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In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir (P.S.)by Neil White
Synopses & Reviews
Daddy is going to camp. That's what I told my children. A child psychologist suggested it. Words like prison and jail conjure up dangerous images for children, she explained. But it wasn't camp . . .
Neil White, a journalist and magazine publisher, wanted the best for those he loved--nice cars, beautiful homes, luxurious clothes. He loaned money to family and friends, gave generously to his church, and invested in his community--but his bank account couldn't keep up. Soon White began moving money from one account to another to avoid bouncing checks. His world fell apart when the FBI discovered his scheme and a judge sentenced him to serve eighteen months in a federal prison.
But it was no ordinary prison. The beautiful, isolated colony in Carville, Louisiana, was also home to the last people in the continental United States disfigured by leprosy. Hidden away for decades, this small circle of outcasts had forged a tenacious, clandestine community, a fortress to repel the cruelty of the outside world. It is here, in a place rich with history, where the Mississippi River briefly runs north, amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns, and criminals, that White's strange and compelling journey begins. He finds a new best friend in Ella Bounds, an eighty-year-old African American double amputee who had contracted leprosy as a child. She and the other secret people, along with a wacky troop of inmates, help White rediscover the value of simplicity, friendship, and gratitude.
Funny and poignant, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts is an uplifting memoir that reminds us all what matters most.
"A remarkable story of a young man's loss of everything he deemed important, and his ultimate discovery that redemption can be taught by society's most dreaded outcasts." —John Grisham
"Hilarious, astonishing, and deeply moving." —John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
The emotional, incredible true story of Neil White, a man who discovers the secret to happiness, leading a fulfilling life, and the importance of fatherhood in the most unlikely of places—the last leper colony in the continental United States. In the words of Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler (A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain), White is “a splendid writer,” and In the Sanctuary of Outcasts “a book that will endure.”
Neil White wanted only the best for those he loved and was willing to go to any lengths to provide it—which is how he ended up in a federal prison in rural Louisiana, serving eighteen months for bank fraud. But it was no ordinary prison. The beautiful, isolated colony in Carville, Louisiana, was also home to the last people in the continental United States disfigured by leprosy—a small circle of outcasts who had forged a tenacious, clandestine community, a fortress to repel the cruelty of the outside world. In this place rich with history, amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns, and criminals, White's strange and compelling new life journey began.
An extraordinary memoir at once funny, poignant, and uplifting, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts reminds us all what matters most.
About the Author
Neil White is the former publisher of New Orleans Magazine, Coast magazine, and Coast Business Journal. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he owns a small publishing company. This is his first book.
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