Beasts of the Southern Wild came out of nowhere to win the Camera d'Or at Cannes and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. The fable-like film, starring 6-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, takes place after a storm ravages Louisiana. (Recommended)
Louisiana imprisons more people per capita than any other state or country in the world. One out of every 86 adults in the state is behind bars. Times-Picayune reporter Cindy Chang says the state's correctional system has created financial incentives for local sheriffs to keep prisons full.
The third season of HBO's vampire soap True Blood is now out on DVD. TV critic David Bianculli says the show's success proves that vampires -- more than werewolves, zombies or witches -- will turn out to be the most durable media monsters of all.
A new film of Robert Penn Warren's novel All the King's Men stars Sean Penn as political boss Willie Stark, a role that won Broderick Crawford an Oscar in 1949. The remake also features Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, and James Gandolfini. It's directed by Steven Zaillian, who won his own Oscar for the screenplay of Schindler's List.
Gaines wrote "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" and "A Gathering of Old Men." He talks about growing up in rural Louisiana and his new novel, "A Lesson Before Dying," which brings together two black men -- one a teacher, the other a death row inmate.
Author Robert Olen Butler. Butler's first novel, "The Alleys of Eden," has been called one of the finest books ever written about Americans in Vietnam. Butler has a new collection of stories, called "A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain." (It's published by Henry Holt). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Stephen Schiff says that the sequel to Fletch is a bad movie that viewers can still enjoy once they acclimate to its pacing. Star Chevy Chase also delivers a better performance this time around, in part because he finally embraces his strengths as a character actor.
Rock historian Ed Ward says there was talent all over the state during the 1950s and '60s. Despite their excellent music, most of the recording artists of this era faded into obscurity. But contemporary musicians like Willie Nelson and Elvis Costello are rediscovering Louisiana's soulful, forgotten legacy.