We may live or die by the Bayou Bengals beating 'Bama, but, it turns out, LSU enjoys a literary reputation that is second to few. Plainly obvious through its title, Best of LSU Fiction ($19.95, The Southern Review) is a collection of short stories (and excerpts from longer works) by writers with intimate connections to Louisiana's flagship university.
Sept. 1, 2010
Written by The Independent Staff
We may live or die by the Bayou Bengals beating 'Bama, but, it turns out, LSU enjoys a literary reputation that is second to few. Plainly obvious through its title, Best of LSU Fiction ($19.95, The Southern Review) is a collection of short stories (and excerpts from longer works) by writers with intimate connections to Louisiana's flagship university, beginning with their progenitor - Robert Penn Warren ("Blackberry Winter," one of his most anthologized stories), founder of The Southern Review, which put names like Eudora Welty and Katherine Anne Porter on America's literary radar. The collection includes other luminaries of American letters - Jean Stafford ("The Interior Castle") and Walker Percy ("Young Nuclear Physicist") - as well as writers not popularly known but widely respected within literary circles. Some of these writers are former students of Dr. David Madden, an icon in the English Department who retired last year, and whose story, "A Part in Pirandello," appears in the anthology. Others are current and former faculty members. What unites them, despite their divergent styles, subject matter and narrative points of view, are the gifts of language and storytelling - accomplishments, frankly, that are more lasting and important than success on the gridiron. - Walter Pierce
It's hard to single out highlights from the new Dear New Orleans benefit album. With 31 tracks from a host of artists, the album is all over the musical map. There's some inspired odes to New Orleans from the likes of indie rockers OK GO, rock and hip hop collective Flobots and San Francisco folk singers Mirah and Thao Nguyen. There's also a variety of interesting covers: R.E.M.'s Mike Mills tackles Neil Young's "Ohio" with New Orleans brass outfit Bonerama, Allison Moorer re-imagines Sam Cooke's "A Change Gonna Come," My Morning Jacket rolls through "Carnival Time" backed by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Steve Earl offers up his rendition of "Dixieland." All the artists on the compilation discovered or frequented New Orleans over the five years since Katrina, and the album is a testament to the city's always-growing extended musical family. Proceeds benefit Sweet Home New Orleans, which supports local musicians, Mardi Gras Indians, social aid and pleasure club members, and the Gulf Restoration Network. It is available exclusively online, for $12, through dearneworleansmusic.org, iTunes, Amazon.com, Rhapsody and eMusic.com. - Nathan Stubbs
September in most parts of the world marks the beginning of fall. And as the nights cool, grapes ripen, heralding the vendage, the glorious grape harvest and the beginning of a new intoxicating vintage. While we wait to find out what the grapes of this year will produce, it's time to begin drinking the wines of fall after a summer of floral sauvignon blancs and rosés. I particularly love the melange of grenache and syrah, those ruddy grapes that create the great wines of the Rhone valley in southern France. Twining on rugged hillsides exposed to steady Midi winds, Rhone wines have a strong presence of terroir, the soil from which they are grown. The Midi is the orchard of France, and Rhone wines reflect the red fruits: cherry, red current, red plum, with a heady herbal note and finally a liquorice finish. A slow cooked shoulder of goat rubbed with rosemary, a pool of sunny polenta, roasted fennel and a bottle of Bila-Haut. You will soon be speaking Provençal, seeing fields of sunflowers, and waking through starry, starry nights. Domaine de Bila-Haut, $25.99, Philippe's Wine Cellar, Ambassador Caffery, 991-9794, or downtown, 234-5890. - Mary Tutwiler