The West Baton Rouge Museum presents a new exhibition entitled Mardi Gras Indians: By J. Nash Porter. The exhibit, which runs from January 6, 2018 through February 25, 2018, features a selection of full color photographs documenting the rich tradition of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indians and second line groups.
J. Nash Porter was born in New Orleans and raised in an Uptown neighborhood surrounded by the sights and sounds of the urban streets. His career combines documentary and commercial photography, and photo-journalism. “Through the lens of my camera, I share with others the exciting tradition that I grew up with. Hopefully, I can ignite a spark of enthusiasm and bring about an awareness in other communities for the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians,” said Porter in a past interview. Formally trained at San Francisco State University and the University of California at Berkeley, Porter owned and operated a photography studio since 1972. Although his most prolific work was with the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, his photographic exhibits encompass an amalgam of African American blues and jazz musicians, and traditional cultures of the American South, West Africa, and the Caribbean. Porter passed away in 2007 but his images continue to captivate audiences across the globe.
On February 1, 2018, the West Baton Rouge Museum will open a new exhibition Créoles du Monde which explores the Créole world and culture from Africa and Europe to the Americas. Créoles du Monde celebrates the vibrant culture of Créole people through the eyes of the historians, collectors, artists, and photographers who have captured a rich history in textiles, rare paintings and photographs. This exhibit, which includes works from the collections of Jeremy Simien, Derrick Beard, Ulrick Jean-Pierre, Jeremiah Ariaz and Mary Gehman, will run through May 6th.
Scholars have debated the definition of Créole for over a hundred years. Depending on where you are and who you ask different answers are presented. In the United States, it refers exclusively to the people and culture of South Louisiana. But the word has a broader meaning throughout the Americas. Créole derives from the 17th century Portuguese word crioulo, used to refer to enslaved Africans born in the New World. In Louisiana, the meaning was later broadened to distinguish upper class families of European descent from the English-speaking Americans moving south after the Louisiana Purchase. World-wide, Créole has come to mean the cultures found in regions shaped by African, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Indigenous influences. A common thread that ties all Créole cultures together is the production of sugar.
This presentation by Brian Costello is a wrenching account of the abduction and sale into enslavement of the Olivo family, a free Creole family of the Island of False River in the 1850s. Participants are welcome to bring a bag lunch. FREE
The Acadian Handicraft Project existed from 1942 until 1962, growing out of an earlier effort by the General Education Board to support French language and culture in Louisiana. This exhibit will showcase the hand-made crafts that were purchased and marketed throughout the state as well as show how local artisans are keeping Acadian craft traditions alive today.
Student and judges’ registration is now open at www.louisianahistoryday.org for this competition that will be held at West Baton Rouge Museum. Finalists will move on to state at the National WWII Museum in April and potentially to Nationals in D.C. this summer!
The West Baton Rouge Museum is reclaiming its blues history with the grand opening of the WBRM Juke Joint. A Friday Night Fish Fry is planned for the grand opening with a special musical tribute to our very own blues legend, Slim Harpo who is from Mulatto Bend.