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Loyola Professor Receives Williams Award for "Building the Land of Dreams"

Loyola press release - March 29, 2016

Musician and historian chronicles New Orleans’ transition from a Spanish colony to American state

Eberhard “Lo” Faber, an extraordinary professor of music industry studies at Loyola University New Orleans, this month received the 2015 Kemper and Leila Williams Prize in Louisiana History. The prize has been offered annually by The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Louisiana Historical Association since 1974 and recognizes excellence in research and writing on Louisiana.

Faber received the honor for his newly released book, Building the Land of Dreams: New Orleans and the Transformation of Early America, which tells the story of New Orleans’ transition from a Spanish colony to an American state in the early 1800s. The book’s historical detail and sparkling prose illuminate another side to Faber -- the former front man for New York-based jam band God Street Wine holds a Ph. D. in early 19th century American history from Princeton University.

Building the Land of Dreams, featured on WWNO’s “The Reading Life” and released in October by Princeton University Press, has received positive reviews from authors, scholars, and critics, who praise the excellence of the research and the prose.

“In this brilliant book, Eberhard Faber reveals how the creole elite of colonial New Orleans adapted to American rule on their own terms,” author and historian Alan Taylor said in a review. “With thorough research and vivid prose, Building the Land of Dreams illuminates American expansion in exciting new ways.”

“Faber untangles this intricate history with admirable clarity and lots of good judgment,” said Tulane University Professor Emeritus Lawrence N. Powell, who for years held Tulane’s James H. Clark Endowed Chair in American Civilization. “In his sensitive hands, a cast of characters ranging from Spanish dons and creole warhorses to American newcomers comes to life.”

That readers are complimenting the rich quality of Faber’s writing and characterization abilities is hardly a surprise – Faber brings a truly unique background to Loyola’s music industry studies department, combining expertise in history with real performance experience.

In 2012, he earned his Ph.D. from Princeton in early 19th century American history. And throughout the ‘90s, he led New York jam band God Street Wine on a successful touring and recording career. He’s also written two rock musicals, “Henry’s House” (2002) and “Friday Night Freakshow” (2003).

“Lo Faber’s cross-pollination of the performing arts with meticulous academic research is a prime example of the way in which Loyola faculty members inspire students to think in innovative ways, to pursue cross-disciplinary research – and to appreciate both the arts and the sciences,” said John Snyder, founder and chair of Loyola’s Department of Film and Music Industry Studies.

Faber joined Loyola in 2010 as a visiting professor of history and currently teaches courses on both music industry and music history. His research interests include colonial and 19th-century New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the South, Jeffersonian Democracy and politics, the junction of culture and politics in the 1830s, and society and culture in 19th century America. Faber also blogs about New Orleans history and other topics at www.crescentcityconfidential.com.

He lives in New Orleans with his wife and two children.