Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mayor's Arts Awards Winners Announced!

Chester Daigle, Artist of the Year,
with his wife, Pat, and Mayor Roach

On Friday, October 12th, in the Benjamin W. Mount Auditorium at Central School, the Arts & Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana and the City of Lake Charles honored area individuals, businesses, and organizations during the annual Mayor’s Arts Awards. Mayor Randy Roach presented awards to seven recipients in recognition of their work to promote, produce, and support the Lake Area’s arts and cultural endeavors and programs. Julie Dallas, Arts Educator of the Year 2010, created original vases as part of each recipient’s award.

Chester Daigle, a celebrated musician, was awarded Artist of the Year, and he accepted the award with his wife, Pat, at his side. Daigle has been performing and promoting jazz in the Lake Area for over 40 years, particularly through the family’s nonprofit organization Jazz in the Arts which provides community-based jazz concerts to foster jazz music education. “Chester continually proves to be a leader in our jazz community, and the deep musical culture of Lake Charles is safe in his ever-capable hands,” stated Mayor Roach during the ceremony.

Stellar Beans Coffee House was awarded Citizen of the Arts for its presence as a creative space for musicians, writers, and artists to exhibit and perform in. Since opening in 2010, Stellar Beans has hosted regular art events and fundraisers, including NikFest which donates musical instruments to the Bulber Youth Orchestra. Danita Noland and Matt Smith accepted the award on behalf of owner Valerie Smith.

Friends of Central School, Laura Leach,
Annette Ballard, Randy Lanza with
Mayor Roach
The Citizen of the Humanities Award was given to the nonprofit organization Friends of Central School, and Chairperson Laura Leach with committee members Annette Ballard and Randy Lanza accepted the award. Since 2007, Friends of Central School has been dedicated to the preservation of Central School as both a historic structure and an arts center. The group’s success can be seen in the addition of the Snead Fountain and events such as the annual Haunted House and the Centennial Celebration. Earlier this year Friends of Central School worked with the City of Lake Charles to dedicate the auditorium to the late Benjamin W. Mount who was integral, with his wife Willie Mount, in saving the historic building in the early 1990s.

Mayor Roach honored Tracy Beaugh of Sowela Technical Community College with Arts Educator of the Year for her work with graphic design students. A graduate of Sowela, Beaugh has been an award-winning educator since 2000 and many of her students have gone on to make great impacts in the graphic design field across the country. The Patron of the Year Award was given to L’Auberge Casino Resort and its parent company Pinnacle for their commitment to supporting arts organizations and programs in the Lake Area. L’Auberge and the Pinnacle Entertainment Foundation have dedicated sponsorships to many of the area’s most loved organizations such as the Lake Charles Civic Ballet, Black Heritage Festival, and the Arts Council, among others. “By lending an arts organization the resources needed for its success,” Mayor Roach said, “business are playing a direct role in the betterment and livability of our community.” Keith W. Henson, Senior Vice President & GM, and Harold Rowland, Vice President & AGM, accepted the award from Mayor Roach.

Nancy Vallee of the Whistle Stop accepted the Arts Organization of the Year Award for the Dancing Classrooms program which began in 1994 nationally by the American Ballroom Theatre Company. Dancing Classrooms teaches 5th grade students a variety of ballroom dances in order to encourage confidence, respect, and an improved academic performance. This year the Whistle Stop facilitates over 60 classes in 28 schools, and the program’s innovative premise has shown to have astounding positive effects in the lives of area students and teachers.

Keystone Award Recipient,
Pam Breaux, with Mayor Roach
The Keystone Award is traditionally awarded to an individual who works behind the scenes; similar to a keystone in architecture, the recipient is vital to an arts community’s success. Pam Breaux, Assistant Secretary to the Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism under Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, was recognized for supporting the arts for Lake Charles and for the state. Breaux served as executive director for the Arts Council for six years, during which she managed our region’s allocation of the Decentralized Arts Funding grant program which distributes funds to arts initiatives across Louisiana. Breaux serves as the Vice President of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and as a board member for Louisiana Partnership for the Arts and the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, and her years of experience have helped to make the area’s arts community what it is today. Mayor Roach stated, “It’s an understatement to say that Pam has been a big part of the arts…Pam has been a crusader, and her work has grown our own cultural economy by leaps and bounds.”

The Mayor’s Arts Awards was held in conjunction with Founder’s Day, an annual banquet hosted by Art Associates of Lake Charles. Mayor Roach presented a proclamation to Art Associates for its 55 year history as an avid promoter of area artists. After the recipients were honored, Breaux gave a presentation on trends in the arts nationally and statewide, and Mayor Roach awarded the winners of the Art Associates Gallery’s Lydia & Joe Cash Juried Exhibition. A reception for the exhibit and for Black Heritage Gallery’s View My Soles exhibit was held after the ceremony.

Nominations for the Mayor’s Arts Awards are accepted year-round and can be emailed to For more information on this event or the Arts Council, visit or call (337) 439-2787.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

LPB documentary of the Bicentennial of Louisiana

The Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library is pleased to host LPB's documentary of the Bicentennial of Louisiana narrated by New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. on Wednesday October 24.  The film will take us through the state's historical past to the present with wonderful points of interest.  There will be a panel from LPB for an informative question and answer to follow.  The showing will be from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm at the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library 411 Pujo Street, contact (337) 721-7110 for further details. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

the first annual Arts & Cultural Symposium: The Business of Art.

Mark your calendar for Thursday November 8th for the first annual Arts & Cultural Symposium: The Business of Art.  The SWLA Economic Development Alliance, Convention & Visitors Bureau, the City of Lake Charles, and the Arts & Humanities Council are joining forces to present an annual summit on the economic value of the arts for our area.  Admission is $10 with lunch included.  Contact the Alliance by November 1st at 337-433-3632

Friday, October 19, 2012

Calcasieu Cinema Presents - "The Middle of the World"

Celebrating the second CultureFest Louisiana, Calcasieu Cinema International kicks off festivities with a free screening of the Brazilian film “The Middle of the World.”  A generous donation by Dr. Carrie Chrisco makes possible this event, to be held Tuesday 23 October, 7 p.m.,  in Room 101, Frasch Auditorium, on the MSU campus and across from the McNeese Library.  Signs will help direct patrons. 

This 2002 film has gained international attention for its exploration of the individual’s basic survival,   of family dynamics, and of the individual as part of a larger culture.  Referred to by one reviewer as “a road movie on bicycles,” “The Middle of the World” is based on the real experiences of an unemployed man and his family, who travel over 2,000 miles on bikes to find a good job and the good life.  TV Guide says “it both opens a window onto another culture and …speaks the universal language of teen angst.” 

Dr. Steven Rainey, Professor of Geography at McNeese, will lead discussion for this film.  Dr. Rainey is engaged in research regarding land management and the impact of hydroelectric dams in Brazil’s western Amazon.  Calcasieu Cinema International, a branch of the Council for International Concerns, will present the award-winning film in partnership with McNeese State University’s Office of Diversity, Banners Cultural Series, Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana, Lake Area Psychiatry, The Hearing Center, Common Ground/CultureFestLouisiana, and Lake Charles Coca-Cola.  Snacks and drinks will be provided!  For more information, email or

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Festival of Words celebrates written, spoken word

            The Fifth Annual Festival of Words — featuring author readings, public readings, community and school creative writing workshops, drive-by poetry in the streets and more — will take place Nov. 8-10, 2012, in Grand Coteau, Sunset, Arnaudville and surrounding communities. The event celebrates the written and spoken word and includes well-known authors such as Jarvis DeBerry, Kelly Harris, Randall Kenan, Patrice Melnick, Bonny McDonald, Chancellier “Xero” Skidmore and Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane.

WORKSHOPS: Authors will lead community poetry and fiction writing workshops during the week of the festival and its final day, Nov. 10. 
LITERARY READINGS: Readings by featured authors and spoken word artists will take place in the community centers of Grand Coteau and Sunset. Readings are free, but donations welcome.
AUTHORS IN THE SCHOOLS: The Festival of Words brings authors to the local schools to conduct creative writing workshops in October and November. 
COMMUNITY EVENTS: On the Festival’s final day, Saturday, Nov. 10, there will be Drive-by Poetry, live poetry performances from both youth and adults, in area cafes and gift shops of Grand Coteau. There will also be original performances on the outdoor Community Stage, tours of the old St. Peter Claver High School and Christ the King Church in Grand Coteau, oral history sessions and booksignings by local authors at the Book Fair, sponsored by the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana, among other events.

For a complete schedule, visit For more information, contact Patrice Melnick at (337) 662-1032 or email  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Call for artists - The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

CALL FOR ENTRIES!  The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell will begin accepting crafts applications for its 2013 event on Friday, October 12 at 12:00AM (midnight).  

The Festival will once again showcase three unique craft areas: Congo Square African Marketplace:  features unique, handcrafted artwork that reflects cultural influences seen throughout the African Diaspora.  Presentations by artists and vendors resonate with the rich African-Caribbean cultural legacy in Congo Square.  Contemporary Crafts:  presents work by both Louisiana and the nation’s most talented contemporary artists.  It features original, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind designs and limited-edition works, accepting applicants from all crafts media and disciplines.  Louisiana Marketplace:  introduces Festival-goers to a variety of handcrafted works by only Louisiana artisans and craftspeople.  The Marketplace showcases works that express various aspects of the state’s unique cultural heritage.  

Apply at click on the “Apply to Crafts” link or go directly to  The application fee is $30.00, the deadline is Wednesday, November 28, 2012.  For more information contact: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Crafts Department 336 Camp Street,  Suite 250, New Orleans, LA 70130.  Phone (504) 410-4100, fax (504) 558-6121 .  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wheels of Hope Charity Bike Ride benefits local children with autism

Wheels of Hope Charity Bike Ride is “letting the good times roll” on Saturday, October 27, 7:30 a.m., at St. Theodore Holy Family Catholic School in Moss Bluff.  

This fully supported bike ride is a fundraising event for St. Nicholas Center for Children, a local non-profit dedicated to providing services to children with autism and developmental delays.  The ride features the beauty of Sam Houston Jones State Park and 5 of SWLA’s most beautiful bike routes, ranging from a 10 mile family route to a 75 miler.  Each rider will receive a rider bag, t-shirt, and enjoy fully stocked break points and the support of SAG vehicles during the ride.  After the ride, there will be a “Taste of Louisiana Rider Celebration” with gumbo, boudin, and jambalaya. The top ten fundraisers choose from prizes that include an iPad, bicycle, and 50” TV.  

Advanced registration is $35/adult and $15/child at Capitol Cyclery on Friday, October 26, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., or online right now at  Race Day registration is 6:00-7:15 a.m.  

Registration forms, fundraising updates, prizes, and routes are at  Questions? Call Lee at 337.540.2446.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Call for Artists - The George Rodrigue Foundation

The George Rodrigue Foundation is pleased to announce its Call for Entries to their 4th Annual Art Contest!  The 2013 art contest theme is "Louisiana's Culinary Heritage" and they have teamed up with the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF).  

All winning entries of the 2013 Scholarship Art Contest will be used in a new Louisiana Culinary Heritage Cookbook to be published by GRFA and LRAEF!  The annual art contest offers one-time college scholarships and awards totaling over $45,000 to the top ten (10) senior and top five (5) junior winners. In three years The George Rodrigue foundation have awarded $130,000 in awards!  All Louisiana juniors and seniors attending public and private high schools, home schooled students and GED students may enter the contest.  Deadline is February 20, 2013!  For more information visit

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Rendez-Vous des Cajuns" Live Old Time Radio Show

Every Saturday Night from 6 pm to 7:30 pm, in the Liberty Center, the City of Eunice and the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve present a live radio show, featuring both Cajun and Zydeco music in the Grand Old Opry/Louisiana Hayride/Prairie Home Companion format.  Cajun French is the language of the show with enough English spoken so that everyone can enjoy this unique and one-of-a-kind experience.  Tickets are sold beginning at 4:00 pm on Saturday, the day of the show, and seating is general admission. For more information call the Eunice Mayor's Office at (337) 457-7389. 

 The home of the "Rendez-Vous des Cajuns" Radio Show, the Liberty Center for the Performing Arts, located at the corner of South 2nd Street and Park Avenue, is a 1924 vaudeville/movie house which was purchased by the City of Eunice and renovated through a community project.  The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been included in the Great American Movie Theaters Preservation Press Guide published by the Smithsonian.  During its "hey-days" of the 1920's and 30's, personal appearances were made at the Liberty by Fattie Arbuckle, Tex Ritter, Jimmy Clanton, the Bowery Boys, and Roy Rogers.  

The Liberty Theater is open Saturdays 4:00 pm - 7:30 pm.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Louisiana Crossroads Presents BeauSoleil Avec Michael Doucet

October 24th at 7pm in the Central School Theater, Louisiana Crossroads presents BeauSoleil Avec Michael Doucet.  This Grammy Award winning super-group blends Zydeco, Tex Mex, Western Swing, Blues, New Orleans Traditional Jazz, and Caribbean Calypso.  You do not want to miss this evening of incredible music!  Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, and can be purchased at the Arts and Humanities Council office on the second floor of Central School, or online at 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Arts Council to Host Seminar on Artistic Branding

On Tuesday, October 9th at 11:30 a.m., the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana will host a free seminar in Room 108 of Central School Arts & Humanities Center as part of the quarterly Regional Arts Network luncheon series. The seminar will focus on the importance and process of branding for artistic success and recognition.  The collective efforts of creating a brand with a cohesive and communicative logo, the ability to hone in on one’s target market, and the increase in brand equity over time are essential to the success of and individual artist in his or her market.       

Marketing experts Peter O'Carroll representing the O’Carroll Group, Kristy Armand representing Healthy Image Marketing, and Oran Parker representing Parker Brand Creative will sit on the panel and offer strategies and methods for building a brand specifically for individual artists representing all artistic disciplines from visual art to music. Area artists with first-hand experience in the success of increased visibility through branding and marketing will also sit on the panel, including Sue Zimmermann, a local artist who has been exhibiting professionally for over 13 years and was former president of Associated Louisiana Artists, and Justin Robinson, founder of The Chuck Live and member of the local band Go, Granny, Go! which has successfully created a recognizable brand for their own band’s style.

An RSVP is required, and lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. for $5 per person with the seminar to follow at noon. Regional Arts Network luncheons are design to bring together those working or interested in the arts for networking opportunities and round-table discussions of regional arts initiatives. The Regional Arts Network series is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, and Recreation & Tourism.

For more information or to RSVP, call the Arts Council office at (337) 439-2787.