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LEH Receives Grant to Benefit Plaquemines, Terrebonne, and Lafourche Parishes

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) has received a $475,000 grant for its Coastal Impacts Project from BHP Billiton, a mining and petroleum company that supports projects focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The three-year initiative, which will be administered in partnership with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and the Smithsonian Institution, will bring award-winning humanities-based programming about coastal issues to communities across the state with a special focus on Plaquemines, Terrebonne, and Lafourche Parishes. By engaging residents in a multi-generational dialogue about the future of coastal Louisiana, the LEH seeks to empower citizens to be part of the ongoing decision-making process that impacts their communities.

“We are grateful to BHP Billiton for supporting a uniquely humanities-based approach to engaging the public, and especially our youngest citizens, in a topic so critical to the future of our state and our way of life,” said Miranda Restovic, LEH President and Executive Director.

On June 23, 2018, community members gathered at Phoenix High School in Plaquemines Parish to celebrate the opening of Water/Ways, a Museum on Main Street traveling exhibition. The exhibition will return to the region as part of the LEH’s Coastal Impacts Project. Photo by Rick Olivier.

The Coastal Impacts initiative includes twenty-three PRIME TIME programs held across the three parishes from fall 2019 through fall 2021. Nationally acclaimed and created by the LEH in 1991, PRIME TIME offers multi-week literacy programs designed to support children and families in intergenerational family reading and discussion. In addition to funding management of the sites, the grant will support development of a new syllabus and book series, PRIME TIME Sustain, that focuses on environmental change, relocation, and resilience.

An added component of PRIME TIME Sustain will be the screening and discussion of one of four coastal documentaries produced by the LEH in 2017. Community conversations drawn from these film discussions will shape the direction of two new documentaries being produced as part of the Coastal Impacts initiative. The documentaries, directed by filmmaker John Richie, will explore the challenges of coastal land loss, the restoration and preservation strategies employed by CPRA, and the impact of both land loss and restoration efforts on affected communities in Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Plaquemines Parishes.

Coastal Impacts also includes twelve environmental humanities articles that will run in the LEH’s quarterly magazine, 64 Parishes, beginning in fall 2019, as well as another statewide tour of the traveling exhibition, Water/Ways, beginning in spring 2021. Water/Ways, which is produced by the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program, explores the different ways water impacts communities. Each six-week stop features a series of public events, including screenings of the Coastal Impacts documentaries.

“BHP remains committed to working with our community partners in Louisiana,” said Myron Protz, BHP’s Gulf of Mexico General Manager. “BHP’s collaboration with the LEH on the Coastal Impacts initiative is another example of how we can support these communities in a meaningful way. We believe that the most powerful tool there is for vulnerable communities to prepare for climate change is education.”

To learn more about PRIME TIME, visit www.primetimefamily.org

To learn more about Museum on Main Street, visit https://www.leh.org/our-work/special-initiatives/museum-on-main-street/

To learn more about 64 Parishes, visit www.64parishes.org