New Orleans Welcomes Les Blank

Prize-winning independent documentary filmmaker Les Blank is in the spotlight in New Orleans, where he will be honored with a retrospective of his career on Saturday (March 20) at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, followed by an appearance at Tulane on Monday (March 22).

Best known for his film portraits of American traditional musicians including zydeco and Cajun music artists, Blank is a double alumnus of Tulane, with a bachelor's degree in English literature and an MFA in theater.

The filmmaker will be on the uptown campus to speak to Tulane students and faculty on Monday at 4 p.m. in Stone Auditorium in the Woldenberg Art Center. The talk is sponsored by the communication department.

Filmmaker Gina Leibrecht, who is working on a feature documentary about Blank's life and work, will be recording his return to Tulane as part of her project.

On Saturday, he will be honored at the Ogden Museum with "A Well-Spent Life: An Evening with Les Blank." The event will be held from 7–10 p.m. in the fifth floor gallery of the museum at 925 Camp St.

At the museum program, there will be a screening of four rare works by Blank that tell stories about various people and places in Texas, Louisiana, Appalachia and Alabama — Del Mero Corazon, a look at Chicano culture and the Tex-Mex Norteña music tradition; Dry Wood, on black Creole life in French Louisiana with music of Bois-Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot; Sprout Wings and Fly, a tribute to Appalachian culture profiling fiddler Tommy Jarrell; and A Well-Spent Life with Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb.

Blank received the prestigious Edward MacDowell Medal in the Arts in 2007.

The Saturday event is free for Ogden Museum members and $10 for others. For information or to reserve a seat, call Stephanie Spicer at 504-539-9616.