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Bright Lights Online: Conversations with 2021 Humanities Awards Winners

This summer the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will host Bright Lights Online, a series of live virtual conversations with and about the recipients of the 2021 LEH Humanities Awards. 

For nearly 40 years, the LEH Humanities Awards have honored the historians, filmmakers, photographers, poets, educators, folklorists, archivists, preservationists, and more who provide access to and interpret Louisiana history and culture. We are proud to share their stories and explore their contributions this summer through Bright Lights Online.

Later this year we look forward to celebrating the life and work of John T. Scott, posthumous recipient of the LEH’s highest honor, the Humanist of the Year awardwhen we open The Helis Foundation John Scott Center on the first floor of our headquarters in New Orleans. 

Bright Lights Online will take place select Fridays in June and July. See below for program details and a full scheduleRegistration is required for each program. 


Bright Lights Online: Celebrating the 2021 Humanities Awards Winners


Best in Digital Humanities 

Friday, June 11, 11 a.m. 

Slow Burn: David Duke Podcast Host Josh Levin and Producer Christopher Johnson in Conversation with Larry Powell  

Missed it? You can watch the video here.   

Join the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Larry Powell for a Bright Lights Online conversation with Josh Levin and Christopher Johnson, host and producer of the Slate podcast Slow Burn: David Duke, the 2021 Best in Digital Humanities awardee. In six hour-long episodes, Slow Burn explores the life of notorious white supremacist and former Louisiana politician, David Duke. Levin, a New Orleans native, expertly untangles the messy strands of Duke’s self-promoting, self-aggrandizing past and traces his rise from a political outlier to a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives representing the 81st District. Throughout, in interviews with political operatives, constituents, and activists, Levin probes the question of what can happen when white supremacy goes mainstream.


Champion of Culture 

Friday, June 18, 11 a.m. 

Culture Bearer Carol Bebelle in Conversation with Kelly HarrisDeBerry 

Missed it? Watch the video here

Join the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Kelly Harris-DeBerry for a Bright Lights Online conversation with 2021 Champion of Culture Awardee Carol Bebelle. Cofounder of Ashé Cultural Arts Center, a New Orleans–based organization that hosts and supports programs, activities, and creative works emphasizing the contributions of people of African descent, Bebelle is a recognized community leader dedicated to the arts and humanities. As longtime director of Ashé, Bebelle oversaw its expansion from a once-blighted property on O. C. Haley Boulevard to a modern, welcoming complex that includes theater and performance spaces, art galleries, children’s activity areas, and community housing.


Documentary Photographer of the Year 

Friday, June 25, 11 a.m.  

Photographer Abdul Aziz in Conversation with CJ. Hunt 

Missed it? Watch the video here.

Join the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and C. J. Hunt for a conversation with Abdul Aziz, the LEH’s Documentary Photographer of the Year. Aziz, a conflict photographer who has captured scenes of discord in Somalia and the Gaza Strip, has recently turned his lens on scenes of social and political unrest across Louisiana and beyond. Capturing the widespread protests against police brutality and the movement for social and racial justice, Aziz’s photography forms a record of our time with deep roots in American history.


Humanities Book of the Year 

Friday, July 9, 11 a.m. 

Katrina, a History, 19152015 Author Andy Horowitz in Conversation with Jarvis DeBerry 

Missed it? Watched the video here.  

Join the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Jarvis DeBerry for a Bright Lights Online conversation with historian Andy Horowitz, whose book Katrina, A History: 1915–2015 is the 2021 Humanities Book of the Year. In this in-depth look at one of America’s most destructive disasters, Horowitz finds the seeds of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath nurtured over the course of the preceding century.


Lifetime Contributions to the Humanities 

Friday, July 16, 11 a.m. 

Remembering Frank de Caro: Conversation with Folklorists Barry Jean Ancelet, Marcia Gaudet, Nick Spitzer, and Robin Roberts 

Missed it? Watch the video here.

Join the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and folklorists Barry Jean Ancelet, Marcia Gaudet, Robin Roberts, and Nick Spitzer for a Bright Lights Online conversation about Lifetime Contributions to the Humanities awardee Frank de Caro. De Caro, a nationally renowned folklorist who was particularly active in Louisiana, served as first chairman and past president of the Louisiana Folklore Society. In these roles and through his writing he was instrumental in developing today’s vibrant Louisiana folklife community. His last book, Downtown Mardi Gras: New Carnival Practices in Post-Katrina New Orleans, co-authored with Robin Roberts and Leslie A. Wade, was released in 2019 shortly before his passing in spring 2020 of COVID-19.


Light Up for Literacy 

Friday, July 23, 11 a.m. 

Teacher and Literacy Advocate Pat Austin in Conversation with Sarah DeBacher 

Missed it? Watch the video here.

Join the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Sarah DeBacher for a Bright Lights Online conversation with 2021 Light Up for Literacy awardee Pat Austin. Austin, who has spent decades fostering a love of reading and literature in generations of students, teachers, and librarians in training, currently serves as curator for the Children’s Literature Collection at the University of New Orleans.  


This program is produced by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this event do not necessarily represent those of either the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.