Moving chronologically from the colonial period to the present, this collection of seventeen biographical essays provides a window into the social, cultural, and geographic milieu of women's lives in the state. Within the context of the historical forces that have shaped Louisiana, the contributors look at ways in which the women they profile either abided by prevailing gender norms or negotiated new models of behavior for themselves and other women. Louisiana Women concludes with an essay that examines women's active responses to problems that emerged in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
The women whose absorbing life stories are collected here include Marie Therese Coincoin, who was born a slave but later became a successful entrepreneur, and Oretha Castle Haley, civil rights activist and leader of the New Orleans chapter of CORE. From such well-known figures as author Kate Chopin and Voudou priestess Marie Laveau, to lesser known women such as Cajun musician Cleoma Breaux Falcon, this volume reveals a compelling cross section of historical figures. The women profiled vary by race, class, political affiliation, and religious persuasion, but they all share an unusual grit and determination that allowed them to turn trying circumstances into opportunity. Lively yet rigorous, these essays introduce readers to the courageous, dedicated, and inventive women who have been an essential part of Louisiana's history.
Historical figures included:Marie Th r'se CoincoinThe Baroness PontalbaMarie LaveauSarah Katherine (Kate) StoneEliza Jane NicholsonKate ChopinGrace KingLouisa Williams Robinson, Her Daughters, and Her GranddaughtersClementine HunterDorothy DixTrue Methodist WomenCleoma Breaux FalconCaroline DormonMary LandRowena SpencerOretha Castle HaleyLouisiana Women and Hurricane Katrina
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