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Tickets Available Now for Bright Lights Awards Dinner

On Thursday, May 11, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) and Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana Billy Nungesser will join forces for an annual celebration of the brightest lights in Louisiana humanities. The 2023 Bright Lights Awards Dinner, presented by Entergy, will recognize the recipients of the LEH’s Humanities Awards, honoring individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities.  

Buy individual tickets                  Buy a table                              Sponsor Bright Lights

The 2023 Humanist of the Year is Chef John Folse, a culinary professional, food historian, tv personality, restauranteur and Louisiana culture bearer. A native of St. James Parish, Folse has offered Louisianans and non-Louisianans alike a window on Louisiana food and culture through his restaurants in North and South America, Asia and Europe.  

In 1995 he established the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, and it remains the state’s only four-year, degree-granting culinary program. Folse has spent a lifetime documenting, preserving and promoting South Louisiana foodways. He is the author of numerous cookbooks as well as The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine and After the Hunt: Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Wild Game and Game Fish Cookery.

Additional 2023 Humanities Awards include:  

  • Chair’s Award for Institutional Support: Patrick F. Taylor Foundation 
  • Champion of Culture: Senator Gerald Boudreaux 
  • Documentary Photographer of the Year:  Jenny Ellerbe 
  • Humanities Book of the Year: Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom by Kathryn Olivarius 
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Roots of Fire, directed and produced by Abby Berendt Lavoi and Jeremey Lavoi 
  • Lifetime Contributions to the Humanities: Marianne Fisher-Giorlando 
  • Best in Digital Humanities: Freedom on the Move 
  • Light Up for Literacy: Megan Holt, executive director of One Book, One New Orleans 

The 2023 Bright Lights Awards Dinner will be a one-of-a-kind event packed with visionary Louisianans as we acknowledge the last three years of Humanities Awards winners. Join us for an unforgettable evening, long delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when we finally get the chance to celebrate these incredible individuals, projects, and organizations. The event will take place in and around LEH’s historic Turners’ Hall at 938 Lafayette St. in New Orleans, which is now home to The Helis Foundation John Scott Center. The dinner begins at 7 p.m., with an indoor patron party beginning at 6 p.m.  

Tickets to the Bright Lights Awards Dinner are $150 per person with tables available $2500 per table of ten. Patron party tickets are $250 per person. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call (504) 356-0517.  

The 2023 Bright Lights Awards Dinner is presented by Entergy, with additional support from The Helis Foundation, Jones Walker, Gulf Coast Bank, and Urban South Brewery.