Brother and sister Rod Dreher and Ruthie Leming grew up in a small town in rural Louisiana. Dreher left the tightknit community to pursue a journalism career but returned home after Leming died of lung cancer in 2010.
Credit Courtesy Rod Dreher
"People waited for hours for her wake to come in and pay their respects," Dreher says of the United Methodist Church where his sister was buried. "It was a moment of intense grace."
Credit Debbie Elliot / NPR
Ruthie Leming's friends and Rod Dreher (right) gather for a crawfish boil at Ronnie Morgan's camp by the Starhill Riviera. "When I'm gone," Morgan says, "the only thing that's going to show up to say I was here is the people I left behind."
Credit Debbie Elliott / NPR
The Drehers — Lucas (from left), Rod, Matthew, Julie and Nora — sit on the side stoop at their new home in St. Francisville, La.
When he was a teenager, journalist Rod Dreher couldn't wait to escape Louisiana. Now he has found his way home again in grief — after his sister's death from lung cancer. It was "in light" of that tragedy, Dreher says, that he discovered the value of community. It's the subject of his new book, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life.
Jim chats with noted write Rod Dreher, about his return to Louisiana and his book, "The Little Way of Ruthie Leming"
Community activist John Hightower discusses some of the many philanthropic ventures he's involved with, including an upcoming summit on diabetes at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, hosted by the Environment and Health Council of Louisiana, of which Hightower is a member.