John J. Laudun
Associate Director, Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism
Folklorist, Department of English
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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