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.