Southeastern Channel to air program on area festivals
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Just in time for the spring festival season, the Southeastern Louisiana University’s cable channel will air a new episode of The Florida Parish Chronicles focused on the region’s festivals.
Entitled “Sampling and Celebrating Our Unique Identity: Festivals and Folkways of Southeast Louisiana,” the program produced by the Southeastern Channel and sponsored by First Guaranty Bank will air initially at 8 p.m. Wednesday (March 16) on Charter Cable Channel 18. The program will air again at 8 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m. Sundays, 8 p.m. Mondays 7 a.m. Tuesday and 12:30 p.m. Thursdays over the next month.
Channel General Manager Rick Settoon said the program offers area viewers special insights into the history and origins of the area’s many popular fairs and festivals, including this weekend’s Amite Oyster Festival.
“Anyone who has ever attended or thought of attending a festival in this region will really appreciate and enjoy this program,” Settoon said. “It’s an entertaining celebration of our many diverse festivals and their interesting cultural origins.”
“How we celebrate and where we socialize says a lot about who we are,” said Samuel Hyde Jr., program host and writer and Southeastern’s Ford Chair for Regional Studies. “Festivals and regional folk culture events are often regarded merely as venues to gather and enjoy life, but they also reveal deeply ingrained ethnic, religious and cultural determinants that provide a society its identify,” said Hyde, director for the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies.
“This episode details the connection between our history and the way we live and celebrate, while also explaining why southeastern Louisiana is home to some of the largest and most enduring festivals in North America,” he added.
In addition to the Oyster Festival, other popular events profiled in the program are the Madisonville Wooden Boat Festival, St. Helena Forest Festival, Hungarian Festival in Albany and Springfield, Creole Festival in French Settlement, the Italian Festival in Independence and the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival.
The show includes vintage photographs and rare, archival film footages, such as 1940s footage from the Washington Parish Fair. The “Chronicles” narrative begins with a description of the unique history, features and qualities of the Florida Parishes, from wars and politics to its diverse topography of swamps, rolling hills and pine forests. It shows how some of the festivals have early links to the economic development of the region.
Hyde interviews Judge Ray Chutz and his brother, Clay, at their farm near Watson about the making of cane syrup. He also speaks with Mina Jean Travis of the Forest Festival, Leslie Fontenot of the Strawberry Festival, and Marietta Coslan and Philip Macaluso of the Italian Festival.
The episode was produced, shot and edited by Josh Kapusinski, award winning editor at the Channel. The Channel can be seen on Charter Cable Channel 18 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Livingston parishes and on Channel 17 in Washington Parish. The channel can also be seen on its live 24-7 webcast at selu.edu/tv.