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Burst’s ‘Spirits Of The Bayou’ Will Haunt You This Halloween

Award-winning independent author, freelance writer, photographer and self-publisher Deborah Burst.

         Take Cajun werewolf Rougarou and an illusive swamp monster in the Honey Island Swamp. Add some historic churches, a sprinkle of spiritual cemeteries and a dash of dragonflies. With a pinch of poetic beauty and artistic landscapes of hidden graveyards, sacred temples and shrouded bayous, you’ll be cast under the spell of the haunting beauty of Louisiana by award-winning independent author, freelance writer, photographer and self-publisher Deborah Burst.

         “Spirits of the Bayou: Sanctuaries, Cemeteries and Hauntings” is Burst’s fourth book in four years and second in her Louisiana's Sacred Places series. It features captivating stories and vivid photography of 19th century houses of worship of both churches and synagogues, cemeteries from the New Orleans' cities of the dead and the veiled graveyards along the bayous.

         “This is an amazing journal filled with superlative photos that tell the stories of special sanctuaries and sacred places throughout Greater New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana,” Alan Smason, editor of Crescent City Jewish News website and “The Best of the CCJN,” said. “This volume is well researched, but above all shows the dedication and passion of its author-photographer. ‘Spirits of the Bayou’ is a wonderful companion for tourists and residents alike.”

         “Once again, Deborah Burst has proven her passion, expertise and commitment to South Louisiana,” Sarah M. Cradit, USA Today bestselling author of “The House of Crimson Clover” series, said. “Under her loving hand, the reader is transported to a time both past and present, to a region unlike any other in the world.”

         Inside the more than 250 pages of “Spirits of the Bayou,” Burst transports readers through New Orleans, north across Lake Pontchartrain to St. Tammany Parish and to the back roads and bayous of Houma, Raceland, Franklin and Morgan City with more than 125 pictures. Burst shares stories about sanctuaries, cemeteries, hauntings and legends from Louisiana’s ancient houses of worship and the eerie shadows of cemeteries, and delves deep inside the bayou’s haunted legends.

         The book’s 26 chapters focus on subjects including Rayne Memorial Methodist Church, Covington Presbyterian and the Church of Assumption, the Metairie, Madisonville and Southdown Cemeteries, New Orleans Synagogues and Jewish Cemeteries and the Lafitte Bayous.

         “Spirits of the Bayou is an affirmative look at the sacred and scary places of Louisiana,” Leopold Froehlich, senior editor at Lapham’s Quarterly, said. “With this, her fourth book, Deborah Burst really hits her stride, both in text and image. In her survey of places where we seek peace and refuge—or places where we honor and remember our ancestors—Burst reveals with sensitivity the magic of place. Her nature writing here is better than ever.”

         “Literature that creates an authentic sense of place can be difficult to find,” C. E. Richard, documentarian and author of “Louisiana, An Illustrated History,” said. “A writer who can capture the real spirit of a place is even more rare. Deborah Burst is such a writer, and her ‘Spirits of the Bayou’ does justice to one of America’s most historic and hauntingly beautiful settings, South Louisiana. In words as vivid as her photos, Burst’s work brings readers what is inescapably sacred in this creole corner of the world.”

         Burst started her freelance writing and photography business after an IBM downsizing layoff in the 1990s. The New Orleans native, who now lives in Mandeville, LA, returned to Tulane University and graduated in 2003, at the age of 49, with a BFA in Media Arts. After publishing more than a 1,000 articles and twice as many photographs, she signed a publishing contract with History Press at the age of 59. It was then she published her first book, “Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans: Historic Churches, Cathedrals and Sanctuaries,” which includes a foreword by Anne Rice and features 10 years of historic church research and photographs from New Orleans to the Northshore.

         When she launched Cloud Burst Publishing a year later, Burst released “Louisiana's Sacred Places: Churches, Cemeteries and Voodoo,” which presents a compelling journey of history and mystery combining her love for art and architecture into a poetic trail of churches, cemeteries and Voodoo ceremonies with more than 50 color photos. “Louisiana's Sacred Places,” is 152-pages long and is an eccentric collage of cultures and customs that also illuminates the country chapels and graveyards along the back roads of St. Tammany, Pointe Coupee and the Feliciana Parishes.

         Her third book, “Southern Fried and Sanctified: Tales from the Back Deck,” was also self-published through Cloud Burst and showcases some of her most prolific work and talents of southern storytelling and photography. In the book’s five chapters she shares stories about some of her fondest travels through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast states, a rolling picture show of Georgia and South Carolina and the mountainsides of Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.

         “I cannot say enough good things about Deborah Burst’s fantastic new book ‘Spirits of the Bayou,’” Billy Fountain, author, artist and host of “A Mysterious Gumbo” podcast series, said. “Her talents as a one of a kind photographer is only matched by her unique and amazing ability to tell the incredible stories of these fascinating and beautifully haunted places from greater New Orleans across the coastal parishes of South Louisiana. It is an indispensable guide to some of the most interesting and little known wonders of the Bayou. Anyone who loves Louisiana, folklore, ghostly tales or engaging historical discoveries should own this book. You will be very glad you did."

         Burst is the co-founder of the Northshore Literary Society, the recipient of 20 writing and photography awards and a member of the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, Friends of St. Alphonsus and Save Our Cemeteries. She is a highly sought after speaker who pairs her photography with animated presentations at events, and has appeared on multiple television and radio shows.

         Burst is scheduled to lead a discussion, “Spirits of the Bayou, Another Journey inside the Louisiana Sacred Places Series,” at the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the State Capitol, House Committee Room 6, in downtown Baton Rouge, from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. She will also be signing “Spirits of the Bayou” at the Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent from 2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

         “Deborah takes us on a colorful pilgrimage to some very special, sacred places,” Peggy Scott Laborde, author and WYES-TV (PBS) history documentary producer, said about “Spirits of the Bayou.” “These are more than just buildings; they hold the memories of their worshippers and provide solace to the faithful. Along the way she introduces us to some of the quiet heroes associated with these places. Her book is truly a blessing!”

         Purchase an autographed copy of “Spirits of the Bayou” directly from the author here.

         A custom made book marker is included at no charge.









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Big Easy Biz by Leslie T. Snadowsky


Leslie T. Snadowsky contributes to Biz New Orleans as a video blogcaster and Biz liaison for WWL/WUPL-TV. She’s contributed to Bloomberg NewsReutersThe Times-PicayuneThe New York Post and The Dallas Morning News, and appeared on CNN’s “Nancy Grace,” and “Jane Velez Mitchell,” and Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” She earned her BA from Newcomb College at Tulane University and her MS in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As an exhibited and published rock photographer, Leslie enjoys live music and the eclectic culture of New Orleans. 

You can reach Leslie T. Snadowsky directly at Leslie@BizNewOrleans.com.




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