I am sad to report that Pelican Publishing Company publisher DrMilburn Calhoun passed away yesterday at the age of  81.

Calhoun’s literary career began when he founded Bayou Books, a rare books shop. In 1970, he and family members acquired Pelican Publishing Company, a small New Orleans book publishing company.

Under his leadership, the Pelican backlist has grown to more than 2,500 titles and maintains an international presence in the industry.

Pelican’s titles focus on regional culture, food, music and architecture.

In 1973, at the threshold of the national interest in Cajun culture, Pelican published “A Cajun Night Before Christmas,” a retelling of Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas poem in a Cajun dialect and setting.The book was a minor phenomenon. It spun off a continuing series of children’s titles and launched Pelican’s children’s book division.

Dr. Calhoun was a graduate of the LSU School of Medicine.

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