Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, Europe, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-08-15 20:15Z by Steven

Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press
2018-05-08
342 pages
Softcover ISBN: 978-1-946160-19-5

Elista Istre
Lafayette, Louisiana

Creoles established themselves in South Louisiana long before Acadian exiles reached the shores of the Bayou State. Boasting a mélange of African, European, and North American roots, Creoles converged on Louisiana’s prairies and created their own distinct cuisine, language, and musical style.

In Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong, Dr. Elista Istre invites her readers to enter the Creole world—a place where cooks tempt taste buds with gumbo and crawfish, storytellers mesmerize young and old with tales tied to three continents, and musicians and dancers pulsate to the rhythms of accordions and rubboards.

Despite inside pressure to isolate and outside pressure to assimilate, Creoles from all walks of life continue to forge new identities while preserving and celebrating traditional elements of their rich heritage. They are adaptable. They are resilient. They are strong.

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Band of Angels, A Novel

Posted in Books, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, Slavery, United States, Women on 2019-07-28 22:50Z by Steven

Band of Angels, A Novel

Louisiana State University Press
August 1994 (originally published in 1955)
375 pages
5.50 x 8.50 inches
no illustrations
Paperback ISBN: 9780807119464

Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989)

Amantha Starr, born and raised by a doting father on a Kentucky plantation in the years before the Civil War, is the heroine of this powerfully dramatic novel. At her father’s death Amantha learns that her mother was a slave and that she, too, is to be sold into servitude. What follows is a vast panorama of one of the most turbulent periods of American History as seen through the eyes of star-crossed young woman. Amantha soon finds herself in New Orleans, where she spends the war years with Hamish Bond, a slave trader. At war’s end, she marries Tobias Sears, a Union officer and Emersonian idealist. Despite sporadic periods of contentment, Amantha finds life with Tobias trying, and she is haunted still by her tangled past. “Oh, who am I?” she asks at the beginning of the novel. Only after many years, after achieving a hard-won wisdom and maturity, does she begin to understand that question.

Band of Angels puts on ready display Robert Penn Warren’s prodigious gifts. First published in 1955, it is one of the most searing and vivid fictional accounts of the Civil War era ever written.

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Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Louisiana, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2019-07-22 23:50Z by Steven

Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana

Cambridge University Press
January 2020
320 pages
17 b/w illus. 6 maps 2 tables
228 x 152 mm
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1108480642

Alejandro de la Fuente, Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics; Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

Ariela J. Gross, John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History
University of Southern California

Highlights

  • Examines the development of the legal regimes of slavery and race in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana from the sixteenth century to the dawn of the Civil War
  • Demonstrates that the law of freedom, not slavery, determined the way race developed over time
  • Draws on a variety of primary sources, including local court records, original trial records of freedom suits, legislative case, and petition

How did Africans become ‘blacks’ in the Americas? Becoming Free, Becoming Black tells the story of enslaved and free people of color who used the law to claim freedom and citizenship for themselves and their loved ones. Their communities challenged slaveholders’ efforts to make blackness synonymous with slavery. Looking closely at three slave societies—Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana—Alejandro de la Fuente and Ariela J. Gross demonstrate that the law of freedom—not slavery—established the meaning of blackness in law. Contests over freedom determined whether and how it was possible to move from slave to free status, and whether claims to citizenship would be tied to racial identity. Laws regulating the lives and institutions of free people of color created the boundaries between black and white, the rights reserved to white people, and the degradations imposed only on black people.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. ‘A Negro and by consequence an alien’: local regulations and the making of race, 1500s–1700s
  • 2. The ‘inconvenience” of black freedom: manumission, 1500s–1700s
  • 3. ‘The natural right of all mankind’: claiming freedom in the age of revolution, 1760s–1830
  • 4. ‘Rules … for their expulsion’: foreclosing freedom, 1830s–1860
  • 5. ‘Not of the same blood’: policing racial boundaries, 1830s–1860
  • Conclusion: ‘Home-born citizens: the significance of free people of color.
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The Legible Citizen: Race Making and Classification in Jim Crow Louisiana, 1955-1965

Posted in Census/Demographics, Dissertations, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2019-06-24 19:07Z by Steven

The Legible Citizen: Race Making and Classification in Jim Crow Louisiana, 1955-1965

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
May 2013
34 pages

Michell Chresfield

Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Vanderbilt University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS in History

This study examines three legal contests during the high tide of black freedom agitation, 1955-1965, in which citizens of Louisiana challenged the state Bureau of Health’s authority to make racial classifications. Through these cases, I argue that state bureaucrats rather than the judiciary and legislature emerged as a new arbiter of race by the mid-twentieth century; by making racial categorization part of vital information recording, Bureau administrators could gain a better understand of citizens while also helping to shape the very meaning of citizenship in a racialized sense; and that this latter development was obscured by the ubiquitous and seemingly race neutral methods of vital statistic collection. Together these cases enrich general narratives of the Jim Crow era which have tended to focus on the role of the judiciary and the legislature exclusively. Through the inclusion of state bureaucrats, this study illustrates how racial categorization has persisted in a climate that is both more fluid and more obscure than generally acknowledged.

Read the entire thesis here.

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In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre–Civil War New Orleans

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, Economics, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-06-10 23:55Z by Steven

In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre–Civil War New Orleans

Historic New Orleans Collection
2010
128 pages
70 color images, 7 b/w images
8″ × 9½”
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-917860-57-7

Edited and with an introduction by Erin M. Greenwald, with essays by William Keyse Rudolph and Patricia Brady

Julien Hudson, born in 1811 in New Orleans, was the son of a property-owning free woman of color and a white English merchant, ironmonger, and ship chandler. Hudson began painting in the mid-1820s, training first in New Orleans and later in Paris. Little is known about his personal life, outside of scattered details found in a handful of public documents and a pair of early-twentieth-century reminiscences by former student George Coulon and prominent Creole of color Rodolphe Desdunes. This carefully researched volume is the most thorough examination to date of Julien Hudson and his world.

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The Other Room

Posted in Books, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-06-07 01:46Z by Steven

The Other Room

Crown Publishers
1947
274 pages
ISBN 13: 9780000100184

Worth Tuttle Hedden (1896-1985)

Winner of the Southern Authors Award

A Southern White Girl Gets The Shock Of Her Life

The iron grillwork of the gate stood between them…..and so did years of tradition and social custom. It was a barrier, built by hate and fear, between one color and another. He might have crossed that line, and lived on her side–but he was too proud to pass for white.

This prize-winning novel is about a young woman who unknowingly signs up to teach classes at an all-black college in New Orleans in 1920. It is one of the best—and earliest—views of breaking the color line as well as a touching love story of a man and woman of different races.

In the evening she was on a train, rushing towards New Orleans. Her first job waited for her; she was counting off the miles to adventure, romance, and independence. In the morning, shamed and horrified, she was fighting the necessity to quit, to go home to a scornful family and admit failure.

Nina Latham was a southern girl, trained in a rigid code of black and white. She wanted to get away from home, but when she signed for her new job she didn’t know she would be working with Negroes, eating with them, living among them. And certainly she didn’t know that she would meet handsome young Leon who could have passed for white—but wouldn’t.

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Coloring Locals: Racial Formation in Kate Chopin’s “Youth’s Companion” Stories

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Louisiana, Monographs, United States on 2019-06-03 17:58Z by Steven

Coloring Locals: Racial Formation in Kate Chopin’s “Youth’s Companion” Stories

University of Iowa Press
2003
168 pages
7 drawings, references, index
Cloth ISBN: 9780877458289
eBook ISBN: 9781587294280

Bonnie James Shaker, Assistant Professor of English
Kent State University Geauga, Burton, Ohio

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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Novels That Reach for the Stars : DECORATIONS IN A RUINED CEMETERY, By John Gregory Brown (Houghton Mifflin: $19.95; 244 pp.)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-29 00:09Z by Steven

Novels That Reach for the Stars : DECORATIONS IN A RUINED CEMETERY, By John Gregory Brown (Houghton Mifflin: $19.95; 244 pp.)

The Los Angeles Times
1994-01-23

Margaret Langstaff

I wish more people today would attempt books like this one, novels that take on the big questions, the eternal verities, and, without pretense and a whole lot of claptrap, address the difficulty of finding meaning and significance in life. For this is the stuff of which classics are made and what literature, certainly, is all about. That John Gregory Brown had the nerve to square off before such issues in his first novel is by itself laudable. The fact that he wrote a fine story with believable, memorable characters in the process is reason for applause.

Brown, not yet 40, writes out of the Southern tradition in fiction, and is midway, in terms of depth and accessibility, between Faulkner and Walker Percy, (sort of a Lite-Faulkner or a Percy au jus.) Race, family, heritage, faith, good and evil are the obsessions in question, and the plot turns on critical choices having to do with one’s understanding of the difference between virtuous behavior and cowardice, and one’s courage to do the right thing. More readable than Faulkner, less comedic than Percy, Brown is nonetheless in their direct line of descent, their natural heir, without any obvious imitation.

Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery” concerns the Eagen family of New Orleans and its immediate vicinity, Irish Catholics whose lineage is made more colorful, if not more difficult, by containing within it a black matriarch who mysteriously, in midlife, disappears, leaving her husband and small son to continue their lives without her. The legacy of this racial intermarriage and the mystery of Molly Moore Eagen’s disappearance–unsolved until the book’s final pages–haunt and twist the lives of three generations of Eagens…

Read the entire review here.

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Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, A Novel

Posted in Books, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-05-28 00:10Z by Steven

Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, A Novel

University of South Carolina Press
May 2019 (originally published in 1994)
256 pages
5.5 x 8
Paperback ISBN 978-1-64336-018-8

John Gregory Brown

A luminous and heartbreaking tale of identity, devotion, and regret

John Gregory Brown’s debut novel examines family, race, and faith in a heartbreaking tale of identity, devotion, and regret. The story centers on the Eagen family of New Orleans, Irish Catholics of “mixed blood” in a city where race defines destiny. In 1965 Thomas Eagen and his twelve-years-old twins, Meredith and Lowell, abruptly drive off, leaving his second wife, Catherine, and their home. As they cross Lake Pontchartrain, a section of the bridge collapses, injuring Murphy Warrington, an African American man who once worked for Thomas’s father. Murphy becomes the catalyst for a series of revelations about Thomas’s light-skinned black mother and the reasons she abandoned her husband and son when Thomas was an infant.

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Black Sheep Boy

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-05-25 19:44Z by Steven

Black Sheep Boy

Rare Bird Books
2016
208 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1942600374
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1947856066

Martin Pousson

Black Sheep Boy

  • PEN Center USA Fiction Award Winner
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Winner
  • Simpson Family Literary Prize Finalist
  • Los Angeles Times Literary Pick
  • NPR: The Reading Life Featured Book
  • The Millions Best Summer Horror Selection
  • Book Riot Must-Read Indie Press Book
  • On Top Down Under Book of the Year Finalist
  • Best Gay Fiction Selection
  • Best Gay Speculative Fiction Selection

Meet Boo, a wild-hearted boy from the bayou land of Louisiana. Misfit, outcast, loner. Call him anything but a victim. Sissy, fairy, Jenny Woman. Son of a mixed-race Holy Ghost mother and a Cajun French phantom father. In a series of tough and tender stories, he encounters gender outlaws, drag queen renegades, and a rogues gallery of sex-starved priests, perverted teachers, and murderous bar owners. To escape his haunted history, Boo must shed his old skin and make a new self. As he does, his story rises from dark and murk, from moss and mud, to reach a new light and a new brand of fairy tale. Cajun legends, queer fantasies, and universal myths converge into a powerful work of counter-realism. Black Sheep Boy is a song of passion and a novel of defiance.

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