Once Upon a Time in Louisiana: NSU hosts 10th annual La. Studies Conference


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University hosted the 10th annual Louisiana Studies Conference Sept. 21-22.  This year’s conference theme was “Once Upon a Time in Louisiana.” The two-day conference featured 52 scholars, creative writers and cultural authorities participating in 14 separate panels. Conference participants came from Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as from throughout Louisiana. Several of the presenters were NSU faculty and alumni.


Award winners for the Louisiana High School Essay Contest were announced during the conference.  They were Kristen Adams of Caddo Magnet, first; Natalie DuBose of Minden High School, second, and Jadynn Giles of Grant High School, third.  Honorable mention went to Peyton Harville of Airline High School, Allison Huffty of Caddo Parish Magnet and Jacob Pichon of St. Paul’s School.


Poet Katie Bickham, instructor of English at Bossier Parish Community College, presented Friday’s keynote address, “Speaking of the Unspoken Place: Louisiana History in Poems.” Saturday’s keynote, delivered by Professor Emeritus Tom Whitehead, addressed “Sidebars to the Career of Clementine Hunter.”


Northwestern State faculty/staff and grad assistant volunteers contributed to conference planning and execution, moderated panels, acted as hosts, chaired sessions, prepared refreshments and contributed to technical operations and photography to make the conference a success.


Scholarship presentations included the following.


Felicia Brand (National Center for Preservation Technology and Training) and Tadd Britt:  “Athanase De Mézières: An Historic Archeological Approach to Understanding Natchitoches’ Pioneer and Leader.”


Bruce A. Craft (English, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies): “Redbone Rhetoric—Then and Now: An Exploration of the Literary and Historical Narrative of the Louisiana Redbones.”


Dr. Clayton Delery: “Once Upon a Time a Handsome Prince Met Another Handsome Prince: The Case of John William McGrath and Daniel Webster Benson.”


Dr. Jocelyn Hazelwood Donlon and Dr. Jon Griffin (Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts):  “Mencken, The Double Dealer, and Anderson, Faulkner, & Hemingway in New Orleans.”


Dr. Michelle Fazio-Brunson, Dr. Katrina Jordan, Faith Stanfield, Steven Gruesbeck, Leslie Gruesbeck, Natchitoches Parish District Defender Brett Brunson and Dr. Debra Jo Hailey of Southeastern State University panel session: “Remapping Louisiana’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline to a Cradle to College Pipeline: An Early Childhood Education Service Learning Project.”


Dr. Amy Martinez Garcie:  “Folk Remedies in Sabine Parish.”


Louisiana Scholars’ College student Brandon Granger:  “An Examination of the Caddo Religion.”


Dr. Hiram “Pete” Gregory:  “Cuentos, Reports and Retorts: Changing Narratives on the Sabine River.”


Dr. Katrina Jordan, Dr. Michelle Fazio-Brunson, Faith Stanfield and Dr. Debra Jo Hailey panel session: “Louisiana in Children’s Literature.”

Steven Gruesbeck and David Yarbrough of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette:  “Civil Legal Needs, Social Justice, and Louisiana.”


Phyllis Lear (School of Creative and Performing Arts):  “The Travels of Poverty Point Objects to A Little Mound in Arkansas.”


Michael E. Matthews:  “Eugene Payne Watson: The Man, the Fraternity, and the Library.”


Dr. Sarah E. McFarland:  “Narratives of Disease on the Climate-Changed Louisiana Coast.”


Dr. Allison Rittmayer premiered three short films as part of her presentation “Inspired by Caroline Dormon: A Film Screening.”


Nursing student Hannah Sedatol and Dr. Amy Martinez Garcie: “Healing by French Louisiana Traiteurs.”


Mary Linn Wernet (Cammie G. Henry Research Center):  “Once Upon a Time in Louisiana, Researchers Determined to Write about Louisiana, Found Rich Resources in the NSU Cammie G. Henry Research Center and Published Wondrous and Widely Read Articles, Monographs and Series on Louisiana People, Places, Culture and Events.”


Conference sponsors were NSU Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies, The Friends of the Hanchey Gallery, the Louisiana Folklife Center, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, the NSU Center for Inclusion and Diversity, the NSU College of Arts and Sciences, the NSU Department of Fine + Graphic Arts, the NSU Office of Recruiting, the NSU Writing Project, and the NSU Office of the President.


The 11th annual Louisiana Studies Conference will be held in September 2019. The 2019 Conference theme will be “Gothic Louisiana.” For more information contact Dr. Shane Rasmussen at rasmussens@nsula.edu or (318) 357-4332.

Tom Whitehead, NSU professor emeritus, gave the Saturday keynote address during the 10th annual Louisiana Studies Conference at Northwestern State University. His topic addressed “Sidebars to the Career of Clementine Hunter.”