Lafcadio Hearn, Revisited
Sunday, August 25th, 2019
124 Baronne Street, New Orleans
Free and open to the public
Letters Read, Antenna Gallery and Crescent City Books are excited to re-present a very special selection of letters by Lafcadio Hearn. The evening will be emceed by Christopher Kamenstein and feature readings by Mack C. Guillory III and Grace Kennedy.
Hearn is often credited with popularizing New Orleans in the late 1800’s through articles in Scribner’s, Harper’s Weekly, Cosmopolitan, The Century Magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar, describing the mystique and intrigue of the city to the rest of the world. In 1886, Hearn summered in Grande Isle, Louisiana, to research a new book he was writing. It would be published as Chita: A Memory of Last Island. The novella is based on the last barrier island of L’Ile Dernicre which was completely destroyed in the 1856 hurricane.
During his stay at Krantz’s Hotel, Hearn wrote often to Page Baker. Baker was the editor of the Times-Democrat and steadfast champion of Hearn’s work. During this correspondence, Hearn’s message and tone turned from his typical, flowery, post-Victorian style to dark and accusing. Why?
In this second reading of Hearn’s letters from Grande Isle, we examine possible reasons for his letter’s unusual subject matter and uncharacteristic language. Join us as we explore a writer’s environment and discover possible motives.
Special thanks to Kure Croker, information consultant and to Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives for providing letters from their Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence Collection.
LETTERS READ is the ongoing series of live events in which local performers interpret personal letters written by culturally vital individuals from various times and New Orleans communities and is presented by stationer Nancy Sharon Collins and Antenna. Several readings are podcast here.