Each year, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities honors Louisianians who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. Individuals, institutions or organizations may submit nominations. Individuals, however, may not nominate themselves. Letters of nomination should not exceed two pages and should detail specific accomplishments that qualify the nominee for the award. A vita and other letters of support should accompany the letter of nomination.
The 2018 LEH Bright Lights Awards Dinnertakes place Thursday, May 10, at the Arbor Room at Popp Fountain in New Orleans’ City Park. The event honors 2018 Humanist of the Year Leah Chase and her fellow LEH awardees.
Known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Leah Chase is a culinary giant and a civil rights icon. As Executive Chef of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans, she has fed presidents and young activists, world leaders and famous musicians. The restaurant served as a hive of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and remains a landmark for visiting dignitaries. She has testified before Congress to lobby for greater funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, and authored several popular cookbooks, including The Dooky Chase Cookbook, And Still I Cook, and Leah Chase: Listen, I Say Like This. Chase has received many awards, including multiple awards from the NAACP, the New Orleans Times‐Picayune 1997 Loving Cup Award, the Weiss Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Outstanding Woman Award from the National Council of Negro Women. She also serves on many boards, including the Arts Council of New Orleans, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Urban League.
In addition to Leah, the LEH named these individuals and organizations as 2018 awardees:
Chair’s Award for Institutional Support went to Rosemary and Randy Ewing, pillars of long‐term support for the humanities in Louisiana, in particular for the role the humanities can play in the education and health of children.
Champion of Culture Award went to Roger Ogden, New Orleans developer and philanthropist.
Humanities Books Award went to Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in White and Black (Harper) by Michael Tisserand and The Thibodeaux Massacre: Racial Violence and the 1887 Sugar Cane Labor Strike (The History Press) by John DeSantis.
Humanities Documentary Film Award went to, Deeply Rooted: John Coykendall’s Journey to Save our Seeds and Stories produced by Christina Melton.
Michael P. Smith Memorial Award for Documentary Photography went to LSU Professor Jeremiah Ariaz.
Inaugural Museum of the Year Award went to Storyville: Madams and Music, an exhibition of The Historic New Orleans Collection.
Light Up for Literacy Award went to Sisters of the Holy Family (Mother House on Chef Menteur Ave. in New Orleans).
Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities went to Mary Lou Christovich (posthumous) a tireless preservationist, author, historian and philanthropist who played a leading role in founding and nurturing many local preservation groups, and Ben Sandmel who has devoted his career to championing Louisiana’s traditional music and culture.