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Louisiana: A History

Louisiana: A History

Louisiana: A History - Episode 1: This Affair of Louisiana - Intro

An introduction to Episode 1: This Affair of Louisiana.

Louisiana: A History - Episode 2: The New Americans - Intro

An introduction to Episode 2: The New Americans.

Louisiana: A History - Episode 3: War on the Home Front - Intro

An introduction to Episode 3: War on the Home Front.

Louisiana: A History - Episode 4: The Search for Order - Intro

An introduction to Episode 4: The Search for Order.

Louisiana: A History - Episode 5: The Currents of Change - Intro

An introduction to Episode 5: The Currents of Change.

Louisiana: A History - Episode 6: No Story Is Ever Over - Intro

An introduction to Episode 6: No Story Is Ever Over.


Louisiana Public Broadcasting is pleased to offer a companion Teacher Resource Guide to the Louisiana: A History series. The Teacher Resource Guide is available here in portable document format (pdf). You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view and print the guide. You may print the entire guide or pages as needed.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting is pleased to offer a companion Teacher Resource Guide to the Louisiana: A History series. pdf


It is impossible to thank all of the people who helped with this book and the television series. But we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the consultants and advisors who guided us throughout this project:

Glenn R. Conrad, Light Townsend Cummins, Gaines Foster, Edward F. Haas, Michael L. Kurtz, Judith Kelleher Schafer and Charles Vincent. We received additional assistance from: Stephen E. Ambrose, Barry Jean Ancelet, William Arceneaux, H. Parrot Bacot, John Barry, Patricia Brady, Arthur Bergeron, Carl Brasseaux, Joseph Caldwell, Anne Campbell, Raphael Cassimere Jr. , Guy Coates, Bob Courtney, Jay Edwards, Mark Fernandez, Patricia Galloway, Judith Gentry, Virginia Gould, Hiram F. “Pete” Gregory, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, Kimberly Hanger, Paul Hoffman, James G. Hollandsworth, Samuel C. Hyde, Jr., Glen Jeansonne, Gary Joiner, Terry Jones, Sybil Kein, Jon Kukla, Michael Ledet, Edwin A. Lyon, Patricia Lemee Smith, David Madden, Sybil Morial, Charles Nolan, Stephen Perry, Jessie Poesch, Larry Powell, Anne Price, Morris Raphael, Henry O. Robertson, John Rodrigue, S. Frederick Starr, Ted Tunnell, Dan Usner, Christina Vella, Jack Wardlaw, and C. P. Weaver.

We also wish to express our gratitude to the numerous institutions and their staff that provided research assistance: Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and Phillip J. Jones and Mary Perrault; Louisiana State Museum and Jim Sefcik, Shannon Glasheen, Nathanael Heller, Carolyn Bercier and Pauline Robertson; Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections and Faye Phillips, Elaine Smyth, Judy Bolton, Germain Bienvenu, Mary Hebert Price, Mark E. Martin and Joseph Scott; The Historic New Orleans Collection and Priscilla Lawrence, John Magill, Mary Lou Eichhorn, Mark Cave, Sally Stassi, Jude Solomon, Jason Wiese and Jan White Brantley; The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans and Roger H. Ogden, Kenneth W. Barnes and Kate Stewart; State Library of Louisiana and Thomas F. Jaques, Judith Smith, Charlene Bonnette and Marc Wellman; Louisiana Office of Tourism and Bruce Morgan, and Douglas Donne Bryant; Secretary of State Fox McKeithen, Louisiana State Archives and Florent Hardy, Jr., Sailor Jackson, Lewis Morris, Troy C. Hayes, Roger Tilley and Ellen Brown; Louisiana State University Rural Life Museum and David Floyd, Catherine White, Elizabeth Bennett and David M. Nicolosi; Southeastern Louisiana University, Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies and Archives and Samuel C. Hyde Jr., Charles N. Elliott and Victoria Mocsary; Special Collections Tulane University Library and Wilbur E. Meneray and Courtney Page Wright; Capitol City Press and Linda Lightfoot, Jill Arnold, Laura Christensen and Chris Miller; Amistad Research Center at Tulane University and Brenda Square and Heidi Dodson; Louisiana State University, Cartographic Information Center and John M. Anderson; Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University and Bruce Boyd Raeburn and Alma Williams Freeman; Louisiana State University Museum of Art and Steven W. Rosen, Diana Wells and Fran Huber; Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and John Wosinak; Louisiana Division of Archaeology and Nancy Hawkins; Southeast Archeological Center, National Park Service and John Jameson; Ursuline Convent Archives and Museum and Sr. Joan Marie Aycock; New Orleans Museum of Art and Gail Feigenbaum and Jennifer Ickes; Louisiana State University in Shreveport Noel Memorial Library Archives and Special Collections and Laura Conerly, Glenda Sharbono and Domenica Carriere; Prison Museum, Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and Jenny Borders; Beauregard Community Action and Beauregard Tourist Commission and Velmer Smith and Susan Fahr; The National D-Day Museum and Marth Morgan and Jeremy Collins; Iberia Parish Library and Susan Hester Edmonds; Office of Public Information Southeastern Louisiana University and Claude Levet; Louisiana Division New Orleans Public Library and Irene Wainwright and Wayne Everard; Xavier University Archives, New Orleans and Lester Sullivan; Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Watson Library and Mary Linn Wernet; Law Library of Louisiana and Carole Billings and Janice Shull; RiverRoad Historical Society, Destrehan Plantation and Nancy J. Robert; Louisiana State University Geological Survey and Byron Miller and Reed Bourgeois; Jennings Carnegie Public Library and Emma Goodreau; The Shreveport Times and Mike Silva, Jessica Leigh and Robert Ruiz; McNeese State University and Kathie Bordelon; Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Sandra Boyd; Grand Village of the Natchez and Jim Barnett; Library of Congress and Erica Kelly; North Wind Picture Archives and Nancy Carter, Susan Dean and Monique Downs; Associated Press Wide World Photos and Camille Ruggiero; Art Resources, NY and Tim McCarthy, Isabelle Silva and Daisy Hu; Army Art Collection, U.S. Army Center of Military History and Renee Klish; National Audubon Society and Kara Grobert and John Bianchi; The Louisiana State Policeand Karen Kleinpeter; The Consulate of The Republic of France in New Orleans and Bernard Maizeret and Adam Steg; and a very special thank you to Alice Dale Cohan, Robert Dafford, Glenn R. Ducote, Charles East, The Griffith Family, Joey Kent, Elemore Morgan, Jr., Adrienne Mouledoux Rasmus, Ernest Ritchie, C. P. Weaver and Bob Winans for loans from their personal collections.

Additional Film and Video Collections Include: Brooks Read Film Collection, WBRZ-TV, Baton Rouge Collection, WWL-New Orleans Film Collection, Louisiana Old State Capital Center for Political and Governmental History, a division of Louisiana’s Secretary of State’s office; Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board; Historic Films; The National Archives; Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library; Zachary Richard; Tulane University Special Collections; Orleans Parish School Board Collection; Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans; UCLA Film and Television Archive; WAFB-TV, Baton Rouge; WDSU-TV New Orleans; WPA Film Library; WVUE-TV, New Orleans Collection, New Orleans Public Library; WWL-TV, New Orleans; WYES-TV, New Orleans.

We received generous support and assistance from our own staff at LPB: Research Assistants Teresa Bergen, David Clausen, Barry Erwin, Melissa Hardy, Bryant Langlois, Danielle Louviere, Benjamin Price, Rex Rose, Debbie Strange and Allegra Yancey; Proof Readers Sally Budd, Patricia Moore and Abigail M. Richard; Development Director Lisa Stansbury and Assistant Lexin Fontenot; Graphics Artists Tammy Crawford and Jeanne Lamy; Director of Business Services John Tarver with Leigh Davis, Joanne Gaudet, Kimberly Dinecola and Robyn Zalfen; Promotions Manager Bob Neese; Production Manager Ed Landry; Director of Educational Services Claudia Fowler; Executive Producer Clay Fourrier and Former Deputy Director Cindy Rougeou; LPB CEO and President Beth Courtney.

We would like to thank the members of the Louisiana Educational Television Authority Board for their continued support throughout this project: William Arceneaux, Jesse H. Bankston, Wayne O. Berry, Lucile Blum, Fr. James C. Carter , Carl K. Crowe, Bob Davidge, Barbara DeCuir, Clara Duhon, Mary Frey Eaton, Frank France, Felicia Harry, Betty Lauricella, Bill Miller, Jim Nickel, Sue Rainer, W. Clinton Rasberry Jr., Jennifer Eplett Reilly, Deano Thornton, Sissie Villaume, and James E. White, Jr.

Consultants & Advisors Institutions & Staff Film & Video Collections

Additional Advisors LPB Staff Assistance LETA Board Members


Louisiana: A History is the most ambitious and exciting project in the history of Louisiana Public Broadcasting. This six-part series tells the colorful story of Louisiana for the citizens and students of our state. More than just a review of historic events, this series explores the rich legacy of the many cultures that have left their imprint on Louisiana, and will help viewers understand why Louisiana is truly a state like no other.

The series begins with pre-history and explores the major eras, events and personalities that have shaped Louisiana through the modern era. It includes the contributions and history of every region of the state and reflects our cultural diversity, a critical factor in understanding why Louisiana is different from other southern states.

Louisiana: A History combines historical renderings, rarely seen photographs, and historical documents with powerful videography to create a unique view of our state. Using old journals, correspondence and family reminiscences, the story also reveals the voices of real people describing how they lived, worked, played and survived. In essence, this series explains "what we are" as a state by showing us "who we are as a people."

To ensure historical accuracy, an Advisory Council made up of the state’s top historians, teachers, museum directors, nationally recognized authorities, and authors has been involved in the project since its beginning to provide guidance for the LPB staff.

The 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana: A History included a companion teacher guide and book - Louisiana: An Illustrated History as well as the current website. There is a strong educational component to the series with each program edited to enhance its value for classroom use. The entire series has also been made available to schools, libraries and families. Please feel free to explore this website to learn more about Louisiana: A History.


EPISODE ONE This Affair of Louisiana

Highlights include a look at Louisiana's geography, especially the Mississippi River, as a defining element of our history. The program explores the cultures of Louisiana's first residents, the state's Native American tribes. Also featured are the personalities and events of Louisiana's Colonial Period, which left a lasting imprint on the state. Part one ends with Napoleon selling Louisiana to the United States for $15 million.

EPISODE TWO The New Americans

Louisiana becomes America's 18th state in 1812 and begins to become a part of the fledgling nation. There is also an examination of everyday life in Antebellum Louisiana and the economic and cultural forces that drive the state to secede from the Union.

EPISODE THREE War On The Home Front

This episode examines Louisiana's role in the Civil War and the impact of this pivotal event on the state and its people. The focus is on the war as it is fought on Louisiana’s soil.

EPISODE FOUR The Search for Order

Reconstruction and the rebuilding of our devastated state is viewed through the eyes of both whites and African-Americans. The political, economic, and cultural growing pains at the close of the 19th century are examined.

EPISODE FIVE The Currents of Change

Mississippi River flood ravages Louisiana and is the impetus for the creation of a unified levee system along the great river. The emergence of future governor and U. S. Senator Huey Long changes Louisiana politics forever and still affects the state six decades after his assassination. His colorful and erratic younger brother Earl also serves three terms as Governor, with some well-publicized visits to mental institutions during his second term.

EPISODE SIX No Story Is Ever Over

The transformation of Louisiana's economy from agriculture to industry, the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s and Louisiana's place in the 21st century are featured in the final episode of the series.


This series has been made possible by the generous contributions of Bank One, Community Coffee, the Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Louisiana Legislature. Construction of this Web site was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louisiana State Arts Council and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism.

  • Bank One
  • Louisiana State Legislture
  • Community Coffee
  • Louisiana Division of the Arts


Host Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose

Host Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose, former Professor of History at University of New Orleans, is a distinguished historian and scholar who has appeared in many historical documentaries. In addition to being a best-selling author ("Undaunted Courage" and "Citizen Soldier"), Dr. Ambrose has been a consultant on both fiction and non-fiction films (Steven Spielberg’s "Saving Private Ryan" and Ken Burns’ "Lewis and Clark").

Narrator Lynn Whitfield

Narrator Lynn Whitfield, a native of Baton Rouge, brings a strong sense of Louisiana heritage and culture to her role as narrator. She garnered international acclaim and an Emmy for her portrayal of the fascinating Jazz Age entertainer Josephine Baker in HBO’s "The Josephine Baker Story." Feature film credits include "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate" with Martin Lawrence and "Gone Fishin’" with Joe Pesci and Danny Glover. Ms. Whitfield was also featured in "Silverado" and "The Slugger’s Wife". She has appeared in numerous network and cable television productions.

Senior Producer & Director Tika Laudun

Senior Producer & Director Tika Laudun is a Louisiana native and senior staff producer at Louisiana Public Broadcasting. She is responsible for development of documentary projects and educational productions. Her work has been honored by numerous awards including two International CINE Awards for Documentary Production ("Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening" director/co-producer) and "Frame After Frame: The Images of Herman Leonard" (producer/director). "Frame After Frame" also won The Chicago International Television Competition’s Silver Plaque and The National Educational Telecommunications Association Award for Best Public Television Program of the Year. Both of these programs aired nationally on PBS.

Producer Al Godoy

Producer Al Godoy is a Louisiana native and producer/writer at Louisiana Public Broadcasting. He wrote the script for the award-winning documentary "Frame After Frame". His screen credits also include co-producer/co-videographer (with Tika Laudun) on LPB’s "The Forest Where We Live, " a documentary about our nation's urban forests and winner of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Media Award in 1999. He was producer, writer and photographer for "Aillet House: A Window to Our Past," a documentary on how one of Louisiana's architectural treasures was saved from destruction.

Writer C.E. Richard

Writer C.E. Richard is a Louisiana native. As a writer, he specializes in the culture and history of this region. His work has appeared in numerous national publications, and he has written several documentaries including the award-winning "Against the Tide: The Story of the Cajun People of Louisiana."

Writer Anna Reid-Jhirad

Writer Anna Reid-Jhirad is a Washington, DC-based writer who has worked with Louisiana Public Broadcasting on two previous award-winning documentaries. She wrote “Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening”, which aired nationally on PBS, and “The Forest Where We Live.” Other credits include the high-definition WETA production, “Impressionists on the Seine,” winner of three Emmy Awards, and the Charles Guggenheim production, "A Place in the Land", nominated for an Academy Award.

Composer Mike Esneault

Composer Mike Esneault is a Louisiana native and works extensively as a professional jazz pianist, composer and arranger for film, television and radio. Esneault also works closely with Grammy-nominated film composer Terence Blanchard as an assistant composer and arranger. His recent projects include "The Caveman's Valentine" with Samuel L. Jackson and "Original Sin" starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie. He has also written arrangements for recording projects with the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony. As a pianist, Esneault has recorded with such music notables as Grammy winners Nicholas Peyton, Wynton Marsalis, Pete Fountain, and Terence Blanchard.