Lawrence N. Powell is professor of history at Tulane University, where he has taught since 1978. His specialties are the Civil War and Reconstruction; Southern history; Louisiana history and politics; and the Holocaust. Among his publications are Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana and New Masters: Northern Planters During the Civil War and Reconstruction.
New Orleans City Guide (1938)
by Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration
new introduction by Lawrence N. Powell
cover design by Kevin Stone
Kindle, iBooks, NOOK, Google, Kobo, Zinio, Sony Reader
In 1938, under the direction of novelist and historian Lyle Saxon, The Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration produced this delightfully detailed portrait of New Orleans. It is consistently hailed as one of the best books produced about the city. Photographers, historians and writers inspired by a new spirit to find what was true and important about America amid the heartache of the Great Depression scoured the streets and archives of New Orleans. They searched high and low: from opera and cuisine to gambling and "sporting houses." They surveyed the wharfs, observed voodoo rituals, interviewed carnival clubs and photographed grand public buildings. And they produced a guide to New Orleans - troubling, romantic, evocative -- that has yet to be matched. Remarkably, many of the sites and attractions the WPA chronicled in 1938 are still around today. As the historian Lawrence N. Powell writes in his new introduction, "You can still follow one of its recommended automobile tours and not feel so much as three minutes behind the times."
Lawrence N. Powell at Octavia Books
Photo by Tom Lowenberg
The Federal Writers' Project was established in 1935 as part of Federal #1, a program to provide work relief for artists and professionals under the Works Progress Administration. During the next eight years, the project produced over a thousand books and pamphlets on local history, folkways, and culture, in addition to the multi-volume American Guide Series. The Louisiana project, whose publications included books on both New Orleans and the whole state, was directed by novelist and historian Lyle Saxon, author of Fabulous New Orleans and Children of Strangers. He was one of only four state project directors to remain in office for the duration of the Federal Writers' Project itself.
"For those new to the guide, the book serves not only as a history of the city, but also as a practical guide for the tourists of the era. And it serves as a charming souvenir, even today."
--Susan Larson, Times-Picayune
"It makes the city and its environs live and breathe."
--Washington Post, 1938
"Still the best."