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With Hawks and Angels - Episodes from a Southern Life

With Hawks and Angels

Episodes from a Southern Life

By Joel Lafayette Fletcher III
Foreword by Ann Brewster Dobie
Series: Willie Morris Books in Memoir and Biography
Hardcover : 9781496844699, 288 pages, 65 b&w illustrations, May 2023
Expected to ship: 2023-05-15

A funny, fascinating chronicle of a privileged misfit from Louisiana and the journey for self that took him around the world


With Hawks and Angels: Episodes from a Southern Life chronicles the fortunate life of a man born in the Cajun country of Louisiana and his interaction with the three distinct parts of his home state: the swampy, laissez-faire South where he was born, the red clay hills and piney woods of northern Louisiana where his relatives lived, and exotic New Orleans, where he was educated.

Author Joel Lafayette Fletcher III examines his childhood on the campus of what is now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where his father, Joel Lafayette Fletcher Jr., was president for twenty-five years, to his time as a student at Tulane. The book follows Fletcher through his service as a naval officer—when he began to admit to himself, accept, and explore who he really was—to his life in Europe and, eventually, Virginia where he now resides. With Hawks and Angels intimately explores the life of a young man growing up in the racially segregated Deep South while coming to terms with being gay at a time when being out was not socially acceptable.

Based on his personal journals and recollections and filled with the unique characters he met along the way, With Hawks and Angels is the culmination of writing that, for Fletcher, was a way of holding onto an important part of his true self that for many years he felt compelled to hide.


"Joel Lafayette Fletcher III’s memoir is a moving account of the emotional journey of a young, white southern boy battling the changing social currents of the last sixty years of the twentieth century."

- Michael Wade, professor emeritus of history at Appalachian State University

"This is a charming and thoughtful narrative that pleases with its honesty and humor. For those of us old enough to remember the era in which it is set, it brings back poignant memories. For all readers it charts the course of a life marked by the desire to live fully and deeply."

- Ann Brewster Dobie, author of Voices from Louisiana: Profiles of Contemporary Writers