Louisiana historian Brinkley to make history come alive Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 31, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Organizers hope nationally recognized historian Dr. Douglas Brinkley will help Louisiana and Mississippi River history &uot;come alive&uot; for residents Wednesday.

Brinkley will present a program Wednesday on &uot;The Mississippi, the Louisiana Purchase and the Age of Exploration&uot; to help commemorate the Louisiana Purchase.

The program, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at Comfort Suites on the Riverfront, is free and open to the public.

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&uot;We are extremely pleased and honored that a Louisiana historian of Dr. Brinkley’s caliber will be in Vidalia to discuss the significance of the Mississippi River to the history of the entire United States,&uot; said Kathleen Stevens of the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, who joined Concordia Parish Library Director Amanda Taylor in writing the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Grant to fund the presentation.

Brinkley &045; described by the late historian Stephen Ambrose as &uot;the best of the new generation of American historians &045; serves as director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the Metropolitan College of the University of New Orleans.

Stevens said the program &045; and the site &045; are appropriate for Vidalia.

&uot;The Mississippi River is an integral part of our very own community,&uot; she said. &uot;I feel that the late Mayor Sidney Murray &045; who envisioned the new Mississippi River bridge, the Sidney A. Murray Hydroelectric Station and the town’s beautiful riverfront development project all on the banks of the Mississippi &045; would be pleased that this event is being held in Vidalia and at this new hotel so close to the river’s edge.&uot;

The program is part of Louisiana’s yearlong celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase.

Taylor said the event is a &uot;wonderful opportunity to hear one of Louisiana’s great historians discuss the world’s greatest river while you sit inches from its very banks.&uot;

Teachers and students throughout the Miss-Lou have a special invitation to attend, Stevens said.

&uot;I think that Dr. Brinkley can make this part of American history come alive for them and everyone who attends,&uot; she said.

Brinkley and Ambrose authored 2001’s &uot;The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation, from the Louisiana Purchase to Today.&uot;

In addition to writing and editing several other works, Brinkley is a commentator for CNN, C-SPAN, &uot;Good Morning America,&uot; the &uot;Today&uot; show, MSNBC and several other news programs and networks.

The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Grant was awarded to Concordia Parish through the State of Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Lt. Gov. and Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. The funds are administered by the Concordia Parish Police Jury.