Letters Read is a new series of live events produced by Mrs. Collins in collaboration with Antenna Gallery in which performers interpret personal letters written by individuals vital to the history and culture of New Orleans.
For the inaugural event, Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Crescent City Books, we are excited to present an evening with the letters of Lafcadio Hearn during his 1886 summer retreat on Grand Isle, LA. The evening will feature sociologist Dr. Adrienne McFaul providing some context for the letters, with readings from Ashton Akridge and Big Easy Award winner Richard Mayer.
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. Hearn wrote of New Orleans:
“There are few who can visit her for the first time without delight; and few who can ever leave her without regret; and none who can forget her strange charm when they have once felt its influence. To a native of the bleaker Northern clime—if he have any poetical sense of the beautiful in nature, any love of bright verdure and luxuriance of landscape—the approach to the city by river, must be in itself something indescribably pleasant. The white steamer gliding through an unfamiliar world of blue and green . . . the waving cane; the evergreen fringe of groves weird with moss . . . as though one were sailing to some far-off glimmering Eden.”
The letters also provide an unedited glimpse into Hearn’s world, which contains language and thoughts that may offend. A special thanks to Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives, for providing letters from their Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence Collection, and to Michael Zell for hosting the event at Crescent City Books.
Go to Letters Read for more information about the series and future dates.