front cover of The Accidental City
The Accidental City
Improvising New Orleans
Lawrence N. Powell
Harvard University Press, 2012

This is the story of a city that shouldn’t exist. In the seventeenth century, what is now America’s most beguiling metropolis was nothing more than a swamp: prone to flooding, infested with snakes, battered by hurricanes. But through the intense imperial rivalries of Spain, France, and England, and the ambitious, entrepreneurial merchants and settlers from four continents who risked their lives to succeed in colonial America, this unpromising site became a crossroads for the whole Atlantic world.

Lawrence N. Powell, a decades-long resident and observer of New Orleans, gives us the full sweep of the city’s history from its founding through Louisiana statehood in 1812. We see the Crescent City evolve from a French village, to an African market town, to a Spanish fortress, and finally to an Anglo-American center of trade and commerce. We hear and feel the mix of peoples, religions, and languages from four continents that make the place electric—and always on the verge of unraveling. The Accidental City is the story of land-jobbing schemes, stock market crashes, and nonstop squabbles over status, power, and position, with enough rogues, smugglers, and self-fashioners to fill a picaresque novel.

Powell’s tale underscores the fluidity and contingency of the past, revealing a place where people made their own history. This is a city, and a history, marked by challenges and perpetual shifts in shape and direction, like the sinuous river on which it is perched.

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All on a Mardi Gras Day
Reid Mitchell
Harvard University Press, 1995

With this colorful study, Reid Mitchell takes us to Mardi Gras--to a yearly ritual that sweeps the richly multicultural city of New Orleans into a frenzy of parades, pageantry, dance, drunkenness, music, sexual display, and social and political bombast. In All on a Mardi Gras Day Mitchell tells us some of the most intriguing stories of Carnival since 1804. Woven into his narrative are observations of the meaning and messages of Mardi Gras--themes of unity, exclusion, and elitism course through these tales as they do through the Crescent City.

Moving through the decades, Mitchell describes the city's diverse cultures coming together to compete in Carnival performances. We observe powerful social clubs, or krewes, designing their elaborate parade displays and extravagant parties; Creoles and Americans in conflict over whose dances belong in the ballroom; enslaved Africans and African Americans preserving a sense of their heritage in processions and dances; white supremacists battling Reconstruction; working-class blacks creating the flamboyant Krewe of Zulu; the birth and reign of jazz; the gay community holding lavish balls; and of course tourists purchasing an authentic experience according to the dictates of our commercial culture. Interracial friction, nativism, Jim Crow separatism, the hippie movement--Mitchell illuminates the expression of these and other American themes in events ranging from the 1901 formation of the anti-prohibitionist Carrie Nation Club to the controversial 1991 ordinance desegregating Carnival parade krewes.

Through the conflicts, Mitchell asserts, "I see in Mardi Gras much what I hear in a really good jazz band: a model for the just society, the joyous community, the heavenly city...A model for community where individual expression is the basis for social harmony and where continuity is the basis for creativity." All on a Mardi Gras Day journeys into a world where hope persists for a rare balance between diversity and unity.

[more]

front cover of Always for the Underdog
Always for the Underdog
Leather Britches Smith and the Grabow War
Keagan LeJeune
University of North Texas Press, 2010

front cover of Amphibious Campaign For West Florida and Louisiana
Amphibious Campaign For West Florida and Louisiana
Wilburt S. Brown
University of Alabama Press, 1969

“A retired major general of the Marine Corps offers here an interpretive history of the campaign culminating in the battle of New Orleans, based on a meticulous review of the sources and employing the perceptive of modern military doctrine.  Written with a military regard for precision . . . [the book] nevertheless gathers force and even suspense though its emphasis on the importance f the events at hand . . [T]his is now probably the best book on the topic.”—Choice

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Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law
Nationalism, Civil Liberties, and Partisanship
Matthew Warshauer
University of Tennessee Press, 2007

“Lucid and well-researched.” —The New Yorker

In order to win the famous battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson believed that it was necessary to declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus. In doing so, he achieved both a great victory and the notoriety of being the first American general to ever suspend civil liberties in America.

Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law tells the history of Jackson’s use of martial law and how the controversy surrounding it followed him throughout his life. The work engages the age-old controversy over if, when, and who should be able to subvert the Constitution during times of national emergency. It also engages the continuing historical controversy over Jackson’s political prowess and the importance of the rise of party politics during the early republic. As such, the book contributes to both the scholarship on Jackson and the legal and constitutional history of the intersection between the military and civilian spheres.

To fully understand the history of martial law and the subsequent evolution of a theory of emergency powers, Matthew Warshauer asserts, one must also understand the political history surrounding the discussion of civil liberties and how Jackson’s stature as a political figure and his expertise as a politician influenced such debates. Warshauer further explains that Abraham Lincoln cited Jackson’s use of the military and suspension of civil liberties as justification for similar decisions during the Civil War. During both Jackson’s and Lincoln’s use of martial law, critics declared that such an action stood in opposition to both the Constitution and the nation’s cherished republican principles of protecting liberty from dangerous power, especially that of the military. Supporters of martial law insisted that saving the nation became the preeminent cause when the republic was endangered. At the heart of such arguments lurked the partisan maneuvering of opposing political parties.

Andrew Jackson and the Politics of Martial Law is a powerful examination of the history of martial law, its first use in the United States, and the consequent development of emergency powers for both military commanders and presidents.

Matthew Warshauer is associate professor of history at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author of the forthcoming Andrew Jackson: First Men, America’s Presidents. His articles have appeared in Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Connecticut History, Louisiana History, and New York History.
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front cover of Archaeology, History, and Predictive Modeling
Archaeology, History, and Predictive Modeling
Research at Fort Polk, 1972-2002
David G. Anderson and Steven D. Smith
University of Alabama Press, 2003
Allows scholars to more easily examine the record of human activity over the past 13,000 or more years in this part of western Louisiana and adjacent portions of east Texas

Fort Polk Military Reservation encompasses approximately 139,000 acres in western Louisiana 40 miles southwest of Alexandria. As a result of federal mandates for cultural resource investigation, more archaeological work has been undertaken there, beginning in the 1970s, than has occurred at any other comparably sized area in Louisiana or at most other localities in the southeastern United States. The extensive program of survey, excavation, testing, and large-scale data and artifact recovery, as well as historic and archival research, has yielded a massive amount of information. While superbly curated by the U.S. Army, the material has been difficult to examine and comprehend in its totality.

With this volume, Anderson and Smith collate and synthesize all the information into a comprehensive whole. Included are previous investigations, an overview of local environmental conditions, base military history and architecture, and the prehistoric and historic cultural sequence. An analysis of location, environmental, and assemblage data employing a sample of more than 2,800 sites and isolated finds was used to develop a predictive model that identifies areas where significant cultural resources are likely to occur. Developed in 1995, this model has already proven to be highly accurate and easy to use.

Archaeology, History, and Predictive Modeling will allow scholars to more easily examine the record of human activity over the past 13,000 or more years in this part of western Louisiana and adjacent portions of east Texas. It will be useful to southeastern archaeologists and anthropologists, both professional and amateur.
 
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The Arkansas Post of Louisiana
Morris S. Arnold
University of Arkansas Press, 2017

Arkansas Post, the first European settlement in what would become Jefferson’s Louisiana, had an important mission as the only settlement between Natchez and the Illinois Country, a stretch of more than eight hundred miles along the Mississippi River. The Post was a stopping point for shelter and supplies for those travelling by boat or land, and it was of strategic importance as well, as it nurtured and sustained a crucial alliance with the Quapaw Indians, the only tribe that occupied the region.

The Arkansas Post of Louisiana covers the most essential aspects of the Post’s history, including the nature of the European population, their social life, the economy, the architecture, and the political and military events that reflected and shaped the Post’s mission.

Beautifully illustrated with maps, portraits, lithographs, photographs, documents, and superb examples of Quapaw hide paintings, The Arkansas Post of Louisiana is a perfect introduction to this fascinating place at the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, a place that served as a multicultural gathering spot, and became a seminal part of the history of Arkansas and the nation.

[more]

front cover of At Fault
At Fault
Scholarly Edition W/Background Readings
Kate Chopin
University of Tennessee Press, 2001
Celebrated for her depictions of life among Louisiana’s Creole and Cajun peoples, Kate Chopin (1850–1904) is today seen as a major figure in southern literature. Her short stories and her last novel, The Awakening (1899), are widely read and studied. Unjustly neglected, however, is her first novel, At Fault, which Chopin published in 1890 at her own expense. This edition of At Fault—the first printing to appear since Chopin’s Complete Works was issued in 1969—now makes the book available to a wide audience.

The novel centers on Therese Lafirme, a widow who owns and runs a plantation in post–Civil War Louisiana. She encounters David Hosmer, who buys timber rights to her property to secure raw materials for his newly constructed sawmill. When David remarries, a love triangle develops between David, Fanny  (his alcoholic wife), and Therese, who tries to balance her strong moral sensibility against her growing love for David. In depicting these relationships, Chopin acutely dramatizes the conflict between growing industrialism and the agrarian traditions of the Old South—as well as the changes to the land and the society that inevitably resulted from that conflict.

Editors Suzanne Disheroon Green and David J. Caudle provide meticulous annotations to the text of At Fault, facilitating the reader’s understanding of the complex and exotic culture and language of nineteenth-century Louisiana. Also included is a substantial body of supporting materials thatcontextualize the novel, ranging from a summary of critical responses to materials illuminating the economic, social, historical, and religious influences on Chopin’s texts.

The Editors: Suzanne Disheroon Green is an assistant professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She is the co-author, with David J. Caudle, of Kate Chopin: An Annotated Bibliography of Critical Works, and co-editor with Lisa Abney, of the forthcoming Songs of the New South: Writing Contemporary Louisiana

David J. Caudle, who is completing his doctorate at the University of North Texas, has published essays and book chapters dealing with American literature and linguistic approaches to literature.
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front cover of Beyond Freedom’s Reach
Beyond Freedom’s Reach
Adam Rothman
Harvard University Press, 2015

Born into slavery in rural Louisiana, Rose Herera was bought and sold several times before being purchased by the De Hart family of New Orleans. Still a slave, she married and had children, who also became the property of the De Harts. But after Union forces captured New Orleans in 1862 during the American Civil War, Herera’s owners fled to Havana, taking three of her small children with them. Beyond Freedom’s Reach is the true story of one woman’s quest to rescue her children from bondage.

In a gripping, meticulously researched account, Adam Rothman lays bare the mayhem of emancipation during and after the Civil War. Just how far the rights of freed slaves extended was unclear to black and white people alike, and so when Mary De Hart returned to New Orleans in 1865 to visit friends, she was surprised to find herself taken into custody as a kidnapper. The case of Rose Herera’s abducted children made its way through New Orleans’ courts, igniting a custody battle that revealed the prospects and limits of justice during Reconstruction.

Rose Herera’s perseverance brought her children’s plight to the attention of members of the U.S. Senate and State Department, who turned a domestic conflict into an international scandal. Beyond Freedom’s Reach is an unforgettable human drama and a poignant reflection on the tangled politics of slavery and the hazards faced by so many Americans on the hard road to freedom.

[more]

front cover of Black Legislators in Louisiana during Reconstruction
Black Legislators in Louisiana during Reconstruction
Charles Vincent
Southern Illinois University Press, 2011
When originally published, Charles Vincent's scholarship shed new light on the achievements of black legislators in the state legislatures in post-Civil War Louisiana-a state where black people were a majority in the state population but a minority in the legislature. 

Now updated with a new preface, this volume endures as an important work that illustrates the strength of minorities in state government during Reconstruction. It focuses on the achievements of the black representatives and senators in the Louisiana legislature who, through tireless fighting, were able to push forward many progressive reforms, such as universal public education, and social programs for the less fortunate. 
 
[more]

front cover of Black New Orleans, 1860-1880
Black New Orleans, 1860-1880
John W. Blassingame
University of Chicago Press, 1976
Reissued for the first time in over thirty years, Black New Orleans explores the twenty-year period in which the city’s black population more than doubled. Meticulously researched and replete with archival illustrations from newspapers and rare periodicals, John W. Blassingame’s groundbreaking history offers a unique look at the economic and social life of black people in New Orleans during Reconstruction. Not a conventional political treatment, Blassingame’s history instead emphasizes the educational, religious, cultural, and economic activities of African Americans during the late nineteenth century.

“Blending historical and sociological perspectives, and drawing with skill and imagination upon a variety of sources, [Blassingame] offers fresh insights into an oft-studied period of Southern history. . . .  In both time and place the author has chosen an extraordinarily revealing vantage point from which to view his subject. ”—Neil R. McMillen, American Historical Review
[more]

front cover of Bounded Lives, Bounded Places
Bounded Lives, Bounded Places
Free Black Society in Colonial New Orleans, 1769–1803
Kimberly S. Hanger
Duke University Press, 1997
During Louisiana’s Spanish colonial period, economic, political, and military conditions combined with local cultural and legal traditions to favor the growth and development of a substantial group of free blacks. In Bounded Lives, Bounded Places, Kimberly S. Hanger explores the origin of antebellum New Orleans’ large, influential, and propertied free black—or libre—population, one that was unique in the South. Hanger examines the issues libres confronted as they individually and collectively contested their ambiguous status in a complexly stratified society.
Drawing on rare archives in Louisiana and Spain, Hanger reconstructs the world of late-eighteenth-century New Orleans from the perspective of its free black residents, and documents the common experiences and enterprises that helped solidify libres’ sense of group identity. Over the course of three and a half decades of Spanish rule, free people of African descent in New Orleans made their greatest advances in terms of legal rights and privileges, demographic expansion, vocational responsibilities, and social standing. Although not all blacks in Spanish New Orleans yearned for expanded opportunity, Hanger shows that those who did were more likely to succeed under Spain’s dominion than under the governance of France, Great Britain, or the United States.
The advent of U.S. rule brought restrictions to both manumission and free black activities in New Orleans. Nonetheless, the colonial libre population became the foundation for the city’s prosperous and much acclaimed Creoles of Color during the antebellum era.
[more]

front cover of Building Antebellum New Orleans
Building Antebellum New Orleans
Free People of Color and Their Influence
By Tara A. Dudley
University of Texas Press, 2021

2022 PROSE Award in Architecture and Urban Planning
2022 Summerlee Book Prize in Nonfiction, Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast
2022 Best Book Prize, Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians
2022 On the Brinck Book Award, University of New Mexico School of Architecture + Planning

A significant and deeply researched examination of the free nineteenth-century Black developers who transformed the cultural and architectural legacy of New Orleans.

The Creole architecture of New Orleans is one of the city’s most-recognized features, but studies of it largely have focused on architectural typology. In Building Antebellum New Orleans, Tara A. Dudley examines the architectural activities and influence of gens de couleur libres—free people of color—in a city where the mixed-race descendants of whites and other free Blacks could own property.

Between 1820 and 1850 New Orleans became an urban metropolis and industrialized shipping center with a growing population. Amidst dramatic economic and cultural change in the mid-antebellum period, the gens de couleur libres thrived as property owners, developers, building artisans, and patrons. Dudley writes an intimate microhistory of two prominent families of Black developers, the Dollioles and Souliés, to explore how gens de couleur libres used ownership, engagement, and entrepreneurship to construct individual and group identity and stability. With deep archival research, Dudley re-creates in fine detail the material culture, business and social history, and politics of the built environment for free people of color and adds new, revelatory information to the canon on New Orleans architecture.

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front cover of Building the Devil's Empire
Building the Devil's Empire
French Colonial New Orleans
Shannon Lee Dawdy
University of Chicago Press, 2008

Building the Devil’s Empire is the first comprehensive history of New Orleans’s early years, tracing the town’s development from its origins in 1718 to its revolt against Spanish rule in 1768. Shannon Lee Dawdy’s picaresque account of New Orleans’s wild youth features a cast of strong-willed captives, thin-skinned nobles, sharp-tongued women, and carousing travelers. But she also widens her lens to reveal the port city’s global significance, examining its role in the French Empire and the Caribbean, and she concludes that by exemplifying a kind of rogue colonialism—where governments, outlaws, and capitalism become entwined—New Orleans should prompt us to reconsider our notions of how colonialism works.

"[A] penetrating study of the colony's founding."—Nation

 

“A brilliant and spirited reinterpretation of the emergence of French New Orleans. Dawdy leads us deep into the daily life of the city, and along the many paths that connected it to France, the North American interior, and the Greater Caribbean. A major contribution to our understanding of the history of the Americas and of the French Atlantic, the work is also a model of interdisciplinary research and analysis, skillfully bringing together archival research, archaeology, and literary analysis.”—Laurent Dubois, Duke University

[more]

front cover of Business Of Jews In Louisiana, 1840–1875
Business Of Jews In Louisiana, 1840–1875
Elliot Ashkenazi
University of Alabama Press, 1988

Goes beyond institutional history to concentrate on commercial and social matters

The author’s findings imply that Jewish immigrants to the South in the first half of the 19th century came from particular locales with similar social, economic, and religious backgrounds, and they chose to live in the South because of those traditions. The experience of Jews with commercial capitalism, rather than landowning, in agricultural societies, gave the Jews of Louisiana a comparable niche in America, and they participated in the commercial aspects of a regional economy based on agricultural production. Commercial and family connections with other Jewish groups facilitated their development into a settled community. In growth and decline, Jewish communities in Louisiana and elsewhere became permanent features of the landscape and influenced, and were influenced, by the areas in which they lived.

[more]

front cover of Cacti of the Southwest
Cacti of the Southwest
Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana
Del Weniger
University of Texas Press

Del Weniger presents a beautifully illustrated account of all the cacti found in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Cactus blossoms often rival the most exotic hothouse plants for delicate beauty. Depending upon the species, they range in color from white through almost the entire spectrum of the rainbow. Nearly every plant in the five-state area is here pictured in color, usually in full bloom.

The cactus was one of the most completely new and different plants encountered by Europeans in the Americas, and the larger species, at least, easily made their presence known to even the most unobservant passerby. To the observant the cactus in its surprising variety of forms has from the beginning exercised a strong fascination. The casual student may easily identify most specimens from these illustrations, and the more serious student will find detailed keys to all of the cacti of the area.

[more]

front cover of Cajun Women and Mardi Gras
Cajun Women and Mardi Gras
Reading the Rules Backward
Carolyn E. Ware
University of Illinois Press, 2006

Cajun Women and Mardi Gras is the first book to explore the importance of women’s contributions to the country Cajun Mardi Gras tradition, or Mardi Gras “run.” Most Mardi Gras runs--masked begging processions through the countryside, led by unmasked capitaines--have customarily excluded women. Male organizers explain that this rule protects not only the tradition’s integrity but also women themselves from the event’s rowdy, often drunken, play. 
Throughout the past twentieth century, and especially in the past fifty years, women in some prairie communities have insisted on taking more active and public roles in the festivities. Carolyn E. Ware traces the history of women’s participation as it has expanded from supportive roles as cooks and costume makers to increasingly public performances as Mardi Gras clowns and (in at least one community) capitaines. Drawing on more than a decade of fieldwork interviews and observation in Mardi Gras communities, Ware focuses on the festive actions in Tee Mamou and Basile to reveal how women are reshaping the celebration as creative artists and innovative performers.

[more]

front cover of Catastrophe in the Making
Catastrophe in the Making
The Engineering of Katrina and the Disasters of Tomorrow
William R. Freudenburg, Robert Gramling, Shirley Laska, and Kai T. Erikson
Island Press, 2011
When houses are flattened, towns submerged, and people stranded without electricity or even food, we attribute the suffering to “natural disasters” or “acts of God.” But what if they’re neither? What if we, as a society, are bringing these catastrophes on ourselves?
 
That’s the provocative theory of Catastrophe in the Making, the first book to recognize Hurricane Katrina not as a “perfect storm,” but a tragedy of our own making—and one that could become commonplace.  
 
The authors, one a longtime New Orleans resident, argue that breached levees and sloppy emergency response are just the most obvious examples of government failure. The true problem is more deeply rooted and insidious, and stretches far beyond the Gulf Coast.
 
Based on the false promise of widespread prosperity, communities across the U.S. have embraced all brands of “economic development” at all costs. In Louisiana, that meant development interests turning wetlands into shipping lanes. By replacing a natural buffer against storm surges with a 75-mile long, obsolete canal that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, they guided the hurricane into the heart of New Orleans and adjacent communities. The authors reveal why, despite their geographic differences, California and Missouri are building—quite literally—toward similar destruction.
 
Too often, the U.S. “growth machine” generates wealth for a few and misery for many. Drawing lessons from the most expensive “natural” disaster in American history, Catastrophe in the Making shows why thoughtless development comes at a price we can ill afford.
[more]

front cover of Caught in the Path of Katrina
Caught in the Path of Katrina
A Survey of the Hurricane's Human Effects
By J. Steven Picou and Keith Nicholls
University of Texas Press, 2019

In 2008, three years after Hurricane Katrina cut a deadly path along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, researchers J. Steven Picou and Keith Nicholls conducted a survey of the survivors in Louisiana and Mississippi, receiving more than twenty-five hundred responses, and followed up two years later with their than five hundred of the initial respondents. Showcasing these landmark findings, Caught in the Path of Katrina: A Survey of the Hurricane's Human Effects yields a more complete understanding of the traumas endured as a result of the Storm of the Century.

The authors report on evacuation behaviors, separations from family, damage to homes, and physical and psychological conditions among residents of seven of the parishes and counties that bore the brunt of Katrina. The findings underscore the frequently disproportionate suffering of African Americans and the agonizingly slow pace of recovery. Highlighting the lessons learned, the book offers suggestions for improved governmental emergency management techniques to increase preparedness, better mitigate storm damage, and reduce the level of trauma in future disasters. Multiple major hurricanes have unleashed their destruction in the years since Katrina, making this a crucial study whose importance only continues to grow.

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front cover of Charter School City
Charter School City
What the End of Traditional Public Schools in New Orleans Means for American Education
Douglas N. Harris
University of Chicago Press, 2020
In the wake of the tragedy and destruction that came with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, public schools in New Orleans became part of an almost unthinkable experiment—eliminating the traditional public education system and completely replacing it with charter schools and school choice.  Fifteen years later, the results have been remarkable, and the complex lessons learned should alter the way we think about American education.
New Orleans became the first US city ever to adopt a school system based on the principles of markets and economics. When the state took over all of the city’s public schools, it turned them over to non-profit charter school managers accountable under performance-based contracts. Students were no longer obligated to attend a specific school based upon their address, allowing families to act like consumers and choose schools in any neighborhood. The teacher union contract, tenure, and certification rules were eliminated, giving schools autonomy and control to hire and fire as they pleased.
In Charter School City, Douglas N. Harris provides an inside look at how and why these reform decisions were made and offers many surprising findings from one of the most extensive and rigorous evaluations of a district school reform ever conducted. Through close examination of the results, Harris finds that this unprecedented experiment was a noteworthy success on almost every measurable student outcome. But, as Harris shows, New Orleans was uniquely situated for these reforms to work well and that this market-based reform still required some specific and active roles for government. Letting free markets rule on their own without government involvement will not generate the kinds of changes their advocates suggest.
 
Combining the evidence from New Orleans with that from other cities, Harris draws out the broader lessons of this unprecedented reform effort. At a time when charter school debates are more based on ideology than data, this book is a powerful, evidence-based, and in-depth look at how we can rethink the roles for governments, markets, and nonprofit organizations in education to ensure that America’s schools fulfill their potential for all students.
 
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front cover of Children of Katrina
Children of Katrina
By Alice Fothergill and Lori Peek
University of Texas Press, 2015

Winner, Betty and Alfred McClung Lee Book Award, Association for Humanist Sociology, 2016
Outstanding Scholarly Contribution Award of the Section on Children and Youth, American Sociological Association, 2016
Honorable Mention, Leo Goodman Award, Methodology Section, American Sociological Association, 2016

When children experience upheaval and trauma, adults often view them as either vulnerable and helpless or as resilient and able to easily “bounce back.” But the reality is far more complex for the children and youth whose lives are suddenly upended by disaster. How are children actually affected by catastrophic events and how do they cope with the damage and disruption?

Children of Katrina offers one of the only long-term, multiyear studies of young people following disaster. Sociologists Alice Fothergill and Lori Peek spent seven years after Hurricane Katrina interviewing and observing several hundred children and their family members, friends, neighbors, teachers, and other caregivers. In this book, they focus intimately on seven children between the ages of three and eighteen, selected because they exemplify the varied experiences of the larger group. They find that children followed three different post-disaster trajectories—declining, finding equilibrium, and fluctuating—as they tried to regain stability. The children’s moving stories illuminate how a devastating disaster affects individual health and well-being, family situations, housing and neighborhood contexts, schooling, peer relationships, and extracurricular activities. This work also demonstrates how outcomes were often worse for children who were vulnerable and living in crisis before the storm. Fothergill and Peek clarify what kinds of assistance children need during emergency response and recovery periods, as well as the individual, familial, social, and structural factors that aid or hinder children in getting that support.

[more]

front cover of Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina
Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina
Amy Koritz and George J. Sanchez, editors
University of Michigan Press, 2009

"Civic engagement has been underrated and overlooked. Koritz and Sanchez illuminate the power of what community engagement through art and culture revitalization can do to give voice to the voiceless and a sense of being to those displaced."
---Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, Wesleyan University

"This profound and eloquent collection describes and assesses the new coalitions bringing a city back to life. It's a powerful call to expand our notions of culture, social justice, and engaged scholarship. I'd put this on my 'must read' list."
---Nancy Cantor, Syracuse University

"Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina is a rich and compelling text for thinking about universities and the arts amid social crisis. Americans need to hear the voices of colleagues who were caught in Katrina's wake and who responded with commitment, creativity, and skill."
---Peter Levine, CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement)

This collection of essays documents the ways in which educational institutions and the arts community responded to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. While firmly rooted in concrete projects, Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina also addresses the larger issues raised by committed public scholarship. How can higher education institutions engage with their surrounding communities? What are the pros and cons of "asset-based" and "outreach" models of civic engagement? Is it appropriate for the private sector to play a direct role in promoting civic engagement? How does public scholarship impact traditional standards of academic evaluation? Throughout the volume, this diverse collection of essays paints a remarkably consistent and persuasive account of arts-based initiatives' ability to foster social and civic renewal.

Amy Koritz is Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Professor of English at Drew University.

George J. Sanchez is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and History at the University of Southern California.

Front and rear cover designs, photographs, and satellite imagery processing by Richard Campanella.

digitalculturebooks is an imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library dedicated to publishing innovative and accessible work exploring new media and their impact on society, culture, and scholarly communication. Visit the website at www.digitalculture.org.

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front cover of The Color of Loss
The Color of Loss
An Intimate Portrait of New Orleans after Katrina
Photographs and introduction by Dan Burkholder
University of Texas Press, 2008

The devastation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina has been imprinted in our collective visual memory by thousands of images in the media and books of dramatic photographs by Robert Polidori, Larry Towell, Chris Jordan, Debbie Fleming Caffrey, and others. New Orleanians want the world to see and respond to the destruction of their city and the suffering of its people—and yet so many images of so much destruction threaten a visual and emotional overload that would tempt us to avert our eyes and become numb.

In The Color of Loss, Dan Burkholder presents a powerful new way of seeing the ravaged homes, churches, schools, and businesses of New Orleans. Using an innovative digital photographic technology called high dynamic range (HDR) imaging, in which multiple exposures are artistically blended to bring out details in the shadows and highlights that would be hidden in conventional photographs, he creates images that are almost like paintings in their richness of color and profusion of detail. Far more intense and poetic than purely documentary photographs, Burkholder's images lure viewers to linger over the artifacts of people's lives—a child's red wagon abandoned in a mud-caked room, a molding picture of Jesus—to fully understand the havoc thrust upon the people of New Orleans.

In the deserted, sinisterly beautiful rooms of The Color of Loss, we see how much of the splendor and texture of New Orleans washed away in the flood. This is the hidden truth of Katrina that Dan Burkholder has revealed.

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front cover of Coloring Locals
Coloring Locals
Racial Formation in Katie Chopin's "Youth's Companion" Stories
Bonnie James Shaker
University of Iowa Press, 2003
Coloring Locals examines how the late nineteenth-century politics of gender, class, race, and ethnicity influenced Kate Chopin's writing for the major family periodical of her time.

Chopin's canonical status as a feminist rebel and reformer conflicts with the fact that one of her most supportive publishers throughout her life was the Youth's Companion, a juvenile periodical whose thoroughly orthodox “family values” contributed to its success as the longest-running and, at one time, most widely circulating periodical in nineteenth-century America. Not surprisingly, Chopin’s Youth’s Companion stories differ from her canonical texts in that they embrace and advance ideals of orthodox white femininity and masculinity. Rather than viewing these two representations as being at odds with each other, Bonnie Shaker asserts that Chopin's endorsement of conventional gender norms is done in the service of a second political agenda beyond her feminism, one that can help the reader appreciate nuances of identity construction previously misunderstood or overlooked in the body of her work.
Shaker articulates this second agenda as “the discursive act of coloring locals,” the narrative construction of racial difference for Louisiana peoples of African American, Native American, and French American ancestry. For Chopin, “coloring locals” meant transforming non-Louisianans’ general understanding of the Creole and Cajun as mixed-race people into “purely” white folks, this designation of whiteness being one that conferred not only social preferment but also political protections and enfranchisement in one of the most racially violent decades of U.S. history. Thus, when Chopin is concerned with coloring her beloved Louisiana Creoles and Cajuns “white,” she strategically deploys conventional femininity for the benefits it affords as a sign of middle-class respectability and belonging.
Making significant contributions both to the scholarship on Kate Chopin and on race and gender construction, this sophisticated study will be of great interest to scholars and students of nineteenth-century ethnic and cultural studies as well as Chopin scholars.
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The Commerce of Louisiana During the French Regime, 1699-1763
N. M. Miller Surrey, with an introduction by Gregory A. Waselkov
University of Alabama Press, 2006
This volume reveals the wider scope of the French political and economic situation, as well as the minutiae of common barter and trade in Louisiana during the French Régime.

By the time French colonists sought a portion of the New World’s riches, much of those resources had already been claimed by Spain and Portugal. Once settled in North America, however, they quickly turned their attentions to commerce, specifically to trade within the Louisiana region.  For almost 65 years French explorers, soldiers, administrators, and accountants focused on establishing a string of forts and small villages at key points in the Mississippi and Illinois River valleys, eastward to the Mobile River drainage, and westward toward New Mexico.  Despite a long and costly war at home, for a time it looked as though the French would be successful in controlling a vast swath of the middle of North America with routes stretching from Quebec City to New Orleans. 

Under the guidance of leaders such as LaSalle, Joliet, Father Marquette, Frontenac, Hennepin, and Bienville, the French made a good start in the lucrative trading business and established working relationships with most of the Indians of the region. But by 1763, with war in Europe and a faltering economy at home, commerce in the New World eroded along with the ability of the French to control the region and to protect their investments from the encroachment of the Spanish and English. 
 
 

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The Confederate Belle
Giselle Roberts
University of Missouri Press, 2003
While historians have examined the struggles and challenges that confronted the Southern plantation mistress during the American Civil War, until now no one has considered the ways in which the conflict shaped the lives of elite young women, otherwise known as belles. In The Confederate Belle, Giselle Roberts uses diaries, letters, and memoirs to uncover the unique wartime experiences of young ladies in Mississippi and Louisiana. In the plantation culture of the antebellum South, belles enhanced their family’s status through their appearance and accomplishments and, later, by marrying well.
During the American Civil War, a new patriotic womanhood superseded the antebellum feminine ideal. It demanded that Confederate women sacrifice everything for their beloved cause, including their men, homes, fine dresses, and social occasions, to ensure the establishment of a new nation and the preservation of elite ideas about race, class, and gender. As menfolk answered the call to arms, southern matrons had to redefine their roles as mistresses and wives. Southern belles faced a different, yet equally daunting, task. After being prepared for a delightful “bellehood,” young ladies were forced to reassess their traditional rite of passage into womanhood, to compromise their understanding of femininity at a pivotal time in their lives. They found themselves caught between antebellum traditions of honor and of gentility, a binary patriotic feminine ideal and wartime reality.
Rather than simply sacrificing their socialization for patriotic womanhood, belles drew upon southern honor to strengthen their understanding of themselves as young Confederate women. They used honor to shape and legitimize their obligations to the wartime household. They used honor to fashion their role as patriotic women. They even used honor to frame their relationship to the cause. By drawing upon this powerful concept, young ladies ensured the basic preservation of an ideology of privilege. Their unique Confederate bellehoods would ultimately shape the ways in which they viewed themselves and the changed social landscape during the conflict—and after it.
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Confederate Guerrilla
The Civil War Memoir of Joseph M. Bailey
T. Lindsay Baker
University of Arkansas Press, 2007

Joseph M. Bailey’s memoir, Confederate Guerrilla, provides a unique perspective on the fighting that took place behind Union lines in Federal-occupied northwest Arkansas during and after the Civil War. This story—now published for the first time—will appeal to modern readers interested in the grassroots history of the Trans-Mississippi war. Bailey participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge and the siege of Port Hudson, eventually escaping to northwest Arkansas where he fought as a guerrilla against Federal troops and civilian unionists. After Federal forces gained control of the area, Bailey rejoined the Confederate army and continued in regular service in northeast Texas until the end of the war.

Historians will find the descriptions of military campaigns and the observations on guerrilla war especially valuable. According to Bailey, Southern guerrillas were motivated less by a sense of loyalty to either the Confederate or Union side than by a determination to protect their families and neighbors from the “Mountain Federals.” This partisan war waged between the rebel guerrillas and Southern Unionists was essentially a “struggle for supremacy and revenge.”

Comprehensive annotations are provided by editor T. Lindsay Baker to illuminate the clarity and reliability of Bailey’s late-life memoir.

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Covenant Marriage
The Movement to Reclaim Tradition in America
Nock, Steven
Rutgers University Press, 2008
Regardless how you interpret the statistics, the divorce rate in the United States is staggering. But, what if the government could change this? Would families be better off if new public policies made it more difficult for couples to separate?


This book explores a movement that emerged over the past fifteen years, which aims to do just that. Guided by certain politicians and religious leaders who herald marriage as a solution to a range of longstanding social problems, a handful of state governments enacted "covenant marriage" laws, which require couples to choose between a conventional and a covenant marriage. While the familiar type of union requires little effort to enter and can be terminated by either party unilaterally, covenant marriage requires premarital counseling, an agreement bound by fault-based rules or lengthy waiting periods to exit, and a legal stipulation that divorce can be granted only after the couple has received counseling.


Drawing on interviews with over 700 couples-half of whom have chosen covenant unions-this book not only evaluates the viability of public policy in the intimate affairs of marriage, it also explores how growing public discourse is causing men and women to rethink the meaning of marriage.

[more]

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Creole Echoes
The Francophone Poetry of Nineteenth-Century Louisiana
Translated by Norman R. Shapiro
University of Illinois Press, 2003

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Debt, Investment, Slaves
Credit Relations in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, 1825-1885
Richard Holcombe Kilbourne
University of Alabama Press, 2013
A thorough survey of parish mortgage records and other manuscript collections led to the conclusion that most credit relationships, collateralized and uncollateralized, were grounded in slave property as opposed to land or other forms of wealth. Uncollateralized debt was directly dependent on the relative wealth of parish residents, and the bulk of most portfolios consisted of slaves.
 
Emancipation and the Civil War occasioned a monumental credit implosion from which the local economy never recovered, at least for the remainder of the 19th century. Kilbourne makes an extensive examination of postwar debt distress and the evolution of sharecropping and tenancy. Even the wealthiest households were in the throes of debt distress as was evidenced by the numerous suits by wives for separations of property.
 
A peculiar recoding requirement for crop privileges and pledges in the years from 1870 to 1880 made it possible to determine the amount of credit available in the postwar decades. Kilbourne shows that credit facilities contracted by 90 percent in the two decades following the Civil War. The decline in credit facilities parallels the decline in household wealth levels.
 
Kilbourne disagrees with earlier scholars on the role of furnishing merchants in shaping the postbellum agricultural order. Furnishing merchants did become relatively more important in financing agriculture in the postwar decade, but they were not the successors of antebellum firms. Local merchants actually provided less credit than they had furnished before the Civil War to small cotton farmers who had made up two-thirds of the growers in the parish in 1860.
 
Slavery made for a unique labor market, and this situation influenced the evolution of the credit system in the region. Emancipation was a revolutionary break with what had gone before. The focus of the credit system shifted from slaves to cotton. Land did form most postbellum planter portfolios, but it did not fill the void left by emancipation, and wealth levels remained substantially below antebellum ones. The credit system became highly localized in the postwar decades, and this fact was instrumental in shaping postbellum planting arrangements.
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Degrees of Freedom
Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery
Rebecca J. Scott
Harvard University Press, 2008

As Louisiana and Cuba emerged from slavery in the late nineteenth century, each faced the question of what rights former slaves could claim. Degrees of Freedom compares and contrasts these two societies in which slavery was destroyed by war, and citizenship was redefined through social and political upheaval. Both Louisiana and Cuba were rich in sugar plantations that depended on an enslaved labor force. After abolition, on both sides of the Gulf of Mexico, ordinary people—cane cutters and cigar workers, laundresses and labor organizers—forged alliances to protect and expand the freedoms they had won. But by the beginning of the twentieth century, Louisiana and Cuba diverged sharply in the meanings attributed to race and color in public life, and in the boundaries placed on citizenship.

Louisiana had taken the path of disenfranchisement and state-mandated racial segregation; Cuba had enacted universal manhood suffrage and had seen the emergence of a transracial conception of the nation. What might explain these differences?

Moving through the cane fields, small farms, and cities of Louisiana and Cuba, Rebecca Scott skillfully observes the people, places, legislation, and leadership that shaped how these societies adjusted to the abolition of slavery. The two distinctive worlds also come together, as Cuban exiles take refuge in New Orleans in the 1880s, and black soldiers from Louisiana garrison small towns in eastern Cuba during the 1899 U.S. military occupation.

Crafting her narrative from the words and deeds of the actors themselves, Scott brings to life the historical drama of race and citizenship in postemancipation societies.

[more]

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Delirious New Orleans
Manifesto for an Extraordinary American City
By Stephen Verderber
University of Texas Press, 2008

Winner, Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize, Vernacular Architecture Forum, 2010

From iconic neighborhoods such as the French Quarter and the Garden District to more economically modest but no less culturally vibrant areas, architecture is a key element that makes New Orleans an extraordinary American city. Delirious New Orleans began as a documentary project to capture the idiosyncratic vernacular architecture and artifacts—vintage mom-and-pop businesses, roadside motels, live music clubs, neon signs, wall murals, fast-food joints, and so on—that helped give the city's various neighborhoods their unique character. But because so many of these places and artifacts were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Delirious New Orleans has become both a historical record of what existed in the past and a blueprint for what must be rebuilt and restored to retain the city's unique multicultural landscape.

Stephen Verderber starts with the premise that New Orleans's often-overlooked neighborhoods imbue the city with deep authenticity as a place. He opens Delirious New Orleans with a photo-essay that vividly presents this vernacular architecture and its artifacts, both before Katrina and in its immediate aftermath. In the following sections of the book, which are also heavily illustrated, Verderber takes us on a tour of the city's commercial vernacular architecture, as well as the expressive folk architecture of its African American neighborhoods. He discusses how the built environment was profoundly shaped by New Orleans's history of race and class inequities and political maneuvering, along with its peculiar, below-sea-level geography. Verderber also considers the aftermath of Katrina and the armada of faceless FEMA trailers that have, at least temporarily and by default, transformed this urban landscape.

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Desire and Disaster in New Orleans
Tourism, Race, and Historical Memory
Lynnell L. Thomas
Duke University Press, 2014
Most of the narratives packaged for New Orleans's many tourists cultivate a desire for black culture—jazz, cuisine, dance—while simultaneously targeting black people and their communities as sources and sites of political, social, and natural disaster. In this timely book, the Americanist and New Orleans native Lynnell L. Thomas delves into the relationship between tourism, cultural production, and racial politics. She carefully interprets the racial narratives embedded in tourism websites, travel guides, business periodicals, and newspapers; the thoughts of tour guides and owners; and the stories told on bus and walking tours as they were conducted both before and after Katrina. She describes how, with varying degrees of success, African American tour guides, tour owners, and tourism industry officials have used their own black heritage tours and tourism-focused businesses to challenge exclusionary tourist representations. Taking readers from the Lower Ninth Ward to the White House, Thomas highlights the ways that popular culture and public policy converge to create a mythology of racial harmony that masks a long history of racial inequality and structural inequity.
[more]

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Disenchanting Les Bons Temps
Identity and Authenticity in Cajun Music and Dance
Charles J. Stivale
Duke University Press, 2003
The expression laissez les bons temps rouler—"let the good times roll"—conveys the sense of exuberance and good times associated with southern Louisiana’s vibrant cultural milieu. Yet, for Cajuns, descendants of French settlers exiled from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the mid-eighteenth century, this sense of celebration has always been mixed with sorrow. By focusing on Cajun music and dance and the ways they convey the dual experiences of joy and pain, Disenchanting Les Bons Temps illuminates the complexities of Cajun culture. Charles J. Stivale shows how vexed issues of cultural identity and authenticity are negotiated through the rich expressions of emotion, sensation, sound, and movement in Cajun music and dance.

Stivale combines his personal knowledge and love of Cajun music and dance with the theoretical insights of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to consider representations of things Cajun. He examines the themes expressed within the lyrics of the Cajun musical repertoire and reflects on the ways Cajun cultural practices are portrayed in different genres including feature films, documentaries, and instructional dance videos. He analyzes the dynamic exchanges between musicians, dancers, and spectators at such venues as bars and music festivals. He also considers a number of thorny socio-political issues underlying Cajun culture, including racial tensions and linguistic isolation. At the same time, he describes various efforts by contemporary musicians and their fans to transcend the limitations of cultural stereotypes and social exclusion.

Disenchanting Les Bons Temps will appeal to those interested in Cajun culture, issues of race and ethnicity, music and dance, and the intersection of French and Francophone studies with Anglo and American cultural studies.

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Displaced
Life in the Katrina Diaspora
Edited by Lynn Weber and Lori Peek
University of Texas Press, 2012

Hurricane Katrina forced the largest and most abrupt displacement in U.S. history. About 1.5 million people evacuated from the Gulf Coast preceding Katrina’s landfall. New Orleans, a city of 500,000, was nearly emptied of life after the hurricane and flooding. Katrina survivors eventually scattered across all fifty states, and tens of thousands still remain displaced. Some are desperate to return to the Gulf Coast but cannot find the means. Others have chosen to make their homes elsewhere. Still others found a way to return home but were unable to stay due to the limited availability of social services, educational opportunities, health care options, and affordable housing.

The contributors to Displaced have been following the lives of Katrina evacuees since 2005. In this illuminating book, they offer the first comprehensive analysis of the experiences of the displaced. Drawing on research in thirteen communities in seven states across the country, the contributors describe the struggles that evacuees have faced in securing life-sustaining resources and rebuilding their lives. They also recount the impact that the displaced have had on communities that initially welcomed them and then later experienced “Katrina fatigue” as the ongoing needs of evacuees strained local resources. Displaced reveals that Katrina took a particularly heavy toll on households headed by low-income African American women who lost the support provided by local networks of family and friends. It also shows the resilience and resourcefulness of Katrina evacuees who have built new networks and partnered with community organizations and religious institutions to create new lives in the diaspora.

[more]

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Driven from New Orleans
How Nonprofits Betray Public Housing and Promote Privatization
John Arena
University of Minnesota Press, 2012

In the early 1980s the tenant leaders of the New Orleans St. Thomas public housing development and their activist allies were militant, uncompromising defenders of the city’s public housing communities. Yet ten years later these same leaders became actively involved in a planning effort to privatize and downsize their community—an effort that would drastically reduce the number of affordable apartments. What happened? John Arena—a longtime community and labor activist in New Orleans—explores this drastic change in Driven from New Orleans, exposing the social disaster visited on the city’s black urban poor long before the natural disaster of Katrina magnified their plight.

Arena argues that the key to understanding New Orleans’s public housing transformation from public to private is the co-optation of grassroots activists into a government and foundation-funded nonprofit complex. He shows how the nonprofit model created new political allegiances and financial benefits for activists, moving them into a strategy of insider negotiations that put the profit-making agenda of real estate interests above the material needs of black public housing residents. In their turn, white developers and the city’s black political elite embraced this newfound political “realism” because it legitimized the regressive policies of removing poor people and massively downsizing public housing, all in the guise of creating a new racially integrated, “mixed-income” community.

In tracing how this shift occurred, Driven from New Orleans reveals the true nature, and the true cost, of reforms promoted by an alliance of a neoliberal government, nonprofits, community activists, and powerful real estate interests.

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Earthen Walls, Iron Men
Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, and the Defense of Red River
Steven M. Mayeux
University of Tennessee Press, 2007
“This book will be of great use to historians of the western theatre of the Civil War, to the reader of nineteenth-century history, and to students of the undergraduate and graduate levels. -Gary D. Joiner, author of Through the Howling Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West

Earthen Walls, Iron Men tells the story of Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, a major Confederate fortification that defended the lower Red River in 1863-64 during the last stages of the Civil War. Long regarded as little more than a footnote by historians, the fort in fact played a critical role in the defense of the Red River region. The Red River Campaign was one of the Confederacy's last great triumphs of the war, and only the end of the conflict saved the reputations of Union leaders who had recently been so successful at Vicksburg. Fort DeRussy was the linchpin of the Confederates' tactical and strategic victory.

Steven M. Mayeux does more than just tell the story of the fort from the military perspective; it goes deeper to closely examine the lives of the people that served in-and lived around-Fort DeRussy. Through a thorough examination of local documents, Mayeux has uncovered the fascinating stories that reveal for the first time what wartime life was like for those living in central Louisiana.

In this book, the reader will meet soldiers and slaves, plantation owners and Jayhawkers, elderly women and newborn babies, all of whom played important roles in making the history of Fort DeRussy. Mayeux presents an unvarnished portrait of the life at the fort, devoid of any romanticized notions, but more accurately capturing the utter humanity of those who built it, defended it, attacked it, and lived around it.

Earthen Walls, Iron Men intertwines the stories of naval battles and military actions with those human elements such as greed, theft, murder, and courage to create a vibrant, relevant history that will appeal to all who seek to know what real life was like during the Civil War.

Steve Mayeux is a graduate of LSU and a former Marine officer. His work as an agricultural consultant in the central Louisiana area for the past thirty years has given him a great appreciation for the history and geography of the lower Red River.
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Educating the Sons of Sugar
Jefferson College and the Creole Planter Class of South Louisiana
R. Eric Platt
University of Alabama Press, 2017
A study of Louisiana French Creole sugar planters’ role in higher education and a detailed history of the only college ever constructed to serve the sugar elite

The education of individual planter classes—cotton, tobacco, sugar—is rarely treated in works of southern history. Of the existing literature, higher education is typically relegated to a footnote, providing only brief glimpses into a complex instructional regime responsive to wealthy planters. R. Eric Platt’s Educating the Sons of Sugar allows for a greater focus on the mindset of French Creole sugar planters and provides a comprehensive record and analysis of a private college supported by planter wealth.
 
Jefferson College was founded in St. James Parish in 1831, surrounded by slave-holding plantations and their cash crop, sugar cane. Creole planters (regionally known as the “ancienne population”) designed the college to impart a “genteel” liberal arts education through instruction, architecture, and geographic location. Jefferson College played host to social class rivalries (Creole, Anglo-American, and French immigrant), mirrored the revival of Catholicism in a region typified by secular mores, was subject to the “Americanization” of south Louisiana higher education, and reflected the ancienne population’s decline as Louisiana’s ruling population.
 
Resulting from loss of funds, the college closed in 1848. It opened and closed three more times under varying administrations (French immigrant, private sugar planter, and Catholic/Marist) before its final closure in 1927 due to educational competition, curricular intransigence, and the 1927 Mississippi River flood. In 1931, the campus was purchased by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and reopened as a silent religious retreat. It continues to function to this day as the Manresa House of Retreats. While in existence, Jefferson College was a social thermometer for the white French Creole sugar planter ethos that instilled the “sons of sugar” with a cultural heritage resonant of a region typified by the management of plantations, slavery, and the production of sugar.
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Exiles at Home
The Struggle to Become American in Creole New Orleans
Shirley Elizabeth Thompson
Harvard University Press, 2009

New Orleans has always captured our imagination as an exotic city in its racial ambiguity and pursuit of les bons temps. Despite its image as a place apart, the city played a key role in nineteenth-century America as a site for immigration and pluralism, the quest for equality, and the centrality of self-making.

In both the literary imagination and the law, creoles of color navigated life on a shifting color line. As they passed among various racial categories and through different social spaces, they filtered for a national audience the meaning of the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution of 1804, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and de jure segregation.

Shirley Thompson offers a moving study of a world defined by racial and cultural double consciousness. In tracing the experiences of creoles of color, she illuminates the role ordinary Americans played in shaping an understanding of identity and belonging.

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Fleur de Lys and Calumet
Being the Penicaut Narrative of French Adventure in Louisiana
Edited by Richebourg McWilliams
University of Alabama Press, 1988

Andre Penicaut, a carpenter, sailed with Iberville to the French province of Louisiana in 1699 and did not return to France until 1721. The book he began in the province and finished upon his return to France is an eyewitness account of the first years of the French colony, which stretched along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas and in the Mississippi Valley from the Balize to the Illinois country. As a ship carpenter, Penicaut was chosen as a member of several important expeditions: he accompanied Le Sueur up the Mississippi River in 1700 to present-day Minnesota, and he went with Juchereau de St. Denis on the first journey from Mobile to the Red River and overland to the Rio Grande, to open trade with the Spaniards in Mexico. Penicaut helped to build the first post in Louisiana, at Old Biloxi, and the second post on the Mobile River.

Penicaut was at his best when describing the lives and social customs of the Indians of the region. He saw them in realistic terms, showing no prejudice toward their native habits. Neither were his French colleagues cast in heroic or villainous molds—though their accomplishments must strike modern readers as truly epic.

When first published, Fleur de Lys and Calumet was a major stimulus to scholarship in the field. This new edition will be welcomed by a new generation of scholars and readers interested in the colonial history of the Deep South and the Mississippi Valley.

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Good God but You Smart!
Language Prejudice and Upwardly Mobile Cajuns
Nichole E. Stanford
Utah State University Press, 2016
Taking Cajuns as a case study, Good God but You Smart! explores the subtle ways language bias is used in classrooms, within families, and in pop culture references to enforce systemic economic inequality. It is the first book in composition studies to examine comprehensively, and from an insider’s perspective, the cultural and linguistic assimilation of Cajuns in Louisiana.
 
The study investigates the complicated motivations and cultural concessions of upwardly mobile Cajuns who “choose” to self-censor—to speak Standardized English over the Cajun English that carries their cultural identity. Drawing on surveys of English teachers in four Louisiana colleges, previously unpublished archival data, and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of the legitimate language, author Nichole Stanford explores how socioeconomic and political pressures rooted in language prejudice make code switching, or self-censoring in public, seem a responsible decision. Yet teaching students to skirt others’ prejudice toward certain dialects only puts off actually dealing with the prejudice. Focusing on what goes on outside classrooms, Stanford critiques code switching and cautions users of code meshing that pedagogical responses within the educational system are limited by the reproductive function of schools. Each theory section includes parallel memoir sections in the Cajun tradition of storytelling to open an experiential window to the study without technical language.
 
Through its explication of language legitimacy and its grounding in lived experience, Good God but You Smart! is an essential addition to the pedagogical canon of language minority studies like those of Villanueva, Gilyard, Smitherman, and Rose.
 
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Insatiable City
Food and Race in New Orleans
Theresa McCulla
University of Chicago Press, 2024
A history of food in the Crescent City that explores race, power, social status, and labor.
 
In Insatiable City, Theresa McCulla probes the overt and covert ways that the production of food and the discourse about it both created and reinforced many strains of inequality in New Orleans, a city significantly defined by its foodways. Tracking the city’s economy from nineteenth-century chattel slavery to twentieth-century tourism, McCulla uses menus, cookbooks, newspapers, postcards, photography, and other material culture to limn the interplay among the production and reception of food, the inscription and reiteration of racial hierarchies, and the constant diminishment and exploitation of working-class people. The consumption of food and people, she shows, was mutually reinforced and deeply intertwined. Yet she also details how enslaved and free people of color in New Orleans used food and drink to carve paths of mobility, stability, autonomy, freedom, profit, and joy. A story of pain and pleasure, labor and leisure, Insatiable City goes far beyond the task of tracing New Orleans's culinary history to focus on how food suffuses culture and our understandings and constructions of race and power.
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Is This America?
Katrina as Cultural Trauma
By Ron Eyerman
University of Texas Press, 2015

From police on the street, to the mayor of New Orleans and FEMA administrators, government officials monumentally failed to protect the most vulnerable residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast during the Katrina disaster. This violation of the social contract undermined the foundational narratives and myths of the American nation and spawned a profound, often contentious public debate over the meaning of Katrina’s devastation. A wide range of voices and images attempted to clarify what happened, name those responsible, identify the victims, and decide what should be done. This debate took place in forums ranging from mass media and the political arena to the arts and popular culture, as various narratives emerged and competed to tell the story of Katrina.

Is This America? explores how Katrina has been constructed as a cultural trauma in print media, the arts and popular culture, and television coverage. Using stories told by the New York Times, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Time, Newsweek, NBC, and CNN, as well as the works of artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and graphic designers, Ron Eyerman analyzes how these narratives publicly articulated collective pain and loss. He demonstrates that, by exposing a foundational racial cleavage in American society, these expressions of cultural trauma turned individual experiences of suffering during Katrina into a national debate about the failure of the white majority in the United States to care about the black minority.

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Katrina
A History, 1915–2015
Andy Horowitz
Harvard University Press, 2020

Winner of the Bancroft Prize
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Book of the Year


“The main thrust of Horowitz’s account is to make us understand Katrina—the civic calamity, not the storm itself—as a consequence of decades of bad decisions by humans, not an unanticipated caprice of nature.”
—Nicholas Lemann, New Yorker

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans on August 29, 2005, but the decisions that caused the disaster can be traced back nearly a century. After the city weathered a major hurricane in 1915, its Sewerage and Water Board believed that developers could safely build housing near the Mississippi, on lowlands that relied on significant government subsidies to stay dry. When the flawed levee system failed, these were the neighborhoods that were devastated.

The flood line tells one important story about Katrina, but it is not the only story that matters. Andy Horowitz investigates the response to the flood, when policymakers made it easier for white New Orleanians to return home than for African Americans. He explores how the profits and liabilities created by Louisiana’s oil industry have been distributed unevenly, prompting dreams of abundance and a catastrophic land loss crisis that continues today.

“Masterful…Disasters have the power to reveal who we are, what we value, what we’re willing—and unwilling—to protect.”
New York Review of Books

“If you want to read only one book to better understand why people in positions of power in government and industry do so little to address climate change, even with wildfires burning and ice caps melting and extinctions becoming a daily occurrence, this is the one.”
Los Angeles Review of Books

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Katrina's Imprint
Race and Vulnerability in America
Wailoo, Keith
Rutgers University Press, 2010
Katrina's Imprint highlights the power of this sentinel American event and its continuing reverberations in contemporary politics, culture, and public policy. Published on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the multidisciplinary volume reflects on how history, location, access to transportation, health care, and social position feed resilience, recovery, and prospects for the future of New Orleans and the Gulf region. Essays examine the intersecting vulnerabilities that gave rise to the disaster, explore the cultural and psychic legacies of the storm, reveal how the process of rebuilding and starting over replicates past vulnerabilities, and analyze Katrina's imprint alongside American's myths of self-sufficiency. A case study of new weaknesses that have emerged in our era, this book offers an argument for why we cannot wait for the next disaster before we apply the lessons that should be learned from Katrina.
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The Kings of Casino Park
Black Baseball in the Lost Season of 1932
Thomas Aiello
University of Alabama Press, 2011
In the 1930s, Monroe, Louisiana, was a town of twenty-six thousand in the northeastern corner of the state, an area described by the New Orleans Item as the “lynch law center of Louisiana.” race relations were bad, and the Depression was pitiless for most, especially for the working class—a great many of whom had no work at all or seasonal work at best. Yet for a few years in the early 1930s, this unlikely spot was home to the Monarchs, a national-caliber Negro League baseball team. Crowds of black and white fans eagerly filled their segregated grandstand seats to see the players who would become the only World Series team Louisiana would ever generate, and the first from the American South.
 
By 1932, the team had as good a claim to the national baseball championship of black America as any other. Partisans claim, with merit, that league officials awarded the National Championship to the Chicago American Giants in flagrant violation of the league’s own rules: times were hard and more people would pay to see a Chicago team than an outfit from the Louisiana back country. Black newspapers in the South rallied to support Monroe’s cause, railing against the league and the bias of black newspapers in the North, but the decision, unfair though it may have been, was also the only financially feasible option for the league’s besieged leadership, who were struggling to maintain a black baseball league in the midst of the Great Depression.
 
Aiello addresses long-held misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Monarchs’ 1932 season. He tells the almost-unknown story of the team—its time, its fortunes, its hometown—and positions black baseball in the context of American racial discrimination. He illuminates the culture-changing power of a baseball team and the importance of sport in cultural and social history.
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The Last of the Ofos
Geary Hobson
University of Arizona Press, 2000
Thomas Darko is a Mohican for the twentieth century, the last surviving member of the tiny Mosopelea Tribe of the Mississippi Delta, called Ofos by outsiders. Never numbering more than a few hundred people in recorded history, his kinsmen have died away until Thomas comes to think of himself as "a nation of one." Now an old man in the waning years of the century, Thomas tells the story of his rough-and-tumble life--one which saw many of the changes that Indian people have faced in modern America—and he emerges as one of the most endearing characters in contemporary Native American literature.

In this subtle but inventive novel, presented as Thomas's memoirs, Geary Hobson offers us a glimpse into a life filled with simple joys and sorrows. In relating his Louisiana childhood, Thomas recalls not just school-learning but being taught Indian ways by the small Ofo community. He tells of his life as a roustabout in the oil fields, of his courtship of the rambunctious Sally Fachette, and of his career as a bootlegger, which landed him in prison. We share Thomas's wartime stint with the Marines—where "for the first time in my life I was treated like a equal"—and his life as a farm laborer and a Hollywood extra portraying warbonneted Cheyennes. Then in his later years, when he truly has become the last of his kind, we find Thomas recruited by an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution to preserve his people's culture. In Washington, he is exposed to the vagaries of Indian policy and the emerging Native American movement.

Throughout Thomas's story, readers are introduced to a wide-ranging cast of characters, from the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde to a fellow Marine who is wary of Indians, to an uppity anthropologist who doesn't consider Thomas "expert" enough to handle an Ofo flute. Always poor in material wealth but rich in heritage, Thomas Darko is a Native American Everyman whose identity is shaped by family and homeland. His "autobiography" paints a realistic portrait of an Indian confronting the obstacles in his life and the dilemmas of his age as his story reveals the painful legacy of being the last of one's kind.
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Left to Chance
Hurricane Katrina and the Story of Two New Orleans Neighborhoods
By Steve Kroll-Smith, Vern Baxter, and Pam Jenkins
University of Texas Press, 2015

How do survivors recover from the worst urban flood in American history, a disaster that destroyed nearly the entire physical landscape of a city, as well as the mental and emotional maps that people use to navigate their everyday lives? This question has haunted the survivors of Hurricane Katrina and informed the response to the subsequent flooding of New Orleans across many years.

Left to Chance takes us into two African American neighborhoods—working-class Hollygrove and middle-class Pontchartrain Park—to learn how their residents have experienced “Miss Katrina” and the long road back to normal life. The authors spent several years gathering firsthand accounts of the flooding, the rushed evacuations that turned into weeks- and months-long exile, and the often confusing and exhausting process of rebuilding damaged homes in a city whose local government had all but failed. As the residents’ stories make vividly clear, government and social science concepts such as “disaster management,” “restoring normality,” and “recovery” have little meaning for people whose worlds were washed away in the flood. For the neighbors in Hollygrove and Pontchartrain Park, life in the aftermath of Katrina has been a passage from all that was familiar and routine to an ominous world filled with raw existential uncertainty. Recovery and rebuilding become processes imbued with mysteries, accidental encounters, and hasty adaptations, while victories and defeats are left to chance.

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Living with the Louisiana Shore
Joseph T. Kelley, Alice R. Kelley, Orrin Pilkey Sr., and Albert Clark
Duke University Press, 1984
Nowhere in America is there a more beautiful, more varied, or more endangered shoreline than in Louisiana. Because of its setting at the mouth of the Mississippi River, Louisiana differs from other coastal states. In addition to long stretches of sandy beach there are 12,000 square miles of marsh along the coast. Although the state's shoreline has not yet experienced the urban sprawl of a New Jersey or Florida, two-thirds of all Louisianans now live within a two-hour drive of salt marsh. The oil industry is expanding and competing for space and resources.

But the most striking feature of Louisiana's coastline is rapidly accelerating change, which means (1) some coastal parishes may literally disappear by the year 2000; (2) the loss of marshland will damage the prolific seafood industry; (3) a retreating coastline could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues from offshore oil facilities; (4) present and potential shoreline residents will face many new problems and possibilities.

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The Louisiana and Arkansas Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore
Clarence Bloomfield Moore
University of Alabama Press, 2004

A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication

The ninth and final volume in the C.B. Moore reprint series that covers archaeological discoveries along North American Waterways.

Clarence B. Moore (1852-1936), a wealthy Philadelphia socialite, paper company heir, and photographer, made the archaeology of the Southeast his passion. Beginning in the 1870s, Moore systematically explored prehistoric sites along the major waterways of the region, from the Ohio River south to Florida and as far west as Texas, publishing his findings, at his own expense, with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

This volume, the final in a series of nine, includes Moore’s investigations along waterways of Arkansas and Louisiana—the Ouachita, Red, Saline, Black, Tensas, and Atchafalaya Rivers—in three complete field sessions ending in 1909, 1912, and 1913. He located and mapped more than 185 mounds and cemeteries. Artifacts recovered in this territory, such as ceramic effigy pots, earthenware pipes, arrowheads, celts, and projectile points, include some of the most important ones discovered by Moore in his 47 years of excavating. Included in this volume is a CD containing the 69 color illustrations from all the original expedition volumes.

The elaborate earthwork of Poverty Point, located in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, is perhaps the most remarkable archaeological site presented in the volume. In some cases, Moore documented sites along the tributaries that have since been destroyed by river action or looters. In other cases, the National Register of Historic Sites and concerned landowners in Arkansas and Louisiana have preserved the record of aboriginal peoples and their life ways that was first illuminated by Moore's sophisticated study.

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Louisiana Place Names of Indian Origin
A Collection of Words
William A. Read, edited and with an introduction by George M. Riser
University of Alabama Press, 2008

His writings spanned five decades and have been instrumental across a wide range of academic disciplines. Most importantly, Read devoted a good portion of his research to the meaning of place names in the southeastern United States—especially as they related to Indian word adoption by Europeans.

This volume includes his three Louisiana articles combined: Louisiana: Louisiana Place-Names of Indian Origin (1927), More Indian Place-Names in Louisiana (1928), and Indian Words (1931). Joining Alabama's reprint of Indian Places Names in Alabama and Florida Place Names of Indian Origin and Seminole Personal Names, this volume completes the republication of the southern place name writings of William A. Read. 

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Louisianians in the Civil War
Edited & Intro by Lawrence Lee Hewitt & Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr.
University of Missouri Press, 2002
Louisianians in the Civil War brings to the forefront the suffering endured by Louisianians during and after the war—hardships more severe than those suffered by the majority of residents in the Confederacy. The wealthiest southern state before the Civil War, Louisiana was the poorest by 1880. Such economic devastation negatively affected most segments of the state’s population, and the fighting that contributed to this financial collapse further fragmented Louisiana’s culturally diverse citizenry. The essays in this book deal with the differing segments of Louisiana’s society and their interactions with one another.
Louisiana was as much a multicultural society during the Civil War as the United States is today. One manner in which this diversity manifested itself was in the turning of neighbor against neighbor. This volume lays the groundwork for demonstrating that strongholds of Unionist sentiment existed beyond the mountainous regions of the Confederacy and, to a lesser extent, that foreigners and African Americans could surpass white, native-born Southerners in their support of the Lost Cause. Some of the essays deal with the attitudes and hardships the war inflicted on different classes of civilians (sugar planters, slaves, Union sympathizers, and urban residents, especially women), while others deal with specific minority groups or with individuals.
Written by leading scholars of Civil War history, Louisianians in the Civil War provides the reader a rich understanding of the complex ordeals of Louisiana and her people. Students, scholars, and the general reader will welcome this fine addition to Civil War studies.
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Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith
New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina
Vincanne Adams
Duke University Press, 2013
Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith is an ethnographic account of long-term recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is also a sobering exploration of the privatization of vital social services under market-driven governance. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, public agencies subcontracted disaster relief to private companies that turned the humanitarian work of recovery into lucrative business. These enterprises profited from the very suffering that they failed to ameliorate, producing a second-order disaster that exacerbated inequalities based on race and class and leaving residents to rebuild almost entirely on their own.

Filled with the often desperate voices of residents who returned to New Orleans, Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith describes the human toll of disaster capitalism and the affect economy it has produced. While for-profit companies delayed delivery of federal resources to returning residents, faith-based and nonprofit groups stepped in to rebuild, compelled by the moral pull of charity and the emotional rewards of volunteer labor. Adams traces the success of charity efforts, even while noting an irony of neoliberalism, which encourages the very same for-profit companies to exploit these charities as another market opportunity. In so doing, the companies profit not once but twice on disaster.

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Measuring the Flow of Time
The Works of James A. Ford, 1935-1941
James A. Ford, edited by R. Lee Lyman and Michael J. O'Brien
University of Alabama Press, 1999

A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication


This collection of Ford's works focuses on the development of ceramic chronology—a key tool in Americanist archaeology.

 

When James Ford began archaeological fieldwork in 1927, scholars divided time simply into prehistory and history. Though certainly influenced by his colleagues, Ford devoted his life to establishing a chronology for prehistory based on ceramic types, and today he deserves credit for bringing chronological order to the vast archaeological record of the Mississippi Valley.


 

This book collects Ford's seminal writings showing the importance of pottery styles in dating sites, population movements, and cultures. These works defined the development of ceramic chronology that culminated in the major volume Archaeological Survey in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, 1940-1947, which Ford wrote with Philip Phillips and James B. Griffin. In addition to Ford's early writings, the collection includes articles written with Griffin and Gordon Willey, as well as other key papers by Henry Collins and Fred Kniffen.


 

Editors Michael O'Brien and Lee Lyman have written an introduction that sets the stage for each chapter and provides a cohesive framework from which to examine Ford's ideas. A foreword by Willey, himself a participant in this chronology development, looks back on the origin of that method. Measuring the Flow of Time traces the development of culture history in American archaeology by providing a single reference for all of Ford's writing on chronology. It chronicles the formation of one of the most important tools for understanding the prehistory of North America and shows its lasting relevance.


 

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Murder in New Orleans
The Creation of Jim Crow Policing
Jeffrey S. Adler
University of Chicago Press, 2019

New Orleans in the 1920s and 1930s was a deadly place. In 1925, the city’s homicide rate was six times that of New York City and twelve times that of Boston. Jeffrey S. Adler has explored every homicide recorded in New Orleans between 1925 and 1940—over two thousand in all—scouring police and autopsy reports, old interviews, and crumbling newspapers. More than simply quantifying these cases, Adler places them in larger contexts—legal, political, cultural, and demographic—and emerges with a tale of racism, urban violence, and vicious policing that has startling relevance for today.

Murder in New Orleans shows that whites were convicted of homicide at far higher rates than blacks leading up to the mid-1920s. But by the end of the following decade, this pattern had reversed completely, despite an overall drop in municipal crime rates. The injustice of this sharp rise in arrests was compounded by increasingly brutal treatment of black subjects by the New Orleans police department. Adler explores other counterintuitive trends in violence, particularly how murder soared during the flush times of the Roaring Twenties, how it plummeted during the Great Depression, and how the vicious response to African American crime occurred even as such violence plunged in frequency—revealing that the city’s cycle of racial policing and punishment was connected less to actual patterns of wrongdoing than to the national enshrinement of Jim Crow. Rather than some hyperviolent outlier, this Louisiana city was a harbinger of the endemic racism at the center of today’s criminal justice state. Murder in New Orleans lays bare how decades-old crimes, and the racially motivated cruelty of the official response, have baleful resonance in the age of Black Lives Matter.

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Mushrooms of the Gulf Coast States
A Field Guide to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida
By Alan E. Bessette, Arleen F. Bessette, and David P. Lewis
University of Texas Press, 2019

The weather patterns and topography of America's Gulf Coast create favorable growing conditions for thousands of species of mushrooms, but the complete region has generally gone uncharted when it comes to mycology. Mushrooms of the Gulf Coast States at last delivers an in-depth, high-quality, user-friendly field guide, featuring more than 1,000 common and lesser-known species—some of which are being illustrated in color for the first time.

Using easily identifiable characteristics and a color key, the authors enable anyone, whether amateur mushroom hunter or professional mycologist, to discern and learn about the numerous species of mushrooms encountered in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Wild-food enthusiasts will appreciate the information on edibility or toxicity that accompanies each description, and they will also find the book’s detailed instructions for collecting, cleaning, testing, preserving, and cooking wild mushrooms to be of great interest. Providing encyclopedic knowledge in a handy format that fits in a backpack, Mushrooms of the Gulf Coast States is a must-have for any mushroom lover.

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My Bayou
New Orleans through the Eyes of a Lover
Constance Adler
Michigan State University Press, 2012

A vividly described and intensely personal memoir, My Bayou charts a personal and spiritual transformation along the fabled banks of Bayou Saint John in New Orleans. When Constance Adler moves to New Orleans, she begins what becomes a lasting love affair with the city, and especially the bayou—a living entity and the beating heart of local culture. Rites of passage, celebrations, mysterious accidents, and magic all take place on its banks, leading Adler to a vibrant awareness of the power of being part of a community. That faith is tested in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and is ultimately proven right, as Bayou Saint John begins to rebuild.

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Nature, Culture, and Big Old Trees
Live Oaks and Ceibas in the Landscapes of Louisiana and Guatemala
By Kit Anderson
University of Texas Press, 2004

Big old trees inspire our respect and even affection. The poet Walt Whitman celebrated a Louisiana live oak that was solitary "in a wide flat space, / Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near." Groves and alleys of live oaks remain as distinctive landscape features on Louisiana's antebellum plantations, while massive individuals still cast their shade over churches, graveyards, parks, and roads. Cajuns have adopted the "Evangeline Oak" as one of their symbols. And the attachment that Louisianians feel for live oaks is equaled by that of Guatemalans for ceibas, the national tree of Guatemala. Long before Europeans came to the Americas, the ceiba, tallest of all native species, was the Mayan world tree, the center of the universe. Today, many ceibas remain as centers of Guatemalan towns, spreading their branches over the central plaza and marketplace.

In this compelling book, Kit Anderson creates a vibrant portrait of the relationship between people and trees in Louisiana and Guatemala. Traveling in both regions, she examined and photographed many old live oaks and ceibas and collected the stories and symbolism that have grown up around them. She describes who planted the trees and why, how the trees have survived through many human generations, and the rich meanings they hold for people today. Anderson also recounts the natural history of live oaks and ceibas to show what human use of the landscape has meant for the trees. This broad perspective, blending cultural geography and natural history, adds a new dimension to our understanding of how big old trees and the places they help create become deeply meaningful, even sacred, for human beings.

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The Neoliberal Deluge
Hurricane Katrina, Late Capitalism, and the Remaking of New Orleans
Cedric Johnson
University of Minnesota Press, 2011

Katrina was not just a hurricane. The death, destruction, and misery wreaked on New Orleans cannot be blamed on nature’s fury alone. This volume of essays locates the root causes of the 2005 disaster squarely in neoliberal restructuring and examines how pro-market reforms are reshaping life, politics, economy, and the built environment in New Orleans.

The authors—a diverse group writing from the disciplines of sociology, political science, education, public policy, and media theory—argue that human agency and public policy choices were more at fault for the devastation and mass suffering experienced along the Gulf Coast than were sheer forces of nature. The harrowing images of flattened homes, citizens stranded on rooftops, patients dying in makeshift hospitals, and dead bodies floating in floodwaters exposed the moral and political contradictions of neoliberalism—the ideological rejection of the planner state and the active promotion of a new order of market rule.

Many of these essays offer critical insights on the saga of postdisaster reconstruction. Challenging triumphal narratives of civic resiliency and universal recovery, the authors bring to the fore pitched battles over labor rights, gender and racial justice, gentrification, the development of city master plans, the demolition of public housing, policing, the privatization of public schools, and roiling tensions between tourism-based economic growth and neighborhood interests. The contributors also expand and deepen more conventional critiques of “disaster capitalism” to consider how the corporate mobilization of philanthropy and public good will are remaking New Orleans in profound and pernicious ways.

Contributors: Barbara L. Allen, Virginia Polytechnic U; John Arena, CUNY College of Staten Island; Adrienne Dixson, Ohio State U; Eric Ishiwata, Colorado State U; Avis Jones-Deweever, National Council of Negro Women; Chad Lavin, Virginia Polytechnic U; Paul Passavant, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Linda Robertson, Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Chris Russill, Carleton U; Kanchana Ruwanpura, U of Southampton; Nicole Trujillo-Pagán, Wayne State U; Geoffrey Whitehall, Acadia U.
 

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New Orleans and the Creation of Transatlantic Opera, 1819–1859
Charlotte Bentley
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A history of nineteenth-century New Orleans and the people who made it a vital, if unexpected, part of an emerging operatic world.

New Orleans and the Creation of Transatlantic Opera, 1819–1859 explores the thriving operatic life of New Orleans in the first half of the nineteenth century, drawing out the transatlantic connections that animated it. By focusing on a variety of individuals, their extended webs of human contacts, and the materials that they moved along with them, this book pieces together what it took to bring opera to New Orleans and the ways in which the city’s operatic life shaped contemporary perceptions of global interconnection. The early chapters explore the process of bringing opera to the stage, taking a detailed look at the management of New Orleans’s Francophone theater, the Théâtre d’Orléans, as well as the performers who came to the city and the reception they received. But opera’s significance was not confined to the theater, and later chapters of the book examine how opera permeated everyday life in New Orleans, through popular sheet music, novels, magazines and visual culture, and dancing in its many ballrooms. Just as New Orleans helped to create transatlantic opera, opera in turn helped to create the city of New Orleans.
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New Orleans Sports
Playing Hard in the Big Easy
Thomas Aiello
University of Arkansas Press, 2019
New Orleans has long been a city fixated on its own history and culture. Founded in 1718 by the French, transferred to the Spanish in the 1763 Treaty of Paris, and sold to the United States in 1803, the city’s culture, law, architecture, food, music, and language share the influence of all three countries. This cultural mélange also manifests in the city’s approach to sport, where each game is steeped in the city’s history.

Tracing that history from the early nineteenth century to the present, while also surveying the state of the city’s sports historiography, New Orleans Sports places sport in the context of race relations, politics, and civic and business development to expand that historiography—currently dominated by a text that stops at 1900—into the twentieth century, offering a modern examination of sports in the city.
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No More, No More
Slavery And Cultural Resistance In Havana And New Orleans
Daniel E. Walker
University of Minnesota Press, 2004

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Oil Cities
The Making of North Louisiana’s Boomtowns, 1901-1930
Henry Alexander Wiencek
University of Texas Press, 2024

How international oil companies navigated the local, segregated landscape of north Louisiana in the first decades of the twentieth century.

In 1904, prospectors discovered oil in the rural parishes of North Louisiana just outside Shreveport. As rural cotton fields gave way to dense, industrial centers of energy extraction, migrants from across the US—and the world—rushed to take a share of the boom. The resulting boomtowns, most notoriously Oil City, quickly gained a reputation for violence, drinking, and rough living. Meanwhile, North Louisiana’s large Black population endured virulent white supremacy in the oil fields and the courtrooms to earn a piece of the boom, including one Black woman who stood to become the wealthiest oil heiress in America.

In Oil Cities, Henry Wiencek uncovers what life was like amidst the tent cities, saloons, and oil derricks of North Louisiana’s oil boomtowns, tracing the local experiences of migrants, farmers, sex workers, and politicians as they navigated dizzying changes to their communities. This first historical monograph on the region’s dramatic oil boom reveals a contested history, in which the oil industry had to adapt its labor, tools, and investments to meet North Louisiana’s unique economic, social, political, and environmental dynamics.

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The Parker Sisters
A Border Kidnapping
Lucy Maddox
Temple University Press, 2016
In 1851, Elizabeth Parker, a free black child in Chester County, Pennsylvania, was bound and gagged, snatched from a local farm, and hurried off to a Baltimore slave pen. Two weeks later, her teenage sister, Rachel, was abducted from another Chester County farm. Because slave catchers could take fugitive slaves and free blacks across state lines to be sold, the border country of Pennsylvania/Maryland had become a dangerous place for most black people.
 
In The Parker Sisters, Lucy Maddox gives an eloquent, urgent account of the tragic kidnapping of these young women. Using archival news and courtroom reports, Maddox tells the larger story of the disastrous effect of the Fugitive Slave Act on the small farming communities of Chester County and the significant, widening consequences for the state and the nation.  
 
The Parker Sisters is also a story about families whose lives and fates were deeply embedded in both the daily rounds of their community and the madness and violence consuming all of antebellum America. Maddox’s account of this horrific and startling crime reveals the strength and vulnerability of the Parker sisters and the African American population.
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Paths to a Middle Ground
The Diplomacy of Natchez, Boukfouka, Nogales, and San Fernando de las Barrancas, 1791-1795
Charles A. Weeks
University of Alabama Press, 2005
Spanish imperial attempts to form strong Indian alliances to thwart American expansion in the Mississippi Valley.
 
Charles Weeks explores the diplomacy of Spanish colonial officials in New Orleans and Natchez in order to establish posts on the Mississippi River and Tombigbee rivers in the early 1790s. Another purpose of this diplomacy, urged by Indian leaders and embraced by Spanish officials, was the formation of a regional Indian confederation that would deter American expansion into Indian lands.

Weeks shows how diplomatic relations were established and maintained in the Gulf South between Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Cherokee chiefs and their Spanish counterparts aided by traders who had become integrated into Indian societies. He explains that despite the absence of a European state system, Indian groups had diplomatic skills that Europeans could understand: full-scale councils or congresses accompanied by elaborate protocol, interpreters, and eloquent metaphorical language.

Paths to a Middle Ground
is both a narrative and primary documents. Key documents from Spanish archival sources serve as a basis for the examination of the political culture and imperial rivalry playing out in North America in the waning years of the 18th century.
 
 
 
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Patina
A Profane Archaeology
Shannon Lee Dawdy
University of Chicago Press, 2016
When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the world reacted with shock on seeing residents of this distinctive city left abandoned to the floodwaters. After the last rescue was completed, a new worry arose—that New Orleans’s unique historic fabric sat in ruins, and we had lost one of the most charming old cities of the New World.
 
In Patina, anthropologist Shannon Lee Dawdy examines what was lost and found through the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Tracking the rich history and unique physicality of New Orleans, she explains how it came to adopt the nickname “the antique city.” With innovative applications of thing theory, Patina studies the influence of specific items—such as souvenirs, heirlooms, and Hurricane Katrina ruins—to explore how the city’s residents use material objects to comprehend time, history, and their connection to one another. A leading figure in archaeology of the contemporary, Dawdy draws on material evidence, archival and literary texts, and dozens of post-Katrina interviews to explore how the patina aesthetic informs a trenchant political critique. An intriguing study of the power of everyday objects, Patina demonstrates how sharing in the care of a historic landscape can unite a city’s population—despite extreme divisions of class and race—and inspire civil camaraderie based on a nostalgia that offers not a return to the past but an alternative future.
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Plaquemine Archaeology
Edited by Mark A. Rees and Patrick Livingood, with a preface by Stephen Williams
University of Alabama Press, 2006

First major work to deal solely with the Plaquemine societies.

Plaquemine, Louisiana, about 10 miles south of Baton Rouge on the banks of the Mississippi River, seems an unassuming southern community for which to designate an entire culture. Archaeological research conducted in the region between 1938 and 1941, however, revealed distinctive cultural materials that provided the basis for distinguishing a unique cultural manifestation in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Plaquemine was first cited in the archaeological literature by James Ford and Gordon Willey in their 1941 synthesis of eastern U.S. prehistory.

Lower Valley researchers have subsequently grappled with where to place this culture in the local chronology based on its ceramics, earthen mounds, and habitations. Plaquemine cultural materials share some characteristics with other local cultures but differ significantly from Coles Creek and Mississippian
cultures of the Southeast. Plaquemine has consequently received the dubious distinction of being defined by the characteristics it lacks, rather than by those it possesses.

The current volume brings together eleven leading scholars devoted to shedding new light on Plaquemine and providing a clearer understanding of its relationship to other Native American cultures. The authors provide a thorough yet focused review of previous research, recent revelations, and directions for future research. They present pertinent new data on cultural variability and connections in the Lower Mississippi Valley and interpret the implications for similar cultures and cultural relationships. This volume finally places Plaquemine on the map, incontrovertibly demonstrating the accomplishments and importance of Plaquemine peoples in the long history of native North America.

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Portraits of Conflict
A Photographic History of Louisiana in the Civil War
Carl H. Moneyhon
University of Arkansas Press, 1990

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Prayers for the People
Homicide and Humanity in the Crescent City
Rebecca Louise Carter
University of Chicago Press, 2019
“Grieve well and you grow stronger.” Anthropologist Rebecca Louise Carter heard this wisdom over and over while living in post-Katrina New Orleans, where everyday violence disproportionately affects Black communities. What does it mean to grieve well? How does mourning strengthen survivors in the face of ongoing threats to Black life?
 
Inspired by ministers and guided by grieving mothers who hold birthday parties for their deceased sons, Prayers for the People traces the emergence of a powerful new African American religious ideal at the intersection of urban life, death, and social and spiritual change. Carter frames this sensitive ethnography within the complex history of structural violence in America—from the legacies of slavery to free but unequal citizenship, from mass incarceration and overpolicing to social abandonment and the unequal distribution of goods and services. And yet Carter offers a vision of restorative kinship by which communities of faith work against the denial of Black personhood as well as the violent severing of social and familial bonds. A timely directive for human relations during a contentious time in America’s history, Prayers for the People is also a hopeful vision of what an inclusive, nonviolent, and just urban society could be.
 
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Public Schools, Private Governance
Education Reform and Democracy in New Orleans
J. Celeste Lay
Temple University Press, 2022

Two months after Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana took control of nearly all the public schools in New Orleans. Today, all of the city’s public schools are charter schools. Although many analyses mark the beginning of education reform in New Orleans with Katrina, in Public Schools, Private Governance, J. Celeste Layargues that the storm merely accelerated the timeline for reforms that had inched along incrementally over the previous decade. Both before and after Katrina, white reformers purposely excluded Black educators, community members, and parents.

Public Schools, Private Governance traces the slow, deliberate dismantling of New Orleans’ public schools, and the processes that have maintained the reforms made in Katrina’s immediate aftermath, showing how Black parents and residents were left without a voice and the officials charged with school governance, most of whom are white, with little accountability. Lay cogently explains how political minorities disrupted systems to create change and keep reforms in place, and the predictable political effects—exclusion, frustration, and resignation—on the part of those most directly affected.

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Rabbi Max Heller
Reformer, Zionist, Southerner, 1860-1929
Barbara S. Malone
University of Alabama Press, 1997
This biography of a pioneering Zionist and leader of American Reform Judaism adds significantly to our understanding of American and southern Jewish history.

Max Heller was a man of both passionate conviction and inner contradiction. He sought to be at the center of current affairs, not as a spokesperson of centrist opinion, but as an agitator or mediator, constantly struggling to find an acceptable path as he confronted the major issues of the day--racism and Jewish emancipation in eastern Europe, nationalism and nativism, immigration and assimilation. Heller's life experience provides a distinct vantage point from which to view the complexity of race relations in New Orleans and the South and the confluence of cultures that molded his development as a leader. A Bohemian immigrant and one of the first U.S.-trained rabbis, Max Heller served for 40 years as spiritual leader of a Reform Jewish congregation in New Orleans--at that time the largest city in the South. Far more than a congregational rabbi, Heller assumed an activist role in local affairs, Reform Judaism, and the Zionist movement, maintaining positions often unpopular with his neighbors, congregants, and colleagues. His deep concern for social justice led him to question two basic assumptions that characterized his larger social milieu--segregation and Jewish assimilation. 

Heller, a consummate Progressive with clear vision and ideas substantially ahead of their time, led his congregation, his community, Reform Jewish colleagues, and Zionist sympathizers in a difficult era.
 

 
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Race and Culture in New Orleans Stories
Kate Chopin, Grace King, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and George Washington Cable
James Nagel
University of Alabama Press, 2013
Race and Culture in New Orleans Storiesposits that the Crescent City and the surrounding Louisiana bayous were a logical setting for the literary exploration of crucial social problems in America.

Race and Culture in New Orleans Stories
is a study of four volumes of interrelated short stories set in New Orleans and the surrounding Louisiana bayous: Kate Chopin’s Bayou Folk; George Washington Cable’s Old Creole Days; Grace King’s Balcony Stories; and Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories. James Nagel argues that the conflicts and themes in these stories cannot be understood without a knowledge of the unique historical context of the founding of Louisiana, its four decades of rule by the Spanish, the Louisiana Purchase and the resulting cultural transformations across the region, Napoleonic law, the Code Noir, the plaçage tradition, the immigration of various ethnic and natural groups into the city, and the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction. All of these historical factors energize and enrich the fiction of this important region.

The literary context of these volumes is also central to understanding their place in literary history. They are short-story cycles—collections of short fiction that contain unifying settings, recurring characters or character types, and central themes and motifs. They are also examples of the “local color” tradition in fiction, a movement that has been much misunderstood. Nagel maintains that regional literature was meant to be the highest form of American writing, not the lowest, and its objective was to capture the locations, folkways, values, dialects, conflicts, and ways of life in the various regions of the country in order to show that the lives of common citizens were sufficiently important to be the subject of serious literature.

Finally, Nagel shows that New Orleans provided a profoundly rich and complex setting for the literary exploration of some of the most crucial social problems in America, including racial stratification, social caste, economic exploitation, and gender roles, all of which were undergoing rapid transformation at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.
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Rebuilding Community after Katrina
Transformative Education in the New Orleans Planning Initiative
Ken Reardon
Temple University Press, 2015

Rebuilding Community after Katrina chronicles the innovative and ambitious partnership between Cornell University’s City and Regional Planning department and ACORN Housing, an affiliate of what was the nation’s largest low-income community organization. These unlikely allies came together to begin to rebuild devastated neighborhoods in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  

The editors and contributors to this volume allow participants’ voices to show how this partnership integrated careful, technical analysis with aggressive community outreach and organizing. With essays by activists, organizers, community members, and academics on the ground, Rebuilding Community after Katrina presents insights on the challenges involved in changing the way politicians and analysts imagined the future of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. 

What emerges from this complex drama are lessons about community planning, organizational relationships, and team building across multi-cultural lines. The accounts presented in Rebuilding Community after Katrina raise important and sensitive questions about the appropriate roles of outsiders in community-based planning processes.

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Recognition Odysseys
Indigeneity, Race, and Federal Tribal Recognition Policy in Three Louisiana Indian Communities
Brian Klopotek
Duke University Press, 2011
In Recognition Odysseys, Brian Klopotek explores the complicated relationship between federal tribal recognition policy and American Indian racial and tribal identities. He does so by comparing the experiences of three central Louisiana tribes that have petitioned for federal acknowledgment: the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe (recognized in 1981), the Jena Band of Choctaws (recognized in 1995), and the Clifton-Choctaws (currently seeking recognition). Though recognition has acquired a transformational aura, seemingly able to lift tribes from poverty and cultural decay to wealth and revitalization, these three cases reveal a more complex reality.

Klopotek describes the varied effects of the recognition process on the social and political structures, community cohesion, cultural revitalization projects, identity, and economic health of each tribe. He emphasizes that recognition policy is not the only racial project affecting Louisiana tribes. For the Tunica-Biloxis, the Jena Band of Choctaws, and the Clifton-Choctaws, discourses around blackness and whiteness have shaped the boundaries of Indian identity in ways that have only begun to be explored. Klopotek urges scholars and officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to acknowledge the multiple discourses and viewpoints influencing tribal identities. At the same time, he puts tribal recognition in broader perspective. Indigenous struggles began long before the BIA existed, and they will continue long after it renders any particular recognition decision.

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Reimagining the Educated Citizen
Creole Pedagogies in the Transatlantic World, 1685-1896
Petra Munro Hendry
University of Michigan Press, 2023

Reimagining the Educated Citizen contends that the constructs of public education and citizenship in the struggle to constitute a U.S. national identity are inseparable from the simultaneous emergence of transatlantic constructs of an educated citizen along transnational and transracial lines. The nineteenth century is commonly understood as the age of nationalism and nation formation in which the Anglo-Protestant Common School movement takes center stage in the production of the American democratic citizen. Ironically, the argument for public, Common Schools privileged whiteness instead of equality. This book suggests that an alternative vision of the relationship between education and citizenship emerged from a larger transatlantic history. Given shape by the movement of people, ideas, commodities, and practices across the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Valley, this radical egalitarian vision emerged at the crossroads of the Atlantic-colonial and antebellum Louisiana.

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Remaking New Orleans
Beyond Exceptionalism and Authenticity
Thomas J. Adams and Matt Sakakeeny, editors
Duke University Press, 2019
Approached as a wellspring of cultural authenticity and historical exceptionality, New Orleans appears in opposition to a nation perpetually driven by progress. Remaking New Orleans shows how this narrative is rooted in a romantic cultural tradition, continuously repackaged through the twin engines of tourism and economic development, and supported by research that has isolated the city from comparison and left unquestioned its entrenched inequality. Working against this feedback loop, the contributors place New Orleans at the forefront of national patterns of urban planning, place-branding, structural inequality, and racialization. Nontraditional sites like professional wrestling matches, middle-class black suburbs, and Vietnamese gardens take precedence over clichéd renderings of Creole cuisine, voodoo queens, and hot jazz. Covering the city's founding through its present and highlighting changing political and social formations, this volume remakes New Orleans as a rich site for understanding the quintessential concerns of American cities.

Contributors. Thomas Jessen Adams, Vincanne Adams, Vern Baxter, Maria Celeste Casati Allegretti, Shannon Lee Dawdy, Rien Fertel, Megan French-Marcelin, Cedric G. Johnson, Alecia P. Long, Vicki Mayer, Toby Miller, Sue Mobley, Marguerite Nguyen, Aaron Nyerges, Adolph Reed Jr., Helen A. Regis, Matt Sakakeeny, Heidi Schmalbach, Felipe Smith, Bryan Wagner
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Renew Orleans?
Globalized Development and Worker Resistance after Katrina
Aaron Schneider
University of Minnesota Press, 2018

Urban development after disaster, the fading of black political clout, and the onset of gentrification

Like no other American city, New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina offers powerful insight into issues of political economy in urban development and, in particular, how a city’s character changes after a disaster that spurs economic and political transition. In New Orleans, the hurricane upset an existing stalemate among rival factions of economic and political elites, and its aftermath facilitated the rise of a globally oriented faction of local capital. 

In Renew Orleans? Aaron Schneider shows how some city leaders were able to access fragmented local institutions and capture areas of public policy vital to their development agenda. Through interviews and surveys with workers and advocates in construction, restaurants, shipyards, and hotel and casino cleaning, Schneider contrasts sectors prioritized during post-Katrina recovery with neglected sectors. The result is a fine-grained view of the way labor markets are structured to the advantage of elites, emphasizing how dual development produces wealth for the few while distributing poverty and exclusion to the many on the basis of race, gender, and ethnicity. 

Schneider shows the way exploitation operates both in the workplace and the community, tracing working-class resistance that joins struggles for dignity at home and work. In the process, working classes and popular sectors put forth their own alternative forms of development.

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Roll With It
Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans
Matt Sakakeeny
Duke University Press, 2013
Roll With It is a firsthand account of the precarious lives of musicians in the Rebirth, Soul Rebels, and Hot 8 brass bands of New Orleans. These young men are celebrated as cultural icons for upholding the proud traditions of the jazz funeral and the second line parade, yet they remain subject to the perils of poverty, racial marginalization, and urban violence that characterize life for many black Americans. Some achieve a degree of social mobility while many more encounter aggressive policing, exploitative economies, and a political infrastructure that creates insecurities in healthcare, housing, education, and criminal justice. The gripping narrative moves with the band members from back street to backstage, before and after Hurricane Katrina, always in step with the tap of the snare drum, the thud of the bass drum, and the boom of the tuba.
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Ruined by This Miserable War
The Dispatches of Charles Prosper Fauconnet, a French Diplomat in New Orleans, 1863–1868
Carl A. Brasseaux
University of Tennessee Press, 2012
In March 1863, after Northern general Benjamin F. Butler demanded the recall of the French consul-general, an unabashed Confederate sympathizer, from Union-occupied New Orleans, Charles Prosper Fauconnet assumed the duties of acting consul. A seasoned diplomat who had risen slowly through the ranks in Latin America and the United States, Fauconnet quickly and effectively repaired the rift between local French and American authorities while striving valiantly to safeguard the interests of his government and the French nationals who found themselves literally and figuratively caught in the crossfire.
    From 1863 through 1868, Fauconnet maintained a copybook of his official correspondence with the French Ministry of State. These confidential dispatches, collected for the first time in this valuable volume, provide not only a panoramic view of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Gulf Coast but also new and important information on the transnational aspects of America’s Civil War.
    Eager to explain complicated issues to a French government concerned over the fate of one of its former territories, Fauconnet painstakingly laid out what was happening in New Orleans by drawing on war news, newspaper columns, and summaries of speeches and promises of Union commanding officers. His commentary peeled away the layers of contradiction and moral dilemmas that confronted citizens of Southern, Northern, and French heritages during the war years and early postwar period. Among the topics he considered were whether emancipated slaves deserved the same rights as naturalized citizens, the state of the cotton market, and the harassment of French-speaking immigrants by both Union and Confederate authorities. Informative and detailed, Fauconnet’s communications became increasingly acerbic and uneasy as he documented and explained the Civil War to officials in his faraway homeland.
    Breathtaking in its geographic scope and topical breadth, thanks in part to the acute observational and reporting skills of its author, Fauconnet’s correspondence offers a unique and thoroughly fascinating francophone perspective on New Orleans during some of the most tumultuous years in U.S. history.

CARL BRASSEAUX is the author of over thirty books related to the French presence in the Gulf Coast, including Refuge for All Ages: Immigration in Louisiana History; French Cajun, Creole, Houma: A Primer on Francophone Louisiana; and Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine. Until his recent retirement, he was director of the Center for Louisiana Studies and professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

KATHERINE CARMINES MOONEY, a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University, is a specialist in nineteenth-century history. Her research includes the history of thoroughbred horse-racing culture from 1820 to 1910.


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Showdown in Desire
The Black Panthers Take a Stand in New Orleans
Orissa Arend
University of Arkansas Press, 2009
Showdown in Desire portrays the Black Panther Party in New Orleans in 1970, a year that included a shootout with the police on Piety Street, the creation of survival programs, and the daylong standoff between the Panthers and the police in the Desire housing development. Through interviews with Malik Rahim, the Panther; Robert H. King, Panther and member of the Angola 3; Larry Preston Williams, the black policeman; Moon Landrieu, the mayor; Henry Faggen, the Desire resident; Robert Glass, the white lawyer; Jerome LeDoux, the black priest; William Barnwell, the white priest; and many others, Orissa Arend tells a nuanced story that unfolds amid guns, tear gas, desperate poverty, oppression, and inflammatory rhetoric to capture the palpable spirit of rebellion, resistance, and revolution of an incendiary summer in New Orleans.
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Sketches of Early Texas and Louisiana
By Frédéric Gaillardet
University of Texas Press, 1966

A lively report of travels in early nineteenth-century Texas and Louisiana and a fascinating account of the discovery, exploration, and settlement of those areas is presented in the work of this ebullient young French dramatist and journalist who traveled to Louisiana in 1837 and to Texas in 1839.

Frédéric Gaillardet, an alert and talented writer of the romantic school, was lured away for a decade from a successful career in Paris to satisfy his wanderlust and to seek inspiration on the American frontier. During that time he visited the American Southwest, and he talked with many personages there—men like Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar, and Achille Murat. His character sketches of these men add zest to the book, as do the facets of Gaillardet's own personality and life displayed in these pages.

Gaillardet's reports of his travels were published in various French-language newspapers of the time; a few were incorporated into the author's posthumous memoirs. His opinions, as recorded in his writings, exerted undeniable influence in the French decision to recognize Texas; one of his theses was that the Republic of Texas might become a curb, rather than a stepping stone, to an expanding United States. Despite Gaillardet's historical importance, however, none of these chapters has ever appeared before in English translation.

This collection was gathered from several sources: the Journal des Débats, the Constitutionnel, the Courrier des États-Unis, and Gaillardet's memoirs, entitled L'Aristocratie en Amérique.

The latter chapters concentrate on the career of a prominent Louisiana lawyer, politician, and diplomat, Pierre Soulé, whose much maligned name Gaillardet repeatedly and stoutly defended. A less favorable treatment of Soulé, contained in Fanny Calderón de la Barca's Attaché in Madrid, is reprinted in the appendix to aid the reader in judging the accuracy of Gaillardet's analysis of this arresting figure.

Copious footnotes to clarify the text have been added by the translator. His introduction presents a biographical sketch of Gaillardet, together with a careful analysis of the book, which has been translated lucidly and vividly.

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Soul by Soul
Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
Walter Johnson
Harvard University Press, 2001

Winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Award
Winner of the John Hope Franklin Prize
Winner of the Avery O. Craven Award


Soul by Soul tells the story of slavery in antebellum America by moving away from the cotton plantations and into the slave market itself, the heart of the domestic slave trade. Taking us inside the New Orleans slave market, the largest in the nation, where 100,000 men, women, and children were packaged, priced, and sold, Walter Johnson transforms the statistics of this chilling trade into the human drama of traders, buyers, and slaves, negotiating sales that would alter the life of each. What emerges is not only the brutal economics of trading but the vast and surprising interdependencies among the actors involved.

Using recently discovered court records, slaveholders’ letters, nineteenth-century narratives of former slaves, and the financial documentation of the trade itself, Johnson reveals the tenuous shifts of power that occurred in the market’s slave coffles and showrooms. Traders packaged their slaves by “feeding them up,” dressing them well, and oiling their bodies, but they ultimately relied on the slaves to play their part as valuable commodities. Slave buyers stripped the slaves and questioned their pasts, seeking more honest answers than they could get from the traders. In turn, these examinations provided information that the slaves could utilize, sometimes even shaping a sale to their own advantage.

Johnson depicts the subtle interrelation of capitalism, paternalism, class consciousness, racism, and resistance in the slave market, to help us understand the centrality of the “peculiar institution” in the lives of slaves and slaveholders alike. His pioneering history is in no small measure the story of antebellum slavery.

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A Southern Record
The History of the Third Regiment Louisiana Infantry
William Tunnard
University of Arkansas Press, 1997

Originally published in a limited edition in 1866, this memoir of Will Tunnard’s experiences and observations of the Civil War in the West, where he served in the famed Third Louisiana Infantry, is one of only a handful of chronicles left by western Confederate soldiers. His first-person account of the battles of Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, Iuka, and Corinth as well as the seige of Vicksburg, is a vivid history of these hard-fought campaigns which determined the outcome of the war in the Trans-Mississippi theater.

Using letters and diaries assembled from former comrades as well as his own daily journal, Tunnard tells the story of his regiment and its extraordinary odyssey from the Gulf of Mexico to the Ozark Plateau and from the Indian Territory to Mobile Bay. He offers an extensive and valuable account of capture and parole at Vicksburg and includes muster rolls which will interest genealogists as well as Civil War scholars and history enthusiasts. With a clear eye for detail and an engaging, objective style, Tunnard conveys the pathos of war and recounts the trials of camp life, social conditions, and the war’s affect on the civilian population.

Noted Civil War scholar William L. Shea supports the original text with background on the regiment and the time period, sketching a helpful chronology of events. In retelling this remarkable story of comradeship, hardship, endurance, courage, pride, and eventual defeat, Tunnard and Shea give modern readers a rare glimpse of the war in the West.

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The Spiritual Churches Of New Orleans
Origins, Beliefs, And Rituals Of An African American
Claude F. Jacobs
University of Tennessee Press, 2001
The New Orleans Spiritual churches constitute a distinctive African-American belief system.  Influenced by Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Spiritualism, and Voodoo, the group is a New World syncretic faith, similar to Espiritismo, Santería, and Umbanda. The Spiritual Churches of New Orleans combines a historical account of the emergence of this religion with careful ethnographic description of current congregations.  At the same time, text and photographs eloquently convey the ecstasy at the heart of the Spiritual experience.

The Spiritual churches began in the 1920s as a women's movement.  Men later assumed leadership in an effort to legitimate the group within the New Orleans religious community and form associations with Spiritual churches elsewhere in the United States.

Unlike earlier researchers, who treated practices in the churches as expressions of black folk traditions, the authors see Spiritual ritual not as based on magic, but as the way the sacred is acted out within an African-American aesthetic.  During worship, members may be filled by the Holy Spirit, as in Pentecostal churches, or "entertain" spirits or spirit guides, as in Spiritualism or Voodoo.  Prophecy and healing are presented as the markers of this faith, and the Native American figure Black Hawk as a major symbol of empowerment.

Based on extensive interviews with church members, years of participant observation, and careful research in documentary sources, this book achieves rigorous conceptual clarity in a straightforward, engaging style.

The Authors: Claude F. Jacobs holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Tulane University.  He teaches at Oakland University.

Andrew J. Kaslow holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University.  He is a consultant to international organizations.
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St. Mark's and the Social Gospel
Methodist Women and Civil Rights in New Orleans, 1895–1965
Ellen Blue
University of Tennessee Press, 2011

    The impact of St. Mark’s Community Center and United Methodist Church on the city of New Orleans is immense. Their stories are dramatic reflections of the times. But these stories are more than mere reflections because St. Mark’s changed the picture, leading the way into different understandings of what urban diversity could and should mean. This book looks at the contributions of St. Mark’s, in particular the important role played by women (especially deaconesses) as the church confronted social issues through the rise of the social gospel movement and into the modern civil rights era.
    Ellen Blue uses St. Mark’s as a microcosm to tell a larger, overlooked story about women in the Methodist Church and the sources of reform. One of the few volumes on women’s history within the church, this book challenges the dominant narrative of the social gospel movement and its past.
     St. Mark’s and the Social Gospel begins by examining the period between 1895 and World War I, chronicling the center’s development from its early beginnings as a settlement house that served immigrants and documenting the early social gospel activities of Methodist women in New Orleans. Part II explores the efforts of subsequent generations of women to further gender and racial equality between the 1920s and 1960. Major topics addressed in this section include an examination of the deaconesses’ training in Christian Socialist economic theory and the church’s response to the Brown decision.  The third part focuses on the church’s direct involvement in the school desegregation crisis of 1960 , including an account of the pastor who broke the white boycott of a desegregated elementary school by taking his daughter back to class there. Part IV offers a brief look at the history of St. Mark’s since 1965.
    Shedding new light on an often neglected subject, St. Mark’s and the Social Gospel will be welcomed by scholars of religious history, local history, social history, and women’s studies.

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Standing in the Need
Culture, Comfort, and Coming Home After Katrina
By Katherine E. Browne
University of Texas Press, 2015

Standing in the Need presents an intimate account of an African American family’s ordeal after Hurricane Katrina. Before the storm struck, this family of one hundred fifty members lived in the bayou communities of St. Bernard Parish just outside New Orleans. Rooted there like the wild red iris of the coastal wetlands, the family had gathered for generations to cook and share homemade seafood meals, savor conversation, and refresh their interconnected lives.

In this lively narrative, Katherine Browne weaves together voices and experiences from eight years of post-Katrina research. Her story documents the heartbreaking struggles to remake life after everyone in the family faced ruin. Cast against a recovery landscape managed by outsiders, the efforts of family members to help themselves could get no traction; outsiders undermined any sense of their control over the process. In the end, the insights of the story offer hope. Written for a broad audience and supported by an array of photographs and graphics, Standing in the Need offers readers an inside view of life at its most vulnerable.

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Strengthening Coastal Planning
How Coastal Regions Could Benefit from Louisiana’s Planning and Analysis Framework
David G. Groves
RAND Corporation, 2014
This report highlights RAND’s contributions to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s Master Plan. Its purpose is to help policymakers in other coastal regions understand the value of a solid technical foundation to support decisionmaking on strategies to reduce flood risk, rebuild or restore coastal environments, and increase the resilience of developed coastal regions.
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Subversive Sounds
Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans
Charles B. Hersch
University of Chicago Press, 2008

Subversive Sounds probes New Orleans’s history, uncovering a web of racial interconnections and animosities that was instrumental to the creation of a vital American art form—jazz. Drawing on oral histories, police reports, newspaper accounts, and vintage recordings, Charles Hersch brings to vivid life the neighborhoods and nightspots where jazz was born.

This volume shows how musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton, Nick La Rocca, and Louis Armstrong negotiated New Orleans’s complex racial rules to pursue their craft and how, in order to widen their audiences, they became fluent in a variety of musical traditions from diverse ethnic sources. These encounters with other music and races subverted their own racial identities and changed the way they played—a musical miscegenation that, in the shadow of Jim Crow, undermined the pursuit of racial purity and indelibly transformed American culture.

“More than timely . . . Hersch orchestrates voices of musicians on both sides of the racial divide in underscoring how porous the music made the boundaries of race and class.”—New Orleans Times-Picayune

 

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A Thrilling Narrative
The Memoir of a Southern Unionist
Dennis E. Haynes
University of Arkansas Press, 2006
This Civil War memoir of Capt. Dennis E. Haynes is both unique and rare. Not only did few southern unionists write of their experiences after the war, Haynes’s is the only publication by a Louisiana unionist. Furthermore, it is the only account by a member of the First Louisiana Battalion Cavalry Scouts, a unit that existed for less than three months and saw its only real action during the Red River Campaign of 1864. Haynes’s memoir is a historic collection of his wartime experiences as a unionist in the Confederate South. Among his writings, Haynes describes how he opposed the secession of Texas and thus became a hunted man. He also tells of his harrowing odyssey to reach Union troops in Louisiana. Every step of the way, Haynes provides details, sometimes graphic, of the harassment and cruelty he and many others like him suffered at the hands of his Confederate neighbors.
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Transforming New Orleans and Its Environs
Centuries Of Change
Craig Colten
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2001

Human settlement of the Lower Mississippi River Valley—especially in New Orleans, the region’s largest metropolis—has produced profound and dramatic environmental change. From prehistoric midden building to late-twentieth century industrial pollution, Transforming New Orleans and Its Environs traces through history the impact of human activity upon the environment of this fascinating and unpredictable region.

In eleven essays, scholars across disciplines––including anthropology, architecture, history, natural history, and geography––chronicle how societies have worked to transform untamed wetlands and volatile floodplains into a present-day sprawling urban center and industrial complex, and how they have responded to the environmental changes brought about by the disruption of the natural setting.

This new text follows the trials of native and colonial settlers as they struggled to shape the environment to fit the needs of urbanization. It demonstrates how the Mississippi River, while providing great avenues for commerce, transportation, and colonization also presented the region’s greatest threat to urban centers, and details how engineers set about taming the mighty river. Also featured is an analysis of the impact of modern New Orleans upon the surrounding rural parishes and the effect urban pollution has had on the city’s water supply and aquatic life.

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Tunica Archaeology
Jeffrey P. Brain
Harvard University Press, 1988
Sequel to Tunica Treasure, this volume presents the results of a decade of research on the Tunica Indians of Mississippi and Louisiana. The author traces the Tunica from the moment of first contact in the sixteenth century to the present day, with special emphasis on the critical eighteenth century. He describes considerable new archaeological data and integrates relevant ethnohistorical details into a reconstruction of the dynamic story of changes in American Indian culture during a historic period.
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The Two Lives of Sally Miller
A Case of Mistaken Racial Identity in Antebellum New Orleans
Wilson, Carol
Rutgers University Press, 2007

In 1843, the Louisiana Supreme Court heard the case of a slave named Sally Miller, who claimed to have been born a free white person in Germany. Sally, a very light-skinned slave girl working in a New Orleans caf, might not have known she had a case were it not for a woman who recognized her as Salom Muller, with whom she had emigrated from Germany over twenty years earlier. Sally decided to sue for her freedom, and was ultimately freed, despite strong evidence contrary to her claim.

In The Two Lives of Sally Miller, Carol Wilson explores this fascinating legal case and its reflection on broader questions about race, society, and law in the antebellum South. Why did a court system known for its extreme bias against African Americans help to free a woman who was believed by many to be a black slave? Wilson explains that while the notion of white enslavement was shocking, it was easier for society to acknowledge that possibility than the alternative-an African slave who deceived whites and triumphed over the system.

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The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark
Jo Ann Trogdon
University of Missouri Press, 2015
In 1798—more than five years before he led the epic western journey that would make him and Meriwether Lewis national heroes—William Clark set off by flatboat from his Louisville, Kentucky home with a cargo of tobacco and furs to sell downriver in Spanish New Orleans. He also carried with him a leather-trimmed journal to record his travels and notes on his activities.

In this vivid history, Jo Ann Trogdon reveals William Clark’s highly questionable activities during the years before his famous journey west of the Mississippi. Delving into the details of Clark’s diary and ledger entries, Trogdon investigates evidence linking Clark to a series of plots—often called the Spanish Conspiracy—in which corrupt officials sought to line their pockets with Spanish money and to separate Kentucky from the United States. The Unknown Travels and Dubious Pursuits of William Clark gives readers a more complex portrait of the American icon than has been previously written.

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Uprooted
Race, Public Housing, and the Archaeology of Four Lost New Orleans Neighborhoods
D. Ryan Gray
University of Alabama Press, 2020
The archaeology of four New Orleans neighborhoods that were replaced by public housing projects

Uprooted: Race, Public Housing, and the Archaeology of Four Lost New Orleans Neighborhoods uses archaeological research on four neighborhoods that were razed during the construction of public housing in World War II–era New Orleans. Although each of these neighborhoods was identified as a “slum” historically, the material record challenges the simplicity of this designation. D. Ryan Gray provides evidence of the inventiveness of former residents who were marginalized by class, color, or gender and whose everyday strategies of survival, subsistence, and spirituality challenged the city’s developing racial and social hierarchies.

These neighborhoods initially appear to have been quite distinct, ranging from the working-class Irish Channel, to the relatively affluent Creole of Color–dominated Lafitte area, to the former location of Storyville, the city’s experiment in semilegal prostitution. Archaeological and historical investigations suggest that race was the crucial factor in the areas’ selection for clearance. Each neighborhood manifested a particular perceived racial disorder, where race intersected with ethnicity, class, or gender in ways that defied the norms of Jim Crow segregation.

Gray’s research makes use of both primary documents—including census records, city directories, and even the brothel advertising guides called “Blue Books”—and archaeological data to examine what this entailed at a variety of scales, reconstructing narratives of the households and communities affected by clearance. Public housing, both in New Orleans and elsewhere, imposed a new kind of control on urban life that had the effect of making cities both more segregated and less equal. The story of the neighborhoods that were destroyed provides a reminder that their erasure was not an inevitable outcome, and that a more equitable and just city is still possible today. A critical examination of the rise of public housing helps inform the ongoing debates over its demise, especially in light of the changing face of post-Katrina New Orleans.
 
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Waterfront Workers of New Orleans
Race, Class, and Politics, 1863-1923
Eric Arnesen
University of Illinois Press, 1991
"During the nineteenth century, American and foreign travelers often found New Orleans a delightful, exotic stop on their journeys; few failed to marvel at the riverfront, the center of the city's economic activity. . . . But absent from the tourism industry's historical recollection is any reference to the immigrants or black migrants and their children who constituted the army of laborers along the riverfront and provided the essential human power to keep the cotton, sugar, and other goods flowing. . . . In examining one diverse group of workers--the 10,000 to 15,000 cotton screwmen, longshoremen, cotton and round freight teamsters, cotton yardmen, railroad freight handlers, and Mississippi River roustabouts--this book focuses primarily on the workplace and the labor movement that emerged along the waterfront."--From the preface
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Weathering Katrina
Culture and Recovery among Vietnamese Americans
Mark J. VanLandingham
Russell Sage Foundation, 2017

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. The principal Vietnamese-American enclave was a remote, low-income area that flooded badly. Many residents arrived decades earlier as refugees from the Vietnam War and were marginally fluent in English. Yet, despite these poor odds of success, the Vietnamese made a surprisingly strong comeback in the wake of the flood. In Weathering Katrina, public health scholar Mark VanLandingham analyzes their path to recovery, and examines the extent to which culture helped them cope during this crisis.

Contrasting his longitudinal survey data and qualitative interviews of Vietnamese residents with the work of other research teams, VanLandingham finds that on the principal measures of disaster recovery—housing stability, economic stability, health, and social adaptation—the Vietnamese community fared better than other communities. By Katrina’s one-year anniversary, almost 90 percent of the Vietnamese had returned to their neighborhood, higher than the rate of return for either blacks or whites. They also showed much lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder than other groups. And by the second year after the flood, the employment rate for the Vietnamese had returned to its pre-Katrina level.

While some commentators initially attributed this resilience to fairly simple explanations such as strong leadership or to a set of vague cultural strengths characteristic of the Vietnamese and other “model minorities”, VanLandingham shows that in fact it was a broad set of factors that fostered their rapid recovery. Many of these factors had little to do with culture. First, these immigrants were highly selected—those who settled in New Orleans enjoyed higher human capital than those who stayed in Vietnam. Also, as a small, tightly knit community, the New Orleans Vietnamese could efficiently pass on information about job leads, business prospects, and other opportunities to one another. Finally, they had access to a number of special programs that were intended to facilitate recovery among immigrants, and enjoyed a positive social image both in New Orleans and across the U.S., which motivated many people and charities to offer the community additional resources. But culture—which VanLandingham is careful to define and delimit—was important, too. A shared history of overcoming previous challenges—and a powerful set of narratives that describe these successes; a shared set of perspectives or frames for interpreting events; and a shared sense of symbolic boundaries that distinguish them from broader society are important elements of culture that provided the Vietnamese with some strong advantages in the post-Katrina environment.

By carefully defining and disentangling the elements that enabled the swift recovery of the Vietnamese in New Orleans, Weathering Katrina enriches our understanding of this understudied immigrant community and of why some groups fare better than others after a major catastrophe like Katrina.

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A Wetland Biography
Seasons on Louisiana’s Chenier Plain
By Gay M. Gomez
University of Texas Press, 1998

Louisiana's Chenier Plain is a 2,200-square-mile region of marshes and oak-covered ridges (cheniers) that stretches along the Gulf of Mexico from Sabine Lake to Vermilion Bay. Its inhabitants, some 6,000 people of Cajun and other ancestries, retain strong economic and cultural ties to the land and its teeming wildlife. They call it paradise...but it is a vulnerable paradise. In this multifaceted study, Gay Gomez explores the interaction of the land, people, and wildlife of the Chenier Plain, revealing both the uniqueness of the region and the challenges it faces.

After describing the geography and history of the Chenier Plain, Gomez turns to the lifeways of its people. Drawing on their words and stories, she tells how the chenier dwellers combine modern occupations with traditional pursuits such as alligator and waterfowl hunting, fur trapping, and fishing. She shows how these traditions of wildlife use provide both economic incentives for conservation and a source of personal and place identity. This portrait of a "working wetland" reveals how wildlife use and appreciation can give rise to a stewardship that balances biological, economic, and cultural concerns in species and habitat protection.

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White By Definition
Social Classification in Creole Louisiana
Domínguez, Virginia R
Rutgers University Press, 1986

"An unusual and powerful study."--Eric R. Wolf, Herbert H. Lehman College, CUNY

"A profound study of the nebulous Creoles. . . . Domínguez's use of original sources . . . is scholarship at its best. . . . Her study is fascinating, thought-provoking, controversial, and without a doubt, one of the most objective analyses of Creole Louisiana. Her emphasis on social stratification and her excellent integration of ethnic and racial classification of Creoles with legal and social dynamics and individual choice of ethnic identity elucidates strikingly the continuing controversy of who and what is a Louisiana Creole."--Journal of American Ethnic History

"Domínguez's most important contribution lies in her conceptualization of the problem of identity. She treats ethnic identity as something that can change over time, warning us against imposing current meanings on the past and requiring us to consider evidence of how terms were actually used in the past. . . . It is hard to imagine a frame of reference more ideally suited to historical analysis."--Louisiana History

"A valuable interdisciplinary examination of the processes of racial definition in Louisiana's history. Her study combines the anthropologist's sensitivity to language and self definition within a community with a skillful exploitation of historical sources."--Law and Society

"I highly recommend this book to all persons interested in social stratification."--Alvin L. Bertrand, Contemporary Sociology

"A vivid and insightful reading of the historical circumstances that have shaped definitions of Creoles within Louisiana law and society."--Journal of Southern History

"A provocative, often brilliant book. It offers fresh perspectives on fundamental questions and deserves a wide readership among American social historians."--Journal of American History

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A Whole Country in Commotion
The Louisiana Purchase and the American Southwest
Patrick G. Williams
University of Arkansas Press, 2005
Bringing together the work of prominent scholars and rising stars in southern, western, and Indian history, A Whole Country in Commotion explores lesser-known aspects of one of the better-known episodes in U.S. history. While the purchase has been seen as a great boon for the United States, doubling the size of the new nation and securing American navigation on the Mississippi River, it also brought turmoil to many. Looking past the triumphal aspects of the purchase, this book examines the “negotiations among peoples, nations and empires that preceded and followed the actual transfer of territory.” Its nine essays highlight the “commotion” the purchase stirred up—among nations, among Louisiana residents and newcomers, even among those who remained east of the Mississippi. Many of these essays look at the portion of the Louisiana territory that would become Arkansas to illustrate the profound impact of the purchase on the diverse populations of the American Southwest. Others explore the woeful commotion brought to many thousands of lives as Jefferson’s “noble bargain” set the stage for the forced migration of native and African Americans from the east to the west of the Mississippi.
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Widows by the Thousand
The Civil War Correspondence of Theophilus and Harriet Perry, 1862–1864
M. Jane Johansson
University of Arkansas Press, 2000
This collection of letters written between Theophilus and Harriet Perry during the Civil War provides an intimate, firsthand account of the effect of the war on one young couple. Perry was an officer with the 28th Texas Cavalry, a unit that campaigned in Arkansas and Louisiana as part of the division known as “Walker’s Greyhounds.” His letters describe his service in a highly literate style that is unusual for Confederate accounts. He documents a number of important events, including his experiences as a detached officer in Arkansas in the winter of 1862–63, the attempt to relieve the siege of Vicksburg, mutiny in his regiment, and the Red River campaign, just before he was killed in the battle of Pleasant Hill. Harriet’s writings allow the reader to witness the everyday life of an upper-class woman enduring home front deprivations, facing the hardships and fears of childbearing and childrearing alone, and coping with other challenges resulting from her husband’s absence.
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