09
Apr 13

Cary Holladay Publishes Sixth Book of Fiction

“A book of short stories is not usually what you would call a page turner, but Cary Holladay’s Horse People may be an exception. You gallop along breathlessly—not because you are aiming for the finish line, but because the writing is so wonderful you keep going, enthralled, never wanting this gorgeous prose to end.” —Bobbie Ann Mason, author of Shiloh and The Girl in the Blue Beret

Set in the pastoral horse country of Rapidan, Virginia, the stories in Cary Holladay’s Horse People chronicle the lives of the Fenton family through the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II. At the center of these interconnected stories is Nelle, a northern debutante who marries into the Fenton family and establishes herself as their stern and combative matriarch.

Nelle’s arrival in Virginia sets up the familial conflict: The Fentons, though well-respected millers and horse-breeders, remain yeoman farmers, whereas Nelle grew up in a wealthy, urban environment. Her high-brow sensibility creates animosity within her new family and fosters resentment among the rural poor. Headstrong and contentious, Nelle relies on an almost supernatural connection with horses to escape the hostility that surrounds her. As Nelle ages and experiences the sweeping cultural changes and hardships of early twentieth-century America, she comes to symbolize everything she once challenged in this community. Through these multi-generational stories, Holladay draws on the folklore and history of her native Virginia and examines the cultural, racial, gender, and economic tensions that pervaded the entire nation.

Cary Holladay is the author of two novels and three story collections. Her writing has appeared in New Stories from the South, The Oxford American, The Southern Review, Glimmer Train, and Tin House. She has received fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the NEA. She and her husband, writer John Bensko, teach at the University of Memphis.

February 18, 2013
200 pages, 5.5 x 8.5
ISBN 978-0-8071-5094-8
Paper $23.00


11
Mar 13

New Cookbook Equips Kitchens from New Orleans to New York with Seasonal Louisiana Cuisine

Louisiana’s identity is inextricably tied to its famous foods; gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and étouffée are among the delicious dishes that locals cherish and visitors remember. But Louisiana’s traditional cuisine has undergone a recent revision, incorporating more local ingredients and focusing on healthier cooking styles. In The Fresh Table, locavore and native New Orleanian Helana Brigman shares over one hundred recipes that reflect these changes while taking advantage of the state’s year-round growing season. Her book offers staples of Louisiana fare—seafood, sausage, tomatoes, peppers, and plenty of spices—pairing these elements with advice about stocking one’s pantry, useful substitutions for ingredients, and online resources for out-of-state cooks. Brigman equips every kitchen from New Orleans to New York with information about how to serve Louisiana cuisine all year round.

With each season The Fresh Table provides an irresistible selection of recipes like Petite Crab Cakes with Cajun Dipping Sauce, Rosemary Pumpkin Soup served in a baked pumpkin, Fig Prosciutto Salad with Goat Cheese and Spinach, Grilled Sausage with Blackened Summer Squash, Blueberry Balsamic Gelato, and Watermelon Juice with Basil. Brigman introduces each recipe with a personal story that adds the last ingredient required for any Louisiana dish—a connection with and appreciation for one’s community.

Helana Brigman is the creator of the blog Clearly Delicious, winner of the 2011 Blogger Chile Recipe Challenge from Marx Foods. A food writer, photographer, and cook, she writes the “Fresh Ideas” column for the Baton Rouge Advocate and her work has appeared in Louisiana Cookin’. Her daily recipes can be found at clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com.

March 2013
256 pages, 7 x 8, 37 color photos
978-0-8071-5046-7
Cloth $34.95, ebook available


20
Feb 13

Author of Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Her Art shares insight into the celebrated artist’s personality

An often-repeated story about Clementine Hunter is she did not like people. Far from the truth, the reality was she did not like certain people, but she overwhelmingly liked kids and visitors who came to learn and listen.

The best example is one I witnessed on a Tuesday afternoon when I made my weekly visit down Cane River from Natchitoches.

As I was driving up, I saw Clementine sticking her head in a car window talking to the driver. She stepped back and the car drove off.

When I got out, Clementine walked over to my car, and I asked, “Who was that?”

She grinned and said, “They wanted to know where Clementine Hunter lived, and I told them just up the road.”

Later, I took two friends from Baton Rouge, Diana and Paul Burns, out to visit the artist, and Diana told Clementine she had just had a little boy they named Reed. Clementine asked questions about the newborn kid and then gave the Burns a fresh painting as a present for Reed.

The artist liked sincere and honest visitors. The loud and boisterous types were not welcome guests. These are the ones who would be the source of stories about Clementine Hunter not liking visitors.

We have all experienced the phenomenon of something becoming true once it is in print.

Having collected an extensive archive of over 1,200 printed stories, articles, and memorabilia related to Clementine Hunter, I have struggled to correct erroneous “facts” that have been published or retold over the years.

An impetus for Art Shiver and me to write the Hunter biography for LSU Press was to put in print a researched and documented version of what all happened at Melrose, not only with Clementine and her art but also with the other stories of Melrose and its visitors that continue to be told.

You can hear more stories about Clementine and learn about her work at a book signing and lecture on February 21 at 6 p.m. at the Old Governor’s Mansion hosted by the Foundation for Historical Louisiana. Authors Art Shiver and Tom Whitehead will also be signing on February 22 at 5 p.m. at the LSU Barnes & Noble.


06
Feb 13

Its Ghostly Workshop Searches for Truth across Time and Place

“Intellectual travelogue merges with literary tour in these intricate creations and re-creations.”—Betty Adcock, author of Intervale: New and Selected Poems 

“A compelling convergence of the near and the far, Its Ghostly Workshop offers a version of the particular that yields a haunting enormity, and a glimpse of coherence amid our machinations and lush debris.”—Scott Cairns, author of Compass of Affection: Poems New and Selected

From the Mediterranean to the American West, the poems in Ron Smith’s new collection move across time and place to seek reliable truths through personal observation. Beyond his own experiences Smith draws from the lives of notable and diverse figures—Edward Teller, Edgar Allan Poe, Mickey Mantle, Ezra Pound, Robert Penn Warren, Jesse Owens, Leni Riefenstahl, and many others.

Its Ghostly Workshop probes the fallibility of philosophy while strengthening the quest for certainty. Wondering and weighing, these are poems capable of conviction as well as doubt. Like the city of Rome, the subject at the book’s center, Its Ghostly Workshop aims to rewire us, to “virus” us, to “rush” us “with visionary blazes, cascades / of memory, incandescent logic.”

Ron Smith, author of the poetry collections Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery and Moon Road, is the poetry editor for Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature. Winner of the Carole Weinstein Prize and other poetry awards, he holds the George Squires Chair of Distinguished Teaching and serves as Writer-in-Residence at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Virginia. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Richmond.

March 11, 2013
88 pages, 6 x 9
978-0-8071-5030-6
Paper $16.95
LSU Press Paperback Original


22
Jan 13

The “Baby Dolls”: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition

One of the first women’s organizations to mask in a Mardi Gras parade, the Million Dollar Baby Dolls redefined the New Orleans carnival tradition. Tracing their origins from Storyville brothels and dance halls to their re-emergence in post-Katrina New Orleans, author Kim Marie Vaz uncovers the history of the “raddy-walking, shake-dancing, cigar-smoking, money-flinging” ladies who strutted their way into a predominantly male establishment.

The Baby Dolls formed around 1912 as an organization for African American women who used their profits from working in New Orleans’s red-light district to compete with other Black prostitutes on Mardi Gras. Part of this event involved the tradition of masking, in which carnival groups create a collective identity through costuming. Their baby doll costumes—short satin dresses, stockings with garters, and bonnets—set against a bold and provocative public behavior not only exploited stereotypes but also empowered and made visible an otherwise marginalized female demographic.

Vaz follows the Baby Doll phenomenon through one hundred years with photos, articles, and interviews and concludes with the birth of contemporary groups such as Antoinette K-Doe’s Ernie K-Doe Baby Dolls, the New Orleans Society of Dance’s Baby Doll Ladies, and the Tremé Million Dollar Baby Dolls. Her book emphasizes these organizations’ crucial contribution to Louisiana’s cultural history.

Kim Marie Vaz is the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of education at Xavier University of Louisiana. Her area of research is the use of expressive arts as a response to large-group social trauma.

January 18, 2013
216 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, 37 halftones
978-0-8071-5070-2
Paper $22.95, ebook available
LSU Press Paperback Original


13
Dec 12

Kelby Ouchley on the Gift of the Written Word

OUCHLEY AND PAGANS RETIREMENTOne day in late November 1864 just before the battle at Franklin, Tennessee a hungry lieutenant of the 1st Florida Volunteers crawled around on his hands and knees in a dark, recently captured blockhouse searching for something to eat. He felt a promising object and took it out into the light for a better look. In recalling the event he said, “It was a big flat ear but I had no appetite.” Henry W. Reddick could not have imagined that his Civil War memoir recounting this incident and many other trials would shape a great great grandson’s life 150 years later.

As a precocious reader I have long been enthralled with the written word. When I was about nine years old I began to hear family rumors that one of my distant grandfathers had actually written a book, an amazing thing to contemplate. This instigated my persistent inquiries until an aunt presented me with a mimeographed copy of Seventy-Seven Years in Dixie. She duplicated it from the family’s only remaining original edition, a tattered softback with a red paper cover. I still have it. An enchanted document, it induces new questions every time I read it. Without a doubt, the book with its provenance fertilized my nascent interest in history.

So, after retiring from a career as a biologist during which most of my writing was “governmentese,” I came back to Grandpa Reddick’s work along with thousands of other Civil War diaries, journals and letters. I gleaned them for natural history anecdotes and compiled a manuscript that became Flora and Fauna of the Civil War: An Environmental Reference Guide. Broader research even resulted in a novel: Iron Branch: A Civil War Tale of a Woman In-Between.

I have a young grandson. Should one of his future grandchildren discover my books someday, I hope that he or she is moved, even if in a small way, to burrow deeper into the joys of the written word and to consider the possible inspiration of their own creations.


11
Dec 12

What’s your reason to support the LSU Press?

Happy Holidays from LSU Press! As we enter this season of celebration and giving, the Press staff is feeling quite festive. Inspired by the generous giving of gold rings and French hens in “The 12 days of Christmas,” here are 12 fun reasons to support LSU Press this holiday season:

1. You like backing winners. We have Pulitzer Prize winners, National Book Award winners, Lincoln Prize winners–the list goes on.

2. You are weary of a 140-character world. Sometimes, it’s nice to read something that actually says something meaningful.

3. If we don’t publish reliable information about the rich cultural assets and achievements of Louisiana and the Gulf South, who will?

4. You are always looking for a good investment. We rely on income from book sales, subsidiary rights, licenses, grants, and your support to keep good books coming!

5. We are proud to be part of LSU, and you understand our need for financial security, endowments and annual giving… just like LSU’s schools and colleges.

6. You want to see us grow and publish new voices and more books from a wider variety of genres.

7. You like the best of the best, and you agree that we have outstanding authors, both respected scholars and great local writers.

8. You appreciate our commitment to publishing excellence.

9. You love a good deal and want to help us keep our book prices affordable for all.

10. Our books have enduring and lasting value, and you want to continue reading them for years to come.

11. You love and hate Ignatius…

12. Giving is so easy! Click here to give to LSU Press.

For your tax purposes, be sure to donate before December 31 so your gift can be receipted in 2012.

What’s your reason to support the LSU Press?


03
Dec 12

The Louisiana Scalawags Provides First In-Depth Analysis of White Southern Republicans’ Role in Louisiana during Reconstruction

During the Civil War and Reconstruction, the pejorative term “scalawag” referred to white southerners loyal to the Republican Party. With the onset of the federal occupation of New Orleans in 1862, scalawags challenged the restoration of the antebellum political and social orders. Derided as opportunists, uneducated “poor white trash,” Union sympathizers, and race traitors, scalawags remain largely misunderstood even today. In The Louisiana Scalawags, Frank J. Wetta offers the first in-depth analysis of these men and their struggle over the future of Louisiana. A significant assessment of the interplay of politics, race, and terrorism during Reconstruction, this study answers an array of questions about the origin and demise of the scalawags, and debunks much of the negative mythology surrounding them.

Contrary to popular thought, the southern white Republicans counted among their ranks men of genuine accomplishment and talent. They worked in fields as varied as law, business, medicine, journalism, and planting, and many held government positions as city officials, judges, parish officeholders, and state legislators in the antebellum years. Wetta demonstrates that a strong sense of nationalism often motivated the men, no matter their origins.

Louisiana’s scalawags grew most active and influential during the early stages of Reconstruction, when they led in founding the state’s Republican Party. The vast majority of white Louisianans, however, rejected the scalawags’ appeal to form an alliance with the freedmen in a biracial political party. Eventually, the influence of the scalawags succumbed to persistent terrorism, corruption, and competition from the white carpetbaggers and their black Republican allies. By then, the state’s Republican Party consisted of white political leaders without any significant white constituency. According to Wetta, these weaknesses, as well as ineffective federal intervention in response to a Democratic Party insurgency, caused the Republican Party to collapse and Reconstruction to fail in Louisiana.

Frank J. Wetta is Senior Fellow at the Center for History, Politics, and Policy in the department of history at Kean University. He is a former Leverhulme British Commonwealth, United States Visiting Fellow in American Studies at the University of Keele in the United Kingdom.

January 2, 2013
256 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, 1 halftone
ISBN 978-0-8071-5078-8
Cloth $42.50


28
Nov 12

Guest blogger Art Shiver: A Big Book for Christmas

One year there was an especially heavy box colorfully wrapped with a wide green and red ribbon and placed under the tree among the other Christmas presents from my parents.

I was nine years old and assumed anything so heavy must be a grand gift. Shaking it gave no indication what the box contained. The agony of wondering what it could be increased in the days leading up to Christmas Eve, the night my family traditionally shared presents.

Rather than opening the much-anticipated hefty box first, I put it aside quite certain it would be the most exciting gift I had ever received. As everyone watched, I tore away the shiny holiday wrappings and revealed the prize. A book! A book? My parents gave me a book for Christmas? Not just any book, a huge, book! “You’ll never be at a loss for words,” my dad joked. I held back my emotions as I feigned delight.

My parents had given me Webster’s New International Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd Edition, 5” thick, 12” X 9”, printed on India paper, published by G&C Merriam Company. It had thumb tabs, plates, and full-color illustrations. It did not even need batteries.

While I was not initially excited, over the years I learned the value of that big book. It was my homework companion all through junior high school and high school. It was the first book packed when I headed off to college. My big book claimed a special place on my desk when I took a job as a journalist. Eventually, my newsroom colleagues discovered it and, despite its weight, passed it daily from cubicle to cubicle, as deadlines loomed.
Now, more than half a century later, up-to-date, online dictionaries have made obsolete my old, worn tome of many words. Nevertheless, Mr. Webster continues in service as a doorstop, faithfully holding open my office door. When I see the tattered, vintage dictionary, I recall the Christmas when I was nine years old and the gift that became one of the most important books in my life.

Art Shiver
Charlotte, N.C.
November 13, 2012


27
Nov 12

James Lee Burke supports LSU Press

The people at LSU Press and The Southern Review represent everything that is good in the world of literary publication. Their dedication to aesthetic quality has been the gold standard in literary publication for over seventy-five years. The Southern Review published my stories when few other literary journals would. LSU Press resurrected my career with the publication of my collection The Convict after I had been out of hardcover print for thirteen years. Then they published my novel The Last Get-Back Boogie after it had been under submission in New York for nine years and had received over 111 editorial rejections (after publication by LSU, it was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize).

My debt to both LSU Press and The Southern Review is one I can never repay. They are extraordinary people and I’m very proud to have my name associated with them.