N4 founding member Darrell Bourque is the former poet laureate of Louisiana and is also Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is extremely proud of his home. He is also worried about it. We want to help.
Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne recently commented that the state’s greatest asset is that it has no majority population. It’s also a catch-22 that leads to hurdles that must be overcome before environmental, educational, political and cultural progress can be made.
Darrell wrote, “Louisiana is in a state of discord and disarray. We are battered by natural disasters, by neglect of our natural resources, by a coastline that is being eaten away daily by mismanagement and by the same racial tensions that afflict much of the nation. We are a state where still much of the college and university populations are first generation entrants. And what we use to cross the divides is often our love of storytelling and storytellers.”
Darrell went on to outline an early plan of action involving Assumption Parish on Bayou Lafourche at Labadieville. He wanted to first work with kids on their home base, then take them to the Ernest J. Gaines Center in Lafayette for a writing experience. They would go on to Grand Coteau where they could have a Festival of Words experience, and end at Lusher Charter School in the Garden District of New Orleans. At each venue, Darrell proposed offering peer-to-peer learning opportunities and a chance to work with writers.
The kids Darrell has worked with live very close to the Bayou Corne sinkhole. They are underprivileged and at very high risk. We believe the original model Darrell created, coupled with his experience and extraordinary connections, will light the way for our future work in Louisiana.
We’re ready to work on a narrative for The Bayou State.