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Collection Occupational Folklife Project

Baton Rouge Small Businesses and Trades

In 2014, the Louisiana Folklore Society and the Louisiana Folklife Program received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center for "Baton Rouge Small Businesses and Trades," a project documenting the oral histories of owners and workers in multigenerational small businesses and trades in the greater Baton Rouge area. Under the guidance of project director Maida Owens, Folklife Program Director at the Louisiana Folklife Program, a team of folklorists and documentarians collected 31 interviews with Baton Rouge area barbers, bakers, sausage makers, clothing shop owners, restaurateurs, hat makers and grocery store owners, as well as a piano tuner, a taxidermist, a funeral home owner, a cobbler, a jeweler, a musical instrument repairman, a furniture maker, a tailor, a fishing store owner, a sign maker, a baseball bat maker, and others whose families have been involved in the businesses and trades that create Baton Rouge's unique culture and contribute to its sense of place.

A capital city that grew with suburbanization, today Baton Rouge is an important economic hub to a nine-parish area that supports numerous specialized trades and local businesses. Led by Maida Owens, the Baton Rouge Folklife Survey team included folklorists Jocelyn Donlon, Laura Marcus Green, Douglas MacLean Manger and Maria Zeringue. The interviews served as the basis of subsequent research and public programming by the Louisiana Folklife Program, including the 2018 "Baton Rouge Traditions Traveling Exhibit," which provided a window into Baton Rouge's contemporary cultural landscape.

Go to Baton Rouge small businesses and trades collection items