Helping to sustain the traditional cultures of coastal Louisiana

In collaboration with the Louisiana Folklore Society and other organizations, the Folklife Program is offering activities to help to sustain the traditional knowledge of coastal communities affected by land loss in Lafourche, St Mary, Terrebonne, and lower Jefferson Parishes. We are especially interested in supporting traditions that are endangered due to land loss. The activities will be at a variety of locations throughout the area, and will vary from workshops, classes, and presentations about local traditions or how to sustain them.

Bayou Traditions

Traditional knowledge of the coast includes those about the land and wetlands in addiiton to traditions about all aspects of life. Tradition bearers would come from any of the traditional cultures from those descended from the earliest settlers to most recent immigrants. See examples of traditions here.  

Bayou Culture Collaborative Events

Events include an artist sense of place workshop, collecting stories workshops in Lafourche Parish, gumbo making at the Chauvin Folk Art Festival, carving classes, sense of place writing and poetry workshops, Mardi Gras costume making, and more. Most events are free, but some require registration because space is limited. 

Moving Traditions Forward:  Documenting Bayou Culture Workshop Series

Learn to document valued traditions, conduct oral history interviews, and share findings with your community in a series of four free interactive workshops running March 30 through May 11. You will identify and explore traditions that you want to pass on to your children and grandchildren. Together, they are your trunk of traditions. These workshops will offer strategies to help ensure traditions are passed on to future generations. 

See Calendar of Events for details about each workshop.

↓ See 2019 Schedule of Events


February 17
Costume Designing with the King of Tradition
  Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum, 7910 W Park Ave, Houma, LA 70364.
  10 am to 1 pm.
Description: Do you have an idea for an award winning costume, but haven't quite figured out how to bring your vision to reality? Learn how to design and build a costume from the King of costuming, Lance Brown. King Lance will have materials on hand for building costumes, however, participants are welcome to bring materials they may already have. From gowns to crowns, everyone will leave this workshop with a finished product of some kind. King Lance has also decreed that all costumes built at this workshop will automatically be entered into a contest for best design. First prize is a custom made costume by the king. 2nd & 3rd prizes are pre-made costumes designed and built by the king. Winner need not be present. Costume winners announced at 1:00pm.
Collaborator(s): Krewe of Tradition
Facilitator: Lance Brown, Krewe of Tradition
Registration: $5. To register, contact The Krewe of Tradition by filling out a contact form at  https://kreweoftradition.org/contact/. Advance registration is not required. Walk ins are welcome! 


March 23
Bayou Culture at the Louisiana Folklore Society meeting
  Duhe Center,  235 Civic Center Blvd, Houma. 
  9 am to 3 pm.
Description: The Louisiana Folklore Society's annual meeting will be in the morning with presentations about traditional cultures throughout the state. The afternoon will feature presentations about efforts to support traditional cultures in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes. 
Registration: See www.louisianafolklore.org for details. $10 registration for the morning sessions. The afternoon is free.   All are welcome.


March 30
Exploring Local Folklife and Choosing What to Document
  North Branch, Terrebonne Parish Library, 4230 West Park Avenue, Gray, Louisiana.
  9 am to 3 pm. Lunch will be provided.
Description: This low-key, highly interactive workshop will call on participants’ personal traditions as a way of introducing folklife and documentation. Expect an engaging day as we delve into regional culture and brainstorm potential topics. Part of the Documenting Bayou Culture Workshop Series.
Collaborator(s): South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, Terrebonne Parish Library
Facilitators: Paddy Bowman, Local Learning; Maida Owens, Louisiana Folklife Program
Registration: Required is required due to limited space. While attendance at all four Documenting Bayou Culture Workshops is recommended, it is not required. For those who complete the series, mentoring will be available to help community members complete their projects. Registration deadline is Monday, March 25. To register, contact Brigid Laborie, Terrebonne Parish Library, blaborie@mytpl.org, or leave a message at 985-876-5861, ext 242. Include your contact details if you leave a message.


April 7
Making Houma Indian Gumbo at the Chauvin Folk Art Festival
  Chauvin Sculpture Garden, 5337 Bayouside Drive, Chauvin, Louisiana.
   10 am to 4 pm - festival hours. Time of gumbo demonstration TBD. 
Description: Learn how to make Indian gumbo from Janie Luster and about French as spoken by the Houma Indians with Robin White. 
Registration:  None


April 13
Getting Ready for Interviewing: Techniques for Documenting Local Stories and Knowledge
    North Branch, Terrebonne Parish Library, 4230 West Park Avenue, Gray, Louisiana.
   9 am to 3 pm.   Lunch will be provided.
Description: Using low-tech equipment and sharing easy, essential interview basics, facilitators will prepare community members to discover more about local traditions and stories through interviewing. Participants are invited to bring their own recorder or smart phone for hands-on practice.  Part of the Documenting Bayou Culture Workshop Series.
Collaborator(s):  South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, Terrebonne Parish Library Facilitators:  Lisa RathjeLocal Learning;   Maida Owens, Louisiana Folklife Program Registration:  Required is required due to limited space. While attendance at all four Documenting Bayou Culture Workshops is recommended, it is not required. For those who complete the series, mentoring will be available to help community members complete their projects. Registration deadline is  Monday, April 9. To register, contact Brigid Laborie, Terrebonne Parish Library,   blaborie@mytpl.org, or leave a message at 985-876-5861, ext 242. Include your contact details if you leave a message.


April 27

Catch and Release: Documentary Photography and Videography For Your Community

  North Branch, Terrebonne Parish Library, 4230 West Park Avenue, Gray, Louisiana.
   9 am to 3 pm.   Lunch will be provided.
Description: Hands-on practice with expert, engaging documentarians will teach basics as well as tips for more experienced participants to improve their media skills. Then learn what to do with your work. Part of the Documenting Bayou Culture Workshop Series.
Collaborator(s):  South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, Terrebonne Parish Library  Facilitators:  John Sharp, Center for Louisiana Studies;   Maida Owens, Louisiana Folklife Program
Registration:  Required is required due to limited space. While attendance at all four Documenting Bayou Culture Workshops is recommended, it is not required. For those who complete the series, mentoring will be available to help community members complete their projects. Registration deadline is Monday, April 22. To register, contact Brigid Laborie, Terrebonne Parish Library,   blaborie@mytpl.org, or leave a message at 985-876-5861, ext 242. Include your contact details if you leave a message.



May 11
Presenting, Archiving, and Funding Your Project
    North Branch, Terrebonne Parish Library, 4230 West Park Avenue, Gray, Louisiana.
   9 am to 3 pm.   Lunch will be provided.
Description: What can you do with your documentation? Explore doable, diverse options for sharing your projects during this workshop. Part of the Documenting Bayou Culture Workshop Series.
Collaborator(s):  South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, Terrebonne Parish Library
Facilitators: Maida Owens, Louisiana Folklife Program; Brigid Laborie, Terrebonne Parish Library
Registration:  Required is required due to limited space. While attendance at all four Documenting Bayou Culture Workshops is recommended, it is not required. For those who complete the series, mentoring will be available to help community members complete their projects. Registration deadline is Monday, May 6. To register, contact Brigid Laborie, Terrebonne Parish Library,   blaborie@mytpl.org, or leave a message at 985-876-5861, ext 242. Include your contact details if you leave a message.


May 18
Pathways and Portals: Artists Exploring Sense of Place
  North Branch, Terrebonne Parish Library, 4230 West Park Avenue, Gray, Louisiana.
  9 am to 3 pm.
Description: Regional artists are invited to a free immersive workshop connecting them to the local environment, bayou culture, and one another. Expect a day filled with hands-on explorations of personal traditions, regional sense of place, and artistic creation. Participants will work individually and collaboratively throughout the day. Facilitators are experienced art and folklife educators with regional and national experience in networking as well as professional development.
Registration:  Required is required due to limited space. Registration deadline is Monday, May 13. To register, contact Brigid Laborie, Terrebonne Parish Library,  blaborie@mytpl.org, or leave a message at 985-876-5861, ext 242. Include your contact details if you leave a message. 

↑ Hide the 2019 Schedule




Workshops, Classes, Presentations

If you are interested in hosting a workshop, class, or presentation, contact: Maida Owens, Louisiana Folklife Program, folklife@crt.la.gov, 225-342-8178. These are only some of the possible options.
  • Fait à la main/Made By Hand -- Classes to learn arts and crafts, such as duck carving, basket weaving using local resources
  • Performing the Traditions -- Classes to learn traditions such as singing songs in French
  • Presentations about the traditions and culture of coastal communities by community scholars and other researchers
  • Writing on the Bayou - Exploring your memories and sense of place 
  • Make a Community Quilted Wall Hanging
  • Writing poetry - Exploring your memories and sense of place in French or English 
Existing Documentation

Find essays on the Folklife in Louisiana website and other sources that address traditions in Louisiana's coastal communities here.

Collaborators and Funders

This project is a collaboration between Louisiana Folklore Society, the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program, the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, Nicholls State University Center for Bayou Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Center for Louisiana Studies, and Bayou Regional Arts Council.

The collaborative is funded with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

©2019 Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism