Five individuals who have made significant contributions to Creole heritage will be presented with the Creole Peoples Award on Friday, Sept. 14 as part of the 20th annual Creole Heritage Celebration.
The recipients are Dustin Fuqua of the National Park Service,Lt. Gen. (ret.) Russel L. Honoré, Creole Heritage Center board member Vera Severin and Darrell Bourque and Patricia Cravins of the Amédé Ardoin Project. Special Recognition will be presented to Gregory Reed and Curtis P. Desselles Jr.
The presentation will take place as part of a banquet at 6 p.m. in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom at Northwestern State University. Tickets for the banquet are $40 for Creole Heritage Center at NSU members and $50 for non-members.
An anthropologist descended from French Creoles of Avoyelles Parish, Fuqua grew up embodied with a strong appreciation for the natural and cultural resources of Louisiana. Childhood experiences involving the language, waterways, wildlife and Indian mound sites of the Spring Bayou community guided Fuqua’s interest in heritage preservation. Subsequent education and career choices resulted from ambitions to revitalize the language, traditions, and values of his Creole culture. Reared among traditional cultural practitioners, sportsmen, and family and friends who use the French language, Fuqua has become uniquely positioned to advance the preservation and revitalization of Creole culture in central Louisiana.
Studying under the mentorship of Dr. Pete Gregory at Northwestern State, Fuqua earned a B.A. in Anthropology in 2003 and a M.A. in Heritage Resources in 2007. Fuqua serves the National Park Service as chief of resources at Cane River Creole National Historical Park in Natchitoches Parish, managing the compliance, museum, archeology, and cultural anthropology programs for two National Historic Landmarks, Oakland Plantation and Magnolia Plantation.
Bourque is professor emeritus in English from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, a former Louisiana Poet Laureate, the recipient of the Writer Award 2014 from the Louisiana Book Festival, and the recipient of the James Rivers Award from the Center for Louisiana Studies, ULL, for his contributions to Louisiana Literature and Culture.
At ULL he served as the director of the freshman English program, the director of the Deep South Writers Conference, the director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program, director of the Creative Writing Program and the Head of the English Department.
He is the co-founder of the Amédé Ardoin Project (with Cravins), a social justice project to create a public commemorative for the iconic traditional Louisiana Creole musician.
Cravins, a native of Lafayette, was born Patricia Ann Arceneaux. She attended Paul Breaux High School and graduated in 1966. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge. Pat taught English and Speech/Theatre for nearly 40 years in both Lafayette and St. Landry Parishes. The mother of three and grandmother of five, she is the wife of Donald Cravins, Sr., former Louisiana State Senator. They reside in Arnaudville. They were instrumental in locating the Creole Heritage Center on the campus of Northwestern State. Both are committed to stimulating and cultivating the Creole culture.
A playwright, storyteller, motivational speaker, actor and director, her most recent involvement is serving as co-chair of the Let’s Bring Amédé Home Project, a symbolic “proper burial” of the slain musician Amédé Ardoin.
A native of Lakeland, Honoré was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Agriculture upon graduation from Southern University and A&M College in 1971. He holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Troy State University as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Southern University and A&M College, an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from Stillman College and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Stillman College.
Prior to his command of Joint Task Force-Katrina – leading the Department of Defense response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana – Honoré served in a variety of command and staff positions which focused on Defense Support to Civil Authorities and Homeland Defense.
Honoré retired on February 29, 2008, following 37 years of active service with the United States Army. He continues to speak and consult nationally on Building a Culture of Preparedness.
The theme of the celebration sponsored by The Creole Heritage Center at NSU is “Struggles & Persistence – But Still We Rise.”
Registration for all events is $75 for Creole Heritage Center members and $90 for non-members.
The banquet and awards ceremony features Honoré, who will be keynote speaker, with appearances by Melissa Anderson, USA Ambassador Mrs. and Miss Louisiana Hollí Conway.
Conway was named second runner-up at Sunday’s Miss America Pageant and won the preliminary talent award.
For more information, contact the Creole Heritage Center at (318) 357-6685 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.