A Leader Among Peers: The Life and Times of Duncan Farrar Kenner
by Craig A. Bauer
The history of Louisiana is replete with many prominent personalities who were instrumental in guiding the social and political direction of the state through the portentous decades of the nineteenth century. This book undertakes an examination of a major contributor to events in Louisiana and in the South during the last century who has been largely overlooked by historians. Though some attention has been given to Duncan Farrar Kenner’s Civil War exploit of undertaking a hazardous diplomatic mission to Europe during the war’s final days in a last desperate attempt by the South to stave off defeat, this work is the first in-depth examination of his life and contributions.
There were individuals in Louisiana who rose for periods of time to greater levels of political and social influence; however, no other individual in nineteenthcentury Louisiana sustained as high a position of influence for a longer period of time than Duncan Kenner. On first view his life appears to personify much of the glamorized “moonlight and magnolias” culture that has characterized so much of literature on the nineteenth-century South. However, this examination of Kenner reveals a far more capitalistic and multi-dimensional existence than the seigniorial lifestyle associated with the Southern planter.
The author offers the reader not only a fresh look at an important Louisianian of the past but also places Kenner within the perspective of his times.
Craig Bauer is Professor of History at the University of Holy Cross in New Orleans, where he currently holds the Nancy O’Neill Endowed Professorship III in History. He is author of An Untractable Country: The History of Kenner, Louisiana and Creole Genesis: The Bringier Family and Antebellum Plantation Life in Louisiana. He has also published several journal and periodical articles on Louisiana history and the juvenile justice system.