Tulane University geography professor Richard Campanella, author of 11 books on the geography, history, architecture and culture of Louisiana, is the recipient of the 2019 Louisiana Writer Award. The award is presented annually by the Louisiana Center for the Book of the State Library of Louisiana.
Campanella will receive the award Nov. 2 at the opening ceremony of the Louisiana Book Festival at the State Capitol in recognition of his outstanding contribution to documenting Louisiana’s history, culture and people.
“The historical geography of New Orleans and Louisiana is really the story of millions of people creating cityscapes and landscapes over hundreds of years,” said Campanella, a senior professor of practice in the Tulane School of Architecture. “I am humbled by the task of trying to understand all this complex place-making, and I feel deeply honored to be recognized by the state for the effort.”
Campanella’s works includes “Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans,” described by the New York Review of Books as the “single best history of the city…masterful.” He is also the author of “Geographies of New Orleans: Urban Fabrics Before the Storm” (University of Louisiana Press, 2006), which came out just after Hurricane Katrina. That book also won rave reviews, with The Times-Picayune calling it “a powerful (and) dazzling book, unparalleled in its scope, precision, clarity and detail.”
His book “Bourbon Street: A History,” was declared by the New York Review of Books as “absorbing...persuasive…gleefully subversive. There may be no one better qualified to write such a history than Campanella.”
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Campanella is the only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award. He has also won the Louisiana Literary Award, the Williams Prize, the Malcolm Heard Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Hannah Arendt Prize for Public Scholarship and the Tulane Honors Professor of the Year. In 2016, the Government of France named Campanella as Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.
Campanella lives with his wife Marina and their son Jason in uptown New Orleans. His next book, “The West Bank of Greater New Orleans: A Historical Geography,” will be released by Louisiana State University Press in 2020.