THE ICON: Lafcadio Hearn
THE LEGACY: He was sent by a Cincinnati newspaper to cover an election, but when the short, near-sighted man with the knack for delicate prose arrived in New Orleans in 1876, he was immediately enchanted. Quitting his Cincinnati newspaper job, Lafcadio Hearn decided to stay. Not only would he write for New Orleanians in local newspapers, but he would also write about them, in essays for national publications, in writings on local culinary and cultural traditions, in short stories and novellas, all of which reveled in the city’s singular atmosphere. By the time he packed his bags 10 years later, Hearn had become one of the city’s most celebrated writers, a literary ambassador credited with introducing the outside world to the mystique of New Orleans and cementing its reputation as one of America’s most unique and exotic locales.
THE ARTIST: Jeremy Paten
THE INSPIRATION: “Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes, than to own the whole state of Ohio.” — Lafcadio Hearn, upon moving to New Orleans