Danny Heitman

Magazine editor, columnist, author, and cultural commentator for national publications.

Full bioAppearances

| | danny@dannyheitman.com

The Baton Rouge Advocate columns

Phi Kappa Phi’s Forum Magazine

Recent work

All, General, Nature, Reading and literature

I’m Revisiting the Books of My Youth (WSJ)

Adult life made me a better reader of the classics now than I was in school. April 2023

The Symphony's Lessons on Old Age (WSJ)

Sharing an evening with elderly listeners was enriching. February 2023

Sinatra Serenades My Daughter (WSJ)

In her crib and on her wedding day, there was nothing for me but to love her. October 2022

Nature Just Beyond the Doorstep (WSJ)

Gilbert White’s ‘The Natural History of Selborne’ encourages us to find wonder in our backyards. June 2022

An Obituary Is the Story Of a Life, Not a Death (WSJ)

That’s what I learned from writing the ‘In Memoriam’ column. December 2021

One Pitchfork at a Time (WSJ)

I find renewal and rebirth in the promise of my garden’s compost pile. March 2021

Into Nature Through the Page (WSJ)

At a time when many are particularly attuned to what’s happening outside their windows, nature writing offers a chance to reflect on the ecological world in all its fearsomeness and splendor. May 2020


A Summer of Birds »

Over the summer of 1821, a cash-strapped John James Audubon worked as a tutor at Oakley Plantation in Louisiana’s rural West Feliciana Parish. This move initiated a profound change in direction for the struggling artist. Oakley’s woods teemed with life, galvanizing Audubon to undertake one of the most extraordinary endeavors in the annals of art: a comprehensive pictorial record of America’s birds. That summer, Audubon began what would eventually become his four-volume opus, Birds of America.

In A Summer of Birds, Danny Heitman recounts the season that shaped Audubon’s destiny, sorting facts from romance to give an intimate view of the world’s most famous bird artist. A new preface marks the two-­hundredth anniversary of that eventful interlude, reflecting on Audubon’s enduring legacy among artists, aesthetes, and nature lovers in Louisiana and around the world.