Louisiana Folklife Month

Louisiana Folklife Month is a project of the Louisiana Folklife Commission in partnership with the Louisiana Folklore Society that annually recognizes up to six Louisiana Tradition Bearers for their role in preserving and promoting the state's distinctive folk cultures. In 2014, the Commission recognized June 4 as Louisiana Folklife Day. Since 2015, the commission has celebrated October as Folklife Month.

Tradition Bearers are honored at a variety of public events during the month of October, receiving both a certificate of recognition and a modest honorarium. Honorees hail from across Louisiana's three major cultural regions—New Orleans, South Louisiana, and North Louisiana—and represent the diverse cultural groups therein.

Tradition Bearers Recognized Since 2015


Barry Chauvin, Songwriter/Musician, Terrebonne Parish

Chief Darryl Montana, Black Masking Indian, Orleans Parish

Jan Collet Webre and Jill Collet Zimmerman, Crawfish Bisque, St. Martin Parish

Laymon Godwin, Pedal Steel/Dobro Musician, Ouachita Parish

Brunella Luke, Cornhusk Crafts, Terrebonne Parish

Nicol & FJ Delphin, Cane River Creole Traditions, Natchitoches Parish


Mary Alice Vanderwaters, Singer/Songwriting, Rapides Parish

Chef Andrew Miller, Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, Orleans Parish

Alton Armstrong, Mardi Gras Costumes, Lafayette Parish

Lonnie "Butch" Cooksey, Jr., Independence, LA

Nelson Harris, Drumming, Houma, LA

Rhonda Remedies Gauthier, Mestiza foodways, gardening, sewing, healing, and midwifery, Natchitoches, LA


Steve Judice, Singer/Songwriting, Lafayette, Lafayette Parish

Vance Vaucresson, Creole Sausage Making, Orleans Parish

Elvin Shields, Twisted Wire Sculpture, Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish

The Broussard Sisters, Juré Singing, Frilot Cove, St Landry Parish

Stanley Masinter, Bagpipe Major, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish

Terry Lapeyrouse, Shrimp Drying, Chauvin, Terrebonne Parish


Rick Adams, Singer/Songwriter, Alexandria, Rapides Parish

Katrice LaCour, Zydeco Musician, Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish

Bogalusa Italian-American Club, St. Joseph's Day Altar Tradition, Washington Parish

Grayhawk Perkins, Choctaw/Houma Nation Storyteller, Educator, and Musician, Mandeville, St. Tammany Parish

Goldman Thibodeaux, Creole musician, Mallet, St. Landry Parish

Lawrence "Black" Ardoin, Traditional Creole accordion musician, Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish


Elaine Larcade Bourque, Brown cotton spinner/weaver, Lafayette, Lafayette Parish

Mariana Titus, Artist, writer, photographer, New Iberia, St Mary Parish

Janie Luster, Houma Indian artist, basket weaver, jewelry maker, Theriot, Terrebonne Parish

Zion Travelers Spiritual Singers, Gospel quartet, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish

James Norcom "Buzz" Jackson III, Songwriter, Abita Springs, St. Tammany Parish


Sam Bailey and the Sam Bailey Gospel Show, Gospel musician and promoter, Ferriday, Concordia Parish

April Nicole Jackson, Blues/R&B musician, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish

Thomas Deshotels, Cajun Mardi Gras capitaine, Grand Marais, Acadia Parish

James Sothern, Community research, musician, Dulac, Terrebonne Parish, Dulac, Terrebonne Parish

John Oswald Colson, Filé maker and oral historian, Cane River, Natchitoches Parish

Sylvester Francis, Mardi Gras Indian museum founder, New Orleans, Orleans Parish


Hil Lytle, Musical Instrument builder, performer, Monroe, Ouachita Parish

Kevin Dunn, Social and Pleasure Club ribbon worker and sewer, New Orleans, Orleans Parish

Randy Falcon, Accordion builder, Duson, Lafayette Parish

Jim Oertling, Songwriter, Goodbee, St Tammany Parish

Hardrick Rivers, Blues musician, Powhatan, Natchitoches Parish


Judith Braggs, Quilter, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish

Teresa Tesvich, Croatian needlework, cooking, Belle Chasse, Plaquemines Parish

Fred Beavers, Old time country fiddler, Simsboro, Lincoln Parish

Walter Mouton, Cajun accordion player, Scott, Lafayette Parish

Jeff Porée, Plasterer, New Orleans, Orleans Parish

Ed Huey, Blues guitarist and harmonica player, Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish


Kenny Bill Stinson, Rockabilly musician, West Monroe, Ouachita Parish

Annie Staten, Storyteller and community scholar, Monroe, Ouachita Parish

Convention Specials Quartet, Gospel quartet, Monroe, Ouachita Parish

Robert B. Caldwell, Choctaw Apache foodways, Ebarb, Sabine Parish

Edward Couvillier, Wooden boat builder, Franklin, St. Mary Parish

María Elena Zúñiga, Garifuna musician, New Orleans, Orleans Parish

Juanita Leonard, Memory painter, Montgomery, Grant Parish

Juan Cruz and David Hernandez, Ofrendas, Day of the Dead altars, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish


Tradition Bearers are those individuals and groups of individuals who perpetuate Louisiana's folklife. The Louisiana Folklife Program defines folklife as living traditions practiced and passed on informally within groups by word of mouth, imitation, and observation over time and space. Groups may be based on a shared ethnicity, social class, occupation, religion, region, or ancestry, among others.

Tradition bearers nominated for recognition during Folklife Month must directly maintain a folklife tradition. Those who draw upon Louisiana traditions to inspire or inform their artwork are not eligible. Nominees should be worthy of statewide recognition and have a demonstrated record of continuing accomplishment.

Additionally, honorees must be current residents of Louisiana; posthumous and/or interstate recognitions are not eligible. Those who have been previously honored as a Louisiana Folklife Month Tradition Bearer will not be considered.

Nomination Process

Nominations come directly from current members of the Louisiana Folklife Commission. In the event that the number of potential honorees falls short of the desired number, Louisiana Folklore Society members are asked to submit nominations during their annual spring meeting. Emeritus commissioners interested in making nominations should consult with the commission chair.

Members of the general public cannot directly submit nominations and instead need to consult a Folklife Commissioner whose geographic location and/or professional experience would facilitate a possible partnership. Commissioners are not obligated to advance such public recommendations, and all nominations are subject to review by the Louisiana Folklife Commission's Executive Committee.

Nominators, subsequently identified as Folklife Ambassadors, are expected to proactively manage their respective Tradition Bearer recognition events. This includes, but is not limited to, selecting a date, time, and location; identifying possible community partners for bolstering program reach; collecting honorees' biographical information and photographs for Folklife Month marketing materials; and acknowledging funding from the Louisiana Division of the Arts and any other funders in promotional pieces. Further, when the Tradition Bearer is an ensemble or other multi-person entity, the Ambassador must in advance identify the individual to whom the check will be made. The director of the Folklife Program within the Division of the Arts serves as the project administrator and will establish deadlines that Folklife Ambassadors are expected to meet.