“Fuller has an unadorned and straight-ahead style and an admirable ability to get out of his subjects’ way and let them do the talking. In short, there’s no writer’s ego here, and it allows these personalities and places to shine. …
“Overall, Angola to Zydeco amounts to a nice slice of Louisiana culture that any lover of that colorful state will want to own. It’s a shame that Fuller’s no longer slinging copy, but his heartfelt collection makes for a nice consolation prize.”
Angola to Zydeco is a collection of creative nonfiction pieces about the lively personalities who call south Louisiana home. Originally published in newspapers based in Lafayette – The Times of Acadiana and The Independent Weekly – the twenty-five profiles and features provide intriguing glimpses into the lives of well-known Louisianans such as James Lee Burke, Ernest J. Gaines, Elemore Morgan Jr., Buckwheat Zydeco, Marc Savoy, Boozoo Chavis, Calvin Borel, Santy Runyon, and Eddie Shuler.
Author R. Reese Fuller also details the sometimes zany and sometimes tragic subjects that populate the cultural landscape of south Louisiana, from Tabasco peppers to Angola prison to cockfighting. Fuller brings years of experience in the newspaper industry to bear on this collection, offering behind-the-scenes access not available elsewhere. Of particular note are his interviews with musicians and local celebrities, who reveal how their love of the region has influenced their work. Fuller’s natural approach to storytelling creates a book that is a joy to read and truly represents the people of south Louisiana.
“What a delightful collection of essays on some of the most interesting characters in south Louisiana! Reese Fuller was a fine journalist, one whose knack for getting the story right I learned quickly to trust. And there was a reason for that. He actually listened…carefully…after he asked questions, and he allowed his informants to have their own say in their own words in his stories. This collection of stories is the result of that careful attention, not to mention the fact that the guy can write a story once he gets it.”
– Barry Jean Ancelet, Granger & Debaillon/BORSF Endowed Professor of Francophone Studies and Folklore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; author of Cajun and Creole Music Makers, Cajun Country, and Cajun and Creole Folktales; and assistant editor of Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities.
“I’ve known Reese Fuller as a fellow writer for years and encouraged him when he first broached the idea of compiling this collection from his days as a south Louisiana journalist. Reese always writes exceptionally well, but his most salient work deals with Louisiana culture, particularly from the state’s southernmost, traditionally Cajun and Creole parishes. And that’s what you’ll find in this anthology: insightful articles that revel in the Bayou State’s rich culure.”
– Shane K. Bernard, author of Cajuns and Their Acadian Ancestors: A Young Reader’s History; Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues; The Cajuns: Americanization of a People; and TABASCO®; An Illustrated History
“An insightful and affectionate ride through the rich cultural landscape of south Louisiana. Along the way, Reese Fuller encounters heroes and scoundrels alike; he chronicles them all with candor, wit, and poignancy, creating a vivd, important regional portrait.”