The 15th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference was held on Sept. 23 at NSU. This year’s conference theme was “Louisiana Works.” The Saturday morning keynote, “Defend Corner Stores: Preserving the Vanishing Culture of Vernacular Hand-Painted Signage in the Commercial Settings of the Post-Katrina Landscape of New Orleans,” was given by Anthony DelRosario, coordinator for research support services at Tulane University and director of NOLA ’Nacular Studio & Gallery.
DelRosario, who goes by the name anthonyturducken in his artistic work, is a cultural documentarian from the South. Originally from Memphis and now working in New Orleans, DelRosario uses photography, printmaking, and digital design to capture and interpret the culture hidden in everyday life. DelRosario’s presentation invited attendees to “Ride along on a visual journey to document, preserve, and interpret the uniqueness of hand-painted signs on corner stores, neighborhood bars, and other places around New Orleans through the lens of a camera and the ink of printmaking.”
The conference also featured an exhibit of DelRosario’s work in Gallery 2 in CAPA. The exhibit will run through October 6.
Donna J. Baker, director of the Cammie G. Henry Research Center and University Archivist and Records Officer; Jason Church, chief of Technical Services at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training; Daniel Gordy, assistant professor of Criminal Justice and English; Dr. Charles Pellegrin, director of the Southern Studies Institute and professor of history, and Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center and professor of English, served as conference co-chairs.
The conference was a great success, with 29 scholars, creative writers and cultural authorities participating in eight separate panels. Conference participants came from Texas and Louisiana. Several of the presenters were NSU faculty and alumni. In addition to the keynote presentation, some of the many topics discussed included Louisiana literature, archaeology, industry, journalism, festivals, history, politics, foodways,climate change and the environment, education, class and race relations, folkways, culture and language preservation and the legendary Bigfoot.Creative writers also addressed the conference theme, including poets John P. Doucet and David Middleton.
Each of the presentation sessions was chaired by a moderator. Session chairs were Baker, Dr. Khirsten Doolan, Dr. Benjamin Forkner and Dr. Sarah McFarland (English, Languages and Cultural Studies).
Church and Rasmussen also served as the conference programmers, with Church serving as chair of conference programming. Daphne Hines, director of Publications, designed the conference program cover and poster, incorporating images by Anthony DelRosario. Dr. Scott Burrell, director of the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts and professor of theatre; Leslie Gruesbeck, chair of the Department of Fine + Graphic Arts and associate professor of art, and Dr. Fran Lemoine, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of biology served as conference hosts. The staff of the Louisiana Folklife Center, administrative coordinator Bessie Jones and graduate assistant Nina Murray, kept the Conference running smoothly. Gordy served as conference technical support. Chris Reich served as conference photographer.
The following individuals made scholarly presentations at the Conference:
Donna J. Baker and Sara Rebstock (Cammie G. Henry Research Center) presented their paper “Collection Talk: Crosby Michael Wynne Collection on Louisiana Czech Heritage Collection.”
NSU graduate student Regina Brossett (English, Languages, and Cultural Studies) presented her paper “Huntin’ for Bigfoot: The Bigfoot Hairy Deal.”
Dr. Khirsten Doolan (English, Languages, and Cultural Studies) presented her paper “Queer Eye’s In/Visible Queermunities in Louisiana.”
Dr. Benjamin Forkner (English, Languages, and Cultural Studies and Louisiana Scholars’ College) presented his paper “Louisiana French and the Emergence of Digital Communities.”
Dr. Debra Jo Hailey (Child and Family Studies), Dr. Michelle Fazio-Brunson (Early Childhood Education) and Dr. April Giddens (Education)presented their paper “Ways Parent Workplace Influences Child Development and Early Literacy.”
Dr. Sarah McFarland (English, Languages, and Cultural Studies) presented her paper “Inhabiting Wonder.”
Dr. Jim Mischler (English, Languages, and Cultural Studies and IRB Director) presented his paper “Louisiana Works: Protecting Human Subjects of Research via Collaboration.”
Heather Salter (English, Languages, and Cultural Studies) presented her paper “Louisiana Country Songs Serve as Examples in Freshman Composition Work Narratives.
The awards ceremony for the 15th annual NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest was also held on Saturday morning at the Conference. Church, Van Erikson, director of Recruiting and Enrollment Management; Lemoine, Dr. Rebecca Macijeski, Creative Writing program coordinator and associate professor of English; Shea Montgomery, instructor of English, and Rasmussen presented the awards.
First place winner Madison Jackson of West Monroe High School read her essay “Suppressing Systemic Racism One Step at a Time: The Housing Crisis in Louisiana.” Tyron Martin of Hahnville High School in Boutte read his second-place essay “Shining a Light: The Transformative Power of Journalism.” Bailey Robert of Breaux Bridge High School read her honorable mention essay “Veterinarian.” Unable to attend were third-place winner Ryan Sinegal of Delcambre High School and honorable mention winners Caroline Blanchard of Holy Savior Menard Central High School and Rebecca Theriot of Houma Christian School. Church, Macijeski, and Rasmussen served as the contest selection committee.
Refreshments at the conference were provided by Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant.
The conference was co-sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the Department of English, Languages, and Cultural Studies, and the Northwestern State University College of Arts and Sciences.
The 16th annual Louisiana Studies Conference will be held in September 2024. The 2024 Conference theme will be “Lyrical Louisiana.”
For more information contact Rasmussen at email@example.com or (318) 357-4332.
2023 NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest Awards Ceremony:
Winners of the Louisiana High School Essay Contest read their entries during the Louisiana Studies Conference. From left are Dr. Rebecca Macijeski, Bailey Robert of Breaux Bridge, honorable mention; first place winner Madison Jackson of West Monroe High School; second place winner Tyron Martin of Hahnville High School in Boutte and Dr. Fran Lemoine, NSU’s dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
2023 Louisiana Studies Conference Keynote Speaker Anthony Delrosario:
Anthony DelRosario, coordinator for research support services at Tulane University and director of NOLA ’Nacular Studio & Gallery, was featured speaker at the Louisiana Studies Conference. DelRosario, who goes by the name anthonyturducken in his artistic work, is a cultural documentarian from the South.