Glen Pitre has pursued many media-oriented careers, including television, film, and writing. However, he has also worked as a shrimp fisherman, house painter, ship’s cook, roadside vendor of garlic, assistant zookeeper, and oil-field laborer. His work experiences and interactions with people of every economic level make him a well-rounded and worthy resource of information. Born in Cut Off, Louisiana, Pitre is a bilingual Cajun whose films and written works often focus on Cajun, Creole, and Southern culture.
After graduating from Harvard University in visual and environmental studies, Pitre returned to Louisiana. There he founded Cote Blanche Productions and became well known for the films that he wrote and directed. Many of these films have attracted audiences in Canada and France, as well as in America. In 1988 the French government bestowed on him one of the highest civilian honors—the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres—in honor of his contributions. Pitre also served as Louisiana film commissioner from 1989 to 1990, and his live storytelling is a regular feature of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival folklore stage.
By the time Pitre was twenty-five, American Film had already dubbed him the “father of the Cajun film.” His early film productions include La Fièvre Jaune and Huit Piastres et Demie!, the first Cajun-dialect movies released in Louisiana theaters. Pitre’s first book, Belizaire the Cajun, is based on a film he wrote and produced in 1986. The movie was an official selection of the Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto film festivals. The story recounts the exploits of Belizaire Breaux, a Cajun herbalist and traiteur (healer). Pitre also wrote Great River, which tells the story of Robert Cavelier de La Salle and his famous journey down the Mississippi. He provided an eloquent foreword to the 2011 edition of Myron Tassin’s We are Acadians: Nous Sommes Acadiens, also published by Pelican, in which he discusses the book’s influence on his career. Besides producing and writing a number of other works on Cajuns, Creoles, and the state of Louisiana, Pitre also owns the Louisiana Catalogue, a mail-order service offering a number of products associated with the culture and history of the state.