In June, English professors Paul Reich and Emily Russell led a group of graduate students in the Master of Liberal Studies program on a weeklong tour of the literary South. From Flannery O’Connor’s Savannah to Anne Rice’s New Orleans, here are a few of the highlights.
Louis Adam House
722 Toulouse Street
Playwright Tennessee Williams began his literary career in the attic of this building in the French Quarter.
214 Royal Street
The Hotel Monteleone was a staple of the literati, who stayed in its rooms and frequented its Carousel Bar & Lounge. Faulkner lodged here when he received the French Legion of Honor award; Truman Capote told reporters he was born in the hotel; Tennessee Williams featured it in his play, The Rose Tattoo; and Ernest Hemingway and Eudora Welty both mentioned the bar in short stories.
Sherwood Anderson Home
540 St. Peter Street
In his historic Pontalba Building apartment, Sherwood Anderson, author of Winesburg, Ohio, welcomed many literary giants—including John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, Carl Sandburg, and Edna St. Vincent Millay— who would gather in the parlor that overlooked Jackson Square.
1239 First Street
This neoclassical mansion in the Garden District served as the home of the Gothic fiction author and original vampire matron, Anne Rice, and the Mayfairs, her fictional family of witches.
Kate Chopin’s Home
443 Magazine Street
One of three homes Kate Chopin lived in during her nine years in New Orleans, this double cottage served as the inspiration for the fictional Pontellier family’s New Orleans residence in The Awakening.
Eudora Welty House
1119 Pinehurst Street
From the age of 16 until her death at age 92, Eudora Welty lived in this house—now a National Historic Landmark—where she wrote nearly all of her fiction and essays, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Optimist’s Daughter.
916 Old Taylor Road
In 1930, William Faulkner purchased this home and surrounding 29 acres, which he named Rowan Oak. It is where the Nobel Prize winner wrote Light in August and Absalom, Absalom!, among many others. Oxford was the model for the fictional town of Jefferson, which features prominently in his Snopes trilogy, and the county surrounding Oxford inspired Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County.
St. Peter’s Cemetery
Corner of Jefferson Avenue and North 16th Street
This is Faulkner’s final resting place.
Kelly Ingram Park
(Historically known as West Park)
In the early 1960s, this park was used as an assembly point for protestors associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, specifically Project C, which stood for “confrontation” and was led by Martin Luther King Jr. It was for these protests that King was arrested and wrote his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
Mercer Williams House Museum
429 Bull Street, Monterey Square
John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil chronicles the fatal shooting of Danny Hansford by his lover, the wealthy Jim Williams, in this landmark building that has been referred to as “the envy of Savannah.”
Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home
207 East Charlton Street
Three-time winner of the O. Henry Award and queen of Southern Gothic literature, Flannery O’Connor grew up in this Depression-era home just one block from the church she and her family attended.
2628 North Columbia Street
Flannery O’Connor lived on this estate from 1951 until her death in 1964. The property, complete with peacocks, provided a backdrop for many of her stories. Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, visited Andalusia with her mother in 1974. The visit later inspired an essay in Walker’s seminal text, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, titled “Beyond the Peacock: The Reconstruction of Flannery O’Connor.”