W. Ryan Smith
W. Ryan Smith is a Louisiana native who completed his graduate and undergraduate education at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. He is one of Louisiana’s youngest hospital administrators and makes his home in Shreveport with his wife and three sons. He is currently working on two manuscripts, one fiction and one nonfiction. Both works are set in nineteenth century northwest Louisiana.
11:15 a.m. to Noon
Capitol Park Welcome Center, Large Meeting Room
12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
A Haunted History of Louisiana Plantations
Louisiana plantations evoke images of grandeur and elegance. Beyond the façade of stately homes are stories of hope and subjugation, tragedy and suffering, shame and perseverance and war and conquest. After sixteen workers axed most of the Houmas House's ancient oak trees, referred to as "the Gentlemen," eight of the surviving trees eerily twisted overnight in grief over the losses wrought by a great Mississippi River flood. An illegal duel to reclaim lost honor left the grounds of Natchez's Cherokee Plantation bloodstained, but the victim's spirit may still wander there today. A mutilated slave girl named Chloe still haunts the halls of the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville. Cheryl H. White and W. Ryan Smith reveal the dark history, folklore and lasting human cost of Louisiana plantation life.
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