Ross Louis

Scholarly Retreats
Type of work
Scholar, Performing Artist

Ross Louis is a performance scholar/artist who works as a Professor of Performance Studies and co-director of the Performance Studies Lab at Xavier University of Louisiana. In 2019, he was a faculty in residence at the Université de Lyon 3 and a Fulbright research fellow at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale (France). His recent performance work includes an adaptation of Richard Wright’s haiku (This Other World) and a series of site-specific performances in New Orleans and Montréal based on Georges Perec’s “An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris.” His current project Erratum examines the everyday remnants of French colonial slave practices in New Orleans and in France by producing a series of participatory, site-specific performances. The first in the series explored links between the transport of plants by 18th century French explorers and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The performance created during his residency revolves around a notebook that engages audiences in creative dialogue with archival materials and physical elements of a New Orleans site that is linked directly or indirectly to the French colonial slave trade.

“Writing in the woods at the moment when much of the city seemed to be emerging from pandemic protocols and all of a sudden everything was almost “back to normal” was an unexpected pleasure. Or even an unexpected opportunity to slow down at a moment when things elsewhere began moving faster. The rhythm of the days in the woods allowed me to think carefully about the process of writing and its revision. What I will remember most is probably the morning and evening visits on the steps of the writer’s cabin: the same squirrel at the same hour, tiny acrobatic frogs, a rabbit, a fox, a heron.” – Ross Louis