George A. Stokes Photographic Inventory of Folk Houses in Rural Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana

Dr. George Stokes began his career at Northwestern State University in 1949 as a professor of cultural geography. He was a gifted scholar who later served NSU as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and as Vice-President of University Affairs. Dr. Stokes grew up in rural Winn Parish, where he developed a love and understanding of Louisiana folk culture. He was particularly interested in documenting a transitional cultural landscape altered by large-scale mechanized farming, industrialization, and out-migration. In 1993, Dr. Stokes donated his photographic inventory of Natchitoches Parish vernacular architecture to the Cammie Henry Research Center (CRHC), Watson Library, NSU.

In 2004, the Louisiana Regional Folklife Program at NSU, in partnership with Cammie G. Henry Research Center, undertook a project to inventory and digitize Dr. Stokes’ photographic collection and to create a searchable database. In addition, LRFP staff members Michael Fontenot and Shawna Atkins conducted field studies to document standing structures included in the Stokes inventory, and to identify examples of vernacular architecture that were not included. Ms. Atkins conducted a literature search and wrote the following overview of house types, while Mr. Fontenot continues to integrate Dr. Stokes’ information into a Geographical Information Systems database which will eventually be accessible online. Not included in the database, but housed with his photographic collection at CHRC, is Dr. Stokes’ documentation of rural churches, which includes hand drawings and notes.

Dr. Stokes’ inventory has been a valuable resource in LRFP efforts to document vernacular architecture in Natchitoches Parish, and greatly enhances our larger objective of documenting vernacular architecture within the entire Red River region.

Dayna Bowker Lee, Ph.D.

Stokes Collection home page | Dr. Stokes' description of the collection

View of map used by Dr. Stokes | House types with examples