Monday, May 28, 2012

Two new titles from ULL Press

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press has produced two new books, one a coffee table tome highlighting the Main Street communities of Louisiana and the other a look at lesser-known storms that recently devastated the southwest region of our state.
            Anne Butler of St. Francisville authored “Main Streets of Louisiana,” a guidebook to the cities and towns that are part of the nationwide Main Street program, with photos by Henry Cancienne of Lockport. (The two collaborated in 2010 on “Louisiana Highway One,” another UL Press book.) Communities spotlighted in this book cover the entire state, from Abbeville to Winnsboro and everything in between, with histories of the towns, their entrance into the program and the success they have received since with the resurrection of their downtowns.
            Times-Picayune reporter Ron Thibodeaux, who has written numerous stories on Cajun Country for the New Orleans newspaper, takes on hurricanes hitting Louisiana after Katrina in “Hell or High Water: How Cajun Fortitude Withstood Hurricanes Rita and Ike.” The book not only discusses the storms that devastated the southwest corner of Louisiana twice in three years, but examines the culture of a people who reside in these flood-prone areas, their resilience to nature and their stubborn perseverance and how the storms may alter where they call home and how they make their livelihoods. It’s valuable insight of a tragedy ignored by most media and a testament to the courage of southwest Louisiana’s residents, a book that needed to be written.
            The book is illustrated with photographs by Times-Picayune photographers and the foreword was written by James Carville.
            Thibodeaux’s book hits bookstores shelves June 5.

            The UL Center for Louisiana Studies has been named this year’s recipient of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Chair Award for Institutional Support for its contributions in research, publication, preservation and outreach projects that have expanded both an academic and popular understanding of Louisiana culture and history. Since its founding in 1973, the Center’s work has included the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, as well as collaborations with entities such as the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail, the Atchafalaya Trace Commission, the Festivals Acadiens et Creole and the Festival International de Louisiane through its Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism. Among UL Press publications are the 2010 LEH Book of the Year, “Bienville’s Dilemma” by Richard Campanella and this year’s LEH award winner, “Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans,” by Freddi Williams Evans.
            “Higher Ground,” a novel by James Nolan, also published by the UL Press, has received the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Award Gold Medal in Southern Fiction (IPPY) as well as the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards winner in Regional Fiction. It was also named a 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist in the First Novel category. 
            April Grey, head of cataloging at Dupré Library on the UL-Lafayette campus, is one of two librarians being honored with the Annual Conference Professional Development Attendance Award sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) New Members Round Table. Grey will receive a ticket to the International Librarians Reception at ALA’s 2012 Annual Conference June 21-26 in Anaheim, Calif.
            Lesley Crawford Costner’s children’s book, “Goodnight Acadiana,” was chosen to represent the state of Louisiana at the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. The national event chooses a Louisiana book every year to represent the state.

Book news
            Carolyn Keith is writing a book on Charlene Richard, known as the “Little Cajun Saint,” and is looking for stories of healings or miracles through Richard’s intercessions. If you would like to share your story with Keith, write to Carolyn Keith, 1924 Charlene Hwy., Eunice, LA  70535, call (337) 684-6848 or (337) 305-0576 or email  

Book events
            Wiley Cash signs “A Land More Kind Than Home” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, at Barnes & Noble, 5707 Johnston St. in Lafayette.
            Casa Azul Gifts in Grand Coteau will host a poetry reading by Jocelyn Young and Zayne Turner from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 31, concluding with an open mic in which writers and musicians are welcome to participate. Turner is the author of “Memory of My Mouth,” a chapbook forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press and the founding executive director of Forward Arts, Inc., a youth arts non-profit based in Louisiana, which houses the WordPlay Teen Writing Project. Young holds a degree in psychology from Southern University, is a member of the Baton Rouge Poetry Alliance and competed nationally with the 2010 Baton Rouge Slam Team. 
            The Lafayette Parish Library Summer Reading Program kickoff celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, June 1, at the South Regional Library in Lafayette. Al Simmons’ one-man musical comedy show will headline a day of free performances, crafts, Zoo Zoom, a fun jump and more. In addition, the Northside High Drill Squad will perform their “Stepping” percussive dance routines comprised of spoken words, footsteps and hand claps. For more information, call (337) 981-1028. Registration for the Summer Reading Program is from now until July 21 for ages birth to 8th grade.
            The South St. Landry Community Library began its Summer Reading Program yesterday with registration and will offer programs throughout the summer until July 21. For information, visit
            James W. Miller signs “Where the Water Kept Rising” from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at the Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans. Also at the store this week is Amy Elizabeth Smith signing “All Roads Lead to Austen” at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 2.

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