My research explores the life and writing of Lyle Saxon (1891-1946). The author of six books on New Orleans and Louisiana, Saxon also directed the Louisiana Writers’ Project, which produced two WPA guidebooks and a collection of Louisiana folklore, Gumbo Ya-Ya (1945). A pioneer in the restoration of the French Quarter, Saxon was at the center of the Quarter’s art and literary colonies in the early 1920s, befriending William Faulkner, Hamilton Basso, Bill Spratling, Oliver La Farge, and many other writers and artists.
My current research and writing project is a biography of Saxon’s grandmother, Elizabeth Lyle Saxon (1832-1915), essayist, orator, journalist, and poet. Saxon was a champion of women’s suffrage, and in 1879 she presented the first petition to Louisiana’s constitutional convention’s suffrage committee, and, in 1880, toured the New England states with Susan B. Anthony.
Lyle Saxon (1938) by Joseph Woodson "Pops" Whitesell (1876-1958)
PhD, Tulane University. MA, Duke University. BA, Millsaps College.
Foreword. Children of Strangers.By Lyle Saxon.Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1937. New Orleans: Pelican Publishing Company, 2011.
The Life and Selected Letters of Lyle Saxon.New Orleans: Pelican Publishing Company, 2003.
“6:40 a.m.” (Melrose Plantation). Louisiana in Words. Ed. Joshua Clark. New Orleans:
Pelican Publishing Company, 2007. 18.
“10:30 a.m.” (Frogmore Plantation). Louisiana in Words. Ed. Joshua Clark. New Orleans: Pelican Publishing Company, 2007. 39-40.
“I Love Natalie Rake: The Jefferson Davis Campus Difference.” Two-Year College Association-Southeast Journal 41.2 (2008): 28-35.
“Being ‘Ourselves’: Alternating Identities in the Fiction of Lyle Saxon.” The International Journal of the Humanities 3 (2005).
Selected Other Professional Activities and Achievements:
National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Institute Grant, Landmarks of
History and Culture, “Concord, Massachusetts: A Center of Transcendentalism
and Social Reform in the 19th Century,” 19-25 July 2009.
International Business Grant Faculty and Student Mission to Tokyo, Japan, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Summer 2007.
Humanities Teacher Award, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, awarded by Mississippi Humanities Council, 2006.
William Winter Scholar, 14th Annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, Natchez, MS, awarded by Copiah-Lincoln Community College, 2003.
John T. Monroe Fellowship, dissertation research, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, 1978-79.
“Lyle Saxon and William Faulkner: A New Orleans Friendship.” Popular Culture Association in the South/American Culture Association in the South Annual Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana. 6-8 Oct. 2011.
“The Joseph Dee Family: Undertakers of Concord’s American Transcendentalists.” Community College Humanities Association Central Region Division Annual Conference. Cleveland, Ohio. 4-6 Nov. 2010.
“Elizabeth Lyle Saxon: From Alabama Belle to American Suffragist.” The Alabama Historical Association Annual Meeting. Gadsden, Alabama. 15-17 April 2010.
Panelist, “The Jazzed Age.” The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival.New Orleans, Louisiana. 27-29 Mar. 2009.
“I Love Natalie Rake: The Jefferson Davis Campus Difference.” Mississippi Philological Association Annual Conference. Mississippi College. Clinton, Mississippi. 30-31 Jan. 2009.
“‘Glory on the Grave’: The Civil War Legacy of Elizabeth Lyle Saxon.” The 10th Conference on Women and the Civil War. Wilson College. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.25-27 July 2008.
“Meet ‘Mr. New Orleans’: The Life of Lyle Saxon.” Two-Year College Association Southeas (TYCA-SE) Conference. Florida Community College. Jacksonville, Florida.22-24 Feb. 2007.
“Alternating Identities in the Fiction of Lyle Saxon.” Third International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities. University of Cambridge. United Kingdom. 2-5 Aug. 2005.
“‘Here, in the dark, we are ourselves’:Signs of Grace in the Fiction of Lyle Saxon.” Society for the Study of Southern Literature 2004 Conference. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 26-28 March 2004.
Panelist, “The Double Dealer Crowd.” Words & Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans Annual 2003 Conference. New Orleans, Louisiana. 4-9 Dec. 2003.
“Constructing Regional Identity: Lyle Saxon’s Children of Strangers.” The Red River Region: Oral and Written Traditions Academic Symposium. Ouachita Baptist University.Arkadelphia, Arkansas. 16-18 Apr. 2000.
“Lyle Saxon: Louisiana Novelist and Historian.” The Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture Series at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. University of Mississippi. Oxford, Mississippi. 23 Sept. 1999.
“Lyle Saxon and the Southern Renascence.” Biography Colloquium at the Center for Biographical Research. University of Hawaii at Manoa. Honolulu, Hawaii. 6 March 1991.