Archive for January, 2012

Archives and Public Policy: Coastal Louisiana, Energy and the Environment Topic of Jan. 30 Talk

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Environmental historian Jason Theriot will present “Building America’s Energy Corridor: Pipelines, Wetlands, and the Breaux Act” on Monday, January 30, at 4:00 in the Holliday Forum of the Journalism Building.

Theriot, a native of Louisiana, is a graduate of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School for Government. He will speak on the history of oil & gas development and wetland policy in coastal Louisiana, his research in the John Breaux Papers in the LSU Libraries Special Collections and the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Macondo oil spill on recent policy developments in the Gulf. The latter is the current direction of his research as a Kennedy School fellow.

With an emphasis on the value of historical research for providing context for public policy-making, he offers a unique and valuable perspective on the ongoing discussion of Louisiana’s efforts to balance economics, energy exploration and extraction, and coastal preservation and restoration. Former U.S. Senator John Breaux’s efforts to secure a steady revenue source for coastal projects through revenue sharing are a central part of Theriot’s narrative and analysis, and the John Breaux Papers provided an important resource for his research.

His dissertation and current book project Building America’s Energy Corridor: Oil and Gas Development and Louisiana Wetlands, explores the history of pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico, the environmental implications of oil and gas development for coastal Louisiana, and coastal restoration policy and funding.

A reception will follow in Hill Memorial Library, located just across Field House Drive from the Journalism Building.

Theriot will also be featured on the “Jim Engster Show” on Baton Rouge public radio station WRKF 98.3 at 9:00 on Jan. 30.

The event is co-sponsored by the following LSU departments: the Coastal Ecology Institute, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Department of History, Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, LSU Libraries Special Collections, Center for Energy Studies, and the Craft and Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering.

For additional information contact Tara Z. Laver, Interim Head of Special Collections, at 578-6546 or

Special Collections Featured on C-SPAN Book TV

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

C-SPAN’s Local Content Vehicles stopped in at LSU Libraries Special Collections in early December to film segments for C-SPAN2 BookTV with Interim Assistant Dean of Libraries Elaine Smyth and Interim Head of Special Collections Tara Laver. The pieces aired December 31st and January 1st and are now available online.

Smyth highlighted the book Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de l’Amerique, a two volume description of the people, animals, and plants of the Caribbean written by Dominican friar Jean Baptiste Labat in the 1790s. What makes our copy noteworthy is its characterization as “The Bloody Book,” a moniker that comes from rust-colored stains on some of the pages that are purported to be the blood of French revolutionary Jean Paul Marat. The book is alleged to have been in Marat’s room when he was stabbed to death by Charlotte Corday, a member of an opposing faction. Hear the full story in the video.

Laver chose to feature the William C. C. Claiborne letter book. President Thomas Jefferson appointed Claiborne to receive Louisiana from France at the formal transfer of power in New Orleans, after the Louisiana Purchase. Claiborne subsequently served as governor of the territory (1803-1812) and state (1812-1816). The volume contains his outgoing correspondence to Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison, and officials in New Orleans and around Louisiana, from 1804 to 1805. His letters detail and illustrate the challenges he faced as he tried to establish American authority among a population with political and cultural loyalties divided among France, Spain, and the U.S.

C-SPAN filmed several other features on Louisiana history and culture during their stay in Baton Rouge. Check them out!

“Charles Dickens at 200″ Exhibit

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, one of English literature’s most beloved authors. No other writer has had so great an impact on our perception of Victorian England, and few can claim to have created so many characters (by one count, Dickens created 989). Several of these characters are now better known than many of the real-life celebrities of their day. Who, for example, has never heard of Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future?

A small exhibition celebrating Dickens’ 200th birthday will be on display in the Hill Memorial Library Lecture Hall from January 23 to April 28, 2012. Visitors will learn about the author’s tragic life and lasting legacy by exploring materials drawn from the library’s collection of rare books and manuscripts.

First editions of several Dickens novels, including Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and Little Dorrit, will be among the items featured. A focus of the exhibit is Dickens’ method of writing and publishing. The library is fortunate to own examples of all the forms in which his stories first appeared. “When most people think of Dickens, they think of fancy leather-bound, gold-tooled books,” said exhibition curator Michael Taylor. “What they don’t realize is that his stories were usually first published in cheap monthly magazines or parts so that working-class readers (the subject of so many of his novels) could afford to buy them.”

It has always been popular to adapt Dickens’ novels for the stage and screen. Selected items from the library’s extensive collection of Dickensian ephemera reveal how Dickens’ characters have enjoyed a second life in the theater. Also displayed in this section of the exhibit are programs from charity performances of Dickens’ works. Dickens Bazaars, for example, were often held to raise funds for schools and churches, and in 1914, London’s Royal Court Theatre hosted a reading of A Christmas Carol to raise money for World War I relief funds.

The exhibit is being produced in conjunction with Baton Rouge’s “One Book One Community” program, which has chosen Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist for its 2012 “Big Read.” For more information on the exhibit, contact Michael Taylor, Assistant Curator of Books, at (225) 578-6547.

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