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.
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)
Nick Spitzer is a folklorist who worked for the State of Louisiana for six years, and now works at the Smithsonian. Spitzer has also hosted several radio programs and recently produced the film "Zydeco: Creole Music and Culture in Rural Louisiana" and helped produce the album "Zodico: Louisian Créole Music." Spitzer joins the show to discuss and share jazz music from New Orleans, with a focus on Mardi Gras music and lesser known styles. (INTERVIEW BY BOB CARLIN)