Acclaimed New Orleans Author Ernest Gaines Passes Away At Age 86

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Louisiana is mourning the loss of a native son and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Ernest Gaines.

The author of the critically acclaimed 1993 novel A Lesson Before Dying passed away yesterday at his home in Oscar from natural causes.

Born the son of a sharecropper, Gaines grew up on a plantation and used his childhood as inspiration for his works, which vividly depicted African-American life in the rural south.

Gaines spent 23 years as a writer in residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and A Lesson Before Dying was adapted into an Emmy Award-winning HBO movie starring Don Cheadle.

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