The Center for Louisiana Studies’ Research Division facilitates access to the wealth of primary source materials available in the archival collections, managing all new acquisitions, supervising the cataloging and digitizing of all materials, and developing fieldwork projects. The CLS Archives are primarily audivisual in nature, covering a broad array of materials related to the history and cultures of the state of Louisiana.
The Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore (ACCF), the largest collection in the the Center's archives, collects, conserves, and makes available to researchers audivisual folklore and folklife materials that further our mission to promote and preserve the diverse and unique francophone cultures of South and Southwestern Louisiana.
The Center's archives also house materials collected as a result of CLS research work (including images, oral histories, and some paper materials) and a wide variety of materials donated specifically to the ACCF at the donor's discretion.
The Center for Louisiana Studies' archival holdings represent the collection and preservation activities of several generations of folklorists, historians, documentary photographers, ethnographers, linguists, and other cultural documentarians. The oldest recordings in the collection were recorded on wax cylinders; a large portion of the music and oral history interviews were originally recorded on reel-to-reel tape.
The Archive of Cajun and Creole Folklore is one of the largest and best known collections within the archives, comprising over 12,000 hours of oral histories, field recordings, music performances, and other folklife, folklore, and folk history related materials. Other collections include copies of the Library of Congress’ Louisiana holdings and examples of French spoken in the Upper Mississippi Valley, French Canada, the West Indies, and Africa.
CLS Documentary Photography and Image Archive
The CLS Documentary Photograph and Image Archive holds over 10,000 image files related to all aspects of the history and culture of the state of Louisiana. It features including public domain lithographs and photographs, compilations of images from all 64 Louisiana parishes, several collections of family photographs and memorabilia, photographs and images related to the ecology and wildlife of Louisiana, and images related to Louisiana's economic, business, and environmental history, among many other areas.
The Center serves as the official archival repository for a large number of ongoing events and associations involved with Louisiana history and culture, including Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, Blackpot Festival and Cookoff, the Rendez-vous des Cajuns weekly radio/TV program, and Vermilionville Culture Days.
The archival holdings are accessible through a fully cataloged database, and listening copies are available upon request.
Fieldwork and Other Projects
Center for Louisiana Studies' fieldwork projects take many forms, from event documentation to large-scale themed projects, such as Dancehalls of South Louisiana. The Center issues music releases from archival holdings through the Louisiana Folk Masters CD series and, in partnership with Festivals Acadiens et Créoles and Valcour Records, the Rubber Bootleg Series.