Nominations Now Open for Annual Awards Recognizing Best of Louisiana Humanities

New Orleans  Each year, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities shines a light on the people, places and projects telling Louisiana’s stories in meaningful and innovative ways through the Humanities Awards. The public is invited to submit nominations now for the 2022 awards, recognizing work from the past year (2021).

The LEH—the state affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities—has distributed the Humanities Awards since 1985, recognizing hundreds of Louisianans for their contributions to the understanding of the state’s history and culture. Nominations will be accepted throughout September, with staggered deadlines in October.

Awardees in the six publicly nominated categories, from the realms of literacy, history and art history, philosophy, photography and more, are chosen by specialized committees of scholars, experts and LEH staff and board members. Their achievements are highlighted in LEH’s 64 Parishes magazine, programming, and at the annual Bright Lights Awards event.

“The Humanities Awards give us the opportunity each year to pause and reflect on and celebrate the important, meaningful work that has happened in the last year in the humanities field,” said LEH President and Executive Director Miranda Restovic. “We are looking forward to recognizing the people and projects that persevered despite 2021’s challenges and continued to expand our understanding of Louisiana’s history and culture.”

The organization seeks public nominations for six categories. More information about each is available below.

LEH’s Humanities Awards

Letters of nomination are currently being accepted for the categories below. Nominations for all categories, except Humanities Documentary Film of the Year and Humanities Book of the Year (details below), are due no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2021. 


  • Lifetime Contributions: Honors those who have supported and been involved in public appreciation of issues central to the humanities.
  • Documentary Photographer of the Year: Honors documentary photographers whose work captures Louisiana’s history, culture and/or peoples. Nominations may be for a complete body of work or a single project.
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Awarded to the documentary film that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana documentary filmmakers. Nominations due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2021.
  • Humanities Book of the Year: Awarded to the book that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana writers. Nominations and supporting materials due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2021.
  • Light Up for Literacy: Honors individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to literacy efforts in the state. The award is presented in partnership with the State Library of Louisiana’s Center for the Book.
  • Museum Exhibition of the Year: Recognizes an exhibition held during the prior two calendar years (2020 and 2021) that brought new insights to our understanding of the state, its artists, and/or its history. Awarded biannually in even-numbered years.
    • Note: The Best in Digital Humanities award is awarded biannually in odd-numbered years. The next award in this category will be made in 2023. We are not accepting applications in this category this year.

Three additional awards—Humanist of the Year, Champion of Culture and Chair’s Award for Institutional Support—are nominated and chosen in-house by members of the LEH board of directors. Individuals, institutions or organizations may submit nominations. Individuals, however, may not nominate themselves.  Click here for full nominating instructions, including category-specific details.

All nominations should be addressed to: Humanities Awards Committee, Attn: Clare Shelburne, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 938 Lafayette St, Suite 300, New Orleans, LA 70113. Nominations also may be emailed to Nominating materials received after the listed due dates will not be reviewed.

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