Editorial: Celebrating the written word, and a big event’s success

Editorial: Celebrating the written word, and a big event's success
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These can be demoralizing times for people who love books. In states around the country, and in some parishes close to home, reading has become the latest front in our national culture war, with a political push to restrict access to library books that might offend some people but that surely speak to others.

So it was good to see that the power of the written word to broaden minds can still attract capacity crowds.

Last week’s New Orleans Book Festival drew devoted readers and nationally known writers to Tulane University’s campus for three days of joyful enlightenment.

In its second year at Tulane and wedged into a crowded schedule of springtime celebrations, the festival has already become a major event. Organizers secured larger venues after last year’s big turnout, but even so, many sessions were standing-room only.

The festival opened Thursday with Bill Gates discussing stunning advances in artificial intelligence with author Walter Isaacson, who co-chairs the festival with Cheryl Landrieu, and former Attorney General Eric Holder speaking on civil rights. In true Louisiana style, it closed Saturday with a crawfish boil.

In between, Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein reminisced about his early days in journalism; historian Doug Brinkley explained Richard Nixon’s role in creating important environmental regulations; Pulitzer-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed described Thomas Jefferson’s complicated legacy; Ford Foundation President Darren Walker joined former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial in a conversation about philanthropy; and another former mayor, Mitch Landrieu, interviewed Nikole Hannah-Jones about the 1619 Project.

Friday, an even higher profile guest popped in for a session on historical fiction: Jill Biden, the first lady and a one-time Tulane mom, who was in town to talk about cancer research.

The New Orleans Book Festival is just the newest literary gathering in a state that has long celebrated writers. It joins the venerable Tennessee Williams Festival, coming up in a few weeks in the French Quarter, and the annual Louisiana Book Festival that happens each fall around the State Capitol in Baton Rouge.

The book festival’s success proves there’s an appetite for still more occasions for book lovers to gather. Especially these days, we’re glad to see it.

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About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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