Finding Myself Lost in Louisiana
One writer’s odyssey through Louisiana folklore and history as he searches for the true meaning of home
In Finding Myself Lost in Louisiana, author Keagan LeJeune brilliantly weaves the unusual folklore, landscape, and history of Louisiana along with his own family lineage that begins in 1760 to trace the trajectory of people’s lives in the Bayou State. His account confronts the challenging environmental record evident in Louisiana’s landscapes. LeJeune also celebrates and memorializes traditions of some underrepresented communities in Louisiana, communities that are vanishing or have vanished—communities including the author’s own.
Each section in the memoir is a journey to a fascinating place, but it’s also a search for LeJeune’s own sense of belonging. The book is an adventure and a pilgrimage across Louisiana to explore its future and to reckon with feelings of loss and anxiety accompanying climate disasters. LeJeune travels to Louisiana’s geographic center to learn what waits there. He chases the ghosts of Hot Wells, a shuttered healing resort, and he kneels at the tomb of folk saint Charlene Richard. With every adventure, every memory, he ends up much closer to home.
"Keagan LeJeune argues that despite the challenges of climate change, a troubled economy, and racial inequity, the idiosyncrasies of Louisiana’s geography, mythology, and people make it a place worth fighting for."- Shane Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center, Northwestern State University
"Combining memoir with careful research, LeJeune’s work approaches the culture and landscape of Louisiana through the lens of solastalgia, a term coined by Glenn Albrecht for the feeling of homesickness when one has not left home. Finding Myself Lost in Louisiana beautifully depicts Louisiana’s folklore and traditions through the personal journey of its narrator."- Marcia Gaudet, author of Carville: Remembering Leprosy in America