Farewell, Jeanne Leiby

I woke this morning to the news that my friend Jeanne Leiby died yesterday afternoon in Baton Rouge. She was a writer, the editor of The Southern Review and a beautiful person. I worked with her on a few small projects related to the Review and LSU and my work for 225.

Our mutual friend Alex Cook wrote a beautiful elegiac post on his blog that encapsulates what I feel about Jeanne and now, her death, but I’ll say a few words here as well.

The first time I officially and really met her was in her office in The Old President’s House. We recognized each other immediately as like-minded spirits and within five minutes of meeting, we were talking and laughing like decades-long friends and plotting a benevolent new world order. This was Jeanne’s magic. She was so vivacious and passionate that she couldn’t help exciting the people around her, encouraging grandiose ideas as being very, very possible. She recognized the passions in others, which helped them see it themselves.

She was a wonderful editor, tough but compassionate. She was generous and warm, funny and bold. And while I am not her oldest or closest friend, I feel that my life is enormously bereft without her in it, without the possibility of her.

I still can’t believe it.



Filed under Baton Rouge, Friends, musing, weirdness

6 responses to “Farewell, Jeanne Leiby

  1. emilie. kind words. i’m so sad right now. we worked together so much on my thesis, and now she’s gone. hard to credit. hope you’re okay. we’ll be doing a memorial reading/tribute in the next week or so up in BR.

  2. emofalltrades

    Hi James,
    I’m glad to hear from you today. In the midst of all the emotions today has held, I am most grateful for the ones brought up when folks have talked about Jeanne. She must have been such an amazing benefit to you and your thesis and I’m glad you had the experience of her insights. Let me know more about the memorial/tribute and I will do my best to attend.
    Thank you,

  3. Adelaide Russo

    Dear Emilie,
    Thank you for this tribute to Jeanne. She was a wonderful supporter of Comparative Literature at LSU and an outstanding editor. She brought so much which was positive to so many of us.
    Adelaide Russo

    • emofalltrades

      Dear Madame, It was impossible not to write something after I heard the news. Jeanne has been in my thoughts so much recently. I’m so glad to hear from you now and to know that she was a supporter of Comp Lit – which doesn’t surprise me once I think of it. I can see her recognizing and championing all the good being done there. This must be a tough time to be at LSU, but also a good time to be surrounded by people who knew and loved her deeply. Thank you for giving me a little bit of that here. Emilie

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  5. Pingback: » The Death of Jeanne Leiby

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