Posted in Interesting News & Commentary, The Study Hall

The Study Hall 5/2/22

Happy Monday and happy May!

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Posted in Interesting News & Commentary, The Study Hall

The Study Hall 3/7/22

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Happy Monday and have a great week!

Posted in Interesting News & Commentary

It’s Mardi Gras, Y’all!

Mardi Gras is a New Orleans tradition that celebrates living in luxury and excess between the Twelfth Night, the Christian holiday that takes place 12 days after Christmas Eve, and Shrove Tuesday, the day of feasting before Ash Wednesday. 

Mardi Gras is a one of a kind holiday that has evolved and changed since the first documentation of it in 1699. The long standing traditions include parades, King Cakes, costumes and masks, balls, and the act of tossing beads and other objects called “throws” from the parade floats. 

Mardi Gras is known for its iconic purple, green, and gold colors. These colors were declared to mean justice, power, and faith in 1892. 

There is much to learn about the history, cultures, and traditions that make Mardi Gras and New Orleans what it is today. 

For more on the traditions and cultures of Louisiana read Mardi Gras, Gumbo, and Zydeco by Marcia G Gaudet and James C McDonald (eBook).

To learn more about the history and development of Mardi Gras as well as the diverse traditions and people that participate in Mardi Gras read All on a Mardi Gras Day: Episodes in the History of New Orleans Carnival by Reid Mitchell (eBook) or New Orleans Carnival Krewes: the History, Spirit & Secrets of Mardi Gras by Rosary O’Neill and Kim Marie Vaz (eBook).

To learn more about how Black people influenced Mardi Gras and other American traditions read Black Legacy: America’s Hidden Heritage byWilliam Dillon Piersen

To learn more about how New Orleans got its reputation read Authentic New Orleans: Tourism, Culture, and Race in the Big Easy by Kevin Fox Gotham (eBook)

To read about the rich and complex experience of living in New Orleans read New Orleans, Mon Amour : Twenty Years of Writings from the City by Andrei Codrescu Various.

Additionally, check out some of McCain Library’s fiction books set in New Orleans: The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells, and Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum.

Thanks to Student Assistant Marigny Beter for researching and writing this informative piece on Mardi Gras!

Posted in Book Reviews, Books & Film News, Interesting News & Commentary, Reading Habits

Book Review: Carry On by John Lewis

The following review is courtesy of Charles A. Dana Professor of Spanish Rafael Ocasio. The book, Carry On, is available through McCain Library.

Observed in the United States from February 1 through March 1, Black History Month as Jonathan Franklin highlighted for NPR, “honors the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shape the nation” (  In the midst of a lengthy Covid pandemic, this year’s theme, Black Health and Wellness, strikingly resonates in John Lewis’s Carry On: Reflections For a New Generation (2021). The late Lewis (1940-2020), U.S. representative for the state of Georgia (1987-2020), was described by American Civil Liberties Union as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced” ( Along with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., another notable Black activist, Lewis’s participation in peaceful public demonstrations against Southern segregation practices led to the proclamation of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ( In Carry On, Lewis recalled key moments as a brave Civil Rights fighter (often the target of severe acts of physical aggression), followed by his subsequent career as a vocal public servant. Lewis offered a fresh updated view of his Civil Rights activism; in particular, I enjoyed his comments about undocumented immigrants, bravely claiming that, “There is no such thing as an ‘illegal human”” (149). The book is a beautiful compilation of personal essays that encourages, rather, challenges the reader to consider the power of forgiveness, meditation and prayer as ways to navigate overwhelmingly difficult societal marginalization.     

Posted in The Study Hall

The Study Hall – 12/6/21

Happy Monday and Happy Last Day of Classes!

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Posted in Interesting News & Commentary, The Study Hall

The Study Hall 11/1

Happy November!

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