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

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
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

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
            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
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

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

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

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

    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
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

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

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, 
            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

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 or visit the Louisiana Book News Facebook page.