May 24th 2019 - USC NOLA Maymester, Day 15

A day to catch up on work - writing blogs and essays. And then, in the evening, a ferry crossing across the river to Algiers, a sleepy little quarter where we walked the streets and admired the quirky houses. (William S. Burroughs lived here once; Kerouac describes visiting him here, in ‘On the Road’).

We strolled the Mississippi levee, and Alex took an unscheduled dip (it’s very slippy down by the water’s edge!), and Mark Anthony rescued her, heroically. It used to be a tradition, when first seeing the great river, to smear oneself in Mississippi mud - Alex and Mark Anthony have satisfied that ritual admirably.

We ate in a little bar in the Algiers dock and crossed the river back with the lights of New Orleans before us. Songs from “Mamma Mia” were performed in the nocturnal streets on the way back to our hotel. We’re in good heart, clearly.

We’re here in Louisiana for almost a month, reading novels set in New Orleans and the Cajun Bayou region. It promises to be a vibrant, eye-opening, soul-stirring journey.

Keep checking in here as we post pics and blogs describing our journey.

On the Levee…

On the Levee…

ENGL-RGB-hinformal[2].png



2019 maymester Student Roster

“BOOKPACKING THE BIG EASY” - about the class

Course leader Andrew Chater - “bookpacker”, documentary filmmaker and USC Adjunct Professor of the Practise of English (pic by Everest Brady)

Course leader Andrew Chater - “bookpacker”, documentary filmmaker and USC Adjunct Professor of the Practise of English (pic by Everest Brady)

In May / June, immediately following commencement, The University of Southern California offers students a series of ‘off campus’ classes, 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 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.