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Louisiana Gumbo

Louisiana Gumbo is a digital collection of historic Louisiana photographs & lesson plans.

The State Library has an extensive collection of Louisiana-related photographs, predominantly black and white image from the 1920’s to the 1970’s. There is a strong emphasis on photographs of notable Louisiana personalities: governors, artists, authors and musicians. Historic buildings and other architectural gems, such as plantations, schools and churches are included. The recreational aspects of The Sportsman’s Paradise are emphasized with images of hunting, fishing and camping. This digital collection provides a unique look into the history and culture of Louisiana and is available to students, researchers and the general public.

An important aspect of the collection is the inclusion of images taken by photographers during the Works Progress Administration (WPA). From 1935-1943, the WPA built many public buildings and roads. Almost every American community has a park, bridge or facility constructed by the WPA. The program promoted literacy, training, health and education improvement projects as well as programs for art and music. The collection provides more than 5,000 photographs documenting these activities in Louisiana.

In addition, the Louisiana Writers Project compiled collections of folklore, legends, recipes, local history and interviews of local citizens and former slaves. Transcriptions of newspaper articles dating to 1815 provide insights into the culture and history of Louisiana. This digitized text material is available for the first time to a broad audience and enhances research into the state’s history.

This digital collection is a part of a larger project entitled Louisiana Gumbo: A Recipe for Empowerment, which was funded through an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant (IMLS). The project is part of an ongoing effort to provide digital resources for K-12 students and teachers, as well as researchers and the general public.