Community, Cultural and Civic Involvement
BOARDS AND ADVISORY GROUPS
Dr. Michot currently serves, or has recently served, on several boards, commissions, task forces, and committees, including the following:
Board of Directors, North American Crane Working Group (2014 to present)
Louisiana Whooping Crane Advisory Board (2021 to present)
Board of Commissioners, Bayou Vermilion District, Lafayette Consolidated Government (2012 - 2021; VP 2020; President 2020-2021)
Board of Directors, Lafayette International Center Foundation, aka Le Centre International, a division of the Lafayette Consolidated Government (2010 through 2016)
Board of Directors, Michot Family LLC (1976 to present), Tommy currently serves as the Board Secretary and Board Liaison to the Louis J. Michot Sr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Traditional Music at the University of Louisiana.
International Achievement Award Selection Committee of the Lafayette International Center (2014 to present)
Fellow of the University of Louisiana Center for Louisiana Studies (2012 to 2015)
University of Louisiana Graduate Faculty (1994 to 2018)
Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan Review Committee, 2016-2017
Uniform Bilingual Map and Signage Task Force of the Louisiana Department of Transportation, appointed by CODOFIL, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (2014 to 2016)
Waterfowl Working Group of the Management, Evaluation, and Research Team for the Gulf Coast Joint Venture of the National Waterfowl and Wetlands Management Plan, managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1998 to 2016)
President’s Committee on Campus Sustainability, an advisory group that promotes sustainability at the University of Louisiana (2010 through 2015)
University of Louisiana MOOC Task Force, an interdisciplinary group that is evaluating the University’s potential involvement in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) (2010 through 2015)
Board of Directors for the Coastal Community Sustainability Studio, an advisory group that sets policy and oversees expenditure of funds for this interdisciplinary unit at the University. The studio involves the disciplines of science, design, engineering, geography, geosciences, and sociology (2010 through 2015)
Louisiana whooping crane re-establishment working group (2010 through 2015)
Louisiana ivory-billed woodpecker working group (2005 through 2010)
Saint Cecilia School, Broussard, Louisiana, Advisory Board (1985-1988)
North American Crane Working Group, Estuarine Research Federation, Society for Wetland Scientists, Gulf Estuarine Research Society, Louisiana Association of Professional Biologists, The Wildlife Society (president, La. chapter, 1994), La. Wildlife Biologists Association, American Society of Zoologists, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Louisiana Native Plant Society, Sigma Nu, Xi Sigma Pi, Blue Key, Circle K.
Pilot, Commercial, Instrument, Single-engine land and sea
Languages: English (native), French (fluent), Spanish (intermediate)
Foreign Travel: extensive (North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa)
Musician, Traditional Acadian (Cajun) French ethnic music, diatonic accordion, violin, guitar, piano, percussion and vocals; singer/songwriter
Experienced in operation of power boats, airboats, kayak/canoe, seaplanes, trucks and various vehicles, computer use, GIS, photography, aerial videography, GPS, aerial surveys, bird surveys, wetland plant surveys, wildlife habitat assessments, radiotelemetry, various types of laboratory work and instrumentation.
Computer skills: GIS (ESRI ARC-GIS products), SAS (Statistical Analysis Systems), WEAVE, Moodle, Word, Excel, Sigma Plot, Power Point, Blackboard, Social Media
Distance Learning: Dr. Michot has completed QM (Quality Matters) training, “Independent Applying the QM Rubric” for teaching online courses.
Dr. Michot served as the Assessment and Assurance of Learning Coordinator for ICEE (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). He also served as the web site coordinator for ICEE and for CEET. He served in an advisory capacity to the newly-developed Traditional Music Program at UL, and was on the faculty team of the Coastal Community Sustainability Studio. Dr. Michot served on the Earth Day Committee for the University and the President’s Council on Campus Sustainability. He was part of a team to investigate the use of gypsum in marsh restoration projects, and he successfully funded a project to develop the “wave robber” apparatus in coastal restoration. Dr. Michot was assigned to a team to look into the development of a Certification Program for Coastal Ecology at UL.
DOI Pilot Ground School Steering Committee, 2009. Dr. Michot was asked by the USGS Aviation Manager to serve as the USGS representative on a special committee to evaluate the ground school requirements and program for DOI pilots.
USFWS Management, Evaluation, and Research Team, 1998 to 2016. Dr. Michot was asked by the Gulf Coast Joint Venture of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (USFWS) to serve on its Management, Evaluation, and Research Team (MERT), which he did for almost 20 years. The team was composed of approximately five of the leading waterfowl biologists from states along the Gulf of Mexico Coast. The purpose of the MERT was to evaluate existing data and to serve as an advisory board to the joint venture’s biological support program. More specifically, the MERT has assisted the joint venture in its establishment of population and habitat goals, data needs, and research priorities (http://www.gcjv.org/working.php).
NWRC Rapid Response Team, 1992 to 2010. Dr. Michot was assigned the lead the Center's response to natural resource emergencies (e.g., hurricanes) that required a rapid response to evaluate impacts to biological resources. Dr. Michot was called on to conduct aerial surveys and collect aerial videographic data immediately following storms: Hurricane Ike (2008), Hurricane Gustave (2008), Hurricane Rita (2005), Hurricane Katrina (2005), Hurricane Ivan (2004), Tropical Storm Bonnie (2004), Hurricane Claudette (2003), Hurricane Lili (2002), Tropical Storm Isidore (2002), Hurricane Bret (1999), Hurricane Georges (1998), Hurricane Mitch (1998), Hurricane Danny (1997), Hurricane Opal (1995), Hurricane Andrew (1992), and brown marsh dieback (2000). Based on initial assessments by Michot, he and other scientists were able to formulate an appropriate response for long-term but time sensitive studies. See https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1306/.
Dr. Michot participated in numerous fundraising events for various community non-profits and charities, such as Juvenile Diabetes Research Federation "walk to cure diabetes," UL CCET (Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism) Fundraiser "Archive Aid," KRVS annual fund drive, UL Department of Communications Annual Fish and Game Dinner, Academy of the Sacred Heart School "Conge," Earthshare Gardens Fundraiser, Yellow Rails and Rice Festival, International Crane Foundation Annual Meeting, SPEAK fundraiser, CRIA (Cultural Research Institute of Acadiana) fundraiser. Dr. Michot has been active in the French Immersion Program for Lafayette Parish. He has also performed in nursing homes, and served on the CRIA (Cultural Research Institute of Acadiana) Board of Directors, served also on the Advisory Board for Lafayette Middle School Environmental Studies Program, and he served as a delegate to the Congres Mondial des Acadiens in New Brunswick 2009, representing Le Centre International, UL and NWRC.
Dr. Michot conducted studies in Mexico and Central America (Guatemala, Honduras), has traveled extensively in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, and Africa attending meetings, field trips, and cultural exchanges. He has also hosted numerous international groups (e.g., from Japan, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Canada, China, Ghana, Tanzania, Viet Nam, China, Japan) and gave them presentations on Louisiana wetland issues and conducted tours. He speaks English, French, and Spanish. He also served on the board of Le Centre International, an organization that promotes international trade, tourism, and cultural exchange.
OUTREACH AND INFORMATION TRANSFER
Dr. Michot was frequently asked to give presentations to school or community groups on research projects and coastal Louisiana wetland issues of concern to the general public. The groups ranged from lower elementary students to university level students and Elderhostel groups, and they came from the local community as well as from other states and from foreign countries. Many of the presentations and tours given by Dr. Michot were in French. In addition, Dr. Michot was frequently contacted to provide information to various individuals or institutions, ranging from students needing information for a paper or research project, to other scientists needing information on a specific research question. He also contributed to the Jason Project (an online educational outreach program) and similar online information sources. Individual actions are too numerous to list here, but requests and responses numbered in the hundreds. Dr. Michot organized and carried out a special coastal vegetation planting as part of le Grand Reveil des Acadiens; he organized about 60 high school 4H students to do the planting on Grand Isle, in cooperation with Nicholls State University and the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program. Dr. Michot currently serves on the Outreach and Public Education Committee of the Whooping Crane Recovery Task Force for Louisiana.
Dr. Michot has been frequently sought out by reporters, journalists, and other representatives of the media, to provide commentary and insight into various biological issues (e.g., hurricane impacts, colonial wading bird ecology, waterfowl populations, marsh loss, marsh dieback, seagrass beds, barrier island ecology). In 2013 Dr. Michot was invited to serve on a three-person panel to discuss coastal issues in Louisiana on “On Point,” a radio show that was broadcast over almost 400 stations world-wide through National Public Broadcasting (see link below). Dr. Michot has also been involved in many press releases. He has been interviewed approximately 50 times and has been featured in numerous news stories and articles. As an example, Dr. Michot was interviewed by journalist Christopher Joyce of National Public Radio, Morning Edition, on September 8, 2008. Joyce conducted a phone interview with Michot who was at the airport preparing to fly to survey damage to explain damages to wetlands from Hurricane Gustav (see link below). Dr. Michot and his work have been featured in numerous articles in local newspapers, national periodicals (e.g., New York Times, National Geographic, Audubon, Wildlife), television documentaries (e.g., The Weather Channel, “Storm Stories,” CNN), and books (e.g., America’s Wetland: Louisiana's Vanishing Coast by Dunne and Knapp, 2004).
CULTURAL AND ETHNOMUSICAL BACKGROUND
Tommy Michot was born and raised in the Pilette community of southwest Louisiana, in rural Lafayette Parish. Throughout his life he was steeped in the Acadian French culture of the region and his heritage. Three of his four grandparents grew up speaking only French at home, then learned English later in school. Tommy was the third of ten children of Louis and Patricia Michot. The Michots are a musical family. The eight Michot children who survived to adulthood all play at least one musical instrument, as do most of their children, the next generation. Tommy started playing piano and harmonica at an early age, then later, as an adult, learned accordion, guitar, fiddle, tin whistle, and p’tit fer (triangle).
When Tommy was in high school he started playing at informal family gatherings with his brother Rick. Later, in college and beyond, they played and sang at informal gatherings as well as at more formal engagements. Tommy studied French in high school and college (five years) and practiced conversational French with his brothers, co-workers, and associates as he grew up in a community where the adults spoke primarily French and the children spoke primarily English. Tommy and many of his brothers speak French fluently and frequently.
When Tommy finished graduate school in biology and Rick completed Law school, they both settled in Lafayette, where they started playing more public engagements. Together they formed Les Freres Michot with brothers Bobby, David, and Mike in the 1980s and played extensively in Louisiana and throughout North America and Europe; they have released 4 cd’s (1987, 2003, 2008, 2013). The music played by the Michots is all in French and played on all acoustic instruments in the old fashioned, “bal de maison” style that was prevalent in the early 20th century. Tommy plays accordion in the traditional style, using various self-taught techniques to accomplish musical phrasing and to add emphasis and rhythm. He sings in the beautiful Cajun dialect of French with an old-timey yet powerful voice, from a repertoire of more than 400 songs. He has performed in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, France, England, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and throughout the United States. Tommy and Marc Savoy were the two accordionists selected to represent Louisiana along with 8 accordionists from Quebec, Acadie, and France at Les Folkloriques de Tadoussac in Quebec, 2004.
Tommy has been featured in numerous books, films, and print-media articles about south Louisiana culture, music, and wetlands. He is often sought for consultation and to provide input to various projects dealing with these issues. Tommy has reviewed numerous scientific papers on various topics dealing not only with biology, but also with south Louisiana’s Acadian culture and heritage. He was frequently asked to lead tours in French and to make oral presentations in French to French-speaking groups visiting Lafayette and the National Wetlands Research Center from Francophone countries. He plays music in public engagements approximately twice per week with Les Freres Michot and occasionally other bands, such as the Michot-Courville band.
SELECTED ETHNOCULTURAL PUBLICATIONS AND DISCOGRAPHY
Brasseaux, C.A., H.D. Hoese, and T.C. Michot. 2004. Pioneer amateur naturalist Louis Judice: observations on the flora, fauna, geography, and agriculture of the Bayou Lafourche region, Louisiana, 1772 1786. Louisiana History 45 (1):71-103.
Michot, Thomas Claud. 2022. Review of Cajun Music: Reflection of a People. Volume II. Compiled and written by Ann Allen Savoy. Journal of American Folklore 135 (2022):362-363.
Michot, Les Freres. 1987. Elevés à Pilette. LFM Records, No. LFM-0002. Broussard, Louisiana. Audio compact disc, 13 songs.
Michot, Les Freres. 2003. La Roue Qui Pend. Swallow Records, No. SW-6174, Ville Platte, Louisiana. Audio compact disc, 23 songs.
Michot, Les Freres. 2008. La Caroline. LFM Records, No. LFM-0003, Broussard, Louisiana. Audio compact disc, 21 songs.
Michot, Les Freres. 2013. Dedans le Sud de la Louisiane. Fremeaux & Associés Records, No. FA-579, Vincennes, France. Audio compact disc, 21 songs.
Tommy wrote and published the music and lyrics to the following songs:
1. La Roue Qui Pend, Track 1 (title track) in Les Freres Michot, La Roue Qui Pend, SW-6174, 2003 (4:04)
2. La Valse de la Mèche Perdue, Track 2 in Les Freres Michot, La Roue Qui Pend, SW-6174, 2003 (2:56)
3. L’un Pas de Bayou Vermilion, Track 7 in Les Freres Michot, La Roue Qui Pend, SW-6174, 2003 (3:32)
4. Le premier amour, Track 8 in Les Freres Michot, La Caroline, LFM-0003, 2008, and Dedans le sud de la Louisiane, FA-579, 2013 (4:28)
For more information see www.lesfreresmichot.com
INTERVIEWS AND PODCASTS
2016 June 1 podcast, Bayou to Beltway, KRVS Radio, Lafayette, Pearson Cross interviews Dr. Tommy Michot and Dr. Tom Doyle; they discuss climate change and related environmental issues.
2015 podcast in French (en Francais); Tommy is interviewed by French journalist Cerise Marechaud for a French program called Prise de Terre.
2015 June 20 Tommy is interviewed by Gary Null for Resistance Radio on PRN (Progressive Radio Network) to discuss the effects of Climate Change and other anthropomorphic actions on the ecology and overall well being of flora and fauna in coastal Louisiana.
2015 My Louisiana Muse, interview, film, and photo shoot of Tommy and Louis Michot by photojournalist Zack Smith in Pilette, La.
2014 January 24 WBUR Boston, Tom Ashbrook interviews Dr. Michot along with others on a panel to discuss the effect of climate change on Louisiana wetlands and New Orleans, for the program "On Point."
2012 Whooping Crane Public Service Announcements (PSA). As part of his participation in the Louisiana Outreach Advisory Group, Tommy worked to team up Les Freres with Zachary Richard and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to create a PSA as an outreach effort to educate the public about the re-introduction of whooping cranes in coastal Louisiana. The PSAs in French and English features Zach's narration and the background music of LFM; an overview of the reintroduction effort is available here (short version) and here (long version).
2012 Crisis in Creativity, Dr. Michot presented and was on a panel entitled "Environmental Crises in South Louisiana:
Scientific, Sociological, and Ethnomusicological Perspectives," for the annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in New Orleans.
2011 Podcast, "Absolutely Intercultural," Tommy and Louis Michot are interviewed by Annie Fox, direct from her home base in Denmark, about coastal Louisiana cultural and environmental issues.
2010 Workplan for estimating wintering waterfowl oiling and mortality, prepared by the Waterfowl Technical Working Group for the Mississippi Canyon 252 Oil Spill, including Dr. Michot and others.
2008 NPR (National Public Radio) journalist Christopher Joyce interviewed Tommy at the Lafayette airport as Tommy was preparing to embark on an aerial survey of coastal damage from Hurricane Gustav.
2008. Stalking the Ghost Bird by Michael Steinberg
Tommy is interviewed by the author with reference to various sightings and searches for the ivory-billed woodpecker.
2007. Paradise Faded: The Fight for Louisiana. Film by Jared Arsement featuring interviews with, and music by, Dr. Michot and others.
2006, The Case of the Dying Marsh Grass, final report summarizing results from a large team of researchers including Dr. Michot. Many of the photos and much of the text in the report came from Dr. Michot's research.
2006 Roger diSilvestre of National Wildlife magazine interviewed Dr. Michot after Hurricane Katrina to discuss impacts to wading birds.