"Carville's Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice"

Jul 23, 2020

Our guest is Pam Fessler, an award-winning correspondent with NPR News who mainly covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues. She joins us to discuss her new book, "Carville's Cure," which is tells the fascinating and little-known story of the only leprosy colony in the continental United States. This facility, located in remote Carville, Louisiana, somehow became -- over the course of the 20th century -- much more of a refuge than a prison. As was noted of this book by Publishers Weekly: "Fessler's polished and compassionate debut examines the history of Hansen's disease (the modern name for leprosy) in America through the story of the Louisiana Leper Home.... Fessler profiles several patients (most of whom were sent to Carville by mandatory state reporting laws), including her husband's grandfather, and New Orleans debutante Betty Parker, who fell in love with a fellow patient and ran away with him.... Her well-researched and articulate account humanizes sufferers and caregivers alike, and offers hope in the medical field's ability to halt the spread of contagious illness. Readers will be enlightened and encouraged."