Folklorist and Tulane anthropology professor to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

March 15, 2016

Carolyn Scofield
Phone: 504-247-1443


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of the Arts will present a SPARK Lifetime Achievement Award to Nick Spitzer. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of the Arts will present a SPARK Lifetime Achievement Award to Nick Spitzer, a Tulane University anthropology professor, documentary recording producer, filmmaker and radio host. Spitzer is being recognized for his work with African French Louisiana communities, Creole music and culture.

Professor Spitzer was founding director of the Louisiana Folklife Program, helping bring Cajun music and zydeco into the national spotlight during his tenure. In recent years he has been involved in music, cultural diplomacy and academic conferences on comparative cultural policy in China and the U.S. Spitzer currently hosts the weekly public radio show American Routes, which is co-produced at Tulane. The popular show explores a broad range of American music and culture through interviews and documentary features.

“I began to do folklore and anthropology fieldwork in Cajun and Creole communities out of my appreciation for the traditional creativity in the lives of the local people and cultures of French Louisiana,” says Spitzer. “Over four decades later, it’s amazing to have the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s appreciation from an arts and culture perspective. Likewise, I continue to enjoy engaging with the growing number of Tulane undergrads and graduate students working in New Orleans and the wider Gulf South region from the perspective of vernacular arts and humanities in this culturally diverse, complex and significant place."

The award will be presented at ArTech Fusion, a program that focuses on the relationship between arts and technology, at the Acadiana Center for the Arts March 18. The event is part of the Festival of the Arts, a two-week celebration of creativity involving ULL students, faculty and community partners.

The festival continues Saturday, March 19 when Spitzer serves as Master of Ceremonies for “Zydeco, La-La, Ya-Ya,” a night of music and conversation featuring Lawrence “Black” Ardoin and Tradition Creole along with Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000