Vanagon to Louisiana: A Two-Lane Reckoning Through Past and Present by Joseph Trussell
A man and his van’s 3,000-mile journey of grief and identity, humor and heartache . . . and what remains of the people and places we leave behind.
Joe Trussell moved to Colorado nearly three decades ago, though he’s always proudly proclaimed himself a Louisiana man. But devastating news from an old friend brings an invitation to New Orleans—and the realization he hasn’t stepped foot in his home state in the last seven years . . . not since his mother’s cataclysmic death.
As he embarks on an overdue journey back to the Louisiana he unwittingly abandoned, Joe is challenged to reconcile his present with his once beloved past, all from behind the wheel of his trusty but temperamental 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon.
What has become of the people and places he turned his back on? What happens when “Louisiana’s proudest representative and biggest fan” discovers he no longer belongs in the home at the core of his identity? And is a 3,000-mile round trip from Denver to New Orleans in a 35-year-old Volkswagen really the best way to find out?
In a sincere, vulnerable, and occasionally comical memoir, Joe drives the backroads of the Bayou State attempting to reconnect with all that he once held dear, come to terms with enduring grief, and find out if he is still the Louisiana man he once was.