Documenting a Disappearing Culture
Most people at Southwestern know Jim Shelton as the university’s head
baseball coach. But this summer he is involved with a totally different
endeavor. And the topic couldn’t be more timely.
Shelton and his friend and travel cohort of 20 years, Don Howard, have
received a grant of $108,000 from PBS to make a documentary about
southern Louisiana’s disappearing Cajun culture. The John Simon
Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded them an additional $40,000 for
the project, and Southwestern University, the Austin Film Society and
The University of Texas have also donated funds for it.
Howard is a filmmaker and professor at The University of Texas. He has produced and edited a variety of films, including “Dazed and Confused” featuring Matthew McConaughey.
Shelton and Howard began traveling to Louisiana to enjoy the culture
20 years ago. They initially explored New Orleans, but then discovered
the unique Cajun country of southern Louisiana. “We were looking for a
place with authenticity and the feeling that we had in Austin growing
up,” Shelton said.