Miranda Restovic Named Interim President and Executive Director
The Board of Directors of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) has named Miranda Restovic, MPA, as the organization's Interim President and Executive Director. Restovic succeeds Michael Sartisky, Ph.D., whose contract was terminated by the Board of Directors last week.
Restovic previously served as LEH Deputy Director, as well as Director of the LEH's PRIME TIME Family Reading Time program, over the past seven years. A nationally-recognized, outcomes-driven program, PRIME TIME is the longest running and most effective humanities-focused family literacy model in the nation, serving families in all 64 parishes of Louisiana and in 40 other states since 1991. "The combination of Miranda's intimate knowledge of the LEH's operations statewide and her pivotal role in building a national PRIME TIME affiliate network make her the best and logical choice to lead the organization during this transition period," stated Michael Bernstein, Ph.D., Chair of the LEH Board of Directors. Restovic holds a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the University of New Orleans, as well as a Bachelors of Arts in International Relations and Italian from Mount Holyoke College.
"I deeply appreciate this opportunity, and assure all LEH supporters and constituents that the organization will maintain its steadfast commitment to its educational and cultural mission throughout this transition," commented Restovic. "The enduring legacy of the LEH, in researching, documenting, and celebrating all facets of our culture – in the most culturally rich state in the nation – will be both closely protected and creatively expanded upon."
Since 1971, the LEH has invested nearly $70 million to bring Louisiana's people, history, culture, and stories to local, national, and international audiences. More than 30,000 Louisiana residents have participated in PRIME TIME Family Reading Time programs, more than 105,000 have attended Readings in Literature and Culture (RELIC) adult reading programs, and more than 6,300 educators have graduated from the LEH's Teacher Institutes for Advanced Study. These teachers, in turn, teach hundreds of thousands of students annually. Many thousands of additional Louisiana and U.S. citizens have attended LEH-funded programs, watched LEH-funded documentaries (including one of Ken Burns' first films: Huey Long), enjoyed reading the award-winning quarterly magazine Louisiana Cultural Vistas have benefitted from using the state's only comprehensive digital encyclopedia of Louisiana history and culture: KnowLA.org.
For more information about the LEH, contact Brian Boyles at the LEH, 504-620-2632 or email@example.com.
Isaacson, Laborde, Bayou Maharajah Among 2014 Awardees
Walter Isaacson. Photo: Patrice Gilbert
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has named journalist and author Walter Isaacson as its 2014 Humanist of the Year. Isaacson and other recipients will be honored at the Humanities Awards on Saturday, March 29th, 12:30 p.m., at the Audubon Tea Room in New Orleans.
Tickets to the Humanities Awards ceremony go on sale February 12. Admission to the luncheon is $125 per person, with special discounted $90 tickets for young professionals and tables available for sponsorship. Click here to purchase tickets online, or mail a check to the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to:
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
938 Lafayette Street, Ste. 300
New Orleans, LA 70113
For media credentials or additional information on this year's awardees, contact Brian Boyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.620.2632.
Born in New Orleans in 1952, Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of The Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine. Isaacson is the author of the best-selling biographies Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made
Isaacson is a graduate of the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He worked as a journalist for the Sunday Times of London and the New Orleans States-Item and Times-Picayune. In 1996 Isaacson became the 14th editor of TIME magazine and was hired as chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001. For the past decade, he has served as CEO of the Aspen Institute. He is chair emeritus of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in underserved communities. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held until 2012. He is vice-chair of Partners for a New Beginning, a public-private group tasked with forging ties between the United States and the Muslim world. He is on the board of United Airlines, Tulane University, and the Overseers of Harvard University. From 2005-2007, after Hurricane Katrina, he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. In 2012 he was selected as one of the TIME 100, the magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. In May he will deliver the National Endowment for the Humanities 2014 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities.
Recent recipients of the Humanist of the Year Award were scholar and educator William Pederson, Ph.D., author and scholar Patricia Brady, Ph.D.; scholar and historian Dana Kress, Ph.D.; musician and scholar Michael White, Ph.D.; scholar Barry Ancelet, Ph.D.; historians Stephen Ambrose, Ph.D., Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Ph.D., and Douglas Brinkley, Ph.D.; novelists Ernest Gaines and Richard Ford; educator and musician Ellis Marsalis; and art historian Richard Gruber, Ph.D.
Peggy Scott Laborde: LEH 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award
A native of New Orleans, Peggy Scott Laborde has dedicated her life to documenting the history, culture and traditions of her hometown. Through her work as a reporter, filmmaker and producer, she is an invaluable contributor to the cultural life in the city through her research and generosity, providing an ever-growing audience with intimate portraits of subjects ranging from the history of Mardi Gras to the evolution of jazz.
Laborde was a founder of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and remains a board member, providing steadfast support to the festival. As a senior producer for New Orleans' PBS station, WYES-TV, she has produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries on local history, including popular films on the cuisine, nightlife, neighborhoods and carnival krewes of New Orleans. She served as a reporter at WDSU-TV, general manager of WLAE-TV, and continues as host of the long-running "Steppin' Out" talk show on WYES, where she convenes local news personalities to discuss recent and upcoming events in New Orleans culture. Her three books captured the idiosyncratic pasts of local eateries, Christmas celebrations, and Canal Street. A former board member of the Arts Council of New Orleans and the Mid-City Neighborhood Association, Laborde is an invaluable presence in the cultural life of New Orleans.
Last year's Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities award went to Alfred Lemmon, Director of the Williams Research Collection at the Historic New Orleans Collection.
2014 LEH Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Bayou Maharajah by Lily Keber
Bayou Maharajah provides an essential biography of one of New Orleans' most revered musicians, weaving new scholarship, unseen concert footage, and revealing interviews into a thorough narrative that places Booker in the grand tradition of New Orleans piano players. Director Lily Keber portrays Booker through the eyes of his friends, admirers and fellow musicians, emphasizing the troubled life and prevailing genius of an artist who combined strands of gospel, boogie-woogie and jazz. The film received awards from the New Orleans Film Festival and the South By Southwest Film Festival, and continues to tour festivals internationally.
Last year's award went to Conni Castille's T-GALOP: A Louisiana Horse Story, an exploration of the unique ties between Louisianians and horses.
2014 Books of the Year: A Company Man and Livestock Brands & Marks
A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies, by Marc-Antoine Caillot, edited by Erin M. Greenwald, published by the Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC). A long-lost memoir from New Orleans' earliest days, A Company Man is an intimate reflection on 18th century colonial Louisiana through the eyes of a young clerk, with observations on French governance, the slave trade, Native American culture and the natural history of the Gulf South. Erin M. Greenwald's masterful editing of Caillot's work resulted in a lasting contribution to our understanding of Louisiana.
The original handwritten and illustrated manuscript is believed to have languished in the library of a convent in France for well over a century before emigrating to Canada in 1939. The Historic New Orleans Collection purchased the book in 2004, and Greenwald spent five years researching and, as HNOC's Jessica Dorman puts it, "playing international sleuth" to produce this engaging book. The Times-Picayune named A Company Man one of the Top 10 Books of 2013. Click here to buy a copy.
Livestock Brands & Marks: An Unexpected Bayou Country History, by Christopher Everette Cenac, Sr., M.D., F.A.C.S., published by University Press of Mississippi. Dr. Cenac's stunningly designed book provides a comprehensive account of the nuanced world of cattle ranching, an integral part of south Louisiana culture since the beginning of European settlement. Through substantive writing, previously unpublished images and photographs of recovered artifacts, Cenac conjures insights into the lives of farmers and families in Terrebonne Parish.
An orthopedic surgeon, Cenac wrote his first book, Eyes of an Eagle, by combing through courthouse documents for the original brand registration of his great grandfather. During this research, he uncovered ledger books that capsulized glimpses into the citizenry of the early agrarian foundations of the area. These ledgers are the basis for this landmark chronicle. Click here to buy a copy.
The 2013 Books of the Year were The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans, by Lawrence Powell, Ph.D., and Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans, by Ben Sandmel.
Richard Sexton: LEH 2014 Michael P. Smith Memorial Awardee for Documentary Photography
Photographer Richard Sexton combines artistry, storytelling and powerful evocations of the past to create work that reflects the rich landscape of Louisiana. His portrayals of the people, buildings and soil of the Gulf South follow in the path of the late Michael P. Smith, for whom the LEH award is named.
Sexton's books include New Roads and Old Rivers: Louisiana's Historic Pointe Coupee Parish (2012); Destrehan: The Man, The House, The Legacy (2009); Gardens of New Orleans: Exquisite Excess (2000); Vestiges of Grandeur: The Plantations of Louisiana's River Road (1999); and New Orleans: Elegance and Decadence (1993). In 2014 he will release Creole World, a book and exhibition sponsored by the Historic New Orleans Collection, examining connections between New Orleans, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
His photographs have been exhibited at numerous museums, including the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs, Mississippi; the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado, Arkansas; and the Julien Poydras Museum and Arts Center in New Roads, Louisiana. Sexton is a frequent contributor to Louisiana Cultural Vistas, the LEH's quarterly magazine.
Presented in memory of the great New Orleans photographer, the Michael P. Smith Memorial Award for Documentary Photography was first given in 2009 to Lafayette documentary photographer Philip Gould. Last year's award went to Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick of New Orleans.
2014 Chair's Award for Institutional Support: The Zemurray Foundation
For its longstanding and generous support of the LEH, the Zemurray Foundation is this year's recipient of the Chair's Award for Institutional Support. Since 2004 the foundation has donated a total of $450,000 to the LEH, supporting both the landmark LEH Capital Campaign and the PRIME TIME family literacy program. The foundation's support of PRIME TIME resulted in the creation of the first bilingual (Spanish/English) PRIME TIME Family Reading Time programs, which have been implemented nationally. More than 279 families were directly impacted by Zemurray's support of PRIME TIME. A nationally recognized model, PRIME TIME is the longest running and most effective (i.e., "outcomes-based") humanities-focused family literacy program in the nation.
Previous recipients include the Shell Oil Company, the Center for Louisiana Studies at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Helis Foundation of New Orleans, Phyllis Taylor, Friends of the Humanities of Lafayette, the Community Foundation of Shreveport-Bossier, the National Endowment for the Humanities, LSU Press, Jones Walker Law Firm, Hibernia Bank, Freeport McMoRan Inc., Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the New Orleans
2014 Public Humanities Award: Ashley Hardee Boudreaux and Debra S. Lee, M.Ed., N.B.C.T
Ashley Hardee Boudreaux, Education and Disabilities Facilitator of Sabine Parish Universal Preschool, and Debra S. Lee, M.Ed., N.B.C.T, Director of Federal Programs & Curriculum & Instruction at Sabine Parish School District have served as essential partners of the LEH's PRIME TIME Family Reading Time. Sabine Parish School District has implemented more than 21 programs implemented across the system since 2001. PRIME TIME is the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities' national, award-winning family literacy program that serves low-income families throughout Louisiana and in many other states.
The tireless efforts of Boudreaux and Lee benefit the children and families who reside in the small, rural parish of 24,300 residents. Starting in the 2012-13 school year, and under their leadership, Sabine Parish School System has implemented 11 programs, reaching 150 families (425 individuals) under the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) grant and in partnership with the LEH. Sabine Parish was the first school system to recognize the benefits of collaborating with PRIME TIME to fulfill the mission of their schools and to compete for SRCL funding. The professionalism of school staff was a key to the success of this partnership.
LEH Deputy Director and PRIME TIME Director Miranda Restovic and Senior Consultant Faye Flanagan praised Lee and Boudreaux in their nomination letter: "Ashley, Debra and the PRIME TIME team members have brought humanities programming to families in this rural northwest Louisiana parish. The only way PRIME TIME can reach families around the state is to collaborate with professionals of this caliber." Last year's award went to the Georgia Public Library Service.
2014 Individual Achievement in the Humanities Award: Stephen Webre, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Webre is the Garnie W. McGinty Professor of History and Interim Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Louisiana Tech University. As a discussion leader in the LEH's Readings in Literature and Culture (RELIC) adult reading series, he is a driving force for humanities programs in Ruston, Homer, Haynesville, Ringgold and Arcadia, with additional contributions made in Bossier City and Shreveport. He has led discussions of subjects ranging from contemporary Mexico to the history and culture of north Louisiana. In 2013 Webre led the "Muslim Journeys, American Stories" program, recently funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.
Last year's award went to Greg Lambousy of the Louisiana State Museum.
Be sure to follow the LEH on Twitter @Knowlouisiana and on Facebook. We'll have interviews with this yeare's awardees and news on upcoming LEH programs across Louisiana. And join us on March 29th for a celebration of our state's history and culture!