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Annual Meeting Histories
The 2011 Annual Meeting
The 55th meeting was held March 25-26, 2011 in Lafayette, Louisiana, and the conference theme was “Solastalgia: Longing for Home Without Ever Leaving.”
Friday night, the keynote address was “Solastalgia and the Landscape of the Mind: Reuniting Language, Emotions and Place in the Twenty-first Century” by Dr. Glenn Albrecht, Murdock University in Perth, Western Australia.
The 2010 Annual Meeting
The 54th meeting was held April 16-17, 2010 in Wallace, Louisiana, and the conference title was “The Mississippi River Road Corridor: Cuisines, Cultures and Communities from the Black Atlantic to the Plantation Belt.”
Friday night, the keynote address was “Three is a Magic Number: Culinary Cultures in the Making of a Southern Louisiana Cuisine” by cultural historian Dr. Jessica Harris, Endowed Professor and Professor of English at Queens College in New York. She presented the three matrix culinary cultures of southern Louisiana: Indian, African, and European using images and texts of the period. She also placed the Louisiana experience in hemispheric context and make comparisons with other creolized New World culinary cultures.
The cultural tour on Friday afternoon featured Evergreen Plantation, the River Road African American Museum, Historic Donaldsonville, and Whitney Plantation.
The 2009 Annual Meeting
The Louisiana Folklore Society’s 53st annual meeting for 2009 was held at Northwestern State University’s Leesville campus on March 27-28, 2009 with the meeting theme of Louisiana Frontiers, Margins, and Psychological Boundaries. The meeting began on Friday, March 27, at 1 p.m. with a tour of the Neutral Strip region and a reception hosted by Five Parishes West Tourism Bureau. The free bus tour, courtesy of Five Parishes West, included Ft. Polk Archaeology Lab known as the Rock Shop (Native American and Pioneer artifacts), Little Cypress Recreation Complex (a local legend, The Money Tree), and the Talbert-Pierson Cemetery (traditional grave houses and storytller).
The conference continued on Saturday, March 28 with fourteen presentations. The conference theme highlighted the emergence of culture on the frontier, at the margin, at the edge, and on the fringe. Topics included the Neutral Strip, wedding traditions, fiddling, and more. All events were open to the public. This program was funded in part by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
The keynote address on Friday, March 27, 8 pm was Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier by Dr. Alan Jabbour, folklorist, American Folklife Center former director, and fiddler. Jabbour discussed and demonstrated the creative cauldron of Southern fiddling. Local fiddlers joined in on a jam session following the presentation. Jabbour is a noted authority on Appalachian fiddling. He has published widely on subjects related to folklore and folklife, including many publication on American instrumental folk music, and he is a frequent lecturer. His publications include both print publications and a number of docuementary recorded publications.
The 2008 Annual Meeting
The Louisiana Folklore Society’s 52st annual meeting for 2008 was held at University of New Orleans on March April 4-5, 2008 with the meeting theme of Where is Home and What Is It Like? Reconstructing Louisiana Material and Psychological Landscapes. The meeting highlighted assessment of Gulf Coast traditions and the concept of home, be it the Gulf Coast, the hill country, the Delta, or a home away from home. Over twenty presentations and displays consider occupations such as shrimping, barkeeping, and bakeries; ethnic traditions including Vietnamese, Muslim, Latino, Czech, and Celtic; material culture from shotguns to houseboats; and Mardi Gras, All Saints’ Day, and disaster tourism. The meeting began on Friday, April 4, at 2 p.m. with presentations and continued on Saturday, April 5th with a full day of presentations. All events were open to the public. This program was funded in part by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
The keynote address on Friday, April 4, 7 pm was Shotgun Houses: Their Future 35 Years Later by John Michael Vlach, Professor at George Washington University, and noted authority on folk and vernacular architecture. He returned to New Orleans to give an update on the 35th anniversary of his first visit to research the history of the shotgun house. Dr. Vlach has concentrated his scholarship on aspects of the African Diaspora by conducting field research in Africa (Ghana, Nigeria), the Caribbean (Haiti, Jamaica), and across the southern regions of the United States. Author of ten books, his titles include such seminal texts as The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts, Common Places: Readings in Vernacular Architecture (with Dell Upton), By the Work of Their Hands: Studies in Afro-American Folklife, Plain Painters: Making Sense of American Folk Art, Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery, and Barns (winner of the 2003 Kniffen Prize for Best Book on North American Material Culture). Dr. John Michael Vlach spoke on the history and future of the shotgun house in New Orleans. He is completing the definitive work on the shotgun house and has written widely on folk and vernacular architecture.
Saturday’s program also presented invited presentations from Nicole Eugene and Shari Smothers, two interviewers from The Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston Project. The goal of this project is to voice, as intimately as possible, the experiences and reflections of those displaced to Houston by the two major hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast. Trained as interviewers in special Library of Congress field schools, Shari Smothers and Nicole Eugene, African American women who were living in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina and then evacuated to Houston, their new home, will make presentations on their experiences as interviewers for the project.
The 2007 Annual Meeting
The Louisiana Folklore Society’s 51st annual meeting for 2007 was held at Louisiana State University on March 9-10, 2007.
The meeting began on Friday, March 9, at 7 p.m. with a keynote address titled “Carnival Traditions and New Orleans” by Roger D. Abrahams and Nick Spitzer. Abrahams and Spitzer are co-authors of the recent book Blues for New Orleans: Mardi Gras and America’s Creole Soul. Roger Abrahams is Hum Rosen Professor of Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, and Nick Spitzer is producer and host of the public radio series American Routes. Their talk was free and open and the public, and took place in the Grand Salon at the French House on the LSU campus. The lecture and meeting wase supported by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and by funds from LSU’s Department of English and Program in Louisiana and Caribbean Studies.
The meeting continued at the French House on Saturday, March 10th with a full day of presentations by folk artists, folklorists, community organizers, and filmmakers. Special this year was a panel of artists documenting their own cultural traditions such as Acadian weaving, old country dances, boat building, and herbal medicine, and a panel discussion on documenting Mardi Gras. Also new was a community panel presentation titled “After the Flood: A New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Tradition Status Report,” featuring Cherice Harrison-Nelson, Chair (Guardians of the Flame), Littdell S. Batiste (Queen, Creole Wild West), Clarence Dalcour (Big Chief, Creole Osceolas), Eugene Thomas (Big Chief, Whiter Eagles), Markeith Tero (Big Chief, Trouble Nation), Nadia Robinson (Queen, Young Guardians of the Flame), and Kevon Colley, Jr. (Big Chief, Young Guardians of the Flame). The program ended with a reception and screening of the films By Invitation Only and All on a Mardi Gras Day from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday.