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Helping to sustain the traditional cultures of coastal Louisiana

We offer strategies to help ensure traditions are passed on to future generations. The Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program and the Louisiana Folklore Society produce a limited number of events each year in addition to offering funds to organizations and individuals.

This year, the collaborative will support workshops or mini-apprenticeships taught by a tradition bearer. Funds can be paid to an organization or directly to the teacher. Expenses can include the teacher honorarium and supplies. Activities must take place before June 30, 2020. 

If you would like to offer a workshop or mini-apprenticeship, contact: Maida Owens, Louisiana Folklife Program,, 225-342-8178 to discuss possibilities.  

Bayou Traditions

Workshops or mini-apprenticeships can focus on traditional knowledge of the environment and any folk tradition, including music, crafts, dance, occupations, oral traditions, foodways, ritual traditions, and more. Tradition bearers can come from any traditional culturefrom those of Native Americans to those descended from the earliest settlers to the most recent immigrants—in coastal parishes. See examples of traditions here.  

Bayou Culture Collaborative Events

Below are upcoming workshops.  Most events are free, but some require registration because space is limited. See past workshops and events here.  

September 21

A Sense of Place—and Loss: Artists and Scientists Facing Change

  Acadiana Center for the Arts, 101 West Vermilion Street, Lafayette
    10 am to 3 pm. Lunch provided.
Description: Behind the national headlines about dramatic land loss in coastal Louisiana live traditional and contemporary artists who explore and incorporate their environment, ecology, and culture into their work in addition to scientists who examine these aspects. What may scientists learn from artists and vice versa? How may art-science collaborations have broader impacts to reach communities at risk? The Bayou Culture Collaborative invites regional artists and scientists to a free immersive workshop to spend time together and with presenters who work in folklife, the sciences, and the arts to inspire advocacy and creativity in the face of land loss and cultural shifts.
Collaborator(s):   Louisiana Folklife Program, Local Learning: National Network for Folk Arts in Education, Louisiana Folklore Society, Acadiana Center for the Arts 
Facilitators: Paddy Bowman, Founding Director of Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education, Brandon Ballengée, visual artist and biologist, Louisiana State University; Prosanta Chakrabarty,  Associate Professor and Curator of Ichthyology at LSU; Suzanne Fredericq, UL Professor of Biology; Janie Luster, traditional Houma artist; and Lynda Frese, visual artist and UL Professor Emerita. See more about the presenters here
Registration:  For information or to register contact Paige Krause at the AcA, 337-233-7060 x 232 .
August 26 - September 7

Houma Half-Hitch Palmetto Weaving and Spanish Moss Doll making

  Theriot, Louisiana
Description: Master artists Janie Luster and Ann Luster will teach traditional Houma Indian palmetto basket making and Spanish moss doll making in two series of workshops for youth and adults. Janie Luster and her daughter Ann Luster are master palmetto basket weavers, Spanish moss doll makers, and cultural preservationists of the United Houma Nation. Hailing from the community of Bayou DuLarge in Terrebonne Parish, Janie comes from a long line of traditional healers and is a tribal advocate.

A dedicated practitioner of diverse tribal customs, Janie is widely recognized for her coiled half-hitch baskets, made using an intricate weaving technique lost to the Houma for nearly a generation. Reintroduced by Luster in the 1990s, the hitch-coil method with a half-hitch knot-common in areas of South and Central America-is considered limited in North America to Louisiana's largest tribe of indigenous peoples. They also make jewelry and home decor using the dried diamond-shaped scales of the alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula), a ray-finned fish native to the southeastern United States.
Facilitators: Janie Luster, Ann Luster
 Space is limited. Call to schedule your space. For information, contact Janie Luster at 985-860-9387 or Ann Luster at 985-226-6171.  

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.

If you would like to know more, contact the Folklife Program director or explore the Folklife in Louisiana website.

©2019 Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism