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Maida Owens Awarded 2017 James W. Rivers Prize

Wednesday, February 14, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rosalind V. Rini Larson
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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Center for Louisiana Studies has awarded the 2017 James William Rivers Prize to cultural anthropologist Maida Owens.

The prize committee lauded Owens’ “longstanding commitment to and leadership in preserving and expanding our understanding of Louisiana's cultures through folkloric survey work and the dissemination of research through innovative and diverse channels and media.”

She has served as folklife program director for the Louisiana Division of the Arts for nearly three decades, and through her work has identified traditional folk artists, musicians, storytellers and craftsmen within the state. In 2015, she received the Benjamin A. Botkin Prize for lifetime achievement in public folklore from the American Folklore Society.

Owens was project director for the Baton Rouge Folklife Survey and the New Populations Initiative; and was co-editor of “Delta Pieces: Northeast Louisiana Folklife” and the “Louisiana Voice’s Educator Guide.” She was assistant producer and researcher for the documentary “Dance for a Chicken: The Cajun Mardi Gras,” which received the 1993 American Anthropological Award of Excellence and the 1993 American Association for the State and Local History Award of Merit.

The James William Rivers Prize in Louisiana Studies was established with private donations to honor outstanding scholarly study or teaching about the state and its people. Rivers was a New Orleans architect and graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He died in 1991.

Previous honorees included architect A. Hays Town; folklorist Dr. Barry Ancelet; author Dr. Ernest Gaines; musician Ellis Marsalis; author James Lee Burke; historian Dr. Carl Brasseaux; artist George Rodrigue; and restaurateur Leah Chase.

For more information, visit the prize announcement on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s website.

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