John J. Laudun

Associate Director, Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism
Folklorist, Department of English
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
(337) 482-5493

John Laudun, a native of south Louisiana, recently returned to take a position with the Department of English as an assistant professor of folklore and literature. For John, and for us, this has meant something of a circle coming all the way around, since Lafayette is his birthplace and St. Mary parish was where he spent his childhood. Growing up along one of south Louisiana's major bayous means John has an appreciation and understanding of the south Louisiana landscape and the people who inhabit it.

He left St. Mary and was schooled mostly in Baton Rouge, where he got his B.A. from Louisiana State University in 1986. From there, he moved on to receive his M.A. from Syracuse University, and his Ph.D. from the Folklore Institute at Indiana University. For the first four years of his graduate studies at Syracuse and Indiana, John was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow, one of only one hundred Fellows to be chosen from around the nation that year. Later, he was awarded a MacArthur Scholarship to spend a year working with colleagues from various disciplines at the Indiana Center for Global Change and World Peace.

In addition to his work as a scholar and teacher, John has also worked as a management consultant with Kelley Executive Partners, where he helped to design, develop, and execute management and executive development programs that were aimed at responding to the strategic needs of organizations like AT&T, GM, Rolls Royce, and Monsanto, among others, in a complex and dynamic global marketplace. His principle task was to revise a program now known as the Global Executive Partnership which brought together executives from around the world for three and a half weeks of intensive seminars located in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Fortunately for us, John decided that there were matters closer to home that mattered more to him, and, having completed his dissertation which was an oral history of a locally-renown murder in southern Indiana, he accepted his current position here at the University of Louisiana. As a member of the English Department, he teaches a range of folklore, literature, and humanities courses, while also pursuing a variety of research projects:

Folklife and folkways. As a student of the leading scholar on material folk culture, John found a natural home for his interest in the creativity and ingenuity that takes place in metal shops and barns throughout south Louisiana. His current long-term project is to capture the multiple dimensions of the genius found in daily acts of creativity among Cajuns and Creoles. The tentative title for the project is "Louisiana Folk Masters."

Foodways. Another project taking more immediate shape is the book he is currently working on, Gumbo Yeah! Yeah!, in which he explores the histories and geographies of arguably Louisiana's most famous dish.

Folk architecture.

Folk speech.

In addition to the research interests above, John has also embraced opportunities to become involved in the life of the community of Lafayette as well as the greater community of south Louisiana. This past fall he worked with the Lafayette Jaycees to revamp folklife component of Festivals Acadiens, a celebration of life in south Louisiana that annually attracts over an hundred thousand visitors. He is currently involved in efforts to establish a multi-disciplinary facility in St. Landry Parish, to serve as both a tourist information center as well as community center, as part of that area's commitment to sustainable economic development.

If you would like to reach Dr. Laudun, you may do so through the Department of English, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA 70504-4691. His telephone there is (337) 482-5493. He may also be reached by e-mail at

Document last modified Wednesday, April 14, 2004 7:57 AM CST.
Copyright © 2001 by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism, P.O. Box 40831, Lafayette, LA 70504
Telephone: (337) 482-6027 Fax: (337) 482-6028