Fellow: Dr. Emilie Gagnet Leumas

Dr. Emilie Gagnet Leumas, archives/records management consultant with EGL Consultants, LLC and adjunct instructor at Louisiana State University, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) during a ceremony at the SAA Annual Meeting. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.

An influential leader in religious archives, disaster preparedness, and the international archival community, Gagnet Leumas earned a doctorate in French studies from Louisiana State University and began her archival career as an assistant archivist and researcher at the Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After three years, she was promoted to archivist and began managing the overall archives program and establishing a records management program, including setting up an electronic document management system. In 2007, Gagnet Leumas became director of archives and records at the Archdiocese of New Orleans, where she built a best-in-class archives and records program, coordinated a major move to a new archives facility, and curated six significant exhibits before retiring in 2021 to consult and teach. Currently, Gagnet Leumas consults with smaller Catholic dioceses and nonprofit organizations, helping them establish and improve their records management and archives programs.

Gagnet Leumas has also shared her expertise through many publications and professional service. She has written extensively on managing religious archives, archival preservation in disaster situations, and Louisiana French culture, among other topics. She coauthored the essential text Managing Diocesan Archives and Records: A Guide for Bishops, Chancellors and Archivists. Within SAA, Gagnet Leumas has been an active participant and leader in several SAA component groups, including the Records Management Section, International Archival Affairs Section, Preservation Section, Women Archivists Section, the Awards Committee, and the Host Committee for the SAA Annual Meeting in New Orleans in 2013. She currently serves as chair of the International Council on Archives’ (ICA) Section on Faith Traditions, and as chair ICA’s Expert Group on Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness.

In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina’s destruction in New Orleans, Gagnet Leumas stepped up to gather the necessary resources and volunteers, working diligently to help the Archdiocese of New Orleans and other archival institutions in the city respond and recover. She quickly became an expert in the field of disaster recovery, and in 2006 SAA recognized her outstanding work during Katrina recovery efforts with the Spotlight Award.

One of Gagnet Leumas’s supporters writes, “Emilie continues to provide a fount of knowledge and a whirlwind of support for archivists across the Louisiana region and beyond.” Another supporter notes that, in regards to her contributions to the Katrina recovery, “it is without question that her ability to garner resources, her managerial skills, her professionalism, and her love of New Orleans saved much of New Orleans’s historical primary sources.” In speaking of Gagnet Leumas’s role in the archives profession, one recommender writes: “She is a powerful advocate for, and example of, the strengths and achievements of the American profession in general (and of SAA in particular) in the international archives and records management field.”

Gagnet Leumas is one of six new Fellows named in 2022. There are currently 195 Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.