Out of the Shadow of Leprosy
The Carville Letters and Stories of the Landry Family
Publication Year: 2013
In 1924 when thirty-two-year-old Edmond Landry kissed his family good-bye and left for the leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, leprosy, now referred to as Hansen's Disease, stigmatized and disfigured but did not kill. Those with leprosy were incarcerated in the federal hospital and isolated from family and community. Phones were unavailable, transportation was precarious, and fear was rampant. Edmond entered the hospital (as did his four other siblings), but he did not surrender to his fate. He fought with his pen and his limited energy to stay connected to his family and to improve living conditions for himself and other patients.Claire Manes, Edmond's granddaughter, lived much of her life gripped by the silence surrounding her grandfather. When his letters were discovered, she became inspired to tell his story through her scholarship and his writing. Out of the Shadow of Leprosy: The Carville Letters and Stories of the Landry Family presents her grandfather's letters and her own studies of narrative and Carville during much of the twentieth century. The book becomes a testament to Edmond's determination to maintain autonomy and dignity in the land of the living dead. Letters and stories of the other four siblings further enhance the picture of life in Carville from 1919 to 1977.
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
Download PDF (522.0 KB)
Download PDF (52.2 KB)
Download PDF (68.5 KB)
Hansen’s disease (HD) activist Stanley Stein wrote, “It is not what we have lost that matters most, but what we choose to do with what we have left.” Stein entered the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Carville as a patient in 1931. He went on to establish Carville’s international news magazine, The Star, and to lead the first organized patient advocate group for a disease. In his autobiography, Alone No Longer, Stein credits another ...
Download PDF (34.8 KB)
This book, the culmination of many years of searching for my grand-father, would not have been possible without the action and support I am grateful to my cousins Paul and Martin Landry for assuring that the I also owe thanks to my Uncle Booz and my mother Teenie, Edmond’s children, who, despite their reservations, supported my brothers, cousins, and me in saving the letters and discovering our grandfather and his broth-...
A Chronology of Edmond Landry’s Life 1891–1932
Download PDF (161.9 KB)
...1895–1907 Births of Norbert 1895, Marie 1903, Albert 1905, Amelie 1907.1909 Edmond attends Soulé College in New Orleans, February to Au-1919 Edmond and Claire have first child, “Teenie”; Norbert returns 1921 Edmond and Claire have their second child, “Booz”; the La. Lep-1922 Edmond’s first diagnosis of leprosy; he and Claire agree to live as ...
Introduction: A Family and a Disease
Download PDF (53.5 KB)
My great-grandparents, Joseph Terville Landry and his wife Lucie, had five children who lived to adulthood: Edmond (my grandfather), Norbert, Marie, Albert, and Amelie. (It is believed a sixth child died in infancy.) All five of the adult children spent the last years of their lives in Carville, Louisiana, at the home/hospital for the treatment of leprosy now called Hansen’s disease (HD). Norbert, the first to be diagnosed and incar-...
Chapter 1 Finding Carville, Finding Family
Download PDF (284.7 KB)
...“‘At Carville’ was the phrase we used to mean the disease our relatives had as For slightly more than one hundred years, Carville, Louisiana, a quirky village on a bend in the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge, was an ethnic melting pot; its hospital was the home to men, women, and children from not only the United States but from locations as diverse as Japan, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Philippines. Those in this ethnic mix were ...
Chapter 2 Edmond: Anticipating a Bright Future
Download PDF (485.7 KB)
Dear Father:—1—I entered school yesterday I like it very much and I don’t find it very hard, I have a very nice partner, Laurent Dauterive, we are in the same At the end of January 1909, Edmond G. Landry left his home and fami-ly to begin his business studies in New Orleans. His trunk was packed and loaded in the buggy. He embraced his father, mother, and brother, Norbert, and kissed his younger siblings Marie, Albert, and Amelie. He ...
Chapter 3 Moving into the Shadow: Life at Home
Download PDF (153.2 KB)
...“[Edmond is] a mighty-good citizen, an exemplary father and husband and a letter from Dr. Carstens to Dr. Denney, October 8, 1924, hand carried by My favorite picture of my grandfather is one of him, my mother, and my grandmother taken in the spring or early summer of 1919. It is my grandfather’s best picture, and one that is indicative of the best years of his life. In the picture, he and his wife are sitting outside on the stoop in front ...
Chapter 4 In Leprosy’s Shadow: Life in Carville
Download PDF (329.7 KB)
...“From the very beginning he became one of the outstanding leaders of our On September 11, 1924, one year and four months after Edmond had been confined to his home, incapacitated by leprosy, Dr. George Sabatier wrote to Dr. W. F. Carstens, Iberia Parish Health Officer and Edmond’s personal friend, “Patient isolated, Healthy environment, but anxious to enter Leprosarium for treatment” (Edmond G. Landry, medi-...
Chapter 5 Edmond’s Letters from Carville
Download PDF (1.1 MB)
Letters can never adequately reveal the anguish of a life lived separated from family, but they are courageous attempts at doing just that. While they may not ever fully express the passion of the heart, they are still an immediate and direct contact with loved ones. When Edmond sat down in Carville to write to his family, he was closeted in his cell-like bedroom, which contained a bed, a desk, books, a typewriter, and a small armoire or ...
Chapter 6 Out of the Shadow: Finding Edmond
Download PDF (51.7 KB)
...“If you ask me whom I would want to meet in heaven, I will tell you. It’s Icannot know what life in our family would have been like had we not been touched by leprosy and its secrets. My mother herself acknowledg-es that her reticence and “stand-offishness” was in part due to the secrets she had carried most of her life. Perhaps all of us in the family would have been more generous with hugs, kisses, and physical affection had this un-...
Chapter 7 Lives Remembered and Restored
Download PDF (648.1 KB)
My grandfather’s life was always the object of my search. He was the one I wanted to know, but I knew little of him and even less of his siblings. In fact, I had little sense that Norbert and Amelie even existed un-til the family letters were found in 1977. They, like Edmond, had died be-fore any of my generation was born, and they had been swallowed up in the secrecy that surrounded us. I remember meeting Marie and Albert once or ...
Chapter 8 Epilogue: My Journey out of the Shadow
Download PDF (74.1 KB)
...“My family has begun to speak more openly about our grandfather Edmond.”In writing this book, I intended to let my grandfather’s story be told in his own words without the interruption of too much analysis or theory. However, my writing was shaped by my academic studies and that bears acknowledgment. In this chapter, I will look at my own journey and some of my research, recognizing some of the theories and analysis that informed ...
Download PDF (68.8 KB)
Download PDF (55.2 KB)
Download PDF (417.8 KB)
Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2013