Ritz of the Bayou

Nancy Lemann, Author Alfred A. Knopf $15.95 (163p) ISBN 978-0-394-56037-3
The 1985-86 trials of Louisiana's flamboyant Gov. Edwin Edwards on charges of crooked hospital deals and other racketeering is reported by Lemann (Lives of the Saints), a New Orleans-born author with a New York City perspective. It is a compelling evocation of idiosyncratic Southern political and judicial usages carried on in a tropical climate that, the author suggests, determines the pace of human activity and fosters eccentricity. Her Southern politicos, ""drawling, cigar-smoking, silver-haired gents,'' with a high tolerance for human frailty, are vividly drawn as are a jazz-crazed assistant prosecutor and the seedy trial buffs and hangers-on who prefer a corrupt official to a boring one. Nostalgia for a more romantic, brilliant era haunts the fading, Egypt-style grandeur of the Southern hotel, where Lemann stayed. (September 30)
Reviewed on: 08/04/1987
Release date: 08/01/1987
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