A writer based in New Orleans and New York, I head both the Fertel Foundation and the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation, the latter devoted to education in the New Orleans area. Among projects the foundations support:
• The Edible Schoolyard New Orleans http://www.esynola.org
• Artist Corps New Orleans http://npnweb.org/partners/profiles/new-orleans-local-network/artist-corps/
• The Southern Food Alliance’s Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award, paying homage to his mother, founder of Ruth’s Chris Steak House http://www.southernfoodways.org/award-categories/ruth-fertel-award/
• Bistrot Ruth at John Folse Culinary Arts Building under construction at Nicholls State University. http://www.nicholls.edu/culinary/lebistro/
• The Ridenhour Awards, recognizing acts of courage and truth. http://www.ridenhour.org
My doctorate is from Harvard where I received a student-voted teaching award. I've taught English at Harvard, Tulane, LeMoyne College, and the New School for Social Research. I specialize in the literature of the Vietnam War and the literature of exile.
A lover of fine wines, fine food, and great cars, I've long dined out on the stories that make up The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steaks: A New Orleans Family Memoir, the tale of two distinctive people — my parents — and their fascinating worlds and my efforts to survive them. Published by University Press of Mississippi, it is now in its third printing.
A Taste for Chaos: The Hidden Order in the Art of Improvisation is forthcoming from Spring Books in Fall 2014.
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