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James William Rivers Prize

About the Prize

The James William Rivers Prize in Louisiana Studies is among the most prestigious awards in Louisiana Studies. It was established to honor persons (or organizations) who have contributed or rendered, recently or over the course of their careers, outstanding scholarly study, work, or teaching about the culture, history, art, architecture, crafts, flora, fauna, music, literature, law, performing arts or geography of Louisiana or about its people. The Rivers Prize, consisting of a cash award and other acknowledgments, was established with private funds donated in memory of Mr. Rivers, a New Orleans architect and graduate of USL (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), who died in 1991


Nominations must be in writing and sent (before October 31st of any given calendar year) to the James William Rivers Prize Committee by email at, with the subject heading, "Rivers Prize Nomination." Please include documentation and/or reasons in support of any nominations. Nominations will be reviewed by a committee made up of representatives from the UL Lafayette College of the Arts, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Center for Louisiana Studies. Finalists not chosen to receive the Prize will automatically be considered by the Prize Committee the following year.

Past Recipients

1992    A. Hays Town
1993    Marcel Giraud
1994    Saul Litvinoff
1995    Joy J. Jackson    
1996    Barry J. Ancelet
1997    Mary Louise Christovich
1998    Ernest J. Gaines
1999    Samuel Wilson, Jr.
2000    Glen Jeansonne
2001    Elemore Morgan Sr. and Elemore Morgan Jr.
2002    Mathé Allain
2003    Glenn R. Conrad
2004    Louisiana Public Broadcasting
2005    Ellis Marsalis
2006    Frank de Caro
2007    James Lee Burke
2008    Jay D. Edwards and the Fred B. Kniffen Cultural Resources Laboratory
2009    Carl A. Brasseaux
2010    La. Endowment for the Humanities
2011    George Rodrigue
2012    Zachary Richard
2013    Nicholas Spitzer
2014    Leah Chase
2015    Darrell Bourque
2016    Philip Gould
2017    Maida Owens
2018    Not Awarded
2019    The Historic New Orleans Collection
2020    Gwendolyn Midlo Hall
2021    Michael White
2022    Malcolm Vidrine and Charles Allen