Below is the prospectus I originally wrote for Louisiana Folk Masters in 2003. It’s an interesting historical document, and I am surprised that in a few short years I had actually done two out of the three things listed here:
Housed in the Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, the **Louisiana Folk Masters** series spotlights individuals from around the state who represent the very best of what Louisiana’s diverse folk cultures have to offer. While initially focused on the CD series, the project’s larger goal is a portfolio of offerings that will give a wide-range of audiences access to quality, humanities content through the rubric of getting to know particular practitioners of various traditions.
* The *Louisiana Folk Masters CD Series* draws from the extensive collections of the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore, which houses thousands of recordings, representing the collecting and preservation activities of several generations of folklorists, ethnomusicologists, linguists and other cultural resource management professionals. The oldest recordings contained in the collection are on wax cylinders and the newest were collected with the latest in high-quality digital recording techniques. Recordings are as intimate as a living room in Mamou to the stage of the American Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.
* The *Louisiana Folk Masters in Profile Series* is a planned cooperative effort with the local press, the Daily Advertiser being the first, to feature individuals drawn from the community who are practitioners of folkways of either already established interest or deserving interest. Reporters will work with Research Associates from the Center who will act not only as field guides but appear as experts within the piece. (We would eventually like to extend this model to other media, such as television.)
* The *Louisiana Folk Masters Publication Series* encourages writers to extend the treatment individuals receive in the profile series. The medium for doing so are a series of books, each of which will be a compilation of individuals based either on region, tradition, or group. Such a publication series can, on a smaller level, be produced through the Center itself; larger projects will be handled by a press.
The Louisiana Folk Masters project reflects the Center’s vision that all of us necessarily create the future out of the past here in the present and that our best resource in guiding us to our creation of the future is each other. We encourage all inquiries.