The Labat Project was initiated by Lori K. Gordon in 2000, when she began conducting an oral history with Celestine Labat of Bay St. Louis, MS.  Ms. Labat was 102 at the time and over the course of two years, she shared her life story with Gordon. She also loaned Gordon her family photo albums and from those interviews and images, the Labat Project was launched.

The project is an intensive look into the history of the Creole culture of coastal Mississippi. It explores the lives of members of the Labat family, as well as other Creoles in coastal communities; families with the names of Piernas, Rabateau, Saucier, Cospelich and Barabino. The first stage of the project, an 8’ x 10’ art quilt titled “Labat: A Creole Legacy” was completed in 2003, and has been acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for inclusion in their permanent collection. In 2011, Gordon teamed with the Katrina Research Center at the University of Southern Mississippi to present the second phase of the project. The project was made possible by a generous grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council and the support of the University of Southern Mississippi, especially the efforts of Project Director Dr. Deanne Nuwer, Associate Professor of History at USM, and Ms. Shugana Williams, Research Consultant/Librarian. Additional support has been provided by the Six Degrees Consortium. This second phase of the Labat Project constitutes a traveling exhibit of eighteen panels, each of which displays images from the Labat family archives and portions of Celestine Labat's oral history.  

For more information on The Labat Project including venues, dates and how to bring the exhibition to your community, please contact Lori Gordon at lorikgordon@gmail.com.