[percy-l] Announcement: 2nd Walker Percy Weekend Literary Festival in St. Francisville, LA, to be held June 5-7, 2015
wppdirector at gmail.com
Sun Mar 29 08:48:38 EDT 2015
Information about the 2nd Walker Percy Weekend Literary Festival in St.
Francisville, LA, (June 5-7, 2015) is available at the following address:
Below is a recent article that appeared in the Baton Rouge Advocate
about the upcoming event. For those who attend this year's festival, it
would be wonderful to receive a personal report posted to Percy-L for
all to enjoy. Please consider!
*Our Views: Walker Percy’s take on Louisiana*
March 21, 2015
Plans are underway for a second Walker Percy Weekend Literary Festival
in St. Francisville — a welcome development for those of us who cherish
the late resident of Covington who achieved international fame with
novels like “The Moviegoer” and “Love in the Ruins.” More information
about the festival, slated for June 5-7, is available at
News of the festival made us think about Percy’s deep love of Louisiana,
a state he wrote about with a fond but critical eye quite often until
his death in 1990. “As the question goes these days, what’s wrong with
Louisiana?,” Percy asked in a 1985 newspaper op-ed that still rings true
“The state is beautiful, unique, and there are no better people
anywhere,” Percy told readers. “If the United States takes pride in
being a melting pot, in the sense that many ethnic types tolerate each
other, that is, generally don’t kill each other as they do in Lebanon,
here in Louisiana as amazing mix of people not only tolerate each other
but by and large get along well and have a good time.
“But I don’t like what has happened to this state,” Percy continued.
“The facts are melancholy and all too familiar. One need not dwell on
them. Here’s a state richer in mineral resources than any other Southern
state, the top gas producer in the country, possessed of the largest
port, endowed with a natural wealth which in its use might have been
expected to yield manifold benefits for its people. The upshot … its
marshes plundered, and polluted, one of the highest cancer rates in the
country, the loss of fifty square miles of wetlands yearly.”
Percy recommended a number of reforms, but his main suggestion was
improving public education.
“Time will tell,” he concluded. “We either continue our present course
and become a somewhat comic, albeit slightly sleazy playground for
tourists and conventioneers — as indeed Louisiana is already perceived
by much of the country. Or we can realize our unique potential, keep the
good times, but conserve our natural wealth and that greatest wealth of
all — our young people. There’s the hope.”
That was Walker Percy, writing in 1985. It’s striking to consider what
has changed — and what has not — since he made those observations about
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