Tuesday, December 11, 2012

'A Million Wings' explores the camaraderie, traditions of duck hunting

            ArtsMemphis helps nonprofit organizations supporting the arts, environmental education and conservation in Memphis. They created a publishing division to support this work, producing two books on the unique culture and traditions of Mississippi Flyway sportsmen — “First Shooting Light: A Photographic Journal Reveals the Legacy and Lure of Hunting Clubs in the Mississippi Flyway” and “Wild Abundance: Ritual, Revelry and Recipes from the South’s Finest Hunting Clubs,” a coffee table cookbook featuring John Besh and Donald Link, among many other chefs.
            This year Wild Abundance Publishing has released a gorgeous coffee table book sure to be the favorite of every duck hunter, “A Million Wings: A Spirited Story of the Sporting Life Along the Mississippi Flyway” by Susan Schadt, with photographs by Lisa Buser and a foreword by United States Ryder Cup team captain Davis Love III.
            There are 12 hunting clubs featured in the book, from Cuivre, Raccoon Ranch and Dardenne in Missouri, Shelby Lake Farms in Kentucky, several within the Delta of Mississippi and Arkansas and Avoca and Bayou Club in Louisiana. Each chapter details each club, its history, members and special attributes, accented by photos both inside and out of the lodges and of both hunters in action and pristine nature. The most breathtaking are the ones of the quiet bayou, the lonely leaf-strewn road and the colorful sunsets through the winter trees. And of course there are the magnificent photos of the flocks of ducks descending upon the Mississippi Flyway, hence the book’s name.
            “A Million Wings” provides a fascinating look into the camaraderie and traditions of duck hunting existing within these historic clubs, from the chefs who provide the meals to the dogs who accompany hunters in the field. Each provides its own unique history, from Cuivre’s 1895 bottle of whiskey to Avoca’s origins as an initiative for free women of color.
            “A Million Wings” and its sister books are available at fine bookstores and online. For more information and to purchase books from Wild Abundance Publishing, visit www.wildabundancepublishing.com.

New releases
            Need some ideas for Christmas gifts? Like I always say, books make the perfect gift and they are usually inexpensive, provide entertainment and promote literacy all at the same time! And sometimes they even support local writers.
            Here are a few suggestions:
            New Orleans plein air artist Phil Sandusky offers a dreamy collection of his work in “New Orleans Impressionist Cityscapes,” published by Pelican Publishing. The book contains 130 paintings of various post-Katrina sites throughout the city created by the artist from 2006 to 2012, from the Zion Travelers Second Baptist Church on Laurel Street to traditional homes of New Orleans neighborhoods and French Quarter corners. Sandusky is also author of “New Orleans en Plein Air” and “Painting Katrina.”
            Was it truly a miracle that delivered 3-year-old Eli Judice from a life-threatening medical problem on Easter Sunday of 2011? His dad Chad Judice believes so, and he explains why in a newly published book titled “Eli’s Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer.” The book is the sequel to “Waiting for Eli,” published by Acadian House Publishing. 
            David Wharton has been photographing the 12 states that define the American South since 1983, with a focus on rural and small town culture. He’s collected 116 duotone photographs from 93 towns, combined with text, to examine small town Southern culture in “Small Town South,” published by George T. Thompson Publishing. For a sneak peak slide show that includes a photo from Opelousas, visit http://gftbooks.com/Slideshows/Wharton/whartonTitle.html.
            For the sports fan, “How the SEC Became Goliath” by Ray Glier might be just the ticket. The league representing Southern football has been dominant in the past few years, winning six straight national championships.
            Margaret Media is a local publisher of various titles, from books on Creoles to movies set in New Orleans. You can purchase any of their books at Louisiana bookstores and at www.margaretmedia.com. New this year from the publisher are Catholic prayer cards. Dr. Sybil Kein, Creole historian and author of “Gumbo People,” has translated Hail Mary, Our Father, The 23rd Psalm and Angel Prayer (a bedtime prayer for children) into Louisiana French Creole as it was spoken in homes and at church throughout the 19th century and into the 1970s. A pronunciation guide is included. 
            Kittie Howard of South Louisiana has published her second novella, “Rings of Trust,” the latest book in the Remy’s Bayou Road series. Remy Broussard, first seen in Howard’s novella, “Remy Broussard’s Christmas,” returns but not as the main character this time, the author states. You can read more about the author and her books at her blog, http://kittiehoward.blogspot.com/.
Mayan prophecy
            Is Dec. 21 really the end of the world? Dr. Mark Lentz of the UL-Lafayette Department of History and Geography will explain the Mayan calendar with an emphasis on the Dec. 21 prophecy at 6:30 p. m. Monday at North Regional Branch Library in Carencro and at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at South Regional Branch Library. Teens will have an opportunity to create a mural depicting their vision of the Mayan prophecies for Dec. 21, with refreshments and supplies provided, at noon Saturday at the South Regional Library. The film “2012” (PG-13) will also be shown at 2 p.m. Saturday at South Regional.

Book events
             Todd-Michael St. Pierre will sign copies of “Taste of Treme: Creole, Cajun, and Soul Food from New Orleans’ Famous Neighborhood of Jazz” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble in Lafayette and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Barnes & Noble Citiplace in Baton Rouge, followed by a signing from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Metairie. He will also sign copies of the cookbook and other books from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Serenity Home & Gifts, 1660 Hwy. 59, Ste. 600, in Mandeville, and from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Friends of the Cabildo’s 1850 House Museum Store, 523 St. Ann St. in New Orleans.
            The UL Press Holiday Book Sale will be from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Casa Azul Gifts, 232 Martin Luther King Drive in Grand Coteau. There will be signed copies of books, complimentary refreshments and gift wrapping and every title will be discounted by at least 20 percent off of the regular retail price. All purchases come with a complimentary tote bag as well.
            John Slaughter will sign “Grand Coteau” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 2590 CitiPlace Court in Baton Rouge.
            The winners of The Extra Mile’s annual talent show will perform at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. 
            And I (Cheré Coen) will be signing “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Acadian Village.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Books by local authors make great holiday gifts!

             Books make great gifts. They provide entertainment, education, inspiration and literacy and the experience of reading lasts a lifetime. Please consider books in your holiday giving.           
            With that in mind, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Press Holiday Book Sale, with titles discounted by at least 20 percent off of the regular retail price, will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the UL Alumni Center, 600 E. St. Mary Blvd.
            The event will include new releases, signed copies of UL Press books, complimentary refreshments and gift wrapping, and all purchases come with a complimentary tote bag as well.
            The sale continues from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Casa Azul Gifts,
232 Martin Luther King Drive in Grand Coteau.

New releases
            John McCusker, a photographer for the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, has published “Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz” with the University Press of Mississippi. Ory performed with Louis Armstrong and King Oliver, was part of the first African American New Orleans jazz recordings and is the composer of the jazz standard “Muskrat Ramble.” McCusker was part of the team that shared the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Journalism for covering Hurricane Katrina.
            Chin Music Press has published “Jackson Squared: The Heart of the Quarter,” created by Tom Varisco and featuring photos by Jackson Hill and Will Crocker with a foreword by John Biguenet. The book contains essays by Biguenet, John Carr, Nicole Biguenet Pedersen and Susan Sarver. Varisco is the creator of “Spoiled,” a photo book of Hurricane Katrina refrigerator art, and Signs of New Orleans, a record of the city's colorful street signs.
            Mary Lou Widmer and Joan B. Garvy of New Orleans published a concise history of the city in 1982 titled “Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans.” Pelican Publishing has updated the book with edits by Kathy Chappetta Spiess and Karen Chappetta with a foreword by Jane Molony of the Friends of the Cabildo, which uses the book for training its volunteers.
            Widmer and Garvy have also reissued “Louisiana: The First 300 Years,” which follows the state’s history from its early origins as a colony to 2001.
            Roy W. Rusha, a veteran of Vietnam and the Louisiana State Police, has published a gripping mystery surrounding a massive drug bust in the bayous of Louisiana titled “Wrestling with Pigs.” Rusha plans future booksignings in Lafayette at La Fonda and Legends Bar & Grill, so be on the lookout.
            David Lummis has published part two in his three-part series “The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans.” Titled “The Last Beaucoeur,” the book picks up where part one left off, on the morning of Aug. 26, 2005. B. Sammy Singleton is still reeling from the night before and his best friend, Catfish Beaucoeur, is missing, having left behind clues including a book of lynching photography and a disturbing handwritten poem. Singleton gives up writing his coffee shop guidebook and takes off on a whirlwind trip to find Catfish. “Here is a guy who can paint accurately while he suffers — a talented bohemian, in other words. A worthy addition to your growing New Orleans shelf,” writes Andrei Codrescu. For more information, visit http://www.coffeeshopchronicles.com/.
            The third book in Susan Fleet’s Frank Renzi mystery series, “Natalie’s Revenge,” looks at two murders 20 years apart in New Orleans. The book is available for the Kindle and paperback versions are available at Amazon.com. For more information, visit http://susanfleet.com/nataliesrevenge.html.
            Scott Anthony Choplin of St. Martinville has compiled a book of poetry but sees it more than a random collection, which is why he titles it “R.I.P. Poetry Collection: Reflections, Illuminations and Perceptions.” The book is full of Choplin’s insight into life. “R.I.P. Poetry Collection” is available from AuthorHouse.
         Constance Monies Gremillion, a freelance journalist and teacher and a direct descendant of two of the original Acadian families to settle in Louisiana, has written a debut novel published by Cypress Cove Publishing. “A House For Eliza” tells the true story of a Cajun family in Lafayette at the turn of the 19th century through the eyes of Eliza Landry. The book offers the reader what it was like to live on a plantation in the late 1800s and raise a family of 17 children during two World Wars and the Great Depression. Today, the house of Eliza and Oscar Daigle is located on Convent Street and is featured in the Lafayette Preservation Society’s “Tour of Lafayette.” The book is available at www.CypressCovePublishing.com, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and selected bookstores and gift shops in Lafayette and surrounding areas.
            Sylvia Dickey Smith’s latest Sidra Smart mystery takes readers to the swamps bordering Texas and Louisiana. “The Swamp Whisperer” follows Boo Murphy, a cranky old swamp-rat who prefers to spend time in her pirogue, hunting and fishing, but is pulled into a strange world when she discovers a deserted brush-hut deep in the bayou. The discovery leads Boo into a clandestine effort to resurrect a cultural site for the Atakapa-Ishak natives. But are the leaders legit, or do they have other self-serving passions?
            Iris Floyd of Baton Rouge has published “Six-of-One,” a humorous novel set in New Orleans over Labor Day weekend and involving six women of different races, creeds, backgrounds and aspirations with two things in common: a 10-year secret and desperation. The book is available at www.irisfloydbooks.com and Tate Publishing’s web site.

Southern Beast
            South Louisiana actress Quvenzhané Wallis, who starred as Hushpuppy in the independent film “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” was featured on the cover of this month’s Oscar issue of TheWrap.com. “Quvenzhané Wallis” is a fierce new face in the Oscar race,” the cover states.

Book events
            The Black Widow Salon presents poet Dave Brinks discussing his new book, “The Secret Brain: Selected Poems 1995-2012,” at 7 p.m. Monday at Crescent City Books, 230 Chartres St. in New Orleans.
            The 1718 Society, a student-run literary organization made up of Tulane, Loyola and UNO students, host Benjamin Morris  at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Open to the public.
            Michael Allen Zell and Jenn Marie Nunes read from their work at 8 p.m. Thursday at Gold Mine Saloon in New Orleans, part of the 17Poets. For more information, visit http://www.17poets.com.
            Lesley Crawford Costner will sign copies of “Goodnight Acadiana” Friday at Acadian Village as part of the Noel Acadien au Village celebration.
            John Slaughter will sign copies of “Grand Coteau” and Robert Carriker will sign “Boudin” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 5705 Johnston St.
            Author’s Alley features me (Cheré Coen) signing “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” John Francois signing “Pontiac” and other historical novels set in South Louisiana, Andy Hebert signing “Christmas on a Bayou” and John Morella signing “Give Teens a Break” and “A Guide For Effective Psychotherapy” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the North Regional Branch Library in Carencro.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It was a fun day to be a writer

            Booksignings can be a dull affair, particularly if you are by yourself, the crowds are few or unreceptive and worse, they have no need for a book and thus you go home empty handed. Today, I had the pleasure of being a part of the Author’s Alley at the South Regional Branch Library in Lafayette (Louisiana) and sitting with three wonderful Acadiana authors — Camilla Hunt Cole signing “Mesquite,” Andy Hebert signing “Christmas on a Bayou” and Genie Summers signing “Our Family’s Book of Acts.” We had a nice turnout, friends and visitors alike were very generous (merci beaucoup!) and it was great chatting with one another about writing, social media, our next books and much more.
            Camilla Cole is busy working on a Southern gothic mystery due out next year, Genie Summers felt compelled to write her two books about missionary work but now she’s having fun penning a novel and Andy Hebert’s topics ranged from his Christmas coloring book to his grandfather’s fascinating diary of the Iota (Louisiana) area.
            After three hours at the library I headed over to the Fire & Water Cultural Arts Celebration in Arnaudville, where the new coffee shop Little Big Cup was hosting an afternoon of writers. Besides me, there was former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque, Poet Clare L. Martin (left), novelist John Francois, young adult novelist Margaret Simon (right) and photographer JohnSlaughter. I arrived in time to visit with Margaret and Clare (who organized the entire event – thank you Clare!) and again, it was such a treat enjoying the company of other writers (remember, we mostly work in solitude). I learned about Clare’s experiences writing her poetry book, “Eating the Heart First,” found out Margaret is a poet herself and listened to John reminisce about his life photographing the historic town of Grand Coteau.
            On the way home I stopped by Nunu’s arts center where musicians were performing, artists were demonstrating their work and selling beautiful items and Bayou Teche Brewery was serving up samples of their new Christmas beer. More creativity jive; the air crackled with it.
            This holiday season may I suggest giving something unique, creative and supportive of the local economy — art and books. We who serve in the trenches producing our stories and artwork because we must would surely appreciate it.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Monday, November 26, 2012

More cookbook ideas for holiday giving

             Call it the Thanksgiving hangover or the prospect of more holiday eating, but I have food on the brain, which means more cookbooks to write about. If you’re not into cooking, however, you may consider these for Christmas gifts.
            Pediatrician Dr. Ellen Bass of New Orleans and her niece, Sophia Khan, have penned their first cookbook, “Students Go Gourmet: Simple Gourmet for Everyday,” which includes an instructional DVD in which the authors guide readers through 13 recipes. Bass attended Tulane, as well as Yale and Georgetown, and Khan is a recent graduate of Yale and Harvard. Their cookbook relates their experiences of meeting the challenges of eating healthy under demanding school schedules. 
            Each chapter of the cookbook features a “Students Go Gourmet” twist on a classic New Orleans recipe and a portion of the cookbook’s sale of the book will benefit the Ninth Ward Redevelopment Efforts. Some of the New Orleans recipes contained in the cookbook include chocolate cayenne ice cream sandwiches, shrimp étouffée, crab Bechamel pizza, eggs Benedict and andouille Pappardelle.
             Alex Hitz combines his origins growing up in Atlanta with working with the world’s chefs in his new cookbook, “My Beverly Hills Kitchen: Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist.” He offers elegant recipes and dishes but in a simplified format. The heirloom tomato pie would scare me off in an instant, but his step-by-step instructions and photos make it look easy.
            New Orleans is well represented here as well. He offers his personal take on Galatoire’s egg Sardou and remoulade sauce and Commander’s Palace’s bread pudding, adding a vanilla bourbon sauce.
            Hitz will be signing copies of his cookbook from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.
            Elizabeth Kettenring Dutrey Bégué ran Madame Bégué’s restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans and served one meal between breakfast and lunch. In 1900 she published a collection of dishes from her handwritten notes, one of the first New Orleans cookbooks ever published. The book was modernized and republished in 1937 and included recipes from other city cooks, such as Victor Bero from Victor’s Restaurant, later called Galatoire’s.
             Radio and TV food personality Poppy Tooker has revised Madame Bégué’s recipes and written the foreword of “Mme. Bégué’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery,” a reissue of the book now out by Pelican Publishing. The young German woman’s recipes live on and the restaurant she once oversaw is now Tujague’s Restaurant.
            Attention foodies! The South Regional Library will host a cookbook swap from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Bring a cookbook to the library and swap with others.

Words & Music
            Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s Words & Music 2012 begins Wednesday and runs through Dec. 2 in New Orleans. This year, the Society’s free Big Read will feature “A Lesson Before Dying” by award-winning Louisiana author Ernest J. Gaines.
            Gaines will be interviewed by Grammy winner and trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, author of “A Love Letter to New Orleans,” at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall as part of “Using Fiction to Get at the Truth.” Mayfield is creating new music based on the Gaines’ work which will be premiered during “A Lesson Before Dying” Big Read on Friday at the recently renovated Joy Theatre on Canal Street in New Orleans. The following Master Class will be introduced and moderated by playwright and novelist Hal Clark.
            There will be readings and discussions by poets and authors, live drama, literary premieres and master classes, a tailgating event with Southern humorist and Saints fan Ray Blount Jr., among other events.
            For more information and a schedule of events, visit http://www.wordsandmusic.org/.

River of Words
            River of Words (ROW), the world’s largest youth poetry and art competition, is accepting submissions to its 18th annual environmental poetry and art contest, sponsored in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book. Students from kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to create poetry and/or art about the places they live. They may enter on their own or under the tutelage of a teacher or youth leader, or as part of a group. The deadline is Dec. 1.
            The contest is free to enter and entry forms may be downloaded from the organization’s website at http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/center-for-environmental-literacy/art-poetry-contest.
Author’s Alley
            One of the best presents you can give another is the gift of reading. A book opens the mind to endless possibilities.
            And yes, it keeps writers like me from the bread lines. 
             This Saturday, the South Regional Library will host an Author’s Alley from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with local authors (me included) selling books. There will be Camilla Hunt Cole signing “Mesquite,” Andy Hebert signing “Christmas on a Bayou,” Genie Summers signing “Our Family’s Book of Acts” and I will be signing my travel guidebook “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana.”
            Hebert and I will be signing books, as well as John Morella (“Give Teens a Break” and “A Guide For Effective Psychotherapy”) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the North Regional Branch Library in Carencro.

Book events
            Michael Allen Zell will read and sign copies of “Errata” at 6 p.m. Thursday at
Maple Street Bookstore in uptown New Orleans.
            The South Regional Library of Lafayette will host a cookbook swap from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Also at the library, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” by Mrs. Claus.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A taste of HBO and more for the holidays

            The holidays start Thursday and it’s time to bring out the cookbooks for inspiration. Looking for something new? Here’s a list of some hot new cookbooks.
             Acadiana’s Marcelle Bienvenu is a cookbook veteran, with numerous titles to her credit, so it makes sense they would ask her to create one to complement the HBO series, “True Blood.” Based on the vampire novels by Charlaine Harris and taking place in a town called Bon Temps, Louisiana, “True Blood” deals with not only vampires, but werewolves, witches, shapeshifters and fairies.
            The cookbook plays on these characters, accented by photos from the series. In fact, the characters are the ones offering Southern and Louisiana recipes and writing each recipe’s introduction. There’s werewolf Alcide Herveaux’s “Stake and Eggs” and vampire hater Maxine Fortenberry’s “Drop-Dead Tuna-Cheese Casserole.”
            “True Blood: Eats, Drinks and Bites from Bon Temps” is a must for show fans and perfect for entertaining. Now if they can just improve on that last season…
            Spotlighting another popular HBO series, “Tremé,” Cajun and Creole foodie Todd-Michael St. Pierre has penned a fun cookbook and homage to the New Orleans neighborhood with “Taste of Treme: Creole, Cajun, and Soul Food from New Orleans’ Famous Neighborhood of Jazz.”
             The book is full of tantalizing recipes, photos and tidbits of New Orleans culture, music, history and more. Recipes range from traditional dishes such as Creole gumbo, beignets and poboys to Congo Square steak with lump crab béarnaise sauce and Purple Haze (Abita beer) pork tenderloin.
            On Nov. 24 St. Pierre will sign copies of his cookbook at noon at the Healing Center, 2372 St. Claude Ave., and at 6 p.m. at Maple Street Book Shop, in New Orleans. He will also sign from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 25 at Barnes & Noble in Harvey and at 5 p.m. Dec. 14 at Barnes & Noble in Lafayette.
            New Orleans foodie Kit Wohl has been compiling the city’s favorites in a cookbook series by Pelican Publishing. Her latest is “New Orleans Classic Cocktails: Spirited Recipes,” containing cocktail samples from the city’s restaurants, hotels and nightspots. Many of the recipes are traditional New Orleans cocktails, such as the sazarac and the Ramos gin fizz, while others stretch the imagination.
             A few others to consider are:
            “Roots” by Diane Morgan, a cookbook that honors root vegetables.
            “Canal House Cooking, Vol. No. 7: La Dolce Vita” by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, former magazine editors who cook together every weekday in their New Jersey Studio. “Vol. 7” celebrates Italian cooking and the authors’ travels through Italy.
            “The Cracker Book: Artisanal Crackers for Every Occasion” by Lee Cart is a great idea book for holiday entertaining.
            Tasia Malakasis combines Southern and Greek flavors at her small fromagerie in rural Alabama and she celebrates both in “Tasia’s Table: Cooking with the Artisan Cheesemaker at Belle Chèvre.”
            “The Game Cook: Inspired Recipes for Pheasant, Partridge, Duck, Deer, Rabbit and More” by Norman Tebbit, which includes instructions on game preparation, anecdotes and illustrations.           

Genealogy books
             Cathy (Lemoine) Sturgell, a native of New Orleans now living in Tennessee, has self-published “Long Journey Home: The Ancestry of the Bret, Coco, Drapeau, Goudeau, Gremillon and Tassin Families in France.” According to the author, the book contains undiscovered, unpublished information on these six families in France. 
            “I am directly descended from all of these families and many middle/Southern Louisiana residents with French-Creole ancestry are descended from one or more of these families,” Sturgell wrote me by email. “Included in the book is 175 years of the ancestry of Louisiana progenitor, Dominique Coco, in his native Italy (now France).”
             Sturgell performed years of research through the Catholic sacramental records in France, she said, and each chapter in the 174-page book begins with the Louisiana progenitor of one of these families and contains copies of the sacramental records used to establish lineage.
            For more information on the book, visit http://louisianalineage.com/longjourneyhome.htm.
            Carol Mills-Nichol has published “The Forgotten Jews of Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana,” analyzing the Jewish men and women who settled in central Louisiana as early as the 1830s. The book is 610 pages with 45 illustrations and index and published by Janaway Publication.s.
            The families documented also include those who went on to settle in Winn, Rapides, St. Landry, Evangeline, Lafayette and Grant parishes. Most were formerly from Alsace, Bavaria, and later, Poland, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, the author states, and included merchants, farmers, slave owners, Confederate soldiers, mayors, constables, aldermen and builders and owners of shortline railroads.
            Some of the earliest settlers were Maurice Fortlouis, Adolph and Charles Frank, Abe Felsenthal, Sam and Alex Haas, Simon, Leopold and David Siess, Isaac Lehmann and  Leopold and Lazard Goudchaux.
            For more information, visit www.janawaygenealogy.com.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Friday, November 16, 2012

'Safekeeping' haunting Y/A novel about undying spirit

    Teenager Radley has been volunteering in a Haitian orphanage when the American president is assassinated and the government collapses in “Safekeeping,” a young adult novel by Karen Hesse. When Radley attempts to return home and her plane lands in New Hampshire, she finds it difficult to reach Vermont and her parents with police raids, looting and government demands. Her cell phone is dead and her credit cards useless, so she begins a long journey home by foot, hiding out in barns and eating from dumpsters.
    When she finally makes it home, there is no resolution, and so begins the second half of the story, with Radley attempting to make it through a world turned upside down.
    “Safekeeping” is illustrated with Hesse’s 50 black and white photographs, adding haunting detail to a frightening scenario. In the end, however, the book reveals the undying spirit and determination of a young American girl.
    Hesse is the winner of the MacArthur Genuis Award and a Newbery Medal Award for “Out of the Dust.” She is the author of more than 20 books for children.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Morsi cures with latest romance

    I’ve been a fan of Pamela Morsi’s Americana historical romances for years so was thrilled to see a novel set in one of her previous locations, Marrying Stone Mountain of the Arkansas Ozarks. Her latest, “The Lovesick Cure,” is a contemporary story but it involves descendants of characters from Morsi’s historicals “Simple Jess” and “The Marrying Stone.”
     In “The Lovesick Cure,” Jesse Winsloe not only looses her teaching position due to budget cuts, but her principal, who also happens to be her fiancée, dumps her for another woman, getting married almost immediately. Jesse is heartbroken, unemployed and in desperate need of a change so she doesn’t have to keep running into old flame and his new wife. She travels to Marry Stone to visit her eccentric Aunt Will, who also happens to be the town’s natural healer.
    Living in “Onery Cabin” with the elderly woman is challenging, especially when Aunt Will employs a nasty smelling lovesick cure on Jesse. But the poultice begins its magic, particularly when Jesse meets the local physician’s assistant. Within time, things start looking up for Jesse, but Aunt Will has a few secrets and Jesse’s visit turns out to be fortuitous for both of them.
    Like Morsi’s historicals set in the same region, “The Lovesick Cure” offers charm, romance and homespun American culture. It’s a delightful book from start to finish.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Great literary events happening now!

    There’s so much going on in the literary world these days — can I get an Amen? — that I’m going to devote my column this week just to events.
    Clare L. Martin of Lafayette writes about love, dreams and Louisiana in her debut collection of poetry, “Eating the Heart First” by Press 53 as a Tom Lombardo Selection.
    Former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque says of Martin’s poems: “Gradually the poems reveal richly textured revelations of a heart tied to a human experience in that ‘dream we cannot know completely.’ And, while we may not ever know the dream completely, Ms. Martin hands us a guidebook to dreams and to the art that uses dream and dreaming as the scaffolding from which to make something beautiful, and useful, and mysterious all at the same time.”
    Martin’s poetry has appeared in Avatar Review, Blue Fifth Review, Melusine, Poets and Artists and Louisiana Literature, among others. She has been nominated for numerous awards and her work has been anthologized in several publications.
    Martin will be reading her poetry at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, as part of the Sundays@4 series at the Baton Rouge Gallery in Baton Rouge.
    I met Martha Holoubek Fitgerald at the recent Louisiana Book Festival and was impressed with her dedication to her parents, two senior medical students who corresponded for two years before their marriage. Fitzgerald researched not only the 800 letters but background medical sources, archives and historical records for her book honoring her parents, titled “The Courtship of Two Doctors: A 1930s Love Story of Letters, Hope & Healing.”
    She will be discussing and signing the book at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, at Octavia Books in New Orleans. Proceeds from book sales benefit LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, which her father co-founded, a local marriage ministry, and other causes she shares with her parents.
    Fitzgerald owns Martha Fitzgerald Consulting and Little Dove Press. She edited and published her father’s 2004 novel “Letters to Luke,” which won the Writers Digest Award for inspirational literature and the Independent Publisher Award for religious fiction. Fitzgerald also writes a blog, “Catholics & Bible Study: Sharing Our Journey Through The Wilderness.” She serves on the board of Shreveport’s LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation.
    New Orleans poet Carolyn Hembree discusses her first book “Skinny,” the publisher Kore Press and resources for women writers at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Women’s Center Coffee Talk Series at UNO in New Orleans. The title character of Skinny leaves the South and a beloved, dying matriarch for New York City, and through an expansive dramatis personae, the poems offer polyphonic responses to harrowing encounters.
    Hembree’s poems have appeared in Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, jubilat, and Witness, among other journals and anthologies. Her poetry has received three Pushcart Prize nominations, a PEN Writers Grant, a Southern Arts Federation Grant and a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship Award in Literature. Hembree’s second manuscript, “Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine & Other Ways to Escape a Plague,” was a finalist for the 2012 Tupelo Press First/Second Book Award. She teaches at UNO.
    Coffee Talk Lecture Series is sponsored by UNO’s Women’s Center and Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Bring a lunch; drinks and snacks will be on hand. All events are free and open to the public.
    Suzanne Johnson, author of a new urban fantasy series, will be reading from and signing her latest book, “River Road,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at Maple Street Book Shop’s Bayou St. John location in New Orleans. Suzanne, a longtime New Orleans resident now living in Auburn, Ala., is a veteran journalist with more than 50 national awards in writing and editing nonfiction. “River Road” is the follow up to her first book in the series, “Royal Street.” 
    In “River Road,” new species have moved into Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, destroying the borders between worlds. It falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.
    David Spielman and Fred Lyon have compiled “When Not Performing: New Orleans Musicians,” a beautiful book that showcases the city’s musicians in their off time. It’s a comprehensive mix of talent, including “a musician unnamed” the authors caught playing on top of the levee. The authors will discuss and sign copies of the book at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.
    Also at Garden District Book Shop is Deb Shriver signing copies of “In the Spirit of New Orleans” at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, an insider’s view of the Crescent City.
    Michael Allen Zell will sign copies of his “Errata” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Barrister’s Gallery in New Orleans and at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Krewe Du Brew, the latter a reading/discussion series sponsored by New Orleans Lyceum. Both event will be held in New Orleans.
    Judyth Vary Baker, the former lover of Lee Harvey Oswald, and Ed Haslam will discuss Oswald and his role in the assassination of Pres. John Kennedy at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, on the second floor of Barnes and Noble at LSU, corner of Highland and Raphael Semmes Drive in Baton Rouge. Baker is the author of the memoir “Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald.” Haslam is the author of “Dr. Mary’s Monkey,” which discusses Oswald’s final days in New Orleans.  
    The Black Widow Salon presents author Yuri Herrera at 7:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, upstairs at Crescent City Books in New Orleans.

    The Jeanerette Museum presents UL-Lafayette history professor and author Michael Martin speaking Wednesday, Nov. 14, on the New Orleans Saints and the NFL with a brief history of the organizations. For information, call (337) 276-4408 or visit http://www.jeanerettemuseum.com/

    Spanish historian José Manuel de Molina Bautista will speak on the founding of New Iberia at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the South Regional Library in Lafayette. “The Malagueños in Louisiana” highlights the immigrant experience of 16 families who traveled from Malaga, Spain, to settle in “Luisiana” under the governorship of fellow Malagueño Bernardo de Gálvez. The lecture is free and sponsored by the Center for Louisiana Studies. For more information, call (337) 482-6027 or visit http://cls.louisiana.edu/.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Festival of Words turns 5 this week, brings in great poets, authors to South Louisiana

            Last week’s Louisiana Book Festival was a great success in Baton Rouge, with throngs of people coming out to enjoy more than 120 authors speak on the grounds of the State Capitol, State Library and State Museum.
            Former Advocate Travel Editor Cynthia Campbell and I discuss traveling through Louisiana at the Louisiana Welcome Center, and we both had a ball gushing about this unique and fascinating state. Campbell is author of “An Explorer’s Guide: Louisiana” and I discuss traveling through Cajun Country since my book focuses on this side of the Atchafalaya.
            As always the weather was gorgeous.
            If you missed the state’s literary festival, beginning Thursday and culminating Saturday, Nov. 8-10, is the fifth annual Festival of Words literary festival. The event features author readings, public readings, community and school creative writing workshops, drive-by poetry in the streets and more in Grand Coteau, Sunset, Arnaudville and surrounding communities.
            The event celebrates the written and spoken word and includes well-known authors such as Jarvis DeBerry, Kelly Harris, Randall Kenan, Patrice Melnick, Bonny McDonald, Chancellier “Xero” Skidmore and Louisiana Poet Laureate Julie Kane.
            Authors will lead community poetry and fiction writing workshops and there will be readings by featured authors and spoken word artists in the community centers of Grand Coteau and Sunset. Readings are free, but donations welcome.
             On Saturday, there will be Drive-by Poetry, live poetry performances from both youth and adults, in area cafes and gift shops of Grand Coteau. There will also be original performances on the outdoor Community Stage.
            Two events spotlight Creole history of the area. At 11 a.m. Saturday, Gwen Miller will offer a tour of St. Peter Claver School which educated blacks in the area from 1944 until 1977.  The roots of the school go back to 1875 when the Religious of the Sacred Heart founded a school for blacks.  The tour will also include a look at St. Charles Chapel, which served the community as Christ the King Church from 1942 until 1971. The tour offers an opportunity to learn about two institutions which served as the center of education and faith for the majority of the Grand Coteau community during segregation.
            At 1:30 p.m., there will be an oral history session inside St. Charles Chapel in which Grand Coteau residents share stories that revolved around Christ the King Church. All are invited to participate.
            In addition to the events, there will be several authors signing books along the streets of Grand Coteau, courtesy of the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana. They are: John Morella, Paul Records, Dani Kaz, Nancy Colby, Claire L. Martin, Rosemary Smith, John Mayeux, Scott Chopplin, John Lafleur, Jessica Bertrand and Margaret Simon.
            For a complete schedule, visit festivalofwords.org.

Acadiana Wordlab
            Acadiana Wordlab is a new literary drafting workshop at 2 p.m. Saturdays at Cité des Arts in Lafayette. It’s free and open to the public, although a donation to that week’s presenter is always welcome. Because Acadiana Wordlab is a drafting workshop, rather than a critique workshop, each week a guest presenter offers a work of art (literary or otherwise), a discussion of art or a lecture on craft. Attendees then write for 20 minutes or so, then share with the group. If there’s time left over, the presenter will present a second prompt, followed by another round of writing, then reading. This week’s presenter is Kelly Clayton, Nov. 10. Upcoming presenters include Alex Johnson, Nov. 17; Emily Thibodeaux, Dec. 1, Patrice Melnick, Dec. 8 and Lester E. Tisdale IV, Dec. 15.

Dupré sale
            The Friends of Dupré Library Annual Book Sale will be Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 8-10, on the first floor of the Edith Garland Dupré Library, 400 E. St. Mary Blvd. on the UL campus. Hardcover books will be sold for $1 and paperbacks 50 cents. The sale also includes LPs and other recordings, priced at $1 for singles and $2 for sets. The book sale will be 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Friends of the Library and UL faculty and staff are invited to a preview from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7. For more information, call (337) 482-6677.

Book events
            The 1718 Society, a student-run literary organization made up of Tulane, Loyola and UNO students, presents reading by Carolyn Hembree at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Columns Hotel on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Open to the public.
            Margaret Media launches their latest title, “Louisiana Film History: A Comprehensive Overview Beginning 1896” by Ed and Susan Poole at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans. The Pooles of Gretna have collected and researched film accessories for 30 years and operate a massive movie poster database online. The Pooles will be signing the book and offering classic New Orleans movie posters for sale.
            The book launch of Dave Brinks’ “The Secret Brain” will be 8 p.m. Thursday at the Gold Mine Saloon in New Orleans. The evening includes music, Native American rhythms, poetry and dance. New Orleans poet Brinks will be joined by special guests Rockin’ Dopsie, Gaynielle Neville, Rev. Goat Carson, Katarina Boudreaux and Matthew Shilling. For more information, visit Black Widow Press, www.blackwidowpress.com. 
            The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities celebrates the publication of “A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana” with a 6 p.m. reception Thursday at the Meadows Museum at Centenary College in Shreveport. The event is free and open to the public.
            Michael Allen Zell, Carolyn Hembree, Ben Kopel, Brad Richard, Anne Marie Rooney and Geoff Wyss will read at 7 p.m. Friday at McKeown’s Books in New Orleans.
            Heather Graham is the keynote speaker with emcee F. Paul Wilson at the annual Fall in Love with Romance Luncheon at 11 a.m. Saturday at Juban’s Creole Restaurant in Baton Rouge. For more information, visit http://heartla.com/.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com or visit the Louisiana Book News Facebook page.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Photographer Slaughter, writer Melnick create beautiful homage to Grand Coteau

            Like many college students, interests in other parts of campus turn into careers. And so it was with John Slaughter, who studied English at Northwestern in Chicago but frequented the film department. Over time he honed his photography skills, and after returning from a trip to Guatemala looked for a new place to live in his home state of Louisiana.
             His wife found a teaching job in Grand Coteau and Slaughter began both a photography practice and a job at the Opelousas Daily World. In 1983, he and his wife opened The Kitchen Shop in Grand Coteau, then Catahoula’s Restaurant, known for its vibrant, oversized photos of Catahoula dogs.
            Slaughter has published a photographic tribute to the town he calls home titled “Grand Coteau” (UL Press), with photos of the historic town spanning 35 years (1977-2012). The book spotlights historic structures such as St. Charles Jesuit College and St. Charles Borromeo Church, but also the restoration of homes, street scenes, barnstormers, porch cats, barn billboards, fields and countryside and a host of the town’s residents.
            Patrice Melnick, who owns Casa Azul in Grand Coteau and organizer of the annual literary Festival of Words, has written the introduction and captions to the photos. She interviewed many of the people spotlighted in the book, providing fascinating insights into one of Louisiana’s jewels.
            A book release party and a presentation by Slaughter, who will discuss his vision and process as a photographer, will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at Catahoula’s Restaurant, 234 Martin Luther King Drive in Grand Coteau. Special guests will share oral narratives about Grand Coteau and there will be light refreshments and books available for sale. For information, call Melnick at (337) 662-1032 or email casa.azul.gc@gmail.com.

Gaines Award
            The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has named Stephanie Powell Watts winner of the 2012 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her novel “We Are Taking Only What We Need.”
            The award will be presented to Watts on Jan. 18, 2013, at the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge. The ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by a reception. Both events are free and open to the public, though seating is limited and reservations are required for this cocktail-attire event; contact Jessica Boone at gainesaward@braf.org or (225) 387-6126.
             The Gaines Award includes a $10,000 cash prize and honors outstanding work from rising African-American authors while recognizing Gaines’ contribution to the literary world. 
            Published by BkMk Press, “We Are Taking Only What We Need” is a collection of short stories chronicling the lives of African-Americans in rural North Carolina. The book is Watts’ first and was named a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the John Gardner Fiction Award, the USA Book News Award and the ForeWord Reviews Award.
            Watts is a faculty member at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. 
            Judges for the 2012 Gaines Award were Thomas Beller, award-winning author and professor of creative writing at Tulane University; Anthony Grooms, an author and creative writing professor at Kennesaw State University; Phillip Lopate, author and recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants and two New York Foundation for the Arts grants; Francine Prose, author of more than 20 books, including “Blue Angel,” a nominee for the 2000 National Book Award; and Patricia Towers, former features editor for O: The Oprah Magazine and a founding editor of Vanity Fair magazine.

Dupré sale
            The Friends of Dupré Library Annual Book Sale will be Nov. 8 through 10 on the first floor of the Edith Garland Dupré Library, 400 E. St. Mary Blvd. on the UL-Lafayette campus. Hardcover books will be sold for $1 and paperbacks 50 cents. The sale also includes LPs and other recordings, priced at $1 for singles and $2 for sets.
            The book sale will be 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 8 and 9, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. Friends of the Library and UL faculty and staff are invited to a preview from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7.
            For more information, call (337) 482-6677.

New releases
            Dr. Roger Carpenter, associate professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, recently published “American Indian History Day by Day: A Reference Guide to Events.” The book lists historical events in American Indian history, and the day that each event occurred. 
            “The Mi’kmaq Anthology Volume 2: In Celebration of the Life of Rita Joe,” edited by Theresa Meuse, Lesley Choyce and Julia Swan, has been published by Pottersfield Press of Nova Scotia. The Mi’kmaq Native Americans inhabited Nova Scotia and other parts of the Canadian Maritimes, and came in contact with the Acadians.
            “The Delta Queen Cookbook: The History and Recipes of the Legendary Steamboat” by Cynthia Lejeune Nobles, published by LSU Press, features 125 recipes prepared by the steamboat’s former chefs during their tenures onboard.
            Ernestine Triplett, a native of Larose and now resident of Breaux Bridge, has published a memoir titled “Story of a Broken Handmaiden,” set within the communities of southeast Louisiana. The book is available as an ebook.
 Angela Quezada Bertone of Ponchatoula, a speaker and leader of spiritual retreats for women, has published a spiritual self-help book titled “Good Morning Sunshine.” The book is available on her web site www.angelabertone.com, most online bookstores and at the Sonlife Christian Bookstore in Hammond.

Book events
             Katherine Soniat will read from and sign her sixth collection of poetry, “A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge,” at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of New Orleans Sandbar in New Orleans. This event is free and open to the public. Soniat’s “The Swing Girl,” published by LSU Press, was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Council of North Carolina and “A Shared Life” won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared recently in Women’s Review of Books, Hotel Amerika, and Crazyhorse. Soniat teaches in the Great Smokies Writers Program at UNC-Asheville.
            Last week I mentioned Peggy Sweeney-McDonald’s new book, “Meanwhile, Back at Café du Monde.”  Sweeney-McDonald and local contributor Chef Jay Ducote will be appearing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the Kitchenary at Heymann’s, 456 Heymann Blvd. in the Oil Center of Lafayette.
            Michael Allen Zell will sign copies of “Errata” from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, followed by a reading and signing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Faubourg Marigny Bookshop in New Orleans.
            Ron Thibodeaux will sign “Hell or High Water: How Cajun Fortitude Withstood Hurricanes Rita and Ike” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at the main Terrebonne Parish Library.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boudin lover Robert Carriker pens guide to South Louisiana sausage

            Robert Carriker, a UL professor of history and founder of the Boudin Cookoff and BoudinLink.com, has compiled a guide to South Louisiana’s boudin outlets, titled “Boudin: A Guide to Louisiana's Extraordinary Link.” The book offers a history of the sausage, some historic and recent photographs, a lesson on the sausage’s varieties and a listing of about two dozen boudin spots across South Louisiana, accompanied by photographs from Denny Culbert. Oral histories were provided by the Southern Foodway Alliance. I think many people will question the inclusion or exclusion of their favorite boudin makers in the book, but the author states that those included were meant “to represent a cross section of highly rated boudin from shops that provide a consistently superior experience.”

Other cookbook releases
            Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing opened Jack’s Luxury Oyster in New York, which the New York Times called “one of the most distinctive new restaurants to come along in years” and earned Allison the 2004 James Beard Rising Star award. But the couple chose their home region, moving to the New Orleans area in 2005 and opening first Longbranch days before Katrina, then MiLa in 2007. The couple has published “Southern Comfort: A New Take on the Recipes We Grew Up With,” with photographs by Ed Anderson. The couple’s bilingual — one from Louisiana and the other from Mississippi — so the book features Southern and New Orleans classics plus some innovative dishes, such as sweet potato pappardelle with rich shiitake sauce and cucumber and goat cheese “cannelloni” with marinated tomatoes. 
            Peggy Sweeney-McDonald’s husband has an expression relating to the restaurant that fills your soul, “the place you always go to, your own comfort food place.” When Peggy decided to start a show based on favorite foods in one’s life, she chose “Meanwhile, Back at Café du Monde,” referring to the beignet icon of New Orleans and a personal favorite. Her show premiered in 2010 at the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, then began touring the country. Sweeney-McDonald chronicles her adventures discussing food stories in a book with recipes titled “Meanwhile, Back at Café du Monde: Life Stories about Food.” Participants include noted chefs, food producers, actors, journalists and more with photos by Baton Rouge’s Troy Kleinpeter and an introduction by Karen Benrud, a member of the Café du Monde family.
            Peggy and local contributor Chef Jay Ducote will be appearing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at the Kitchenary at Heymann's, 456 Heymann Blvd. in the Oil Center of Lafayette.
            The Lafayette Public Library Foundation will present its second annual spelling bee for adults. Spell-a-bration, a friendly competition among teams in the vein of the national spelling bee, will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Lafayette Science Museum in downtown Lafayette. Louisiana Senator and Cajun personality Fred Mills will serve as emcee.
            All proceeds benefit the Foundation, which assists the Lafayette Public Library.
            Teams are invited to participate; call (337) 593-4770 or email spellabration@lplfoundation.com for information or to reserve a spot.
            General admission tickets to the event are $25 in advance, or $35 at the door, and include food and drinks from local restaurants and a special viewing of the museum’s bicentennial exhibit, “Louisiana: 200 Years Later,” which features The Fabrique Nationale/ Browning/Winchester Collection of historic, rare and modern firearms.

Book events
            Don’t forget, the Louisiana Book Festival will offer more than 125 authors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the State Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge. There will also be children’s activities, books for sale, food and crafts and much more. The festival is free and open to the public and takes place at the State Library of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Museum, the Louisiana State Capitol and its grounds. In addition, there will be several “WordShops” offered for writers Friday at the State Library and the Capitol Park Museum. For more information, visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org or www.facebook.com/LABookFestival.
            Coach Paul Dietzel, author of “Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football,” will speak at noon Wednesday, Oct. 24, as part of the Louisiana State Museum’s Lunchtime Lagniappe series. The event will be at the Capitol Park Museum in downtown Baton Rouge, is free and attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch.
            Cory MacLauchlin, who recently published a biography on author John Kennedy Toole titled “Butterfly in the Typewriter: The Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole and the Remarkable Story of ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’,” will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at Saint Street Inn in Lafayette. We have heard that Saint Street Inn will be serving its own version of the Lucky Dog (the famous New Orleans hot dog which features prominently in “A Confederacy of Dunces”).

Cheré Coen is the author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She teaches writing at UL-Lafayette’s Continuing Education. Write her at chere@louisianabooknews.com.