle trail for the full length of the Bayou Teche, issued in October 2012. This 130-mile-plus waterway winds through four parishes and numerous small towns, providing access for locals and visitors alike to explore outdoor recreation, Main Street communities, restaurants and businesses. Currently, we are administering a Federal Highway Administration grant to improve and increase access for non-motorized recreation on the Bayou Teche.
Louisiana Creative Communities Initiative
In 2013, Louisiana's Office of Cultural Development and the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation launched a pilot program to provide ten communities with creative placemaking coaches for a 6-month planning process resulting in a versatile plan incorporating the arts, economic development and community planning. The center had the pleasure of working with two very different communities which yielded equally diverse and impactful plans for shaping local engagement and civic development.
- Communities Linkined in Culture, Minden
Corridor des Arts, St. Landry and St. Martin parishes
Save the Southern Club Initiative
While out on a September 2012 fieldwork trip to St. Landry Parish, center staff John Sharp and Jennifer Guidry unwittingly became part of an initiative to preserve the 50-year-old dancehall on the outskirts of Opelousas. Working with family members and community leaders, their collaboration led to a series of public meetings to generate support, the formation of a group to begin fundraising for repairs to the Southern Club and new information for the center's ongoing Dancehalls of South Louisiana project. The center is also preparing a National Register of Historic Places application for the Southern Club, which is scheduled for review in Fall 2014.
Encore Radio Show on KRVS
Local musician Megan Brown began broadcasting her show, Encore, in April 2011, with an emphasis on recordings from the Center's holdings in the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore. Center staff help identify audio content and show theme development.
In Your Own Backyard Monthly Series
The Center for Louisiana Studies hosted a free monthly lecture series from 2009-2013, producing 60 installments of discussion and exploration into our own traditions, beliefs, crafts and environmental resources. Each program was recorded and can be accessed within the Center's archival collections, viewed on Acadiana Open Channel and YouTube, and personal copies are available upon request. The series will continue in the future as a seasonal symposium/workshop over a day and half, with a free evening component. For more information or to learn how to support the Backyard Series, please contact Jennifer Guidry.