In May / June, immediately following commencement, USC offers students a series of classes ‘off campus’, set abroad and in cities across the USA.  These ‘special session’ programs are called ‘Maymesters’. 

BOOKPACKING THE BIG EASY is a 25-day Maymester set in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, a unique region of America formed of a fusion of cultural strands: Creole, Cajun, African-American and White Protestant. 

Andrew leads 12 student bookpackers on a road trip through this fascinating cultural landscape, exploring places and people through the portal of eight classic and contemporary novels, which we read as we travel.  We use the novels as guidebooks, adopting a holistic approach to the humanities whereby literature, history, geography, politics and social studies combine into a unified course of study.

The students blog the experience, uploading their blogs to the BOOKPACKERS site.  The 2019 Maymester is currently live - see here.  For a complete archive of students' blog from 2017 and 2018, see here.

USC Dornsife's Marketing team captured the 2017 New Orleans Maymesters in this terrific short film which perfectly captures the Bookpacking experience beautifully. Many thanks to Videographer Mike Glier and Story Producer Susan Bell, who joined us on the journey and created this film.

“I alight at Esplanade in a smell of roasting coffee and walk up Royal Street. Little French cottages hide behind high walls. Through deep sweating carriageways one catches glimpses of courtyards gone to jungle...”
— Walker Percy - 'The Moviegoer'

Tuition costs for the new Orleans Maymester are covered within student fees for the Spring Semester.  Students pay an additional charge - roughly $1600 - for flights and accommodation. 

Andrew is enormously grateful to Marion Dole for her logistical support in planning this four-week program.