64 Parishes

Kenny Neal

Kenny Neal (born 1957) is a member of the famous musical Neal family, whose members were key to the development of the Baton Rouge Blues. Taught harmonica by greats Slim Harpo, Buddy Guy, and his own father Raful Neal, Neal began performing as a child, recording his debut album Big News from Baton Rouge! in 1987. Four years later he appeared on Broadway in the folk musical Mule Bone, the first production of the collaboration by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. He continues to perform and record, and recently served as a consultant for the West Baton Rouge Museum’s juke joint exhibit.

Kenny Neal: Bloodlines
1 minute, 36 seconds
This short video, Kenny Neal: Bloodlines, can be used as a point of entry for students in a variety of K-12 classroom settings. Use the below activities to kick off your study of Baton Rouge–based artist Kenny Neal.

Activity 1
Before watching the short video Kenny Neal: Bloodlines, lead students in a brief discussion on traditions, role models, and family.

Discussion Questions
Are there people in your life you look up to? Who are they? Why do you look up to them?
What kinds of traditions matter in your family?
Are there people in your family with shared talents, skills, interests, hobbies, or jobs? What are they? Do you or do you hope to someday share in these activities? Why or why not?

Activity 2
Introduce Kenny Neal using the brief biography included above. Watch the short video Kenny Neal: Bloodlines and lead students in a discussion on Kenny Neal.

Discussion Questions
What role did family play in Kenny Neal becoming a musician?
Why are so many of Kenny Neal’s family members musicians? Do you think all his relatives became musicians for the same reasons?
How did music offer Kenny Neal’s dad a different way of life from his parents?
Would you want to have the same work as your family members? As your parents? Why or why not?

Kenny Neal

Want to dive deeper into the world of Kenny Neal? Download the Kenny Neal Louisiana Musical Legends lesson plan.

Target Grade Level: 9th-10th Grade
Content Areas: English Language Arts
Curricular Alignment: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.7



About the Louisiana Musical Legends Project
The Louisiana Musical Legends project is the first in a series of “Aunt Dorothy’s Teacher Toolkits” developed by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to showcase new and engaging tools for teaching core curriculum concepts through the lens of Louisiana’s culture. Made possible through the generous support of retired music teacher Dorothy Hanna in partnership with First Lady of Louisiana Donna Edwards and the nine regional Louisiana arts councils, each Louisiana Musical Legends unit includes a brief musician biography, an educator-created lesson plan, and an original musician-focused video—all designed for classroom use. Featured musicians hail from across the state and include Luther Gray and Bamboula 2000 (Greater New Orleans), Nellie Lutcher (Southwest Louisiana), Tony Joe White (Northeast Louisiana), Amanda Shaw (Northshore), Susan Aysen (Bayou Parishes), Kenny Neal (Greater Baton Rouge), Little Walter (Central Louisiana), Leadbelly (Northwest Louisiana), and Nathan Williams Jr. (Acadiana).

Louisiana Musical Legends