Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities honors supporters of culture _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Zachary Richard performs prior to the opening ceremonies of Festival International de Louisiane in Parc Internationale on Thursday.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities honored musician, poet and activist Zachary Richard as its Humanist of the Year during an awards dinner April 7 in New Orleans. The award is given annually by the state’s humanities council as part of its efforts to recognize the individuals and organizations making invaluable contributions to the culture of Louisiana.

A native of Scott, in Lafayette Parish, Richard has released more than 20 albums, including multiplatinum and gold records. He has authored four collections of poetry, in addition to a series of children’s books.

Devoted to the preservation and promotion of Louisiana’s French-Acadian heritage and language, Richard directed the team that created a bilingual pair of middle school-targeted history textbooks, “The History of the Acadians of Louisiana” and “Histoire des Acadiennes et Acadiens de la Louisiane”; produced two multipart documentaries on the history of the Acadians; and is a founding member of Action Cadienne, a volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing and promoting French immersion education programs in Louisiana.

Other award winners were:

Baptist Community Ministries, recipient of the Chair’s Institutional Award

David Kerstein, recipient of the Champion of Culture Award

“Beyond Freedom’s Reach,” by Adam Rothman; and “Poverty Point: Revealing the Forgotten City,” by Jenny Ellerbe and Diana M. Greenlee, recipients of Humanities Books Awards

“Shape of Shreveport,” directed by Chris Charles Scott and produced by Jim and Will Broyles, recipient of the Humanities Documentary Film Award

David Spielman, recipient of the Michael P. Smith Memorial Award for Documentary Photography

Herreast Harrison, recipient of the Light Up for Literacy Award

Beth Courtney, honored for her lifetime contribution to the humanities.