neworleans: June 2009 Archives

paulin.4.07.jpgIn my recent Village Voice piece on New Orleans, I made reference to a battle in the Louisiana State Legislature over arts funding, and the deep and cynical cuts proposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. My friend Ned Sublette, as erudite a political commentator as he is a historian, suspects a national effort to "zero-out" arts budgets in states with Republicans in power -- to "shock-doctrine" it away, Ned put it -- under the guise of economic prudence. In Louisiana at least, the attempt is on the table in the legislature as we speak: The effects would be deep, far-reaching, and perhaps irreversible. 

Michael Sartisky, the executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities offers clarity and passion on the subject in "Dirge for Culture," his latest editor's note for the LEH's Cultural Vistas magazine:

A Dirge for Culture 
Editor's Column from LCV Summer 2009

Mosquitoes and high water. It does not take a capacious intellectual leap to imagine what Louisiana amounts to without culture. It's the equivalent of boiling crawfish in plain water, eating rice without red beans, burying the dead without music. Imagine shelves without books, houses without porches, porches without gingerbread, balconies without wrought iron. We may as well be New Jersey or North Dakota. We may as well be dead.

Yet, as I write these words, our state government has placed the knife at our collective throats, setting the state appropriation for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities not at a cut proportionate to the budget crisis, but at absolute zero, threatening to accomplish what the savage forces of nature could not.

June 6, 2009 1:59 PM | | Comments (1)



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