Title

Tales of Live Oaks: Stories of a Louisiana family. \lbrack Original writing\rbrack

Date of Completion

January 1994

Keywords

Literature, Modern|Biography|American Studies|History, United States|Fine Arts|Literature, American

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This creative non-fiction dissertation about growing up in Louisiana during the Thirties and Forties contains fragments of oral history, personal recollections, research, and invented detail--a medley of truth and fiction. While it focuses on living in New Orleans, experiencing segregation and World War II, the book contains several flashbacks: I write about the time my great-grandfather immigrated to the city from France, the period after Reconstruction when my grandfather served as State legislator, and the era of desegregation when my uncle and aunt were activists.^ A chapter tells about about my parents' courtship and marriage--a tale of doubt and frustration. Another section describes my father's career, when as Huey Long's chosen architect he designed the Capitol and other state buildings. I tell of his fall--when politics and corruption led to investigations and trials.^ While the time period stretches from the 1830's to the present, recurring themes and motifs establish continuity: I show the idyllic South (the romantic setting of Louisiana) contrasted with the realities beneath the surfaces: the flavor of life in New Orleans (food, flowers, and exquisite homes) pervades the atmosphere of the book, but dark moments of truth disturb that sensuous landscape. The ways members of my family respond to social change provides the drama for my narrative. The book is a tapestry of lives and events woven with autobiographical passages and commentary. ^