Southern Territory

Robert Tallant

Robert Tallant was one of Louisiana’s best-known authors. Born in New Orleans in 1909, he attended the city’s local public schools. Before “drifting” into writing, Tallant worked as an advertising copywriter, a bank teller, and a clerk. It was his friendship with Lyle Saxon that led Tallant to his position as editor on the Louisiana WPA Writers Project during the 1930s and 1940s. In that position, he coauthored Gumbo Ya-Ya: Folk Tales of Louisiana (pb) with Lyle Saxon and Edward Dreyer.

By 1948, Tallant’s career had launched, and over the next eleven years, he produced eight novels, six full-length works of nonfiction, and numerous short stories and articles on subjects of local interest. He is also known to have corresponded with, as well as applied to, the Julius Rosenwald Fund for a fellowship in creative writing. During the last years of his life, he was a lecturer in English at Newcomb College as well as a reporter for the New Orleans Item. Robert Tallant died in 1957.


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