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Richard Campanella

Tulane University School of Architecture professor Richard Campanella will be honored as the 20th Annual Louisiana Writer Award winner at the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, Nov. 2.

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana announced the award, which recognizes Campanella's outstanding contribution to documenting Louisiana’s history, culture and people, a news release said.

"Originally from Brooklyn, Campanella remembers the moment, around 1971, when his curiosity was first piqued about far-away Louisiana. His parents were helping him read 'Meet Abraham Lincoln,' in which author Barbara Cary described how 'excited' young Abe felt about traveling 'almost 1,000 miles' to a big exotic city 'at the very end [of] the great Mississippi River,'" the news release also said. "Abe thought New Orleans 'a wonderful place,' Cary explained to her juvenile readers, 'but then he saw a market where slaves were being sold, [and] Abe did not like what he saw.' That was it. New Orleans would be Campanella’s destination."


Richard Campanella

“I am honored to be recognized by the Louisiana Center for the Book with this award,” Campanella said. “From reading about Louisiana in 1971 all the way to today, my passion and love for Louisiana has never wavered, and Louisiana has provided me with so much opportunity over the years. I look forward to continuing to chronicle and publish about the uniqueness of Louisiana and her people.”

Some of Campanella’s works include "Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans" (University of Louisiana Press, 2008), which the New York Review of Books described as “the single best history of the city … masterful.” His biggest project, "Geographies of New Orleans: Urban Fabrics Before the Storm" (University of Louisiana Press, 2006), which he said “took five years and weighs five pounds,” came out just after Hurricane Katrina.

Campanella is the only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award. Other awards include the Louisiana Literary Award, the Williams Prize, the Malcolm Heard Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Hannah Arendt Prize for Public Scholarship and the Tulane Honors Professor of the Year Award. In 2016, the Government of France named Campanella as Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton will present Campanella with the award at the festival's opening ceremony at the State Capitol. Further information on Campanella, all his books, and the Louisiana Writer Award can be found at http://www.louisianabookfestival.org/louisiana_writer_award.html or by visiting at richcampanella.com.