La. author among Natl. Medal of Arts winners
WASHINGTON - An author from Pointe Coupee Parish was among 24 recipients of national medals for contributions in the fields of the arts and humanities recognized today by President Barack Obama.
Ernest J. Gaines is most known for his novels "A Lesson Before Dying" and "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman." He was born on a plantation near Oscar and frequently drew from his experiences growing up in a sharecropper family.
He was recognized at a ceremony Wednesday in the East Room of the White House, along with 22 singers, dancers, poets, producers, playwrights, scholars and others, and one organization.
New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint was also among those receiving a National Medal of Arts, as well as musician Herb Alpert, filmmaker George Lucas and the Washington Performing Arts Society.
Toussaint, at 75, was born and raised in New Orleans, becoming one of its most famous pianists and singers. He's collaborated with The Rolling Stones, Dr. John, Aaron Neville, and others.
Recipients of the National Humanities Medal include author Joan Didion, sportswriter Frank Deford and Robert B. Silvers, editor and co-founder of The New York Review of Books.