by John DeSantis
Author and sister publication The Times senior staff writer John DeSantis tackles the story nobody wanted told in his book, “The Thibodaux Massacre”, set to be released Nov. 14.
A veteran of the newspaper world, John puts his knack for uncovering the details and his rich compilation of correspondence, interviews, and federal records to good use to tell the troubling true story of havoc wreaked upon a group of unarmed black laborers in the Lafourche Parish town in 1887. Throughout the length of the story, the details of the events on Nov. 23 of that year are chronicled, unearthing the rumors and supremacist ideals that led to white vigilantes gunning down those workers and their families.
The desire to weave the details of this story into a book published by Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, two of the largest publishers of local and regional titles in the United States, was fueled upon the discovery of several victim’s names. This discovery felt like a call of duty for the author, who then set in motion plans to tell the events of this fateful day through the narrative of Jack Conrad.
Through the eyes of Jack, who readers get a gut-wrenchingly realistic perspective of as he hides from the gunfire, we learn not only of the brutal undoing that occurred, but also of the historic events leading up to the Nov. 23 event. Jack lives to speak about what he witnessed and what unfolds is raw and unnerving.
“The Thibodaux Massacre” is a fresh look at what we know about historical events and parts of the story that have been undiscovered until now. It is through this detailed collection of facts that we find important lessons that are not only part of our country’s past but very much resonating in modern times. Though a painful tale, it draws on issues that must be faced even today.