Since the late 1970s, Louisiana a state long known for outrageous politicians has witnessed a blossoming of the arts and their enthusiastic reception by a national, and even world-wide, audience. From John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces to James Lee Burke’s detective Dave Robicheaux; from singers Fats Domino and Aaron Neville to jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis and his music-making family; from George Rodrigue’s blue dog to Chef Paul Prudhomme’s transcendent cooking the list is long for Louisiana talent.
Louisiana Faces documents in images and words the human texture of this remarkable renaissance, not only the painters, sculptors, chefs, musicians, poets, and writers who create the art, but also the ordinary people who in their daily and seasonal rhythms inform that art. Some are living legends, others well-kept secrets; all have a place, and a face, at the feast.
Philip Gould confirms his own part in the renaissance with the 125 stunning portraits in Louisiana Faces. Gould’s lively, poignant photographs capture a range of personalities in timeless settings that mirror the larger culture whether masked riders in a Cajun carnival or jazzmen playing a street funeral. Writer Jason Berry complements Gould’s images with a probing, witty essay that explores the parallels between art and life. Using meld of interviews, anecdotes, history, and commentary, Berry treats outsized political figures and pop culture celebrities as a parade of inspiration for Louisiana artists.