Publisher’s Note: Move on Up

by Brian Boyles

Recently I moved offices. I trucked my books, iMac, and assorted souvenirs down the hall forty feet, to a space that’s long been used as the editorial nerve center for Louisiana Cultural Vistas. It was undoubtedly an upgrade, but moving is a pain. Not just a physical disruption, either. There’s always the pull of emotions as you sort through your things. This time, I sorted through my own ephemera and that of the magazine. We’re in our 28th year, so the memories inhabit many forms.

Audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes called to me, but the slides distracted me the most. Since 1990 LCV has published many of Louisiana’s finest photographers. For a portion of that history, the photos were delivered not through Dropbox, but on slides, each a square inch, the same ones your grandparents used to store pictures from family vacations. I found them in small boxes and in binders, marked and unmarked. Held up to the light, the slides revealed miniature milestones in the cultural life of this state. Fats Domino at his piano. Hazy religious ceremonies. Sugar mills. I made a mental note to contact some of the photographers and ask for their back stories. I wondered about an intern who could file these records. I rued that I wasn’t craftier, and could not make a lamp or some piece of light art from the bounty.

The summer 2018 issue will likely be the last to bear the name Louisiana Cultural Visas.

Mostly, though, I felt humbled. People all over the state labored to create something lasting, to document and disseminate the visible heart of this complex place. We’ve been lucky to publish them, and lucky to live somewhere so worthy of that care. I wanted to save all of it, but that meant stuffing everything back into corners and pretending I’d get to it. The current issue was fast approaching deadline, so the slides stayed next to my desk in the new office. They deserve another pass.

The move felt all the more poignant because we have some very big changes on the horizon. The summer 2018 issue will likely be the last to bear the name Louisiana Cultural Visas. We’re rebranding both the print product and the KnowLouisiana.org website. Both platforms will share a new name and the same mission—to preserve and sustain the stories of Louisiana. The strengths of LCV will live on: great writing, great photography, and strong partnerships with great institutions. Students, educators, and the rest of us will still have free access to KnowLouisiana’s encyclopedia of scholarly entries. And we’ll still print the same number of copies so that libraries, visitor centers, and our loyal subscribers don’t miss a beat.

But just like those slides, this publication needs a conversion. Our rebrand is motivated by our deep desire to reach more people with the work of Louisiana’s scholars, artists, and writers. The state has changed quite a bit since 1990, and so have we. Our name and design will respond to those changes. You’ll hear more from us in the coming weeks, but know that we’re committed to maintaining the quality, care, and diversity you’ve come to expect from Louisiana Cultural Vistas. Slides, discs, widgets—whatever the format, we’re here for the long haul. We’ll see you in our new digs in September.

 

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