News Release

Lectures, workshop focus on Louisiana Purchase and women in colonial America

Contact: Christina Chapple


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University is hosting two lectures and a workshop for teachers in April featuring historians Patricia Brady and Jon Kukla, authors of critically acclaimed works on the Louisiana Purchase and women in colonial America.

     As the guest of the Southeast Louisiana Historical Association’s annual meeting and dinner on April 17, Kukla will speak about his book, “A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America.” The meeting will be held at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts conference center, 220 East Thomas Street, at 6 p.m. Tickets for non-SELHA members are $15. SELHA’s $20 annual dues include the meeting and SELHA’s forthcoming scholarly journal.

     For more information or to register, contact the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, (985) 549-2151,, or SLU 10730, Hammond, LA, 70402.

     On April 18 Southeastern’s Department of History and Political Science will sponsor a lecture by Kukla on “Mr. Jefferson’s Women,” the subject of his 2007 book. The free lecture is scheduled for the Pottle Music Building Auditorium at 11 a.m.

     Kukla and Brady, author of “Martha Washington: An American Life,” will be guest scholars on April 19 at “Leading Ladies in Early American History,” a workshop offered through the Department of History and Political Science’s and the Tangipahoa Parish School District’s Teaching American History Grant.

     Eligible Region II Social Studies teachers can earn six hours of continuing learning units (CLU’s) and a $65 stipend for the workshop, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Fayard Hall, room 101. It will also include hands-on activities conducted by TAH Project Director Ann Trappey.

     Pre-registration is required. Participants can register by contacting Trappey at, (985) 748-2443 (phone) or (985) 748-2445 (fax).

     The Friday lecture and Saturday workshop are “lagniappe for an ‘extended’ Women’s History Month,” said William Robison, head of the Department of History and Political Science.

     “Women’s History Month was in March, but so were the LEAP tests and spring break. So we took the liberty of adding on a week in April,” Robison said. “However, as Patricia Brady says, every month is really Women’s History Month.”

     Kukla received his bachelor’s degree from Carthage College and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Toronto. Now living and writing in Virginia, he directed historical research and publishing at the Library of Virginia from 1973 to 1990 and was curator and director of the Historic New Orleans Collection from 1992 to 1998. From 2000 to 2007 he was director of Red Hill–The Patrick Henry National Memorial in Charlotte County, Va.

     Commenting on Kukla’s “A Wilderness So Immense,” Publishers Weekly said, “Rarely does a work of history combine grace of writing with such broad authority” and described “Mr. Jefferson’s Women” as “one of the most discerning and provocative studies of  Jefferson in years.” 

     Brady, who received her doctoral degree in history from Tulane University, served as director of publications at the Historic New Orleans Collection for 20 years. For the past four years she has headed DivaBooks, a publication and video consulting company. She has written extensively about Martha Washington and her family. For the Bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase, she produced the video “Jefferson, Napoleon, and the Letter That Bought a Continent.”

     Brady was vice president for programming of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival for many years and now serves as president of the festival's boards.

     Publishers Weekly said Brady's biography of Martha Washington “offers a compelling new portrait of this passionate, committed founding mother who has unjustly been obscured by others, such as Abigail Adams.”

     The authors will autograph books at all three events. More information about the authors and their works is available at and 

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