22
May 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: A Creole Lexicon

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Assistant Director and Design and Production Manager Laura Gleason writes about A Creole Lexicon.

There are not many books published by LSU Press that fulfill the Press’s mission better than A Creole Lexicon: Architecture, Landscape, People by Jay Edwards and Nicolas Kariouk. This book guides the reader through Louisiana’s uniquely evolved and specialized vocabulary for describing the region’s buildings, people, and cultural landscapes. It is a valuable reference, and I was fortunate enough to help shape the look of this book from its arrival at the Press until it was printed and bound.

Working on this title was both exciting and challenging. For me, one of the best parts was working with the authors and with Bill Brockway. I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Brockway—long before the work on this book began—when I was involved in competitive muzzle-loading rifle shooting! Imagine my surprise and delight at seeing him in our first meeting about the project. He illustrated many of the book’s images along with two other talented artists, Charles Funderburk and Mary Lee Eggart. These wonderful drawings, diagrams, and maps—along with original reproductions—are peppered throughout the book and are essential to understanding the definitions and descriptions within its pages. They are functional and beautiful.

As someone with deep roots in south Louisiana, I value the books LSU Press publishes that preserve and define my heritage. This was a complicated book to produce with 104 illustrations, sixteen subject headings, sixteen topical indexes, and a two-column format, but when it was finished it was well worth the time and effort!

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19
May 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: C. C. Lockwood’s Atchafalaya

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Assistant Production Manager and Designer Amanda Scallan writes about C. C. Lockwood’s Atchafalaya.

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C. C. Lockwood had already made a name for himself by the time I began my book-designing career at LSU Press. I knew his work and remember the first time I browsed through Discovering Louisiana. I was amazed by and enamored with the beauty of Louisiana he captured on film. You see, I’m a Georgia transplant, but I have lived in Louisiana most of my adult life. I was thrilled to move here and make it my home. Growing up in Athens, Georgia, I remember thinking Louisiana must be a romantic place to live. There is something about the big open sky, the endless water ways, the cypress trees, the moss, the lazy Mississippi River, the old plantations, the history, and the swamps. Yes, the swamps. I have always been curious about swamps. Flora and water create a unique world where wildlife of all varieties live together—creatures flying in the air, moving on the ground, or swimming in the water. Even more unusual to me were the people that have made their living in the swamp for generations. I was intrigued, and I wanted to see more of all of this.

So imagine my joy when the opportunity arose to design a book by C. C. Lockwood overflowing with his Atchafalaya photographs. A book that would reveal the timeless beauty of a very special place I had yet to explore. Not many people have had an opportunity to see and experience deep inside a true Louisiana swamp, especially the Atchafalaya Basin, which is located in south-central Louisiana and is America’s largest swamp wilderness.

C. C. has explored the Atchafalaya for more than thirty years. The images he provided for this project were dazzling and breathtaking. He captured the varying moods of the swamp through the seasons, not to mention the unforgettable sunsets. In C.C. Lockwood’s Atchafalaya he reflects on the places he enjoys to visit most and recounts his conversations with the Basin’s inhabitants about the changes that have occurred over time—both the good and the bad. The photographs we chose for the book are so vivid you can almost feel the warmth of the sunsets, watch a great egret carefully preen its breeding plumage, and smell the spice of boiled crabs. After working closely with C.C. on this project I came away with a new respect, appreciation, and deeper love for this special untamed wilderness. With his artistic photography, I have a little more insight into what’s behind the moss-covered cypress trees I see from I-10.

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15
May 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: New Roads and Old Rivers

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Senior Editor Catherine Kadair writes about New Roads and Old Rivers.

One of the least appreciated areas of Louisiana lies northwest of Baton Rouge, between the winding curves of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers. This is Pointe Coupee, counted among the oldest settlements in the Mississippi Valley. For seven years I lived just across the parish line from Pointe Coupee. As my kids and I explored it by car and on foot, I became more and more impressed by its natural beauty, its significance in state history, and, perhaps most of all, by its warm, welcoming people. So I was delighted when I heard we were going to publish New Roads and Old Rivers, a journey by photo and word through Pointe Coupee Parish. Richard Sexton’s photographs are stunning, and Randy Harelson writes about so many different aspects of the parish—its long and interesting history; its vibrant, unique Creole culture; its longstanding Mardi Gras tradition; and much more. Harelson’s hand-drawn and delicately colored maps are a lovely bonus feature.

Some of my favorite photographs in New Roads and Old Rivers are those of the modest Creole cottages that dot the landscape, many of which I recognize from my drives through the area. The oak trees in this parish are truly ancient, some of them over 300 years old, and there are striking photos of several old-timers, including the Miss Jane Pittman Oak, the tree that inspired Ernest Gaines to write his most famous work. Most of the stately plantation houses in Pointe Coupee are still privately owned and lived in, rather than set off as museum pieces; and this book gives us an inside look at these beautiful homes not open to the public. There are photos of the oxbow lakes False River and Old River (“Pointe Coupee” means “cut-off point” in French); of the mounds built by Native Americans who lived in the area for millennia before Europeans arrived; of small-town main streets; of picturesque churches and cemeteries. Lovely images like those are balanced by photos of the people of Pointe Coupee—craftsmen planing cypress boards by hand according to local custom; workers packing homegrown pecans for shipping all over the world; women gathering weekly to sing and converse in Creole French. The traditions of Pointe Coupee are worth preserving, and as Harelson notes, the people who live those traditions are the most important preservationists of all. I’m proud that LSU Press is doing its part to preserve—and share—so many Louisiana traditions.

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13
May 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Parachute Infantry

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Assistant to the Director Erica Bossier writes about Parachute Infantry.

Parachute Infantry by David Kenyon Webster is the memoir of his experiences as a paratrooper: jumping into Normandy the night before D-Day with the F Company; jumping into Holland with the E Company in 1944; and, after recovering from a gunshot wound to his leg, rejoining the E Co. to finish out the war. Webster arrived at Berchtesgarden, Austria, just before V-E Day, and saw occupation duty until 1946. I think the reason this is such a good book is because reading it is almost as if you are there.

LSU Press published Parachute Infantry in 1994 and it is still in print; in fact we licensed audio rights in late 2014. One of the most interesting things about this book is that David Webster was one of the now-famous “band of brothers.” Stephen Ambrose wrote about him in his book Band of Brothers, and Parachute Infantry was used as a reference guide for HBO’s “Band of Brothers.” His family was invited and flown to Normandy and Paris in June 2001 for the gala premiere of the miniseries. The family wrote to LSU Press and said that many of the actors told them how much they relied on Parachute Infantry in developing their characters throughout the filming.

I think it is a classic wartime memoir.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50, use code 0480FAV at checkout.


08
May 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Carnival of Fury

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Executive Editor for Acquisitions Rand Dotson writes about A Carnival of Fury: Robert Charles and the New Orleans Race Riot of 1900.

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It is a common complaint of students in history classes that the events or issues being discussed have no relevance to their own lives or bearing on contemporary society. Such objections make illuminating the connection between past and present one of the most important functions of the historian. Exposing those links not only adds depth to discussions about the past, it also provides historical context to current events, allowing for a more sophisticated and balanced interpretation of issues relevant today.

On the LSU Press history list, a cogent example of that interaction is available in William Ivy Hair’s Carnival of Fury, a harrowing account of the life of Robert Charles, a black laborer in New Orleans, who 115 years ago fought back against unjustified police harassment in a series of violent gun battles that left two police officers dead and dozens of others wounded. Hair’s narrative provides insight into the prevailing racism, poverty, and hopelessness among African Americans in Jim Crow–era New Orleans that led to Charles’ desperate final act. In the aftermath, white rage over Charles’s actions prompted a riot against the city’s entire black community and resulted in several lynchings. To whites, Charles became a symbol of black lawlessness and disorder, but in the city’s African American community he emerged as a hero.

While Hair’s account of racial turmoil in New Orleans over a century ago is an extreme example, the circumstances and issues that provoked it clearly linger today. Those looking for links between the past and present would thus be well served by turning to Carnival of Fury, a masterful examination of the issues that generated one of the most violent and tragic episodes in American history.

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01
May 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: A More Noble Cause

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Director MaryKatherine Callaway writes about A More Noble Cause.

EmanuelTUREAUD_jktfrontHRAs a scholarly publisher, it is a privilege and an honor to publish books that enlighten us, explaining certain events in new way. We all appreciate a book that teaches something you will never forget.

For me, at the top of that list sits A More Noble Cause. The life story of A. P. Tureaud, Sr., the book is both fascinating and unforgettable as it takes us into Louisiana and across the U.S. during the troubled times of the Jim Crow era. Mr. Tureaud served his state and his country as an attorney and an activist for social change. He calmly negotiated some of the most turbulent waters imaginable, and he did it all with patience, fortitude, courage, and dignity, facing innumerable challenges as he fought against discrimination and for the rights of all.  We can learn so much from his actions, and this book serves as a wonderful guide.

Beyond that, the two co-authors shared themselves through this book as well. Rachel Emanuel has devoted her career to ensuring that the story of the civil rights movement, especially in Louisiana, is told and understood. A.P. Tureaud, Jr., with the help of his father, broke the color restrictions in place at LSU and in 1953 became the first African American undergraduate to attend school here.  That time included some incidents that comprise a regrettable part of LSU’s history. We have moved forward, but we shouldn’t forget.

In an exciting coda to the book’s publication, in 2011 LSU awarded an honorary doctorate to A.P. Tureaud, Jr. Books matter.

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01
May 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Designing in Ivory and White

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Senior Designer Michelle Neustrom writes about Designing in Ivory and White.

PerronDESIGNING_jktfrontHRI first met Suzanne Perron in the spring of 2009. There was talk that LSU Press was publishing a “wedding dress” book, and the author was stopping by to meet with the acquisitions editor as well as the production and design manager to discuss the format of the book. Luckily for me, the production manager had a conflict, and I was able to attend the meeting in her place. I was beyond excited and, quite frankly, a little nervous. A majority of the books we publish at LSU Press are on the scholarly side with subjects ranging from Civil War history to literary criticism, so the chance to work on a full-color, large-format book of couture gowns was something completely different. A dream project for sure.

Listening to her describe her craft and looking at photos of her gorgeous masterpieces, I instantly became a fan of Suzanne Perron, not just of her work but of her as a person. She is a selfless designer. She listens to her client’s wants and desires, gets to know their personal style, and then builds an impeccably constructed gown which best represents them. And she builds it twice—first out of muslin as a sort of rough draft and then with the actual material. Her muslins are almost as beautiful as the finished dresses, and some of her clients have remarked they would have gladly been married in them.

I wanted to approach the design of Suzanne’s book the same way she approaches dress design—get to know the client and then reflect their style in all the details. There were so many stunning photographs of Suzanne’s work that it was obvious they should be the main focus; the design elements should be secondary and subtle. I drew inspiration for the swirly typeface mixed with a clean, all-small-caps typeface from classic wedding invitations, and the color pallet of the book reflects the title, Designing in Ivory and White. I used a large version of Suzanne’s brocade fleur-de-lis logo as a design element on the part titles and then made the logo into a pattern for the endsheets. It is reminiscent of wallpaper in old New Orleans homes and of the lush landscapes used as backdrops throughout the book. It also alludes to Suzanne’s love for the city and for the South.

This is so much more than just a “wedding dress” book full of lovely photos. It is the story of a very determined and talented woman who has worked with top designers, including Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera, and it is an education in the couture design process illustrated by Suzanne Perron’s meticulous fabrications.

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29
Apr 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Molly the Pony

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Financial Operations Manager Rebekah Brown writes about Molly the Pony.

KasterSKETCH.inddIt’s likely that there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of books written about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.  The preparation, the response, the way it changed Louisiana, Mississippi, and in fact the entire United States.  There are stories of death and destruction, hope and redemption.  As a publisher of quality academic works of scholarship, LSU Press has and will publish some of those books.  But the one that won my heart and brings a smile to my face every time I read it is Molly the Pony: A True Story.

Abandoned and left to endure Hurricane Katrina in a south Louisiana barn, Molly not only survived, she went on to become a symbol of courage and hope.  After the storm, she was rescued and adopted by a new family, suffered a terrible injury that led to amputation of a front leg, learned to walk with a prosthetic limb, and embarked on a new mission in life:  making new friends and bringing her “extra smile” with her everywhere she goes.  You see, Molly’s new hoof has the imprint of a smiley face on the bottom so she leaves her mark wherever she walks.  And she leaves her mark in the hearts and minds of everyone who is inspired by this heartwarming story.  The book’s design is pure genius, thanks to long-time LSU Press book designer Michelle A. Neustrom.  Molly the Pony truly makes me smile!

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50, use code 0480FAV at checkout.


24
Apr 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: France and the Après Guerre, 1918-1924

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Editor Neal Novak writes about France and the Après Guerre, 1918–1924.

Frances and the Apres Guerre

The history of France just begs for great writers. The characters and plot lines seem ready made for inspired storytellers who can explain the reasons for post-War inflation as easily as they are able to use décolletage accurately in a sentence. Benjamin F. Martin is such a writer, and his book France and the Après Guerre, 1918–1924 explores everything from monetary policy to Parisian drug culture with a deftness that makes writing history look easy.

That was my assessment upon reading Martin’s book for the first time in the fall of 2001. Not long after, I decided to apply to LSU so I could study modern France with Martin as my advisor. Under his guidance I quickly learned if I was committed to spending hours researching primary documents on microfiche—and clearly I was—I would also have to sharpen my writing skills if I were to succeed.

Ultimately, I chose to focus my study on the problems of succession in post–de Gaulle France, not on the interwar years as Martin does here. Yet I always kept in mind my first impressions of France and the Après Guerre: great research deserves great writing. So grab a dictionary if you are still interested in the definition of décolletage. Then pick up France and the Après Guerre for history written with as much clarity as color.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50, use code 0480FAV at checkout.


22
Apr 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Lives of the Saints

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Acquisitions Editor Margaret Lovecraft writes about Lives of the Saints.

Lives of the SaintsWalker Percy called Lives of the Saints “a lovely nutty book about a lovely nutty girl. . . . Hilarious, haunting, poignant.” Susan Larson describes Nancy Lemann’s writing as “almost incantatory” in The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans.

When LSU Press published Lives of the Saints in the Voices of the South paperback series in 1997, it was my job as senior publicist at the time to write the cover copy and to suggest illustration possibilities for the front cover. Artist Dave Ross took the supplied verbal cues and produced what to me is a perfect visual summary of this slim, intoxicating novel. It may be my favorite cover of Dave’s.

Shown floating in random proximity and relation to each other, are

The green foliage:

“Everything was green and sumptuous and still. . . The garden was an overgrowth, a profusion of green. . . . It was balmy old New Orleans weather in the tropic spring, and everything was green and overgrown. . . The lush green of the banana trees and the elephant ear.”

The shattered heart:

“He was saying something about not being able to love just one person, but only being able to love about a hundred, because his heart was constantly breaking into a million pieces on the floor.”

“He had the sweetness of the town itself. . . . I had to steel myself, or my heart would break, like his, into a million pieces on the floor.”

“Things fade away from most people’s hearts. . . But Claude, whose heart was constantly breaking into a million pieces, was different.”

The stars:

“It was a night in the spring, though in New Orleans you can hardly tell the season. . . . In the garden in the glittering night, under the monumental palms and oaks.”

The matchbook:

“He had a little habit of calmly and obliviously shredding napkins, matchbooks, and cigarette packages, and he had filled about three ashtrays with shreddings. You could always tell a room in which Claude had recently visited.”

The magnolia:

“He went off to stand on the front lawn of his mansion, where he called to passersby—‘My daughter is a delicate magnolia blossom’ . . . She was finally resolving her troubles, and the havoc she had wrought, by matrimony.”

“In the evening, the blasts of the tropic spring swept through gardens and windows. . . . We socialized in the garden, by the magnolia trees.”

The novel is a gem of a New Orleans story:

“It is true, New Orleans was never normal. Being normal was one quality New Orleans just never had.”

“Everyone had breakdowns at this wedding. . . . Especially the bride and groom. . . . ‘That’s what we’re all about down here,’ he said. ‘Breakdowns.’ “

Lives of the Saints turns thirty this year, and though it evokes New Orleans of an earlier generation,  distilled characteristics of the Crescent City that tincture the decades, even centuries, are present. “In this atmosphere you may understandably complain of a lack of plot or design, but that is the plot, that is the crisis—the crisis of youth and aimlessness.”

See if you agree about the cover illustration!

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50, use code 0480FAV at checkout.