This year’s Humanities Awards luncheon was special. For the first time in decades, we brought the ceremony back to New Orleans, where more than 280 guests made 2014 our biggest award event since Katrina. Author and Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson joined us to accept the 2014 Humanist of the Year award. Board members, partners, awardees and friends from across the state enjoyed the hospitality of the Audubon Tea Room. The LEH thanks our major sponsor IBERIABANK, as well as table sponsors Bellwether Technology, Ragan Green, the Historic New Orleans Collection, Metro Security, Brenda Mounier and CODOFIL, Stirling Properties, Phyllis Taylor and Union Pacific Railroad. Once again, the people and culture of Louisiana inspired the LEH staff to continue our rewarding work in service of this great state.
Walter Isaacson is the 2014 LEH Humanist of the Year. President and CEO of The Aspen Institute and the best-selling author of biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Ben Franklin, Isaacson contributed this autobiographical article to the new issue of Louisiana Cultural Vistas magazine. To read the full issue online and view more photos from this article, click here. To renew your subscription to LCV, click here. The LEH will honor Isaacson at the March 29th Humanities Awards.
I once was asked to contribute a piece for a section of the Washington Post called “The Writing Life.” This caused me some consternation. A little secret of many nonfiction writers like me—especially those of us who spring from journalism—is that we don’t quite think of ourselves as true writers, at least not of the sort who get called to reflect upon “the writing life.” At the time, my daughter, with all the wisdom and literary certitude that flowed from being a 13-year-old aspiring novelist, pointed out that I was not a “real writer” at all. I was merely, she said, a journalist and biographer.
Lily Keber is the director of Bayou Maharajah, the 2014 LEH Documentary Film of the Year. Keber and others will be honored on March 29th at the Humanities Awards in New Orleans. (Click here for tickets) We spoke with her about pianist James Booker and filmmaking in New Orleans.
LEH: You had to love Booker to begin this project. Given what you know about him after years of working on this film, how has your understanding of the man and his music changed?
Lily Keber: To be honest, I knew very little about Booker when I began. I think in a way that helped the process because it allowed me to explore his story with open eyes. Continue reading Interview: Lily Keber→
Founded in 1968, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) is dedicated to preserving and promoting francophile rights and culture in Louisiana. This week the LEH joins CODOFIL and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism to announce the selection of Zachary Richard as the first Poète lauréat de la Louisiane française. Richard was selected for the honorary two-year post (2014-2016) because of his outstanding contributions in the field of poetry. Chosen in even years, the French language Poet Laureate’s efforts will complement those of the English language Laureate, currently Ava Leavell Haymon, appointed in 2013 by Governor Bobby Jindal through a process directed by the LEH. Both poets will be honored at the March 29th Humanities Awards. Buy your tickets here today.
LEH 2011 Humanist of the Year Dr. Dana Kress served as the selection committee’s chair. We spoke with Dr. Kress about CODOFIL, the new position and the poetry of Zachary Richard.
LEH: We’re very excited about the establishment of this new role. Can you tell us the origins of the position?
Photographer Richard Sexton is this year’s recipient of the Michael P. Smith Memorial Award for Documentary Photography (buy tickets here for the 2014 Humanities Awards). We spoke with Richard about his career and his upcoming book, Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere, scheduled for publication by the Historic New Orleans Collection in April.
LEH: Can you recall the first time you used a camera?
Sexton: The very first camera I photographed with was an old Kodak Holiday Brownie, which I still have. It belonged to my parents. I found it laying around the house and announced I wanted to take some pictures with it. There was no film in it and when we went to the drug store to buy film I was disappointed to learn that color film was too expensive. So, I ended up with black and white. Continue reading Interview: Richard Sexton→
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has named journalist and author Walter Isaacson as its 2014 Humanist of the Year. Isaacson and other recipients will be honored at the Humanities Awards on Saturday, March 29th, 12:30 p.m., at the Audubon Tea Room in New Orleans.
The Humanities Awards are sponsored by IBERIABANK. Tickets to the awards luncheon are $125 per person, with special discounted $90 tickets for young professionals and tables available for sponsorship. Tickets go on sale Feb. 12th. Click here to purchase tickets online, or mail a check to the LEH at:
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Awards Event 938 Lafayette Street, Ste. 300 New Orleans, LA 70113
For media credentials or additional information on this year’s awardees, contact Brian Boyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.620.2632.