Southeastern airs "Deviant Behavior in the Florida Parishes" | Arts & Culture
It was almost 50 years ago that the last trace of moonshining was driven from the Florida Parishes. The decisive incident, an extensive moonshine raid in Arcola conducted by then Tangipahoa Parish sheriff Frank Edwards, is relived in the latest episode of the Emmy-nominated history series, “The Florida Parish Chronicles,” from Southeastern Louisiana University’s Southeastern Channel.
The episode, entitled “Deviant Behavior in the Florida Parishes,” debuts Wednesday (April 11) at 7:30 p.m. on the Southeastern Channel. The program, sponsored by First Guaranty Bank of Hammond, will re-air at 8 p.m. Saturdays and at 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.
The new “Chronicles” looks not only at moonshining in the region, but also at the rarely discussed practice of dirt eating, a curious habit common among women in rural areas.
“Viewers will learn something new from this episode, as it reveals subjects that are less talked about, yet help define the culture of the region,” said Rick Settoon, Southeastern Channel general manager.
The host and writer of the program is Samuel C. Hyde, the Ford Chair for Regional Studies at Southeastern and director of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies.
“Deviant behavior is always an intriguing subject, and when it comes to moonshining and bootlegging, people are simply fascinated,” Hyde said. “This episode brings a highly popular subject into the backyard of our viewers.”
The narrative traces the history of moonshining, detailing the production and suppression of alcohol manufacture in the southern United States. The installment includes the dramatic moonshine raid at Arcola spearheaded by Edwards in the late 1960s. Edwards was Tangipahoa Parish sheriff for three terms but barely in office for a year when the raid took place. Highlighting the segment is an interview with Edwards, who recounts the event.
An interview with Southeastern Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice Kellen Gilbert sheds light on the unusual cultural phenomena of dirt eating.
“Dirt eating is also a subject many viewers will have heard of, but know very little about,” Hyde said.
Dirt eating, or geophagy, is a rarely-discussed practice which is quite prevalent throughout the world, including the Florida Parishes, and is common in the field of alternative medicine.
The program was produced by Southeastern Channel operations manager Steve Zaffuto, who used archival photographs, newsreels and silent films from the prohibition era.
The award-winning Southeastern Channel can be seen on Charter Cable Channel 18 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Livingston parishes and on Channel 17 in Washington Parish. A live 24/7 webcast at www.selu.edu/tv is viewed in 46 states and 47 countries monthly.