2009 Gene Tomko



Gene Tomko is a photographer, writer and artist based in Lafayette, Louisiana. Inspired by his love of the music, he has been committed to documenting the African American blues, soul and rhythm & blues tradition in both words and pictures for more than 25 years in such musical hotbeds as Chicago, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and the Carolinas. He also has a special passion for Louisiana's unique indigenous music and culture, particularly Cajun, Creole, zydeco, swamp pop, and jazz.

Gene is a regular contributor to Living Blues Magazine and his work has also appeared in Down Beat (US), Juke Blues (UK), offBEAT (New Orleans), Blues And Soul Records (Japan), Twoj Blues (Poland), Block (The Netherlands), Soul Bag (France), In The Basement (UK), Blues Access (US), Jefferson, (Sweden) the Chicago Sun-Times, and USA Today, as well as in the films Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street and Sunshine By the Stars: Celebrating Louisiana Music. His photography and writing was also featured in the 2-Volume Encyclopedia of the Blues, published by Routledge Press, as well as on numerous CD and LP releases by artists such as B.B. King, Nappy Brown, Big Jay McNeely, Warren Storm, Byther Smith, Roy Head, Little Freddie King, Doug McLeod, Clinton Broussard, Arthur Williams, Travis Haddix, and the Campbell Brothers.

In 2006, he co-authored the book What's the Use of Walking If There's A Freight Train Going Your Way?: Black Hoboes and their Songs with esteemed blues scholar and writer Paul Garon of Chicago.

Gene is a 2014 recipient of the Blues Foundation's Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Achievement in Journalism.

He is the creator of the Louisiana Music Map and the Southwest Louisiana Music Map, a visual tribute to the music and musicians of Louisiana.

Gene is also the author of the book Encyclopedia of Louisiana Musicians, published in 2020 by LSU Press.

All content and images on this site are copyright 2014 Gene Tomko and may not be used, copied, or reproduced in any way without expressed written permission.