By Keagan LeJeune
Louisiana’s impartial Strip, a space of pine forests, squats among the Calcasieu and Sabine Rivers at the border of East Texas. Early in its historical past, the zone constructed a name as a harsh frontier the place grit and tenacity grew to become imperative instruments of survival. throughout the Louisiana buy, bureaucrats from either Spain and the USA squabbled over the precise boundary line among the 2 rival powers. either governments got rid of military from the contested land to prevent warfare. Intensifying its acceptance, the area served as an reputable buffer region. with no the safety of an army presence, citizens quick learned they might have to safeguard and govern themselves. quickly, tight-knit groups shaped, and citizens constructed a reliance on self, family members, and neighbor.
In the early 1900s, the trees growth sliced during the forests of East Texas and the previous impartial Strip, disrupting those dense groups. Mill cities sprang up, and the promise of cash lured land speculators, trees employees, unionists, and a bunch of different characters, reminiscent of the outlaw leather-based Britches Smith. The entrenched neighborhood citizens quickly faced not just those new neighborhood participants but in addition a dynamic cultural second that struck a defining blow within the making of the area. That second maintains to form the place’s cultural attention, and folks type a lore attached to this time.
In a desirable exploration of the quarter, Keagan LeJeune unveils the legend of leather-based Britches, paralleling the phases of the outlaw’s lifestyles to the impartial Strip’s formation. LeJeune retells each one degree of Smith’s lifestyles: his infamous earlier, his audacious deeds of theft or even generosity, his rumored connection to a neighborhood union strike—the Grabow War—significant within the annals of work heritage, and his eventual dying. because the outlaw’s lifestyles vividly unfolds, the booklet additionally unearths the area’s historical past and cultural panorama. frequently utilizing the details of 1 small city as a consultant instance, the ebook explores how the zone recalls and reinterprets the previous so as to navigate an international altering rapidly.
Drawing from newspapers, court docket files, and a decade of interviews and remark, LeJeune deals a penetrating exam of the interaction among legend and position, exploring Smith’s personal lifestyles, this detailed ancient second, and the place’s mysterious panorama. The e-book additionally considers how modern gala's and different kinds of cultural historical past hire the legend as a cultural recourse. to stick bright and significant, tradition consistently re-makes itself; right here, the outlaw occupies an important position within the re-creation.
Texas Folklore Society additional booklet quantity 23
“LeJeune makes use of a truly strange method mixing old files and debts, oral histories, historiography, and folkloric how you can inform the tale of the Sabine Strip among Louisiana and Texas, and the legend of an outlaw named ‘Leather Britches Smith.’ He monitors a wealth of knowledge approximately western principal Louisiana and the historiography of the region.”—Gary D. Joiner, writer of Through the Howling desolate tract: The 1864 crimson River crusade and Union Failure within the West
“This e-book reminds us that Louisiana west of the Mississippi was once a part of the western frontier. Few comprehend that Pat Garrett grew up in Louisiana and that Jim Bowie was once from there. leather-based Britches Smith is destined to take a spot within the pantheon of western characters. Always for the Underdog could be of curiosity to all those who find themselves desirous about the yank outlaw-hero.”—Barry Ancelet, writer of Cajun and Creole Folktales
“Based on my event instructing introductory folklore university classes, i do know that scholars have difficulty realizing what a legend is. LeJeune’s publication could make a very good textual content simply because he is taking the reader step-by-step in the course of the evolution of the leather-based Britches legend, in a transparent and straightforward means that starting scholars may simply grasp.”—Lee Winniford, writer of Following outdated Fencelines
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