“She was an important part of Ken’s life up until his death and even afterwards. Even though she knew him only a year at Lafayette, she never forgot him and always spoke so highly of him. Clearly, there was a connection between the two of them. Pat was Ken’s cheerleader. She was always encouraging him; she’s one of the few who stood unwaveringly behind him.”

Filmmaker David Dubos on the relationship between Dr. Patricia Rickels, pictured above as a young woman, and author John Kennedy “Ken” Toole. Dubos’s bio-pic adaptation of the book Butterfly in The Typewriter, which begins shooting in June, recounts efforts to publish Toole’s classic New Orleans picaresque A Confederacy of Dunces. Rickles formed a kinship with Toole while the posthumously acclaimed author briefly worked with her at UL — then USL. Dr. Rickles was a beloved university folklorist and civil rights activist who cataloged Acadiana’s transition out of the Jim Crow era. She will be portrayed in her younger days by Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds, Troy).

Photo courtesy of UL Lafayette Special Collections

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