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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.

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