Nathaniel Rich is the author, most recently, of Odds Against ­Tomorrow. He lives in Louisiana. (November 2016)


Inside the Sacrifice Zone

Donald Trump in front of the Samaritan’s Purse mobile kitchen at an event for flood victims, Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, August 2016

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

by Arlie Russell Hochschild
As the country’s major political parties have become foreign countries to each other—with their own languages, press, moral philosophies, realities—a new kind of political literature has emerged, inspired by Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas? (2004). These books are written not by historians but by sociologists, anthropologists, and reporters; …

The George Plimpton Story

Out of My League: The Classic Account of an Amateur’s Ordeal in Professional Baseball

by George Plimpton

Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback

by George Plimpton
Plimpton was only a journalist in the sense that James Thurber was an illustrator and Robert Benchley a newspaper columnist. He went places, spoke to people, and wrote down his observations, but the reporting wasn’t the point. What was the point? The storytelling, the humanity, the comedy.

To the Lighthouse

Edward Hopper: Lighthouse at Two Lights, 1929

Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse

by Eric Jay Dolin
The history of the American lighthouse is a history of calamity, insanity, and, in at least one case, cannibalism. The Boon Island Lighthouse stands six miles off the coast of York, Maine, on a modest granite outcropping barely above sea level. For decades ships crossed the Atlantic only to founder …


The Creatures Within

Arthur Kern: Dance on Trigger, 1984

I found the sculptures of Arthur Kern, now at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, startling not because I had never seen anything like them before—but the opposite. The sense of recognition was immediate and visceral. I was certain I had seen these images before, in some other time, somewhere very far away from here.

An Amazon Without Certainty

Antonio Bolivar as Karamakate and Jan Bijvoet as Theo in Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent, 2015

It’s a story as old as Alexander von Humboldt: white explorer treks into the Amazon, becomes lost and disoriented, paints face with mud, eats beetles, and has visions of galaxies and exotic reptiles, before finally achieving enlightenment—or total madness. But Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent is strange enough to resist the worst of the old clichés, which is to say it resists moral certainty.

Remnants of New Orleans

Richard Sexton: Ruin of a leper colony hospital, Caño del Oro, near Cartagena, Colombia, 2010

“While it actually resembles no other city upon the face of the earth,” wrote Lafcadio Hearn of New Orleans, “it owns suggestions of towns in Italy, and in Spain, of cities in England and in Germany, of seaports in the Mediterranean, and of seaports in the tropics.” There’s no better illustration of this than the photographs of Richard Sexton.

Authenticity All Right: Lee Friedlander’s New Orleans

Lee Friedlander: Second Liners, 1961

Lee Friedlander arrived in New Orleans at a high point in the jazz revivalist movement, when fans of jazz as it was originally played in New Orleans in the first two decades of the twentieth century (before the perceived corruptions of swing and bebop) descended on the city with tape recorders and notepads and cameras, hoping to catch some of the old magic and document it for posterity.


The 9th Annual Cassidy Park Cook-Off/BBQ

This annual cook-off is an excellent opportunity to visit Bogalusa, “The Magic City,” a town founded in 1906 by the Goodyears of Buffalo, New York, in a pine forest on the Mississippi border eighty minutes north of New Orleans.