PAST AND CURRENT FOLKLIFE PROJECTS
New Populations Initiative
The New Populations Initiative of the Louisiana Division of the Arts Folklife Program reaches out to our state's immigrant and refugee communities. The goal is to address an underserved sector within the cultural economy and provide an opportunity to engage these communities in the identification and documentation of their traditional culture and art forms.
The focus of New Populations research has been on communities with foreign-born members. However, documentation included the cultural practices of second- and sometimes third- generation community members, who are part of the cultural whole. Some of the individual artists who were documented for the project have lived in Louisiana for over forty years, while others have been here for only a few years. New Populations documentation revealed that many immigrant communities have created non-profit organizations to support their cultural activities. These organizations may conduct language schools, produce concerts, and hold community celebrations. Many immigrant communities center around religious affiliation with a church, temple, or mosque. Some of Louisiana's cultural communities are comprised of individuals who would be unlikely to know each other back in their countries of origin, but who have sought out others from home, or those who speak their language or practice the same religion.
Louisiana is home to significant numbers of people from Vietnam, Honduras, Mexico, Cuba, India, China, Taiwan, Palestine, and the Middle East, the Philippines, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Korea, El Salvador, Japan, Columbia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Laos, and Thailand. In addition, there are trans-national cultural groups, such as the Garifuna and Mayans here. Our priority is on the larger, more concentrated communities with long-term residence in Louisiana rather than university students or those that have most recently arrived. Some cultural groups have come to Louisiana in successive waves - some up to seven generations - replenishing ties to the home country. This project focuses on the most recent arrivals that include foreign-born members.
This project asks communities and individuals how they maintain their home culture here in Louisiana. We ask: Do you make crafts, music, or foods that are traditional in your culture? Do you celebrate holidays that are important to your culture? Do you work at traditional occupations?
Our strategy in the first phase of this project was to reach out to these communities by documenting their traditions. Generally, documentation focuses on folk traditions rather than classical or popular art forms, although we recognize that some classical or popular art forms take on new meanings in a diaspora setting. For more information about folklife, see Key Folklife Definitions. Fieldworkers documented community traditions, art forms, and events and then provided essays and photographs that are listed below. Fieldworkers also helped us identify the following in these communities and submitted a field report on their findings:
New Populations Research
The following communities and traditions were documented in the first phase of the New Populations project. Projects that have a field report available upon request are marked with an *. To receive a copy of field reports, contact Maida Owens, email@example.com or 225/342-8178.
For an overview of all of Louisiana's traditional cultures see Louisiana's Traditional Cultures: An Overview.
The Open Doors Mentoring Program provided training and mentoring for immigrant organizations in 2010 and 2011. For information about the project, see Open Doors Mentoring Program
For a complete list of web articles, see Louisiana's Living Traditions - Articles and Essays.
Explore Louisiana's New Populations(click to expand or collapse)
* Music and Dance in South Louisiana's Cuban Community - Tomás Montoya González with T. Ariana Hall
* Carnival, Feast Days, and House Parties: Cuban Celebrations in Louisiana after 1960 - Tomás Montoya González with T. Ariana Hall
"Looks Very Simple, But Takes a Lot of Time": Diana Gay's GuaTamales - Guatemalan Tamales - Mandy McClain with Susan Roach
* Musicians in the Guatemalan Community of New Orleans - Devon Robbie
* Satyanarayana Puja: A Hindu Prayer Service in South Louisiana - Daria Woodside
* Dancing in the Light: The Nine-Day Festival of Navaratri in South Louisiana - Daria Woodside
* Indian Classical Music in South Louisiana - Andrew McLean
Rangoli - An Indian Custom of Welcome - Laura Westbrook
Sabor Latino: Central American Folk Traditions in New Orleans - Shana Walton
* "My Way To Show Baton Rouge I'm Here": Latino Music and Dance in Baton Rouge - Dominic Bordelon
The Difference Between a House and a Home: Latino Experiences in Baton Rouge - Dominic Bordelon
The Mexican Community of Forest Hill, Louisiana - William Manger
Making Piñatas: Celebration Mexican-Style in North Louisiana - Barbara Chumley and Susan Roach
Middle Eastern Muslims
* Offerings to Kings and Buddha: Vietnamese Ritual Activities at Chua Bo De: The Vietnamese Buddhist Community in New Orleans Area - Allison Truitt
* Preserving Vietnamese Culture and Language in Southern Louisiana: Altars as Symbols of Identity - Emma Tomingas-Hatch
* Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, in the New Orleans Vietnamese Community - Kathleen Carlin and Cam-Thanh Tran
Shreveport - Bossier City
* Traditional Arts: A Window onto Northwest Louisiana's Multicultural Landscape - Laura Marcus Green
Cultural Preservation: Keeping the Flame Burning for Future Generations
The Filipino Community in the Ark-La-Tex Region: Coming Together for Culture and Community - Laura Marcus Green
Shreveport's Indian Community: Three Organizations, Shared Visions- Laura Marcus Green
Shreveport's Greek Community: Church, Handwork, Dance, and Food - Laura Marcus Green
Seasons and Cycles—Festivals and Rituals Mark Life's Rhythms
Mexican Home Altars and Día de los Muertos Traditions: Finding the Way Home Through Art and Heritage
Of Hand and Heart: Handwork Connects Family and Community
Other Articles on Louisiana's New Populations: