If you were born in or after 1984 you haven’t lived in a world without the Karate Kid. Before that date, Karate wasn’t always a fixture of youth activity in U.S. But, believe it or not, it was in Crowley, Louisiana! Way back in the 1970’s, thanks to Acadiana Karate.
Today, Stacey Knight Mejia and her husband Pablo run Acadiana Karate at a space in Lafayette. Pablo originally took over the business in 1978 and expanded it from its home in Crowley. Acadiana Karate offers instruction in mixed martial arts with methods based in a variety of disciplines: Judo, Tai Kwan Do, Jujitsu, Akido, Kung Fu and American Shotokan.
Besides the local shift from Crowley to Lafayette, one nationwide change over the last two decades is the number of women training and competing in martial arts. Today, around 30 or 40% of Stacey’s students are women and girls. Stacey is a lawyer by training, but left the legal profession to make a career out of karate.
Speaking of gender gaps, there’s been much written about representation in the world of art. A recent data analysis of 18 U.S. art museums found that 87% of their collections are men. There’s been important progress, however, in leadership roles. In 2005, around 30% of museum directors were women. Today it’s 47%.
LouAnne Greenwald figures into the number. She directs the Hilliard University Art Museum, and has worked to connect the museum and UL with the rest of the community.Since taking over in 2014, she’s established educational programs, increased staff and rolled out free Wednesday programs that help open the museum’s doors.
LouAnne has a long history in arts, collections and fundraising, working as consultant in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, where she also cut her teeth as curator and educator for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in downtown Lafayette. Photos by Astor Morgan. And check out more lunchtime conversation about Acadian martial arts.