Dear Readers of Levees Not War:

We want to apologize to those of you who have checked in lately and wondered about the infrequency of new posts—and to those who may have had trouble accessing the site. The technical, server problems have been remedied. And, on a happier note, the founder of this blog, Mark LaFlaur, has been very busy preparing his New Orleans–based novel ELYSIAN FIELDS for publication, due in early March from Mid-City Books. Here’s a brief description:

New Orleans, 1999. Simpson Weems is a 36-year-old aspiring poet whose life has been on hold—to the breaking point. All he needs to fulfill his potential is to move to San Francisco, but he’s torn between his long-held dream of being a great artist and obligations to his aged, ailing mother and his emotionally volatile brother, the all-demanding Bartholomew. Will someone in his family have to die before he can get to California? And how might that be arranged?

Written “on location” in New Orleans and set shortly before Hurricane Katrina, Elysian Fields combines menace, the comic strangeness of Flannery O’Connor, and hints of magical realism to convey vivid, original characters and a Crescent City that is both recognizable and more odd than visitors usually see.

Please go to marklaflaur.com or the Facebook fan page to learn more about the book—and, in about a month, we hope you’ll order it, either in paperback or for your e-reader. Soon the first chapter will be available at Amazon.com for free downloading or reading online.


Praise for Elysian Fields

Best-selling author Christine Wiltz writes:

“In this compelling and mesmerizing debut novel, Mark LaFlaur has taken on New Orleans in a big way. Elysian Fields is real literature coming out of a real place. A great addition to the already substantial body of New Orleans writing, it’s a story of such originality that the familiar top layer of the city is peeled away. The local color here is handled just right—the depiction of the city’s neighborhoods and peculiarities is right on—but it’s the deeply individualized characters who anchor the story so solidly.”

Christine Wiltz, bestselling author of The Last Madam and Glass House

And novelist Moira Crone says:

“Fans of A Confederacy of Dunces and The Moviegoer will find much to admire in this well-written, funny, and melancholy—and thoroughly New Orleans—novel. Evocative, poignant, complex and well paced, Elysian Fields is full of delights.”

Moira Crone, winner of the Robert Penn Warren Award, Fellowship of Southern Writers, and author of The Not Yet


Only a few mentions of ELYSIAN FIELDS will appear here—after all, Levees Not War is a blog about infrastructure, environment, war and peace, and progressive politics—but we hope you’ll excuse an author’s using one widely known platform to launch another New Orleans–dedicated project.

And we wish everyone a happy, happy Mardi Gras (Feb. 12, if you didn’t know).


Please “watch this space” for more . . .


Book cover photograph by Derek Bridges; street tile design by Evelyn Menge.