A good local history is an excellent and agreeable thing. It pleases on two counts. It satisfies the curiosity of the inhabitants of a region, whether newcomers or old settlers, especially if no adequate history had existed before. It dispels myths, corrects old wives’ tales. And, if the history is first-rate, it goes beyond a factual account of persons and places, the particularities of a region, and shows the significance of these human happenings in a larger scheme of things, in this case the emergence of a new nation.
Ellis’s history succeeds on both counts. It is a delightful and authoritative account of lore which not even St. Tammanyites may have heard of. Did you know, for example, that there was once a flourishing wine industry in St. Tammany Parish? That local vineyards produced excellent red and white wines, the red from Concord grapes, the white from Herbemont? Did you know that in 1891 a rice crop of 50,000 barrels was harvested, half the entire output of South Carolina? . . .
Ellis has rendered this pleasant and authoritative history in a graceful and lively style and with a genuine affection for the people he writes about.
From the Foreword