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.
Neil White has been a newspaper editor, magazine publisher, advertising executive, and federal prisoner. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he operates a small publishing company, writes plays and essays, and teaches memoir writing.
White has served as editor of The Oxford Times newspaper, Coast magazine, and Coast Business Journal, as well as publisher of New Orleans magazine and Louisiana Life magazine. He also publishes Samir Husni’s Guide to New Magazines, an annual review of magazine launches. He edited the anthology Ten-Minute Plays from Oxford. His essay “A Journey in Journalism: From Idealism to Bankruptcy” was published in Joseph B. Atkins’s book The Mission: Journalism, Ethics and the World.
White is married to Deborah Hodges Bell, a law professor at The University of Mississippi. They have three children: Lindsay Bell, Neil White IV, and Maggie White.
Visit White at his website, www.neilwhite.com.
Neil White’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Wednesday, June 2nd: Book Nook Club
Wednesday, June 9th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, June 10th: Lit and Life
Monday, June 14th: Heart 2 Heart
Thursday, June 17th: Tales of a Capricious Reader
Tuesday, June 22nd: lit*chick
Wednesday, June 23rd: Lost in Books
Thursday, June 24th: Wordsmithonia
Monday, June 28th: Michelle’s Masterful Musings
Tuesday, June 29th: Chocolate & Croissants
Wednesday, June 30th: A Bookshelf Monstrosity