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WEJ at 21: Dixie Bohemia - A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s

A view toward Jackson Square in New Orleans in the 1920s.
Arnold Genthe, 1869-1942
Library of Congress
A view toward Jackson Square in New Orleans in the 1920s.

A part of our celebration of Walter Edgar's Journal at 21 we present an encore from 2014, with guest John Shelton Reed, talking about his book, Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s.

In the years following World War I, the New Orleans French Quarter attracted artists and writers with low rent, a faded charm, and colorful street life. By the 1920s Jackson Square became the center of a vibrant but short-lived bohemia. A young William Faulkner and his roommate William Spratling, an artist who taught at Tulane, were among the "artful and crafty ones of the French Quarter." In Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s (LSU Press, 2012) John Shelton Reed introduces Faulkner's circle of friends ranging from the distinguished Sherwood Anderson to a gender-bending Mardi Gras costume designer and brings to life the people and places of New Orleans in the jazz age.

Dr. John Shelton Reed is the William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he was director of the Howard Odum Institute for Research in Social Science for twelve years and helped found the university's Center for the Study of the American South and the quarterly Southern Cultures.

- Originally broadcast 01/10/14 -

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.