Readings in Literature and Culture

Since 1983, the LEH’s adult reading and discussion series, RELIC, has enrolled nearly 105,000 readers in 63 parishes across Louisiana. These 6-week thematic series are led by university scholars, who introduce the books and lead group discussions. Sessions are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Currently RELIC is available to librarians interested in administering and funding their own programs. Contact Chris Robert for more information at or 504.620.2639. See below for RELIC themes.


The Native American World of the Southeastern United States

  • Native American Legends: Tales from the Natchez, Caddo, Biloxi, Chickasaw, and Other Nations by Charles Lankford, ed.
  • The Historic Indian Tribes of Louisiana by Fred Kniffen, Charles Stokes and Hiram Gregory
  • Power by Linda Hogan

Louisiana History: Perspectives on the Pelican State

  • The Founding of New Acadia: The Beginnings of Acadian Life in Louisiana, 1765-1803 by Carl Brasseaux
  • Twelve Years A Slave by Solomon Northup
  • The Civil War Memoirs of Captain William J. Seymour: Reminiscences of a Louisiana Tigerby Terry L. Jones, ed.
  • Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America by John M. Barry
  • The Earl of Louisiana by A.J. Leibling

Folktales and Stories of the South and Louisiana

  • Afro-American Folktales: Stories from the Black Tradition in the New World by Roger Abrahams, ed.
  • Storytellers: Folktales and Legends from the South by John Burrison, ed.
  • Cajun Folktales by J. J. Reneaux
  • Favorite Folktales from Around the World by Jane Yolen,
  • Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana by Carl Lindahl, Maida Owens and C. Renee Harvison, eds.

Encounter in Louisiana

  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
  • A Lesson before Dying by Ernest Gaines
  • The Clearing by Tim Gautreaux

The American West in Fact and Fiction

  • Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West by Patricia Nelson Limerick
  • Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
  • The Brave Cowboy by Edward Abbey

Becoming American: The Literature of Immigration and Acculturation

  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
  • The Imported Bridegroom by Abraham Cahan
  • Typical American by Gish Jen
  • Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee
  • American Mosaic: Multicultural Readings in Context by Barbara Roach Rico and Sandra Mano, eds.

Louisiana Characters: Biographies of the Bayou State

  • Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of Baroness Pontalba by Christine Vella
  • Lafitte the Pirate by Lyle Saxon
  • Unveiling Kate Chopin by Emily Toth
  • The Kingfish and His Realm: The Life and Times of Huey Long by William Ivy Hair
  • Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans by Louis Armstrong
  • The Last Madam by Christine Wiltz

I’ll Be Seeing You… America and World War II

  • Incredible Victory: The Battle of Midway by Walter Lord
  • Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
  • Japan at War: An Oral History by Haruko Taya Cook
  • The Mighty Eighth: The Air War in Europe As Told by the Men Who Fought It by Gerald Astor
  • D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen Ambrose
  • Voices from the Third Reich: An Oral History by Johannes Steinhoff, ed.
  • Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II by Ronald Takaki

The Louisiana Purchase: Impact and Legacy

  • A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America by Jon Kukla
  • Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis,Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose

Battleground Louisiana: Civil War Events and Experiences

  • Brokenburn: Journal of Kate Stone,1861-1868 by John Anderson, ed.
  • One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign by Gary Joiner
  • When the Devil Came Down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans by Chester Hearn
  • The Civil War in Louisiana by John Winters
  • The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience during the Civil War by James Hollandsworth

The Creole Identity & Experience in Louisiana Literature & History

  • Cane River by Lalita Tademy
  • Creole: The History and Legacy of Louisiana’s Free People of Color by Sybil Kein, ed.
  • The Feast of All Saints by Anne Rice
  • Creole New Orleans: Race and Americanization by Arnold Hirsch and Joseph Logsdon
  • Catherine Carmier by Ernest Gaines

Elizabeth I of England and Her Times

  • The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir
  • The Armada by Garret Mattingly
  • Elizabeth’s London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London by Liza Picard
  • Shakespeare Alive! by Joseph Papp and Elizabeth Kirkland

Where Is North Louisiana?

  • Louisiana Power and Light by John Dufresne
  • On My Way: The Arts of Sarah Albritton, ed. Susan Roach
  • Shreveport Sounds in Black and White by Kip Lornell & Tracy Baird, eds.
  • Swaggart: The Unauthorized Biography of an
    American Evangelist
     by Ann Rowe Seaman

Making Sense of The American Civil War