Staples of the New Orleans arts scene, Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb and Jon Webb started the Loujon Press in 1960 and published their first literary magazine, The Outsider, the following year. The husband and wife team worked hard to establish their press. Gypsy Lou sold paintings on pirate’s alley during the day and set pages of type at night while Jon recruited literary talent and marketed subscriptions. The publication soon gained notoriety for the quality of the hand-printed editions and its larger runs of up to 3,100, which guaranteed a wider audience. Though sold at only one or two dollars a copy, the little magazine became an important part of the beat movement, publishing poetry by poetry by Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg among many others.
The Outsider volume 1, number 1, fall 1961, cover with a photo of Gypsy Lou
The Outsider, volume 1, number 1, fall 1961, page 67, poem by LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka)
The Outsider, volume 1, number 1, fall 1961, back cover with photos of featured poets
The Outsider, volume 1, number 2, summer 1962, cover with photos of Gypsy Lou, Willie Humphrey (top) and Dee Dee Pierce (left)
The Outsider, volume 1, number 2, summer 1962, title page with image of Loujon Press location on Royal Street
The Outsider, volume 1, number 2, summer 1962, page 24 and 25 with a poem by Ray Bremser and drawing by Ben Tibbs
The Outsider, Volume 1, Number 3, Spring 1963, cover with photo of Charles Bukowksi
The Outsider, Volume 1, Number 3, Spring 1963, back cover with photo of a second line; The second and third volume include “jazz documentary” chapters that detail the history of jazz in new orleans and the careers of many of the musicians of that era.
With the funding of a New Orleans patron, the Loujon Press also published two books of Bukowski’s poetry. Hand-printed in an edition of 777, the first book, It catches my heart in its hands, features 65 poems and several drawings by Bukowksi. A cult-hero and prolific author, Bukowksi became known for his direct language and focus on the downtrodden in American society.
Charles Bukowksi, It catches my heart in its hands, 1963, cover
Charles Bukowksi, It catches my heart in its hands, 1963, page 14 and 15
The publisher’s note paints a picture of the hardships Jon and Gypsy Lou endured to complete projects as well as their intense passion for their work.
Charles Bukowksi, It catches my heart in its hands, 1963, publisher’s note (photo of Bukowksi to the left on back cover)
Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.