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Statewide Awards for Humanities Work

March 09, 2010 12:15 PM
New Wave staff newwave@tulane.edu

Two members of the Tulane community — jazz musician and alumnus Michael White and faculty member Rich Campanella — received statewide awards on Saturday (March 6) from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.


A renowned recording artist who has entertained Tulane graduates and their families at commencement ceremonies, alumnus Michael White is the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities' 2010 Humanist of the Year. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

White, who has been the featured performer at Tulane commencement ceremonies for more than a decade along with his Original Liberty Jazz Band, received the LEH 2010 Humanist of the Year award, while a book written by Campanella was named the Humanities Book of the Year. The annual awards go to Louisianans who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities.

Calling the award "a great honor," White said that it "tells me that I'm on the right path." An acclaimed clarinet player, composer and jazz historian, White holds the Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Xavier University in New Orleans.

"I think that all of the things I do are related under the umbrella of New Orleans jazz," White said. "They are all about recognizing, understanding, discussing, performing and listening to New Orleans' great musical tradition, its possibilities and its contribution to the world."

Campanella is the LEH's first two-time winner of the book award. At Saturday's ceremony he received accolades for Bienville's Dilemma: A Historic Geography of New Orleans. In 2007, his book Geographies of New Orleans: Urban Fabrics Before the Storm shared the statewide honor.

He is associate director of the Tulane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research and a research assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

An affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the LEH since 1971 has invested more than $43.5 million in cultural programming throughout Louisiana through grants for literacy initiatives, museum exhibitions, lectures, film and radio documentaries and other projects.