In the Wake of the Storms

By John Laudun


When Susan Roach coined the phrase "in the wake of the storm" first to provide folklorists and allied professionals with which to begin to respond to Hurricane Katrina - and only three weeks later having to make storm plural - she became a kind of Cassandra. In the year that followed, the storms created a wake across multiple dimensions in the lives of those of us who live in the state and in the nation.

Two years later, as the production of this special double issue of the journal draws to a close, I would like to thank the members of the Society and especially the contributors to this expanded volume for their patience in seeing it come to fruition. When I agreed to stand in for the previous editor five years ago, I had no intention of being anything more than a temporary replacement until the Society found an appropriate person to follow in the august footsteps of the editors that preceded him or her. My own institution bore what weight it could in giving me resources, but the storms dried those up, and I have struggled as best I can until Carolyn Ware stepped forward to fill the editorial shoes properly. I am happy for her strength and for LSU's commitment to our state's folk cultures and their study. Both she and her university are to be commended.

In this interregnum that defines my tenure, I have taken a few small steps in hopes of better securing our Society's journal. Most of them are so small as to be hardly noticed. For one, the Miscellany now has an ISSN to call its own. We also applied for an on-line ISSN, so that we could begin to imagine having a foot in both the physical and ethereal worlds. For another, we established an internal style guide for the journal, which should not only make it easier for future editors to produce issues of the journal, but easier for them to make wholesale changes as the times suggest.

For all the travails that followed the storms, I can without a doubt say that the contributors to the current double issue did nothing less than justice to the variety of experiences that the storms and their wakes induced. I am deeply thankful to each and every contributor's willingness to commit themselves fully to documenting events and their implications not only for ourselves but for those beyond the borders of our state and the horizons of our time.

If you are not a regular member of the Louisiana Folklore Society, but this special issue has found its way into your hands nevertheless, then I hope you find not only some dimension of your own experience documented but you have also found a group of people committed to documenting the experiences of people like you. This is the strength, and the weakness, of folklore studies. We attend to the common, the too easily overlooked or under-understood. If you like what you see here, consider contributing to the Society either through joining or through a simple donation. Such good work as this needs to continue.

John Laudun is a folklorist in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Department of English. This article was originally published in the Louisiana Folklore Miscellany, Volume 16-17 in 2008.