Thursday, August 23, 2012

Poetic nonfiction after Katrina

August 29, 2012, is the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, a time for remembering, paying respects, and learning.

The Louisiana Research Collection holds a variety of scientific, historical, visual, and literary publications about the disaster and its effects on the land and people of the region, especially New Orleans.   Hundreds of Katrina books have also been added to the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library main stacks.   Excerpts from three of these literary works published since 2010 appear below.


from A howling in the wires : an anthology of writing from postdiluvian New Orleans / edited by Sam Jasper and Mark Folse.  New Orleans, LA : Gallatin and Toulouse Press, c2010. 
F 379 .N553 A235 2010 cop.3 LACOLL, p. 98-99.

Still-traumatic stress
Ray “Moose” Jackson

here we are again
back at the bar, my friend
or walking down the jazzclubs
who remembers?
those first days coming home
when you could still smell the piety
meat market
six blocks in any direction

but did that stop the vipers?
didn’t we still move our shoes
to the saddest-ever swingtime beat?

you could say that
new orleans is a town with bounce
ounce for ounce
scrappers and hustlers

you might catch us awhile
with our elbows on the bar
even weeping aloud on the still
                                      wet street

but soon comes the brass band
say, man …
the devil is in the distractions and
it’s already the season of the witch

why do they call it
post-traumatic stress when
it ain’t over yet?

we still got no levee
but, alright
we’’ll make a raft
of empty 40 ouncers
and this time
empty the refrigerator
before we let any four-lettered agency
call us
not worth saving


from City without people : the Katrina poems/ by Niyi Osundare.  Boston : Black Widow Press, c2011.
PR 9387.9 .O866 C58 2011 cop.2 LACOLL, p. 68


(for Molara whose wise words took away some of Katrina’s sting).

Take heart,
Daddy mine

We lost our house
But not our home

We lost our books
But not our brains

We lost our shoes
But not our feet

We lost our hats
But not our heads

We lost some windows
But not our wind

We lost our wardrobe
But not our clothes

You lost some songs
But not your voice

I regret our loss
I celebrate our LIFE


from My bayou : New Orleans through the eyes of a lover / Constance Adler.  East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, c2012.
F 379 .N553 A35 2012 LACOLL, p. 245

     For some time I heard about other couples whose marriages ended in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  It became commonplace to blame the storm for these divorces, another way of demonizing this force of nature.  There may be some truth to it.  The storm put a tremendous pressure on all of us.  It’s only natural that under such pressure, we’d break wherever we were weak.  So the storm didn’t destroy us so much as she exposed the flaws in our composition.  Our levees and canal walls and some of our marriages all had fissures in the foundations that might not have been visible were it not for all that wind and rain.


To discover the wealth of publications in our library, do a subject heading search in the catalog for
Hurricane Katrina, 2005.

The Katrina Resources Research Guide leads to information on all aspects of Katrina research. 

Posted by Susanna Powers

Monday, August 20, 2012

Report from CPS intern Jane Ball

Editor's note: The Louisiana Research Collection is one of the campus partners with Tulane University's Center for Public Service. Tulane students are required to perform public service through CPS in order to graduate. LaRC hosted two CPS interns this summer. Our first report comes from intern Jane Ball. Our second report from Lauren Kwiatkowski will be posted in a couple weeks. -- Eira Tansey

The Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University houses culturally significant materials from Louisiana. Here at LaRC, researchers delve into collections that contain evidence to answer current questions and inspire new research. As an intern here, I worked on making collection descriptions available to everyone online. It is important to put collection descriptions online because scholars from around the world can see what materials to access for their research. The online descriptions describe the people involved in the collections and exactly what LaRC has in the stacks. The Louisiana Research Collection wants to help people further their knowledge and explore how the region’s past has shaped the present.   

Some of the collections that I have worked on personally include the Katherine Wright papers, Lyle Saxon papers, Richardson Family papers, and Simplex Manufacturing Corporation records. My work has ranged from creating descriptions and finding aides for recently donated, unprocessed collections to editing the descriptions and catalogues of established ones. The archive descriptions can be accessed through the website

Simplex Manufacturing Corporation produced the Servi-Cycle, a small commuter motorcycle, from 1935-1960 in Louisiana. The United States military used the motorbikes during WWII, and the corporation made a variety of accessories like cargo trailers to adapt the machine for different uses.

The Richardson Family papers include two daily journals and correspondence regarding the family’s life during the late 19th century. The journals describe daily life of an upper class woman during that time. The correspondence describes a Confederate army officer’s life during the Civil War. 

The Louisiana Research Collection accepts donations of records and papers from local businesses, residents, and family and friends of people and entities who were made significant cultural contributions to the region. For more information on supporting research through the Louisiana Research Collection, please visit and 

Text by Jane Ball. Images from the Simplex Manufacturing Corporation records, Manuscripts Collection 1070, and the Richardson family papers, Manuscripts Collection 1069, Louisiana Research Collection, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Images may not be reproduced without permission.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Paul Conrad and the Louisiana Lottery

Paul Conrad (b. 1840) was a New Orleans businessman who served as a Confederate soldier. He had been shot in the left shoulder in battle during the Civil War, but remained active in the Louisiana Field Artillery into the 1870s.  As a rule, in the post-war South, Confederate veterans were held in especially high regard, and Louisiana Governor S. B. Packard commissioned Conrad as Captain in his "Governor's Life Guard." Paul Conrad became an employee of the Louisiana State Lottery Company in 1870, becoming its president in 1890. Subsequently, the United States Congress banned the interstate transportation of lottery tickets and lottery advertisements. As a result, the company remained in Louisiana until its charter expired; Conrad moved its operations to Honduras where it was shut down in 1907.
LaRC Manuscripts Collection 463 consists of personal and business papers of Paul Conrad, with numerous artifacts of the 19th century Louisiana lottery. Included are handwritten correspondence, financial documents including medical receipts, insurance policies, architectural plans for a cottage by the beach in Waveland, military letters and certificates, a photograph, a printed lottery ticket, a partially printed lottery vendor's certificate, an invitation to the Crescent Club, social ephemera such as calling cards, clippings and other printed items. Correspondents include various individuals, including General Jubal A. Early, who helped supervise the lottery drawings; some of the letters concern military and veterans' affairs.

A related item is a small booklet in the Louisiana Research Collection titled, Tips [a poem], published in 1891 (its call number is: 976.3 (174.6) T595 LACOLL).  On the back of the illustrated comedic poem is Paul Conrad’s advertisement encouraging readers to purchase lottery tickets for the drawing on Tuesday, December 15th, 1891, in which “Two Millions of money will be distributed…”

In 2012, Louisiana has lottery drawings through the Louisiana Lottery Corporation, which traces its historical timeline back to 1990.

Captions: an 1892 Louisiana State Lottery Company presumably losing lottery ticket (463-1-5); an 1872 vendor’s certificate (463-1-1) ; Paul Conrad’s advertisement for The Mammoth Financial Event of 1891, on the back of the cataloged booklet, Tips; an Aug. 4, 2012 losing ticket in the Lotto, possibly destined for the LaRC ephemera file.  Images may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers