The Louisiana Folklife Program is mandated to identify, document, preserve, and present Louisiana's folk traditions from the state’s diverse ethnic groups, about Louisiana cultures dating from Native Americans and the earliest colonial settlements--French, Spanish, Acadian, Creole, African American, Anglo American, Isleños--to the various waves of settlers to more recent immigrant communities including, Irish, Filipino, German, Italian, Lebanese, Hungarian, Cuban, Jewish, Vietnamese and more.

Everyone and every group has folklore, but the program focuses on those traditions that are endangered or need support. A second priority is regions of the state that have not received as much attention.

So, what is folklife? It is a diverse array of living traditions, practiced and passed on informally within families or particular groups, whether they be ethnic, occupational, religious, or regional. Traditions may be music, dance, crafts, foodways, occupations, oral traditions, ritual traditions, or other customs.

Information about all of this and more can be found on the Folklife in Louisiana website. This multi-media platform showcases in-depth information that has been researched and vetted for its accuracy and scholarship. To facilitate navigation, related resources in the site are provide for each article. Some articles have been published by scholars elsewhere while some were commissioned by the Folklife Program and first published on the Folklife in Louisiana website.

Since 1979, the Program has initiated many projects. Some focused on a tradition while others focused on a region of the state. These include Swapping Stories: Folk Tales in Louisiana, Baton Rouge Traditions, Delta Pieces: Northeast Louisiana Folklife, New Populations, and the Louisiana Quilt Documentation Project.

Bayou Culture Collaborative
Currently, the program focuses on the Bayou Culture Collaborative by offering strategies to sustain the traditional cultures of coastal Louisiana. We produce workshops in addition to offering funds for workshops to organizations and individuals. See Sense of Place—and Loss workshops and Passing It On workshops. 

Louisiana Folklife Commission and the program produce Folklife Month in October to recognize tradition bearers for their role in preserving and promoting the state's distinctive folk cultures

The Program also provides tools and resources for individuals and communities wanting to plan folklife projects, find local folk artists and tradition bearers, and present these traditions to the public.  In short, we can help you find research and researchers.  

Want to learn what's already been documented or hear a particular interview?
The source materials are archived at Louisiana State University Library which maintains an index for their holdings and has listening stations available to the public.

Want to see a diverse array of Louisiana's material culture?
The Creole State Collection has more than 200 artifacts, including toys, folk crafts, and musical instruments, with select examples on view in the Louisiana State Capitol and the Capitol Park State Museum.

Want to host a traveling exhibit?
The program has two traveling exhibits. Baton Rouge Traditions and Louisiana Musical Instrument Makers and Repairers.  

Want resources for youth to use in or out of the classroom?
The Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide

Uniquely Louisiana

Folklife in Louisiana website
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