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McNeese Professor Wins Another Book Award - Friday, February 17, 2017

McNeese State University Professor of English Dr. Keagan LeJeune has won the Louisiana Library Association’s 2017 Louisiana Literary Award for his book, "Legendary Louisiana Outlaws: The Villains and Heroes of Folk Justice.”

LeJeune will receive his award at a ceremony March 9 as part of the Annual Louisiana Library Association Conference to be held in Lafayette.

Published by the Louisiana State University Press, LeJeune’s book follows Louisiana outlaws from Bonnie and Clyde to largely forgotten figures like Leather Britches Smith. Bringing together both fact and folklore, LeJeune breaks down how Louisiana’s history and legal climate created these fugitives. The book also considers popular reactions to their lives and crimes - how folk heroes rose, survived and thrived and how the communities that once supported and harbored these fugitives could turn against them.

"It’s an honor to win this prize,” LeJeune says. "Seeing my book on that list of award recipients is humbling. The award validates not only the effort I’ve put into the book, but also the rich history and folklore of Louisiana. If this book brings attention to this place and its people, I’m very glad.”

He adds, "Of course, this book wouldn’t have been possible without the wonderful archival work of libraries throughout Louisiana and the amazing librarians who have come to my aid so many times. The award is also a testament to McNeese’s support and the generosity of my colleagues there and within the Louisiana Folklore Society. All Louisiana residents are lucky to have so many fine Louisiana folklorists documenting and promoting the state’s traditions.”

In order to be considered for the Louisiana Literary Award, a book’s subject must be related to Louisiana and published the year prior to receiving the award. Submissions are evaluated on their literary merit, treatment of Louisiana life, interpretation of Louisiana heritage, and possible value to the permanent record of the state.

In selecting LeJeune’s work, The Louisiana Literary Award Committee noted that the book "has the rare merit of being scholarly yet accessible to the general reader.”

LeJeune is past president of the Louisiana Folklore Society and editor of its journal, Louisiana Folklore Miscellany. He has collected stories about outlaws and Louisiana folklore for more than 15 years. His book also won the 2016 Brian McConnell Book Award.


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