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RECLAMATION: Memories from a New Orleans Girlhood by Eva Augustin Rumpf

RECLAMATION: Memories from a New Orleans Girlhood

by Eva Augustin Rumpf

244 pages
A memoir of the author's childhood in 1940s and '50s New Orleans.

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Category: Autobiography
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About the Book
RECLAMATION: Memories from a New Orleans Girlhood is set in the 1940s and ‘50s in America’s most “foreign” city. In dramatic scenes, the author re-creates the joys and struggles of growing up in this unique time and place. She takes the reader through World War II blackouts, Mardi Gras celebrations, sex myths, race relations, shotgun houses, shrimp boils, summers on the front porch, polio and whooping cough epidemics and hurricanes. Rumpf evokes a lost age of drug store soda fountains, sidewalk games, street vendors, 78 rpm records, orange biographies, tepee motels, Woolworth stores, radio dramas, cod liver oil, party lines, the ice man, starched clothes and double features at the movies.

More than a nostalgia trip, the author’s moving accounts of her childhood and adolescence follow her struggle to overcome the deprivations and limitations of her lower-middle-class life and her need to find identity and freedom amid her large extended family. She explores why she felt compelled to leave New Orleans and build a life away from her family and the city of her birth. It was only after the floods of Hurricane Katrina wiped out much of New Orleans and scattered her family that she realized how much had been lost. Through her memoir, she seeks to heal old wounds and reclaim her personal past, even as her beloved city continues its reclamation efforts years after the disaster.


"Eva Augustin Rumpf's detailed memoir about growing up in New Orleans in the 1940s and ‘50s will be of interest to anyone who wants to read about that great city and about a complicated and very real childhood."
Martha Bergland, author of A Farm Under a Lake and Idle Curiosity

“A moving account of the pains and joys of growing up in that mystical city called The Big Easy.”
Paul Salsini, author of The Cielo and Sparrow's Revenge

“Eva Augustin Rumpf’s keen eye for detail and her marvelous narrative passages take readers into the real New Orleans, whether she’s writing about 1946 or 2006. You’ll enjoy taking this journey with her.”
Carolyn Kott Washburne, Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


The book is worth reading simply for its detailed and colorful descriptions of a way of life that is now gone. But it also tells the moving story of a woman's determined struggle to find her own way, and, then, to find her way back to what she'd left behind.
- Lenore Thompson Bentz, author of Personality Type: An Owner's Manual
Rumpf has created a rich tapestry of the themes that are common to childhood struggles. It was worthwhile spending time with this author. The memories are especially rich for someone who grew up in the same period, but this volume is a treasure for any age.
- Gerald Ritter
Hurricane Katrina destroyed many things, some of which were memories of the past. Reclamation: Memories from a New Orleans Girlhood is a look back at the New Orleans of around World War II. Eva Augustin Rumpf, after the disaster of Katrina, realized that so much had been lost and now offers readers her recollection of this past that many have forgotten but Rumpf doesn't want forgotten. Reclamation is a snapshot of the past, which sits warmly in the heart of many readers and will educate others.
- Midwest Book Review


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About the Author
Eva Augustin Rumpf Eva Augustin Rumpf grew up in New Orleans, attended college in the Midwest and eventually settled in Wisconsin. She is author of the satiric novel Prot U (, 2004) and co-author of the self-help book Till Divorce Do Us Part (Glenbridge Publishing, 1996). A former reporter and university journalism instructor, she currently lives in Milwaukee.



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