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Homer L. Hitt Alumni and Visitor Center (map)
The Alexis de Tocqueville Project at the University of New Orleans will host a conversation between two conservative thinkers on Monday, April 17, 2017. The discussion, “Faith, Hillbillies, and American Politics: An Evening with J.D. Vance & Rod Dreher,” will begin at 6 p.m. in the Geoghegan Ball Room of the Homer L. Hitt Alumni Center following a reception in the Alumni Center lobby beginning at 5:15. This event is free and open to the public.

Vance’s 2016 book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” received a great deal of attention after the election of President Trump as political analysts and others sought to better understand the sentiments of Rust Belt voters. The book chronicles Vance’s family roots in Appalachia and the struggles that followed them to Ohio where he grew up. According to the book’s back cover, “‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.”

Vance served as a U.S. Marine in Iraq and went on to graduate from Ohio State University and Yale Law School. He lives in San Francisco and works as a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm.

“The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation” by Rod Dreher is scheduled for release on March 14, 2017. The book calls on American Christians to follow the example of St. Benedict of Nursia, often thought of as the founder of western monasticism. A Benedict approach, according to Dreher’s strategy, encourages Christians to embrace ancient practices in order to preserve and protect their faith and way of life through a coming Dark Age, evidenced by increased secularization and the decline of the church’s influence. According to, “‘The Benedict Option’ shows believers how to build the resistance and resilience to face a hostile modern world with the confidence and fervor of the early church. Christians face a time of choosing, with the fate of Christianity in Western civilization hanging in the balance.”

Dreher is senior editor and blogger at The American Conservative. He has a degree in journalism from Louisiana State University and lives in St. Francisville, La.

Support for this event comes from the UNO Founders Club, UNO Student Government Association, The American Conservative and the Institute for Humane Studies.

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