Sunday, September 1, 2013

Roar with the Tigers: Two new books out just in time for LSU football

            The LSU football season roared into action yesterday and two new books join in the revelry.
            LSU Press updated the definitive guide to Mike the Tiger, LSU’s beloved mascot, in “Mike the Tiger: The Roar of LSU” by David G. Baker and W. Sheldon Bivin. The new edition naturally includes Mike VI, who joined the long parade of live tiger mascots on campus in 2007, and Mike VI’s handsome new digs. The second edition also contains 70 new photos, for a total of 200 images, some are which are quite fascinating. Additionally, the authors provide a “More about Mike” section, in which they field the most commonly asked questions about Mike’s care and lifestyle.
            For instance, the book explains how LSU became the Tigers (Louisiana military history), how the students balked at attending school the day Mike I arrived, the time the tiger got loose on campus, Bear Byrant’s reaction to Mike III’s roar on the field and much more.
            This was one of those books I thought I would read and enjoy but mostly skip around, but I found myself reading it from cover to cover. And I have a whole new appreciation for my alma mater’s mascot.
            Baker is the Paula and Milton W. Shepard Professor of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine in the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. He also serves as Institutional Attending Veterinarian for LSU and has been the primary veterinarian for Mike the Tiger since 1996.
            Bivin was director of the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine in the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and primary veterinarian for Mike the Tiger from 1976 to 1996.
            Sam King spent years reporting for two Baton Rouge newspapers, the States-Times and The Advocate. Out of those 50 years as a newspaperman, he spent 35 covering LSU, mostly LSU football and basketball.
            Acadiana House Publishing of Lafayette has published a memoir of those years in “Tiger Beat: Covering LSU Sports for 35 Years.” The hardcover book follows the coaches and players and many of the big games of the past half century, including Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon; the flamboyant “Chinese Bandits” of the 1950s and ’60s; the magical “Pistol Pete” Maravich; the lightning-quick Chris Jackson and the gentle giant, Shaquille O’Neal. It contains some previously untold stories and behind-the-scenes material that only working journalists were privy to until now, according to the publisher.
            Tiger Beat includes 32 pages of photographs of football and basketball coaches, players and action shots, both historic and contemporary and answers a number of compelling questions that Tigers fans have asked at one time or another.
            Both books are available at bookstores and online. “Mike the Tiger” is also available at and “Tiger Beat” at

Spirited releases
            I’m thrilled to announce that my latest book has just been published by The History Press, a collection of Acadiana ghost stories titled “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana.” Most of the stories I’ve included in the book are sites open to the public because I wanted to readers to not only enjoy a good ghost story, but also be able to experience the paranormal. In addition to haunted houses and buildings are spirited roads, cemeteries and restaurants and interviews with mediums, traiteurs and ghost hunters, plus legends and myths found only in South Louisiana. I’ll be signing books between now and Halloween, but you can look for me and other local authors at the Sept. 14 PlantFest at the Horse Farm where the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will have a table. Events can be found on my web site at
            With the hope of contacting his mother on the other side, author Stanley Jolet of Schriever embarked on a paranormal journey that found him contacting the deceased in Louisiana, Las Vegas, Europe and the Caribbean. “Paranormal Investigations: The Cajun Ghost Hunter Chronicles,” published by Trafford Publishing, is a collection of stories about his trip across the globe to investigate paranormal activity and what happened once contact had been made.

Literary honors
            Congrats to the 2013 Lafayette National Poetry Slam Team who finished second in the nation for the title of “Poetry Slam Team Of The Year” at the 2013 National Poetry Awards. The Dallas Poetry Slam Team took the top honors.

Louisiana Book Fest
            The Louisiana Book Festival will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, in Baton Rouge but there will be special “WordShops” the day before for aspiring writers. New this year is a workshop for teen writers (grades 9-12) led by Manuel Gonzales, director of Austin’s Bat Cave, a nonprofit writing organization for children and teens. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, Nov. 1, and focus on crafting genre stories out of moments — large and small — from everyday life. The cost is a nominal $25.
            Gonzales is the author of “The Miniature Wife and Other Stories” and appeared at last year’s Tennessee Williams Festival. He will also be speaking at the festival on a panel of short story writers.
            For information on this workshop and others, or the Louisiana Book Festival, visit

Book events
            At 7 p.m. Thursday, the Thensted Center, 268 Church St. in Grand Coteau, hosts an evening of poetry with J. Bruce Fuller with music by Paul Gonsoulin of Lake Charles. Fuller is a Louisiana native and his chapbooks include “Notes to a Husband” (Imaginary Friend Press 2013), “Lancelot” (Lazy Mouse Press 2013) and “28 Blackbirds at the End of the World” (Bandersnatch Books 2010). He is the co-editor of “Vision/Verse 2009-2013: An Anthology of Poetry” (Yellow Flag Press 2013) and his poems have appeared at Crab Orchard Review, Harpur Palate, Pembroke Magazine, Yankee Pot Roast, The Louisiana Review, burntdistrict, The Lilliput Review and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, among others. An open mic follows. The reading is sponsored by The Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective in partnership with the Thensted Center. Guests are invited to bring food and drink to share. For information, call (337) 254-9695 or email 
            Margaret Haddix and Lisa McMann will read from and sign their new middle grade books, “Risked” and “Island of Fire,” at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books in New Orleans.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “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