Daddy is going to camp. That's what I told my children. But it wasn't camp. . . .
Neil White wanted only the best for those he loved and was willing to go to any lengths to provide itwhich 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 leprosya 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.
Praise for In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir…
“A surprisingly gentle, sometimes hilarious memoir.” -USA Today
“A moving story of growth and transformation. Among the lost, [White] found humility, beauty, courage—and himself. ” -Dallas Morning News
“Vibrant and readable.” -Harper's Magazine
“A remarkable story of a young man’s loss of everything he deemed important, his imprisonment in a place that would terrify anyone, and his ultimate discovery that redemption can be taught by society’s most dreaded outcasts.” -John Grisham
“A wonderfully bizarre and entertaining memoir of jailhouse redemption—by turns hilarious, astonishing, and, when all is said and done, deeply moving.” -John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
“Neil White in his luminous memoir IN THE SANCTUARY OF OUTCASTS explicates his own path to redemption. White brings to life a wacky bunch of characters who help him remember what is best about himself. His story is unique and deeply felt: I enjoyed this book immensely!” -Darcey Steinke author of Easter Everywhere and Milk
“[Neil White] offers a memoir of personal transformation and a thoroughly engaging look at the social, economic, racial, and other barriers that separate individuals that harden, dissolve, and reconfigure themselves when people are involuntarily thrust together over long periods.” -Booklist (starred review)
“Brisk, ironic and perceptive, White’s introspective memoir puts a magnifying glass to a flawed life, revealing that all of life is to be savored and respected.” -Publishers Weekly
“White’s memoir continues to surprise as it presents a witty, well-rendered narrative of redemption and enlightenment. Readers who enjoy clever, off-beat memoirs will devour this in one sitting.” -Library Journal
“An impressively detailed and unsentimental memoir...funny and straightforward.” -Memphis Commercial Appeal
“An earnest chronicle written with equal parts enlightenment and atonement.” -Kirkus Reviews
“IN THE SANCTUARY OF OUTCASTS is more than a memoir. It’s most importantly a testament to the patients at Carville and the life lessons they gave and White took.” -Memphis Flyer
“This memoir represents an atonement persuasively made in an unlikely setting by an accomplished and engaging writer. ” -Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Leprosy and white collar crime in one dynamic book? Neil White, a writer with a multiple mission, knits two fascinating and unfortunate stories into one powerful narrative that is informative, heart-breaking and highly compelling. White writes with clarity, sensitivity and unforgettable passion.” -Lee Gutkind, Editor, Creative Nonfiction magazine and author, Almost Human: Making Robots Think
“A meaningful look at the trajectory of one man’s life and his chance to change its direction. Worth reading and discussing...a particularly intriguing choice for reading groups.” -The Mississippi Episcopalian
IN THE SANCTUARY OF OUTCASTS was a rare treat for me as I not only learned about this extraordinary place, only whispered about when I was a child, but, even better, was reminded again of what really matters in this life.” -Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South
“At once surreal and grittily naturalistic, funny and poignant, White’s tale is fascinating and full of universal resonance. And, not incidentally, White is a splendid writer, adept at both creating a scene and illuminating the human heart. This is a book that will endure.” -Pulitzer Prize–winner Robert Olen Butler
“Narrated in an engaging, affable voice with self-deprecating humor, IN THE SANCTUARY OF OUTCASTS is a great American story of personal transformation that leaves White -- and ourselves -- forever changed.” -Tom Franklin, author of Smonk
“White wastes no time getting to the hurt, and once he takes you there, you’ll be riveted. A searing tale of trouble, it’s also about finding a time and a place in which to lay the groundwork for a new life. A fine memoir and one I highly recommend.” -Steve Yarbrough, James and Coke Hallowell Professor of Creative Writing Coordinator of the MFA Program English Department California State University