Monday, October 8, 2012

Louisiana Book Festival offers 125 authors and panelists Oct. 27 in Baton Rouge

    Make plans! The Louisiana Book Festival returns to the Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. There will be more than 125 authors and panelists who will present and discuss their latest works, 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.
      If you’re interested in volunteering for the festival — whether it is escorting the festival’s authors, serving as room monitors in the Capitol during panel discussions or working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion — visit
     Leading up to the festival, profiles of many of the participating authors will be posted on the Louisiana Book Festival website and Facebook page, or

Beast on the Bayou
    Gerald N. Caskey of Farmerville recently retired from the U.S. Army and working as a family counselor with Child Protective Services. He has just published “The Bullfrog, Bigfoot, and the Beast on the Bayou: Life and Legends in the Bayou.”
    “The book could well have been titled ‘Growing Up in Bayou Country’ with a little fiction/fantasy thrown in for good measure,” he wrote me by email. “Louisiana legends continue to flow freely through the veins of true Louisianans.”
    Caskey will be speaking and signing copies of his books from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Union Parish Library, 202 W. Jackson St. in Farmerville. 
    Also in the future is a piece of historical fiction.
    “My wife Debbie and I are currently putting the finishing touches on a joint writing venture, ‘Turkish Delight,’” Caskey wrote. “Having lived in Izmir, Turkey, for two years while working with NATO we are extremely excited about this ambitious venture.”

New releases
    Michael Moore has published a tale of love, betrayal and redemption set in Florida at the turn of the century in “Man in the Blue Moon.” Pat Conroy calls it “... a beautifully wrought portrayal of small-town Southern life where poverty, tragedy, and human love engage in a ritualist dance.”
    Blake Fontenay, a Memphis Commercial Appeal writer and columnist has penned his debut novel, “The Politics of Barbecue,” where greed and corruption are on the plate of a Beale Street restaurant owner and mayor of Memphis.
    Loice Kendrick-Lacy, a certified master gardener in both Louisiana and Arkansas, has published “Gardening to Attract Butterflies: The Beauty and the Beast.” Kendrick-Lacy is director of the Haynesville Celebration of Butterflies and a member of the Arkansas Audubon Society, Louisiana Ornithological  Society, Louisiana Native Plant Society and Cajun Prairie Habitat Preservation Society.
Southern Fest
    The 24th Southern Festival of Books happens Oct. 12-14 in Nashville. The roster includes a few authors from Louisiana, including Christa Allen of Abita Springs (“Love Finds You in New Orleans”), Alex Beard of New Orleans (“Crocodile Tears”), Alex Cook (“Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky Tonks and Dance Halls”), David Madden and Moira Crone of Baton Rouge, Larry Hewitt who teaches at Southeastern (“Port Hudson: Confederate Bastion on the Mississippi”), Lawrence Powell, director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University (“The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans”), Ben Sandmel of New Orleans (“Ernie K-Do) and John Corey Whaley (“When Things Come Back”).
    The full festival lineup and more information about each author can be found online at

Book events
    Allison Vine-Rushing and Slade Rushing sign “Southern Comfort: A New Take on the Recipes We Grew Up With” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.
    Joe Reese will be offering a reading and signing of his book “And the Flowers Began to Dance” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at The East Bank Regional Library in Metairie.
    Teen Movie Night is 6 p.m. Wednesday at North Regional Branch Library; call North Regional Library at 896-6323 for movie titles.
    Randy Harelson, author of “New Roads and Old Rivers: Louisiana's Historic Pointe Coupee Parish,” will speak at noon Wednesday, Oct. 10, 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.
    Yarn painting for tweens begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at South Regional Branch Library in Lafayette; to preregister, call (337) 981- 1028.
    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), in partnership with the State Bicentennial Commission and the University Press of Mississippi, announces the publication of “A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial History of Art in Louisiana” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Paul & Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. LEH Director Michael Sartisky and other local scholars and artists will speak and the publication will be offered for sale. Admission is free. For information, visit
    The Razzmatazz Bilingual Show begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in the Story Time Room at the South Regional Library. The show includes French music and culture for French immersion students and francophones alike.

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