Our Work

Past Initiatives

Through nearly 50 years of sustained partnerships across the state and nation, LEH-funded projects and events have reached an audience of more than 74 million people and residents of each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.

Below we highlight some of the major investments the LEH has made into public programming throughout its history.



Generations of Struggle

Generations of Struggle: Perspectives on Race and Justice from Reconstruction to the Present was a four-week program centered on the experiences of African Americans since the Civil War. The discussion program aimed to sustain conversations that began with the public programs funded through the LEH’s support of the traveling exhibition Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865. Continuing this engagement is crucial in deepening humanities-based conversations around race in Louisiana and the nation.

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The LEH developed the syllabus for Generations of Struggle in partnership with Cheylon Woods, Assistant Professor and Archivist/Head of the Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Dr. Kara Tucina Olidge, Executive Director of the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University.

The program was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Purchased Lives

Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865 was a traveling panel exhibition examining the period between America’s 1808 abolishment of the international slave trade and the end of the Civil War, during which time an estimated two million people were forcibly moved among the nation’s states and territories. The domestic slave trade wreaked new havoc on enslaved families, as owners and traders in the Upper South sold and shipped men, women, and children to the developing Lower South. Many of those individuals passed through New Orleans, which was the largest slave market in antebellum America.

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The program was made possible with support from the Entergy Corporation with additional support from the National Park Service and the Kabakoff Family Foundation. The exhibit was curated in partnership with The Historic New Orleans Collection by historian Erin M. Greenwald who now serves as the LEH Vice President of Content.


RELIC: Readings in Literature and Culture

In 1983, the LEH developed the Readings in Literature and Culture (RELIC) program to address a shortage of grants for libraries and a dearth of adult reading and discussion programs across Louisiana. For more than 20 years, RELIC served as a valued program for rural libraries, providing a gateway for individuals to engage in group discussion about the human experience.


  • More than 100,000 Louisianians attended RELIC programs.
  • The program was held in 63 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.
  • 116 libraries conducted over 800 programs on 29 different program subjects. 

Teaching American History

This decade-long partnership with the US Department of Education aimed to help school districts increase teachers’ knowledge of American history. In each program, the LEH partnered with area universities and other humanities organizations to provide tuition-free graduate credit-awarding summer institutes and in-service teacher professional development programs for elementary, middle, and high school teachers of American history, Louisiana history, and social studies. 


  • Over 50 programs were delivered in 14 parishes.
  • Over 1,000 Louisiana teachers were trained in improving the quality of American history and social studies courses for more than 107,000 students annually.
  • Total investment exceeded $7.5 million.

Teacher Institutes for Advanced Study

For 15 years, the LEH sponsored intensive summer seminars for professional development for Louisiana’s elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Led by university professors, the institutes provided tuition-free graduate credit, improving teaching methods and the use of technology in classrooms and building core content knowledge.


  • 219 graduate-level institutes were held.
  • More than 5,200 teachers attended these seminars from 61 parishes across Louisiana.
  • These educators taught an estimated 505,000 students annually.