Two Louisiana residents will bring their expertise in education and Native American history and culture to the board of directors for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. John Barbry, who is based in Marksville, Louisiana, serves as Director of Development and Programing overseeing the Tunica-Biloxi Language & Culture Revitalization Program (LCRP) and Education Department. Laura Prisco, who hails from Madisonville, is Coordinator of Programs and Services for fine arts at St. Tammany Parish Public Schools and is also the Chair of the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.
About the LEH
As the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the LEH maintains a singular presence throughout Louisiana as the only private nonprofit dedicated to making an impact in the cultural and education sectors in all Louisiana parishes. Its mission is to partner with communities, institutions and individuals to explore Louisiana’s past, reflect on the present and imagine the future.
The LEH works with federal, state and local governments to improve educational outcomes and preserve the state’s cultural traditions. The organization has established a strong reputation with corporations and foundations and is trusted to deliver responsive, sustainable programs for and with Louisianans, such as the now-franchised Prime Time series of programs and 64 Parishes magazine and online encyclopedia.
About the LEH Board of Directors
The LEH board is statewide, and members are residents of Louisiana. Members represent the cultural, academic, philanthropic and business communities. Board membership is voluntary, and members typically serve three-year terms with the option to renew twice. Members attend four full board meetings per year, participate with subcommittees to support short- and long-term organizational goal attainment and aid in the cultivation of relationships that support organizational advocacy, fundraising and program/initiative success.
LEH’s new board members are:
John D. Barbry
John D. Barbry serves as Director of Development and Programing overseeing the Tunica-Biloxi Language & Culture Revitalization Program (LCRP) and Education Department. In 1987, Barbry assisted with cataloging of the “Tunica Treasure” shortly after the collection was repatriated to the Tunica-Biloxi. He then served as Research Supervisor in the manuscripts’ division at The Historic New Orleans Collection.
Barbry was the first Native American appointed archivist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in 1993. Prior to his current responsibilities, Barbry worked 20 years in casino marketing and management in the Louisiana and California. Barbry has been chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow Committee since 1995. The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities selected Mr. Barbry for the 2022 Champion of Culture award for making a lasting mark through his support and promotion of Louisiana’s cultural resources.
“I am profoundly honored to be part of an organization that works to enrich the body and soul of our community,” said Barbry. “I look forward to working with a group of like-minded individuals who share that passion.”
Laura Prisco currently serves as the Coordinator of Programs and Services for fine arts at St. Tammany Parish Public Schools and is also the Chair of the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs. Her journey as an educator began 19 years ago, teaching at numerous public and private schools, coordinating special events, working as a professional musician and providing private music instruction to numerous students.
She was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2020-2021 at Madisonville Elementary. Prisco has also been a Member of the Junior League of Greater Covington since 2008 where she played a significant role chairing fundraisers for the Children’s Museum of St. Tammany’s annual Celebration Fundraiser. Laura holds a Master’s in Business Administration and is a Certified Teacher in the State of Louisiana. She resides in Madisonville, Louisiana with her husband, Joe, and their three boys.
“My experiences and passion for education, arts and community engagement align seamlessly with the mission of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities,” said Prisco. “I am excited to work with the board and the community to continue enriching the cultural tapestry of Louisiana and fostering a love for the humanities among all its people.”