PROJECTS

Award-Winning Folk Artists From Louisiana

Louisiana folk artists have been recognized by the Louisiana Division of the Arts, the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Louisiana Division of the Arts awarded Folklife Fellowships, Folklife Apprenticeships, and Artist Mini-Grants. The Louisiana State Arts Council has recognized Folk Artist of the Year and folk artists won other awards from them. The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded National Heritage Fellowships and in the early 1980s awarded apprenticeships.

Folklife Fellowships Awarded by the Louisiana Division of the Arts

 

FY11 • The fellowship program has been suspended.
FY10 • Sammie Williams, New Orleans, Jazz trombone
FY09 • Jeffery Broussard, Opelousas, Zydeco musician
Charles Taylor, New Orleans, Mardi Gras Indian
FY08 • Bobby Terry, DeQuincy, Fiddle maker
FY07 Keith Felder, Denham Springs, Boatbuilder
FY06 • Tan Brunet, Galliano, Duck carver
• Hadley Castille, Opelousas, Cajun fiddling
• Johnnie Allan, Lafayette, Swamp pop
FY05 • Kenny Bill Stinson, West Monroe, Rockabilly music
• David Greely, Breaux Bridge, Cajun fiddling
• Ervin "Vin" Bruce, Galliano, Cajun music
• Chief Darryl J. Montana, New Orleans, Mardi Gras Indian
FY04 • Janie Verret Luster, Theriot, Houma palmetto half-hitch basket weaving
• Gilbert Harris, Lake Charles, Split-oak baskets weaving
FY03 • Penola Caesar, Monroe, Singing Dr. Watt's hymns
• D. L. Menard, Erath, Cajun guitarist
• Allison "Tootie" Montana, New Orleans, Mardi Gras Indian costumes
• Dana Asa Wright, New Orleans, Wooden boatbuilding
FY02 • Faren Serrette, Cecelia, Wooden boatbuilding
FY01 • Dempsy Perkins, Reeves, Woodworking
• R. David Egan, Lafayette, Singer/songwriter/pianist
FY00 • Anthony "Tuba Fat" Lacen, New Orleans, Jazz tuba
• William "Buddy" Leonard, Covington, Blacksmithing
• Henry L. Watson, Sr., Livonia, Bas relief carving
FY99 • Raymond Sedatol, Pierre Part, Wooden boatbuilding
• Ernest "Tabby" Thomas, Baton Rouge, Blues musician
FY98 • Mary Verret, Theriot, Houma Indian Spanish moss dolls
• Paulette Wright-Davis, New Orleans, African American gospel singer
FY97 • "Nonc" Allie Young, Eunice, Cajun accordion player
• Lawrence "Shine" Mouton, Crowley, Cajun accordion builder
FY96 • Robert D. Lambert, Bogalusa, Old-time country fiddle playing
• Gerald "Jake" Millon, New Orleans, Mardi Gras Indian
FY94-95 None
FY93 • Lionel Leleux, Cajun fiddler and fiddlemaker
FY92-86 None
FY85 • Ernest "Tabby" Thomas, Blues musician, Baton Rouge
• Allison "Tootie" Montana, New Orleans, Mardi Gras Indian

 

Folklife Apprenticeships Awarded by the Louisiana Division of the Arts

Master/Apprentice

2010-2011 The apprenticeship program has been suspended.
2009-2010 • James A. McCrimmon/Ann Vidrine, beekeeping, Baton Rouge, $4953
• Anya S. Burgess/Chris Segura, fiddlemaking, Arnaudville, $5000
2008-2009 • John Hu/Kaid Runnels, Chinese modular paperfolding, $3000
• Geraldine Robertson/David Onezine, cornshuck crafts, $5000
• Luke Thompson/James "Bo" Jenks, fretted instrument making, $5000
• Glen Wesley/Arthur Conklin, blacksmithing, $3500
2007-2008 • Jason Frey/Travis Benoit, Cajun Fiddling, Eunice, $4636
• Thomas A. Colvin/Keith Felder, Wooden Boatbuilding, Mandeville, $5000
2006-2007 Apprenticeship grants were not offered.
2005-06 • John H. Roger/Joseph Moran, Accordion Building, Orleans, $4250
• James W. Jenkins/Russell Forshag, Blacksmithing, Tangipahoa $4000
• Geraldine Robertson/Joshua Armstrong, Spanish Moss Dollmaking and Braiding, Lafayette, $3000
Keith Felder/Jules Lambert, John Boat Building, Livingston, $3750
• Kevin Couvillier/Edward Couvillier/Jim Delahoussay, Cypress Bateau Building, St. Mary, $3000
2004-05 • Thomas A. Colvin/Curtis Hebert, Wooden Boatbuilding, Mandeville, $4300
• Laymon Godwin/Richard Allen, Pedal Steel Guitar, West Monroe, $2600
• Michele J. Harrison/Arionne Sterling, Mardi Gras Indian Beading,
New Orleans, $3700
• Hamilton Dantin/Dillon Baronne, Wildfowl Carving, Raceland, $3000
• Ray Abshire/Andre Michot, Cajun Accordion Playing, Lafayette, $2300
• Mastern Brack/Ronald Yule, Old Time Country Fiddle Playing, Evans, $1900
• Ken Smith/Wilson Savoy, Cajun Fiddle Playing, Kinder, $2200
2003-04 • William "Buddy" Leonard/ Ralph E. Oalmann, Blacksmithing, Covington, St. Tammany Parish, $3700
• Uray Jules Meaux/Matthew J. Doucet, Cajun Fiddle Playing, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish, $4900
• D. L. Menard/Curt A. Menard, Chair Building, Erath, Vermilion Parish, $4000
• Geraldine Robertson/Douglas Johnson, White Oak Basket Making, Cornshucks, & Rugs, Lafayette, $4500
• Ronald J. Yule/Emily D. Young, Fiddle Playing, DeRidder, Beauregard Parish, $2900
2002-03 • Raymond Sedatol/Keith Felder, Wooden Boatbuilding, Pierre Part, Assumption Parish
• David Allen/Lionel J. Key, Jr., Walking Cane Carving, Homer, Claiborne Parish
• Luke Thompson/Eric James Halphen, Mandolin Building, Baker, East Baton Rouge Parish
Penola Caesar/Seane Kelley, Singing Dr. Watts Hymns, Monroe, Ouachita Parish
• Laymon Godwin/James D. Lowther, Dobro Playing, West Monroe, Ouachita Parish
• Frederick H. Beavers/Benjamin R. Robinson, Fiddle Repair, Simsboro, Lincoln Parish
• Alfred John Doucette, Sr./Jerry Butler, Mardi Gras Indian Costumes, New Orleans, Orleans Parish
• Otheneil Bridges, Sr./Reginald Bennett, Guitar Playing, Amite, St. Helena Parish
2001-02 • F. B. Snell/Beau Bacon, Hide Chair Bottoms, Provencal, Natchitoches Parish
• Mary Jones/Christy Murphy, Choctaw Chinaberry Necklaces, Trout, LaSalle Parish
• Dana Asa Wright/Gregory Tillman, Wooden Boatbuilding, New Orleans, Orleans Parish
• Kathlene Thomas/Eunice M. Tyler, Clifton Choctaw Basketry, Clifton, Rapides Parish
• Becky Tyler/Valerie M. Tyler, Clifton Choctaw Basketry, Clifton, Rapides Parish
2000-01 • William Buddy Leonard/Milton Reggio, Blacksmithing, Covington, St. Tammany Parish
• Harry Lee Lafleur/Evans Wedlock, Cajun Fiddling, Eunice, Acadia Parish
• Gladys Clark/Gayle F. Begnaud, Acadian Weaving, Duson, Lafayette Parish
• J.A. Bill Tippit/Earl Andre, Jr., Broom Making, Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish
• Stephanie T. Stockton/Blanch T. Thomas, Weaving with pinestraw, Boyce, Rapides Parish
• Luke Thompson/Stuart Mills, building mandolins, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish
• Kathleen Thomas/Becky Tyler, basketmaking, Clifton, Rapides Parish
1999-00 • William "Buddy" Leonard/John E. Argus, Blacksmithing, Covington, St. Tammany Parish
1998-99 • Richard Gonzales/Virginia Alfonso, Isleño palmetto weaving, St. Bernard, St. Bernard Parish
• William "Buddy" Leonard/Jerry Baker, Blacksmithing, Covington, St. Tammany Parish
• Nancy Cooper/Lori McMahon, Cajun horsehair ropemaking, Longville, Beauregard Parish
• Rebecca Henry/Nia Henry, Creole herbal traditions, Opelousas, St. Landry Parish
• James (Jim) Jenkins/Christopher Bentivegna, Blacksmithing, Tickfaw, Tangipahoa Parish
1997-98 Tony Latiolais/Danny Angelle, wooden boat building, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish
Harold Cavallero/Daniel Cooper, dobro playing, Terrytown, Jefferson Parish
Bruce Quave/Carl Blackmon, chimney mud daubing, Merryville, Beauregard Parish
Vories Moreau/Kim Moreau/Preston Fruge, Cajun Mardi Gras song and mask making, Opelousas, St. Landry
Ronald Johnnie/Gregory P. Boutte, African drumming and making, Lafayette, Lafayette Parish
William "Buddy" Leonard/Randall Ostendorf, blacksmithing, Covington, St. Tammany Parish
Tony Thibodaux/Arthur J. Simon, Cajun fiddling, Lafayette, Lafayette Parish
1996-97 Irvan Perez/Earlynn Gray, Isleño decima singing, St. Bernard, St. Bernard Parish
Adner P. Ortego/Deborah-Helen Viator, Cajun fiddle making, Washington, St. Landry Parish
William "Buddy" Leonard/Scott M. Carnesi, blacksmithing, Covington, St. Tammany Parish
Elridge Aguillard/Charles W. Fontenot, Cajun fiddle playing, Eunice, St. Landry Parish
1995-96 Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin/Gustave Ardoin, Creole accordion playing, Eunice, St. Landry
William "Buddy" Leonard/Robert A. Heap, Jr, Blacksmithing, Covington, St. Tammany
Raymond Sedatol/Herbert H. Daigle, wooden boatbuilding, Pierre Part, Assumption
Luke Thompson/Cyril Wood, Banjo making, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish
Nathaniel Williams/Demond Melancon, Mardi Gras Indian costumes, New Orleans
1994-95 Raymond Sedatol/Malcom Munson, Cajun boatbuilding, Pierre Part, Assumption Parish
Harry Lafleur/Eugene Segura, Cajun fiddling, Eunice, St. Landry Parish
1993-94 Tom Colvin/Rose Fisher, Choctaw rivercane baskets, Jena, LaSalle Parish
Melissa Brown/Paula Darden, Chitimacha rivercane baskets, Charenton, St. Mary Parish
Lorena Langley/Ronald Langley, Coushatta ceremonial mask, Elton, Jeff Davis Parish
Robert Lambert/Joseph Manuel, III, Anglo mandolin playing, Bogalusa, Washington Parish
1992-93 Lionel LeLeux/Jane Vidrine, Cajun Fiddle Playing, Kaplan, Acadia Parish
1991-92 Dewey Balfa/David Greeley, Cajun Fiddle Playing and Traditional Songs, Basile, Jefferson Davis Parish
Abdoulaye Camara/Rhonda "Mama Efuru" Johnson, W.African Drumming/Dance/Costume, New Orleans
Anna Mae Juneau/Melissa Sampson, Tunica Indian Pine Straw Baskets, Avoyelles Parish
Harry Lafleur/Larry "Bubba" Frey, Cajun Fiddle Playing, Eunice, St. Landry Parish
Darrel Latiolais/Lowell Guidry, Wooden Boatbuilding, Breaux Bridge, St. Martin Parish
Mary Orten/Anthony Darden, Chitimacha Indian Rivercane Baskets, Charenton, St. Mary Parish
Faye Stouff/Lillian LeBlanc, Chitimacha Double Weave Rivercane Baskets, Charenton, St. Mary Parish
Kathlene Thomas/Edna Tyler, Choctaw Indian Pinestraw Baskets, Gardner, Rapides Parish
Ruth Tyler/Vera Tyler, Choctaw Indian Quilting, Gardner, Rapides Parish
1990-91 Bel Abbey/Timothy Langley, Koasati Indian Crafts and Storytelling Elton, Jefferson Davis Parish
Hadley Castille/Mary McCullen, Cajun Fiddle Playing, Opelousas, St. Landry Parish
Wade Fruge/Ann Savoy, Cajun Fiddle Playing, Eunice, St. Landry Parish
Lorena Langley/Trudy Fontenot, Koasati Indian Pine Straw Basketmaking, Elton, Jefferson Davis Parish
Nick Stouff/Larry Richard, Chitimacha Indian Crafts, Charenton, St. Landry Parish
Errol Verret/Garland Frederick, Wooden Boatbuilding, Henderson, St. Martin Parish
1989-90 Gladys Clark/Elaine Bourque, Acadian Brown Cotton Weaving, Scott, Lafayette Parish
Azzie Roland/Alice Holley, Split-oak Basketmaking, Marion, Union Parish
1988-89 Raymond Blakes/Clarastine Blakes, Blues Guitar Playing, Shreveport, Caddo Parish
Anna Mae Juneau/Norma Khawaja, Tunica-Biloxi Pine Straw Basketmaking, Marksville, Avoyelles Parish
Nick Stouff/Alton LeBlanc, Chitimacha Indian Crafts, Charenton, St. Mary Parish
Doc Guidry/Ann Vidrine, Cajun Fiddle Playing, Houma, Terrebonne Parish
1987-88 Elie Guidry/Tom Colvin/Errol Cuneo, Wooden Boatbuilding, Mandeville, St. Tammany Parish
Larry Bannock/Reginald Gifford, Mardi Gras Indian Costume Making, New Orleans, Orleans Parish
Inez Catalon/Marce Lacouture, Cajun Home Songs, Abbeville, Vermillion Parish
Royne Fontenot/Tina Pilone, Cajun Fiddlemaking, Eunice, St. Landry Parish
Charles Taylor/Traynell Mitchell, Mardi Gras Indian Costume Making, New Orleans, Orleans Parish
1986-87 Nonc Allie Young/Larry Miller, Cajun Accordion Playing, Basile, Evangeline Parish

1985-86 Marc Savoy/Ward Lormand, Cajun Accordion Making, Eunice, St. Landry Parish
Doc Guidry/Faren Serrette, Fiddling, Cecelia, St. Martin Parish
Lionel LeLeux/John Vidrine, Cajun Fiddle Repair, Kaplan, Acadia Parish
1984-85 David Allen/Bennie Holyfield, Jr, Walking Stick Carving, Homer, Claiborne Parish

 

The National Endowment for the Arts Folk Arts Program funded the following Apprenticeships:

 

1985-86 Lionel LeLeux/John Vidrine, Cajun Fiddle Repair, Kaplan, Acadia Parish
Albert Latiolais/Errol Verret, wooden boatbuilding, Henderson, St. Martin Parish
Inez Catalon and Lula Landry/Marce Lacouture, Abbeville and Kaplan, Vermilion and Acadia Parishes
1983-84 George Allen/Kenneth Stapleton, Choctaw basketmaking, Jena, LaSalle Parish
George Allen/Amanda Jones, Choctaw basketmaking, Jena, LaSalle Parish
George Allen/Anissa Johnson, Choctaw basketmaking, Jena, LaSalle Parish

 

Folk Artist Mini Grants Awarded by the Louisiana Division of the Arts

 

2004 Michael Smith, sculptor, Baton Rouge, to buy supplies and create larger works
Keith Felder, boatbuilder, Denham Springs, to buy a cypress log and tools to make a dugout pirogue
Lawrence C. Hughes, Jr., carver, Pride, to attend an advanced workshop on wildfowl carving
2003 Keith Felder, boatbuilder, Denham Springs, to build a pirogue
Ann Vidrine, Cajun fiddler, Baton Rouge, to market "The Cajun Experience" to schools
2002 Tony Latiolais, boatbuilder, Breaux Bridge, to research boatbuilding and share with other boatbuilders
Kathlene Thomas, pinestraw basket maker, Clifton, to produce brochure on artist's work
Becky Tyler, pinestraw basket maker, Clifton, to produce brochure
2001 Henry L. Harden, Jr., musician, Baton Rouge, to purchase equipment
Marce Lacourture, musician, Breaux Bridge, to study French for artist's music/lyrics
Giovan K. Jackson, musician, New Orleans, to produce a solo rhythm and blues gospel CD
1999 Rebecca Henry, herbalist, Opelousas, to produce a promotional brochure
Henry L. Watson, Sr., bas relief carver, Livonia, to purchase tools and supplies
1998 Penola Caesar, gospel singer, Monroe, to design and print workshop materials
Charley Julien, musician, Reserve, to purchase recording equipment
Suson Launey, Cajun Mardi Gras mask maker, Iota, to purchase supplies
William "Buddy" Leonard, blacksmith, Covington, to attend an advanced workshop
Curtis Williams, Jr., Mardi Gras Indian, New Orleans, to purchase supplies
1997 Melissa Darden, Chitimacha basket maker, Baldwin, to purchase supplies
Ann Savoy, Cajun musician, Eunice, to record children's music CD
Ann Vidrine, Cajun fiddler, Baton Rouge, to prepare marketing materials
Chester Vorise, walking stick carver, Alexandria, to purchase equipment

 

Folk Artist of the Year and Other Honors

 

1988 Lifetime Achievement Award: Fats Domino, New Orleans
1996 Folk Artist of the Year: Thomas Edison "Brownie" Ford, Hebert
Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in the Arts: Hackberry Ramblers, Sulphur
1997 Folk Artist of the Year: Kira Ophelia Viator, Crowley
1998 Folk Artist of the Year: Zion Travelers, Baton Rouge
1999 Folk Artist of the Year: Bertney Langley, Elton
2000 Professional Artist of the Year: Beau Soleil avec Michael Doucet, Lafayette
Folk Artist of the Year: Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin, Eunice
2001 Folk Artist of the Year: Sarah Albritton, Ruston
Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in the Arts: Ernie K-Doe, New Orleans
2002 Folk Artist of the Year: Don Gomez
2004 Folk Artist of the Year: Gladys Leblanc Clark
Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in the Arts: The Cox Family

 

National Awards & Honors

 

2013 Carol Fran, NEA National Heritage Fellowship, Swamp blues singer and pianist
2005 Earl Barthé, NEA National Heritage Fellowship, Creole building artisan
2005 Michael Doucet, NEA National Heritage Fellowship, Cajun Fiddler, composer, band leader
2006 Treme Brass Band, NEA National Heritage Fellowship, New Orleans Brass Band
2006 Henry Gray, NEA National Heritage Fellowship, Blues piano player, singer
1993 Inez Catalon, NEA National Heritage Fellowship, French Creole singer
1986 Alphonse Bois Sec Ardoin, NEA National Heritage Fellowship, African American Creole Accordionist
1982 Dewey Balfa, NEA National Heritage Fellowship, Cajun fiddler

 

Folk Artist Bios

Ervin J. "Vin" Bruce A great asset to the Cajun music scene, Ervin J. "Vin" Bruce, learned to play the guitar and sing at the tender age of 10. He was eventually discovered by a Columbia Record distributer while performing at a New Orleans radio station, and by 1951 signed a contract with the record label. Cajun songs such as, "Dans la Louisiane," "Fille de la ville," and a host of others helped popularize him. He was the first Cajun recording artist to record Cajun music with Nashville's professional musicians, and even had the honor of performing at the Grand Ole Opry, and Hank Williams' wedding. After leaving Columbia Records in 1956, Bruce continued to record music on several Louisiana labels, and enjoyed a steady flow of success with his band, The Acadians. Since then he has been the recipient of much recognition. In 1973, he had a day named in his honor, and was dubbed "Citizen of the Year." During the early 1980s he was invited to perform in Canada on the Willie Lamont TV Show, and at a number of nationally recognized festivals and fairs. Bruce was also inducted into the Nashville Music Hall of Fame, and the Louisiana Cajun Music Hall of Fame. Today he is retired, but still contributes time to many benefits for the young, young of heart, sick, and poor.
Penola Caesar Penola Caesar, better known as "Sister Caesar," has been keeping the Dr. Watt's Hymnal tradition (a style of long metered, lined-out hymns, mostly sung in rural Black Baptist churches) alive for nearly half a century. As a result of her father being a Baptist minister, she was exposed to a lot of traditional music. Her appreciation of Gospel music heightened at the age of eight. In high school she sung anthems and performed Gospel in minstrel concerts. She patterns her singing style after her role model, Mahalia Jackson, and hopes one day to be known as "Lil Mahalia." In 1960, she learned more of the art from listening to Uncle Marcus Stevens, and the late Papa Herman Carter. She has been a featured folk artist in various national folklife festivals, and in 1988 began conducting workshops on sacred hymns. Her love of and devotion to the tradition has won her numerous honors. Her aim is to keep the tradition alive by teaching it to youth.
Gladys
Leblanc Clark
Gladys Leblanc Clark is an 85 year old master Acadian Spinner and Weaver from Lafayette Parish, where she has been a life-long resident. Her roots are in Duson, Judice, and Ile des Cannes. She learned to card and spin by age eight, and perfected these skills in her teens. Acadian brown cotton spinning and weaving is a traditional craft practiced by Southwestern Louisiana Acadians. Clark inherited this tradition from her mother, father, and grandmother. Over the years she has stressed a commitment to preserving the tradition by demonstrating it to others. She has participated in numerous festivals, showcased her skills at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., was an Instructor for the Acadian Handicraft Project, and has participated in the Louisiana Folklife Apprenticeship Program, where she mentored Elaine Larcade Bourque, and Gayle F. Begnaud. Clark harvests her own brown cotton, and has recently experimented with green cotton. She specializes in handspun, hand-woven placemats, napkins and rag rugs. She has been a member of the Acadiana Weavers & Spinners Guild for 15 years, and her work has been featured in countless exhibits and magazines.
Keith Felder Keith E. Felder, a native of Denham Springs, Louisiana, specializes in building traditional Louisiana swamp pirogues. He has worked with wood all of his life, under the tutelage of his father, a cabinetmaker, and attended Kenny Hebert's boatbuilding classes at Nicholl State University's Center for Traditional Boatbuilding. He also learned under the guidance of boatbuilders Raymond Sedotal, Wenceslaus Billiot, and Rodney Cheramie. To keep abreast of this craft, Felder actively attends and participates in festivals, and visits museums which pertain to Louisiana maritime and traditional crafts. He has been featured in the Denham Springs News, and organized two small paddling trips on the Amite River in early 2002. Those wishing to purchase his pieces, can find them at his shop Southern Essentials.
David Greely Music has been an integral part of David Greely's life. His roots are in gospel, but a budding fascination with fiddling teased and broadened his musical palette. Legendary Cajun musician, Dewey Balfa, proved to be a great source of inspiration for him. In 1992, he was given the opportunity to study under his mentor through a Folklife Apprenticeship grant given by the Louisiana Division of the Arts. In addition to the apprenticeship, Greely has made an ongoing effort to self-educate himself in the genre. Much of his spare time is spent studying archives of Cajun French songs, which enables him to hone his own skills and develop innovative techniques of fusing traditional and contemporary elements to create a sound that reaches a diverse audience. In keeping with tradition, he adheres to using Cajun French lyrics. He performs regularly with the band, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, and co-founded Veillé, an a cappella group which performs traditional Cajun ballads. Greely strongly believes in preserving and appreciating the past. He continues to document the surviving master Cajun musicians, and passes the knowledge on to others.
Gilbert Harris Gilbert Harris is a split-oak basket weaver from the Edward Harris, Sr. family of weavers. Gilbert represents the fifth generation of this family tradition and continues to practice all aspects of the process, from harvesting the trees, splitting the oak along the grain, shaping and cutting the strips, and weaving into baskets. These baskets are beautiful, as well as functional, and are practically indestructible lasting up to 100 years. The cotton basket, feed basket, and egg basket continue to be the most sought-after forms even though they are now most often used as decorative items.
Rebecca
Henry
A native of St. Landry Parish, Rebecca D. Henry, was raised in the small farming community of Leonville. Her rural upbringing served as the cornerstone to her deep appreciation and love for her heritage and community. Henry is actively dedicated to preserving and educating others on the richness of Afro-Creole culture. She has taught Gumbo U on folk medicine at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, written a column for Creole Magazine, and is committed to passing on traditions to young people. Previously accepted into the Crafts Marketing Program for her Creole Dollhouse Collection, Henry has been selected once again for her commitment and ingenuity. This year her Okra Angel dolls/ornaments, crafted from okra pods and Spanish moss, won acclaim. These darling creations pay tribute to enslaved Africans, who brought okra to the States in the locks of their hair. Each hand-painted angel has an okra seed nestled in their hair in commemoration of this custom. Apart from her prestige in folk arts, Rebecca D. Henry is the founder of Creole Heritage and the Creole Heritage Folklife Center, non-profit organizations committed to nurturing cultural identity. She also founded the Annual Martin Luther King Celebration, Sharecroppers Day, Juneteenth Folklife Celebration, and the Creole Cultural Summer Enrichment Program in Opelousas. In addition, she is included in the State Artist Roster.
Lionel J.
Key, Jr.
Lionel J. Key, Jr. is a cane carver from East Baton Rouge Parish. He hopes one day to master this folk art and pass it on to future generations. His inspiration for learning the tradition stemmed from observing and talking with veteran carver, David Allen, a long time friend. Key has been actively practicing the craft and is already winning acclaim for his renderings, which often feature snakes and alligators. He says that incorporating these Louisiana critters into his pieces adds a touch of local color. Key owns and operates a business called Uncle Bill's, and has been featured at the Louisiana Folklife Festival and the Festival Acadians.
Anthony
"Tuba Fat"
Lacen
Anthony Lacen, regularly seen performing in Jackson Square, is a traditional New Orleans jazz musician who took his first breath through a sousaphone when he was eight. Having been inspired by watching a second-line jazz funeral at age six, he later went on to take music lessons in grammar school and middle school. However, he attests that his true education came from hanging out at Preservation Hall and Heritage Hall where he learned from musicians like Doc Paulin and Sweet Emma Barren. "Tuba Fat" has been featured regularly at Preservation Hall since 1976, and currently aspires to pass on his talents to inner city youth.
Bertney Langley Bertney Langley is a Koasati Indian storyteller and flute player featured in the book and video, Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana and the LSU-Eunice Folklife Series. From Elton, Jefferson Davis Parish, Langley often tells legends and myths at festivals and other events, including the 1998 Louisiana State Arts Conference. He is also the Founder/Director of the Bayou Indian Federation.
Gladys Leblanc-Clark Gladys Leblanc Clark is an 85 year old master Acadian Spinner and Weaver from Lafayette Parish, where she has been a life-long resident. Her roots are in Duson, Judice, and Ile des Cannes. She learned to card and spin by age eight, and perfected these skills in her teens. Acadian brown cotton spinning and weaving is a traditional craft practiced by Southwestern Louisiana Acadians. Clark inherited this tradition from her mother, father, and grandmother. Over the years she has stressed a commitment to preserving the tradition by demonstrating it to others. She has participated in numerous festivals, showcased her skills at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., was an Instructor for the Acadian Handicraft Project, and has participated in the Louisiana Folklife Apprenticeship Program, where she mentored Elaine Larcade Bourque, and Gayle F. Begnaud. Clark harvests her own brown cotton, and has recently experimented with green cotton. She specializes in handspun, hand-woven placemats, napkins and rag rugs. She has been a member of the Acadiana Weavers & Spinners Guild for 15 years, and her work has been featured in countless exhibits and magazines.
William "Buddy" Leonard William Leonard, a self-employed blacksmith who lives in Covington. He first learned his trade as a teenager. He shoed horses for 45 years, and today uses his 50 years of experience as a blacksmith to demonstrate the craft at various schools in St. Tammany, Jefferson, and Orleans parishes. Leonard creates horseshoes and square nails using a portable blacksmith shop as groups of delighted children look on. In his real shop "Buddy" expertly makes a variety of items such as door hinges, gates, pokers, and beds, as well as restores pieces that people bring in to him. Currently, he hopes to upgrade his shop with newer equipment.
Janie Verret Luster Janie Verret Luster, a Houma Indian, makes palmetto baskets for which her tribe is best known. In addition to using the plait methods for which the tribe is most known, she is responsible for reintroducing the half-hitch method of basketry. Applying her knowledge of the traditional drying methods and materials needed for plaiting palmetto, she studied baskets in museum collections and was able to recreate this basket technique practiced only a generation earlier. After showing the half-hitch baskets to tribal elders, they shared that they remembered their grandmothers and mothers making them. She is currently teaching others in the tribe.
D.L. Menard D.L. Menard, began playing guitar at the tender age of 16 with Badeaux and the Louisiana Aces in Abbeville, Louisiana. His style of music is a unique blend of Cajun music with a country flavor. He is highly inspired by Hank Williams—so much so that he has been dubbed the "Cajun Hank Williams." "La Porte en Arriére" (The Back Door) is his signature piece, and has become a Cajun classic. He spent 25 years of his life touring with the best in his field, including Marc Savoy and Sady Courville. Menard has performed at a number of National Folk Festivals and the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. In the 1970s he quit his job at a local filling station, and built a chair factory next to his home, which afforded him more time to take his music on the road. Family and community are his top priorities. He credits his wife, Lou Ella, for assisting with supporting his shop and his music career, and hopes his grandchildren will carry on his legacy.
Allison
"Tootie" Montana
Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana, former chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Indian Tribe, has dedicated over 50 years of his life to Mardi Gras Indian culture and the art of Indian Suiting. He is a self-taught artist whose art is inspired by God. His brilliant three-dimensional designs are the result of many hours of diligence and hard labor. Incorporated into his designs are intricate beadwork and eye popping color schemes. Montana has won numerous awards and honors for his costuming, including being featured in exhibits at the Smithsonian Institute and the New Orleans Museum of Art. He has made it his mission to preserve this unique folk art by passing on the tradition to young men and women, whom he hopes to mold into leaders of tomorrow. In his own words, one of his biggest accomplishments has been shifting Mardi Gras Indian Suiting from physical violence to a reputable suiting competition. Montana is also a lather, and was featured in the New Orleans Creole Building Arts project.
Chief Darryl J. Montana Chief Darryl J. Montana comes from a family heavily steeped in the Mardi Gras Indian tradition. His father, Allison "Tootie" Montana, is former Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Indian Tribe—a title he has passed on to his son. Far from being his father's shadow, Darryl stands on his own. His designs are three dimensional, and incorporate an interesting mix of color schemes. He often describes his style as abstract. Much detail is put into each design. Most of his suits are made up of as many as five hundred pieces, varying in size and design. Hours are spent hand sewing beads and sequins into place. The finished product is paraded during carnival season, when many members of various tribes "mask Indian." Outside of the Mardi Gras Indian scene, Montana is a full-time educator, a platform which he often uses to educate younger generations about the Mardi Gras Indian tradition. In addition, he demonstrates and lectures to older audiences, and has been featured in a number of news articles and documentaries about the tradition. Montana and his wife have plans of eventually opening a museum to showcase the costumes they have collected.
Raymond Sedatol Raymond Sedatol is a master boatbuilder accomplished at making the wooden boats traditional to the Lake Verret area, such as pirogues, rowing skiffs, bateaux, Joe-boats, Lake skiffs, ferry boats, and chalons. He learned the art of boatbuilding primarily from his grandfather, but says that most men in the Basin knew how to build boats. Sedatol is one of the few who still makes the rowing skiff, in which the person rowing stands and faces forward, because as Mr. Sedatol jokes, "A Cajun doesn't want to row backwards. He wants to know where he's going, not where he's been."
Faren Serrette Following a long family line of maritime tradition, Faren Serrette is a traditional boat builder from Cecilia in St. Martin Parish. Serrette's impressive experience combines traditional boat building aesthetics and skills with modern day durability and safety. Also an advocate of Louisiana heritage, Serrette educates the public through several regional and national folklife festivals. Serrette is a valued traditional craftsman who will continue to help represent one of the eminent traditions within the state.
Kenny Bill Stinson Native son of Northeast Louisiana, Kenny Bill Stinson, learned to play the piano and guitar by ear. He has been performing for 30 years now, and keeps the spirit of rockabilly music thriving, with its fusion of old time country, blues, and R&B. As a youth, sneaking into live music night spots to meet the musicians he aspired to immolate proved to be an educating experience. When he was older he participated in jam sessions with members from his church, and thereby gained a deeper knowledge and appreciation of blues and rock & roll. Attending a Jerry Lee Lewis concert in his teens, also proved to be pivotal. It gave him the direction he needed to cultivate his own unique sound. He composed many songs over the years, but it wasn't until 2000 that he made his first recording. It was met with warm embrace by one of his legendary mentors, Shreveport's own, James Burton. Today, Stinson continues to write and perform this music which expresses his love of the North Louisiana sound. He was featured in the book and video, The Mississippi River of Song, produced by the Smithsonian Institution, which documents American music that flourished in the twentieth century.
Ernest
"Tabby" Thomas
Blues musician Tabby Thomas is known as the "King of the Swamp Blues." Thomas has played and supported the blues throughout Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. A versatile musician, he plays a fine rolling New Orleans piano style in the tradition of Professor Longhair and Fats Domino, in addition to a biting lead guitar work which is second to none. Thomas has had a string of hit records, including the nationally famous "Hoodoo Party" and the Louisiana blues classic, "Candy." As founder of Tabby's Blues Box and Heritage Hall in Baton Rouge, Thomas has showcased both local and national blues artists. It has been the permanent home to the older blues musicians and the starting point for many new performers.
The Cox
Family
The Country Bluegrass Brass Band, The Cox Family, was formed in 1976. Their traditional music style combines old-time country, string band, and a host of other influences to culminate a voice that is uniquely North Louisiana Hill Country. The band's roots are in Cotton Valley, Louisiana. Members include: Willard Cox (father), Sidney (son), and daughters Evelyn and Suzanne. Lynn was another daughter formerly of the group. The band got its start by playing at local festivals and fairs. Their first album, I Shall Not Be Moved, was produced on their own record label. Alison Krauss was instrumental in getting the group exposed to a wider audience, by giving one of their recordings to a recording executive. Today, they are one of a handful of Bluegrass bands on a mainstream Country label. They are admired locally, as well as nationally. Their participation in the award-winning film, O Brother Where Art Thou?, gained them even more exposure, recognition, and acclaim, enabling them to reach an international audience.
Henry L. Watson, Sr. Henry L. Watson, Sr., a lifelong resident of Pointe Coupee parish, creates wooden bas-reliefs on pieces of cypress which often come from dilapidated buildings. Using simple tools like a hand-made mallet and straight chisels, he carves and then paints scenes of rural life. Pictures of old homesteads, children playing with marbles, and cotton wagons on their way to the gin are typical subjects in his work. Much of his inspiration comes from having been so close to his grandmother as a child and observing her "simple way of life." Lately he hopes to document, through his carvings, historical churches and homes in Pointe Coupee and the surrounding areas.
Dana Asa Wright Maritime Artisan, Dana Asa Wright, is dedicated to the tradition of building Louisiana wooden watercraft. He not only builds wooden pirogues, rowing skiffs, electric, sailing, and motor boats, but collects and restores maritime artifacts. He learned the craft through studying the handiwork of sailors and master boat builders. At the age of 14 he built his first boat, and from there his love of the art thrived. His aim is to construct boats that are not only functional but aesthetically pleasing, by fusing craftsmanship of the past with modern equipment to create boats that withstand time. In 1998 he established the Dana Asa Wright Maritime Arts Studio, where he not only showcases his work for sale, but teaches classes on boatbuilding and develops model boat kits to be used for educational purposes. Many of his boats have been featured in movies, music videos, and commercials.