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The House That Sugarcane Built tells the saga of Jules M. Burguières Sr. and five generations of Louisianans who, after the Civil War, established a sugar empire that has survived into the present. When twenty-seven-year-old Parisian immigrant Eugène D. Burguières landed at the Port of New Orleans in 1831, one of the oldest Louisiana dynasties began. Seen through the lens of one family, this book traces the Burguières from seventeenth-century France, to nineteenth- century New Orleans and rural south Louisiana and into the twenty-first century. It is also a rich portrait of an American region that has retained its vibrant French culture. As the sweeping narrative of the clan unfolds, so does the story of their family-owned sugar business, the J. M. Burguières Company, as it plays a pivotal role in the expansion of the sugar industry in Louisiana, Florida, and Cuba. The French Burguières were visionaries who knew the value of land and its bountiful resources. The fertile soil along the bayous and wetlands of south Louisiana bestowed on them an abundance of sugarcane above its surface, and salt, oil, and gas beneath. Ever in pursuit of land, the Burguières expanded their holdings to include the vast swamps of the Florida Everglades; then, in 2004, they turned their sights to cattle ranches on the great frontier of west Texas. Finally, integral to the story are the complex dynamics and tensions inherent in this family-owned company, revealing both failures and victories in its history of more than 135 years. The J. M. Burguières Company’s survival has depended upon each generation safeguarding and nourishing a legacy for the next.
The People's Grocer is a business-based biography of John G. Schwegmann, founder of a legendary New Orleans' supermarket chain and the most innovative and courageous retailer of the postwar era. Virtually unrecognized in retail history, visionary Schwegmann pioneered the modern big-box concept. Even more important, his 1951 Supreme Court victory over "fair trade" laws played a key role in legalizing discount pricing. A marketer extraordinaire, Schwegmann's offbeat and controversial ads and shopping bags came to symbolize the Crescent City. As a fierce consumer crusader, his fiery passions ultimately drove him into politics.Along with spotlighting the life, career, and family legacy of John Schwegmann, this biography illuminates a broad spectrum of neglected socioeconomic topics. Old corner grocery stores, outdoor and public markets, real estate in the Great Depression, manufacturer price fixing, the supermarket revolution, postwar New Orleans politics, and the battle over the Superdome--all these stories and more are explored in an epic book spanning retail history from the pre-industrial 1850s to the post-industrial 1990s.
In 1924 when thirty-two-year-old Edmond Landry kissed his family good-bye and left for the leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, leprosy, now referred to as Hansen's Disease, stigmatized and disfigured but did not kill. Those with leprosy were incarcerated in the federal hospital and isolated from family and community. Phones were unavailable, transportation was precarious, and fear was rampant. Edmond entered the hospital (as did his four other siblings), but he did not surrender to his fate. He fought with his pen and his limited energy to stay connected to his family and to improve living conditions for himself and other patients. Claire Manes, Edmond's granddaughter, lived much of her life gripped by the silence surrounding her grandfather. When his letters were discovered, she became inspired to tell his story through her scholarship and his writing. Out of the Shadow of Leprosy: The Carville Letters and Stories of the Landry Family presents her grandfather's letters and her own studies of narrative and Carville during much of the twentieth century. The book becomes a testament to Edmond's determination to maintain autonomy and dignity in the land of the living dead. Letters and stories of the other four siblings further enhance the picture of life in Carville from 1919 to 1977.
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