This thesis originally came out of a term paper for Dr. John Troutman’s History 505 class in the spring of 2015, and at first, I was more interested in folklore itself than the organization charged with preserving it. But that soon changed, as did my purposes for writing. These purposes were several. First, to examine the Louisiana Folklife Program—its origins, its evolution, and its achievements—in order to see how it became what it is today. Second, to place the LFP in a national context by examining the factors that gave rise to its birth. Third, to explain why the LFP has endured while similar programs have struggled or faded away. And fourth, to examine the impact that political and academic opposition can and do have upon such programs. My methodology has changed little since I wrote the first page. Most of it entailed archival research coupled with secondary sources gleaned from libraries and Internet searches as well as oral interviews. What I learned in the course of my research has illustrated more than ever the fragility and value of Louisiana’s cultural heritage and the value of preserving it. Some of it was almost wiped out in the early twentieth century, when speaking French was forbidden in schools throughout the state. It is thus incumbent upon both the LFP and the people of Louisiana to each do their part in ensuring that their posterity will be able to enjoy the rich diversity Louisiana has to offer. Stories, recipes, and handicrafts are things that we should not allow to fade away. Once they are gone, there is no restoring them. The LFP has made tremendous advances in this regard, and I sincerely hope they continue to do so, for the sake of all the generations that come after us.
|Advisor:||Troutman, John W.|
|Commitee:||Martin, Michael, Skilton, Elizabeth|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 56/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||American history, Folklore|
|Keywords:||Louisiana, Louisiana folklife program, Public folklore|
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