About the Author

Mark LaFlaur grew up in the South, mostly in Louisiana. He earned a master of fine arts degree at Louisiana State University, where he worked on the literary magazine Exquisite Corpse. He has written for the Village Voice, Los Angeles Times Book Review, San Francisco Chronicle, American Scholar, and Boston Review. He has worked in book publishing in New York, San Francisco, and in New Orleans, where he wrote Elysian Fields.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005 he founded Levees Not War, a New York–based, New Orleans–dedicated blog focusing on infrastructure and the environment, which led to his second book, What Fresh Hell? The Best of Levees Not War: Blogging on Post-Katrina New Orleans and America, 2005–2015. (Read the Rising Tide blog’s profile of Mark and Levees Not War here.) He is a senior production editor for a major book publisher and lives with his wife, Janet, in New York City.

Letter of Recommendation

“I think of Mark LaFlaur as New Orleans’s cultural ambassador to New York, and, indeed, to the nation. Mark’s love of the city and culture of New Orleans has motivated him to keep kindred spirits around the U.S. and beyond informed and involved, through spirited writing, blogging, and civic engagement, in the triumphs and troubles of his native region.”

Richard Campanella, Tulane University geographer and author of Bienville’s Dilemma and Geographies of New Orleans

About Books, Authors, Writing

  • The Birth of the Egghead Paperback”: On Jason Epstein and the founding of Anchor Books, or, How one very young man changed the course of publishing and intellectual life in America, The American Scholar, Spring 2022
  • The Worse It Gets, the Closer We Are to Renovation”: An interview with Jacques Barzun, The American Scholar, March 2019
  • Biographical introduction of Jacques Barzun in “The Writing Life: A Talk between Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Jacques Barzun.” Los Angeles Times Book Review, Sunday, May 21, 2000, p. 3.
  • Continuing the Conversation”: On Meeting Jacques Barzun (for the Jacques Barzun Centennial, Columbia University, 2007).
  • The Boston Review, April/May 1996. Review of Peter Gadol’s Closer to the Sun (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996).
  • The Boston Review, December 1994/January 1995. Review of Lawrence David’s Need (New York: Random House, 1994).
  • Village Voice, November 5, 1991. Review of Padgett Powell’s Typical (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991).
  • San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday Review of Books, September 8, 1991. Review of Padgett Powell’s Typical (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991).
  • American Book Review, Dec. 1991/Jan. 1992. Review of Spreading the Word: Editors on Poetry, ed. Warren Slesinger (Columbia, S.C.: Bench Press, 1991).

Mark LaFlaur’s Other Writings

Blogs / Online

Reference and Trade Books

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt: Internment of Japanese Americans in World War II” and “Ronald Reagan: The Iran-Contra Affair,” in Failures of the Presidents: From the Whiskey Rebellion and War of 1812 to the Bay of Pigs and War in Iraq. Thomas Craughwell et al. (Beverly, Mass.: Fair Winds Press, 2008.)
  • Biographical articles on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and 20 other prominent Americans in Lifetimes: The Great War to the Stock Market Crash (shown at left). Neil A. Hamilton, ed. (Guilford, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.)
  • About 75 encyclopedia articles for a half dozen volumes in the Macmillan Library Reference Profiles series: on festivals and holidays (Mardi Gras, king cakes, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, Voodoo); monuments and historic places (Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Cabildo, Stone Mountain); myths and legends, etc.
  • Duncan Farrar Kenner of Louisiana. American National Biography. With Craig A. Bauer. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.)
  • Biographical articles on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas, and Stephen Breyer in The Supreme Court: A Macmillan Compendium. Philip Weinberg, ed. (New York: Macmillan Library Reference USA, 1999.)

*Photo credits: Janet Cameron (top), Jeremy J. Coleman (bottom).