A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be present at a most interesting event at Tulane Law School. Professor Edward Sherman (who happens to be a former TLS Dean) and his wife, Alice Sherman, have endowed the Dean Edward and Alice Sherman Law & Literature Room in the Tulane Law Library (more about that in a moment). In honor of the dedication of this facility, a roundtable discussion of "Law & Public Figures in Louisiana Fiction" took place. Speaking were Harry Hardin, partner at the Jones Walker law firm and a 1971 graduate of TLS; New Orleans author Jason Berry; and New Orleans author and TLS '85 graduate Tony Dunbar. The conversation was enormously entertaining, touching on Robert Penn Warren's novel All the King's Men and real-life Huey P. Long, on Jason Berry's The Last of the Red Hot Poppas and real-life Edwin Edwards, and finally on the purely fictional Tubby Dubonnet of the Tubby Dubonnet mystery series. Strangely, the fictional Tubby Dubonnet can seem more real than the real-life Huey P. Long and Edwin Edwards.
Now about the new Law & Literature Room, which I think could be unique in American legal education. With the advice of an advisory committee including five faculty members, the Director of the Law Library, and our Senior Reference Librarian, a space was carved out of the public area of the Law Library, solely to provide a place for law students to read, browse, and check out fiction and literature related to the law. Dean and Mrs. Sherman view this space as a place of refuge, complete with comfortable chairs and access to electronic media. There will be a collection of movies and documentaries on DVD, with others available through cable and streaming internet. Faculty may use this space to undertake projects, such as recording interviews with interesting or prominent legal figures. The plan is for this space to adapt to changes in technology as they take place. For now, however, the Sherman Law & Literature Room is my new favorite place in Weinmann Hall.