Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pelican offers several new children's books

             Pelican Publishing of New Orleans has published several new children’s books and two fun cookbooks this month.
            My favorite of the under-age batch is “Some Birds…” by New Orleans photographer Sylvaine Sancton, who captured a variety of birds in the city’s Audubon Park and City Park and along the Mississippi River. The small paperback simply introduces children to birds and shows them in their natural habitat doing what birds do — or sometimes imagining what they might do, such as those looking mad or trying to read signs. It’s a delightful book that’s sure to become a favorite among young readers.
            New Orleans author Dianne de Las Casas and Baton Rouge illustrator Holly Stone-Barker play on the “House that Jack Built” with a holiday version titled “The House that Santa Built.” The story’s meant for audience participation, and with Barker’s delightful cut-paper collage illustrations makes for a perfect holiday storytime book.
            New Orleans father and daughter team, Rob and Edie Carol Owen, have written and illustrated “Spy Boy, Cheyenne, and Ninety-Six Crayons: A ‘Mardi Gras’ Indian’s Story.” An eight-year-old “Spy Boy” tells the story of his Mardi Gras Indian tribe and his father, Big Chief. The elaborate costumes are sewn with every color in his coloring box. It’s Spy Boy’s job to lead his tribe through the city streets on Mardi Gras but he gets lost. His spirit guide, Cheyenne, and his box of crayons help him return back to his family.
            Robbie doesn’t like to read and he’s not shy about saying as much in Denise Walter McConduit’s “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read,” illustrated by David Harrington. When a sorcerer visits and takes away his reading chores, at first Robbie is thrilled. He soon learns, however, that the lack of words creates a directionless place, one that’s frighteningly empty. Since even his cans of food were once labeled, the young boy can’t eat. Robbie comes to appreciate reading. McConduit is a native of New Orleans and author of “D.J. and the Zulu Parade,” “D.J. and the Jazz Fest” and “D.J. and the Debutante Ball.”

Gaines visit
            Ernest J. Gaines, UL writer in residence emeritus and recipient of the 2012 National Medal of Arts, will give his second public reading at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the university’s Ernest J. Gaines Center on the third floor of Dupré Library on the UL campus.
            Gaines is the author of nine books of fiction, including the classics “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” “A Gathering of Old Men and A Lesson before Dying.” He served as a member of the UL Lafayette faculty for twenty-one years before he retired in December 2004. His latest book, “Mozart and Leadbelly: Stories and Essays by Ernest J. Gaines,” was published in 2005.
             A discussion will follow the reading, and Gaines will sign copies of his books. “This Louisiana Thing that Drives Me: The Legacy of Ernest J. Gaines” will be available for purchase.
            The event is free and open to the public. For more information, email Derek Mosley at or call the Gaines Center at (337) 482-1848.

Holledge visit
            British journalist and author Richard Holledge will be speaking on his book, “The Scattered,” concerning the Acadian dispersal from the Maritime Provinces of Canada beginning in 1755 with a focus of one group of refugees who made their way to Louisiana by way of Britain. The free event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the South Regional Branch Library, sponsored by the UL Center for Louisiana Studies and the Acadian Muse. “The Scattered” is available for purchase through The author will sign copies of the book after the talk.

Banned Books Week
            Today begins Banned Books Week, an event to call attention to the censorship of books in America. Books that have been challenged or banned include “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Awakening” by Louisiana’s Kate Chopin, among so many more.
            Dupré Library on the UL campus will host its Second Annual Read Out at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Library Deck (under the oak tree behind the library) on campus.
            Need something to read? Check out this list of banned and challenged classics for ideas:
            If you’re near Orange, Texas, the Stark Museum of Art will celebrate Banned Book Week with its BANNED: Night at the Museum from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. The adults-only event will include live music, opportunities to create and experience art and professional artist and bookbinder Tony Vela will demonstrate the paper marbling process and engage visitors in collaborative art-making. Inside the Museum, visitors will have the opportunity to see the special exhibition “Tales and Travels” that reveals artists and authors behind the images, featured first-edition books and written travel accounts.  
            Admission is $10 per person. For more information, call (409) 886-ARTS (2787) or visit

In Baton Rouge
            “The Louisiana Photographs of Robert Tebbs,” an exhibition of images of Louisiana plantations from 1926 by architectural photographer Tebbs, opens at the Capitol Park Museum at 6 p.m. Friday with a reception hosted by the Louisiana State Museum Friends. The event is free and open to the public and includes a book signing by Louisiana State Museum visual arts curator Tony Lewis, author of “Robert W. Tebbs, Photographer to Architects: Louisiana Plantations in 1926” (LSU Press, 2011).
            “The Louisiana Photographs of Robert Tebbs” exhibit features 60 gelatin silver prints documenting plantation architectural styles from the 18th and 19th centuries and will be exhibited until June 2014. The Capitol Park Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information, visit

Book events
            The Lafayette Poetry Community Showcase open mic will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Acadiana Open Channel Community Media Multi-Purpose Room, 101 Jefferson St., Suite 100, in downtown Lafayette. For information, visit

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, 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

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cookbook Thursday: Relive 'Tremé' with new cookbook by Elie of New Orleans

            HBO captured the true essence of New Orleans and life after “da storm” with its hit series “Tremé.” The show was created by David Simon of “The Wire” fame and stars Wendell Pierce, Melissa Leo, Khandi Alexander and Janette Desautel, among many others, including several actors hailing from the Crescent City (my husband had a small part in seven three!).
            “Tremé” finished its third season last year and there’s been a long, silent lapse. I’d begun to wonder if the rumors about more filming in New Orleans actually happened. I heard this week that the final five episodes, season four, will air in December. You can learn more at
            But you don’t have to wait that long. Lolis Eric Elie of New Orleans and story editor-staff writer for the show — in addition to other books and impressive food writing — has penned a gorgeous new cookbook titled “Tremé: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans.” The cookbook offers delectable recipes to create at home along with photos and character descriptions from the series. Many of the actors offer their perspectives on the New Orleans culinary scene and Elie explains the city’s unique offerings, from poboys to the conflicting origin of gumbo. Most of all, the book’s a culinary love poem to the city.
            Anthony Bourdain, who also wrote for “Tremé,” writes the foreword and there’s a preface by Simon. Recipe photographs were snapped by Ed Anderson but many of the book’s recipes were penned by a variety of the city’s best, such as Dooky Chase’s gumbo z’herbes, a Thanksgiving dinner by Commander’s Palace and Brigtsen’s banana bread pudding.

Pasta with Shrimp, Garlic, and Parsley
From “Tremé: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans.”
1/2 pound dried angel hair pasta or linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons dry white wine
            Directions: Bring a pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir once or twice, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes for angel hair or according to package directions. Drain the pasta and set aside.
            In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
            Add the shrimp, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes and sauté until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pasta, parsley, and wine and sauté for 1 more minute to allow the flavors to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve at once.

            Makes 2 servings.

Cheré Coen is a Lafayette freelance travel and food writer. She is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana,” both from The History Press. Write her at

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Orleans' Burst examines the city's sacred halls

            I had the pleasure of joining Covington author Deborah Burst for a tea at the luxurious Houma House Plantation to celebrate the launch of her “Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans: Historic Churches, Cathedrals and Sanctuaries,” published by The History Press.
            Anne Rice pens the foreword, and the book includes chapters on the city’s most famous and impressive churches, such as the St. Louis Cathedral of Jackson Square, the fascinating and once extremely popular St. Alphonsus, the Blessed Sacrament — St. Joan of Arc Church and the elegant Christ Episcopal Church Chapel on the North Shore, to name a few.
            The book is by no means comprehensive; I would think an encyclopedia would be required to handle all of the city’s churches. In her book, accented by lovely photos, Burst spotlights only several of the city’s churches while providing detailed information on architecture, history, artistry, people and the influence of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In addition, Burst concludes with a chapter on churches now used as other venues, such as the Redemption Restaurant, which many New Orleans residents will remember as Christian’s Restaurant, and the Marigny Opera House. An interesting chapter deals with architect Philip Cazalé, who built a network of 30 Romanesque Catholic churches and schools across Southern Louisiana.
            Let’s hope that this her debut book whets Burst’s appetite and more books on the city’s fascinating churches will follow.
            On a footnote, Houmas House offers an oversized gift shop with an extensive bookstore and art gallery in the back. The bookstore specializes in Louisiana books with a wide variety of titles, including cookbooks, children’s books, coffee table books and lots of history titles, as one might imagine. It’s one of the finest collections of Louisiana books I’ve seen in the state.

New releases
            Freelance journalist Todd Elliott of Lake Charles has written a book on Pres. Kennedy’s assassination based on stories he wrote for The Eunice News and Lagniappe Magazine. “A Rose By Many Other Names: Rose Cherami and The JFK Assassination” hits bookstore shelves this week, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the assassination. Melba Marcades, aka Rose Cherami, was arrested in Eunice 48 hours before the assassination, claiming the men she was traveling with were on their way to kill Kennedy that Friday in Dallas. Discounting clairvoyance, the book investigates the possibility that Cherami had inside information even though she was not a credible witness; Cherami was a prostitute, a one-time performer in Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club, an admitted drug trafficker, a drug addict and a car thief. The author also discusses omissions in her FBI files, questionable admissions regarding her criminal history and her death. 
            Last week I wrote that LSU forensic anthropologist Mary H. Manhein’s latest book, “Bones Remains: Cold Cases in Forensic Anthropology, was now on bookstore shelves. A review copy arrived shortly afterwards and I was able to sample the 20 cases from her files, a riveting collection of forensic stories. Not only will readers be amazed at the beauty of forensics used to solve both cold and recent cases, but the weird coincidences that brought the right people into Manhein’s life at just the right time to bring closure to victims’ families. Turn off the “CSI” and grab a copy of Manhein’s latest. Learn what real forensics is about and how Louisiana is at the forefront.
Hummingbird Day
            Every spring and fall migrating hummingbirds travel through South Louisiana on their long trek to Mexico. They stop and feed up on their way south, which is why Wild Birds Unlimited hosts a Hummingbird Day every fall. This year’s event is Saturday and begins with a banding demonstration from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. by Dave Patton at the home of Jack and Rose Must, 105 Hal Drive in Lafayette. At the store from 9:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nancy Newfield autographs her book, “Enjoying Hummingbirds More” and I will be autographing and talking about my newly released “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana.” Bob Adams and Barbara Kincannon will display their latest photography and Bruce Coen (yes, he’s related) will be offering a hummingbird storytime at 2 p.m.
            For more information, call 993-2473.

How to self-publish
            Farrah Rochon is a hybrid author, publishing traditionally with Harlequin Kimani Romance while self-publishing her own stories. She will discuss self-publishing Saturday, offering a crash course on publishing in the digital age from story conception to marketing your own eBook, at the Southern Louisiana chapter of the Romance Writers of America in New Orleans. 
            Rochon’s second installment of her New York Sabers football series, “I’ll Catch You,” was a 2012 RITA Award finalist and the first book in her Bayou Dreams series, “A Forever Kind of Love,” was a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice nominee. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Jefferson Parish Main Library, 4747 West Napoleon Ave. in Metairie. For more information, visit

Book events
            There will be a Multilingual Open Mic beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Thensted Center, 268 Church Street in Grand Coteau. Everyone is invited to participate in the language of their choice.
            I will be offering a workshop on creating intention bags from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Earth-n-Herbs in Grand Coteau. I will show participants have to make their own intention bag or sachet using specific herbs for specific intentions, such as good fortune, love and prosperity. Workshop materials will be provided but participants are encouraged to bring their own special ingredients such as stones and tokens. To register, call (337) 662-4022.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana,” both from The History Press, 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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cookbook Thursday: Luane Kohnke bakes up the unusual in 'Sassy Cookies'

            Luane Kohnke loves to bake — and her creations push the envelope, incorporating ingredients in unusual ways. She’s assembled a collection of these odd culinary collaborations in “Sassy Cookies: Sweet, Spicy, and Savory Treats with Swagger,” published by Pelican Publishing of New Orleans.
            There’s white chocolate and pink peppercorn cookies, for instance, Parmesan cheese coins with mascarpone filling, Swiss cheese and mustard puffs and lavender-ginger clouds. These are not your grandmother’s cookies, and how fun is that? I can’t wait to try out the gingerbread and pumpkin brownies for Halloween.
            Here’s a pretty safe recipe from the book, but one that highlights fresh fruit so you won’t feel guilty making them.

Apricot-Cherry Shortbread
From “Sassy Cookies: Sweet, Spicy, and Savory Treats with Swagger”
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried dried cherries
3 tablespoons coarse sanding sugar or raw sugar, such as demerara, for sprinking (optional)           
            Directions: In a medium bowl, sift together flour and sea salt. Whisk in sugar.
            With a pastry cutter, cut in butter until it resembles flakes. With a fork, stir in extracts and disperse throughout dough. Stir in dried fruit. Knead dough with hands, until gathered together and pliable.
            Roll into a 1 1/2-inch by 9-inch log. Wrap log in wax paper or plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
            Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper.
            Slice log into 1/4-inch-thick slices, places on prepared sheets 2 inches apart, and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until pale golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies, still on parchment, to wire racks to cool completely.
            Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 5 days.

Cheré Coen is a Lafayette freelance travel and food writer. She is coauthor of “Cooking in Cajun Country” with Karl Breaux and author of “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana” and “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana,” both from The History Press.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

At the Lafayette library this week

            The Fall Book Sale by the Friends of the Lafayette Public Library will be Wednesday through Saturday (Sept. 11-14) at the Heymann Performing Arts Center, 1373 S. College Road. The sale opens with a members-only preview sale (membership is a mere $5 and you can join at the door) on Wednesday, followed by a three-day public sale.
            Books are sold by the inch: $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents per inch for paperback. The sale also includes vinyl, audiobooks and DVDs for varying prices.  
            To date, the Friends of the Library have donated approximately $587,180 to the library.
            “One of our main projects each year is the Summer Reading Program and we have recently donated $12,750 for the purchase of children’s books for both the new main branch and for East Regional, which is in the works,” said Friends board member Flossie Turner.  
            Book donations are still being accepted at the warehouse at 211 Pinhook Road.
            To become a Friends member, find out drop-off hours and learn more about the fall sale, visit

Other happenings…
            Certified yoga instructors will introduce a slow flow, yin style of hatha yoga in a series of free Monday evening classes at the South and North Regional libraries. Bring a yoga mat and wear comfortable clothes. Registration is required, call the library or register online.
Community Legal Education Series
            Local attorney Greg Landry and senior paralegal Priscilla Charles, with non-profit law firm Acadiana Legal Service Corporation, will speak (and answer questions) on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Benefits at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, at South Regional Library. For information, call 981-1028.
            Dr. Renate Dohmen, UL assistant professor in art history, will offer a presentation highlighting the cultural and aesthetic influences between Islamic and European cultures over the centuries. The film series and lecture are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Library Association and George Mason University’s Ali Vural AK Center for Global Islamic Studies.

            The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys Film Series and Lecture
Film Series schedule at South Regional Library is as follows:            
            “Prince Among Slaves” (2007), 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10.
 An African slave relies on his Muslim faith to help him survive.
            “Koran by Heart” (2011), 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17.
 A coming of age story about Muslim kids in modern times.
            “Islamic Art Spots” (2013), 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24. A series of short films showcasing art from Muslim societies.

            “Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World” (2011), 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1 and “Mirror of the Invisible World” (2011), 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 2, followed by the lecture on “Tales of Allure and Influence: Islamic Art and the Art of Western Europe,” 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New titles by LSU Press

            LSU Press has several new books out this week.
            For more than three decades LSU forensic anthropologist Mary H. Manhein has helped authorities to identify hundreds of deceased persons throughout Louisiana and beyond. In “Bone Remains: Cold Cases in Forensic Anthropology,” she offers details of 15 cases from her files, explaining how each case came to her team and how they unraveled the mystery to the person’s identity. In many cases, the individuals only had bones as evidence and the team used facial reconstructions and a special database for missing and unidentified people.
            Melissa Kean, centennial historian at Rice University, examines how leaders at five Southern private universities — Duke, Emory, Tulane, Rice and Vanderbilt — resisted integration during the civil rights era in “Desegregating Private Higher Education in the South.” Before they all bowed to the “national crisis of conscience,” she writes, internal arguments “touched on everything from global politics to personal antipathies and friendships, and revealed the same serious divide within the power structure of every university.” When the universities finally relented, Kean explains, they never admitted to being pressured by outside forces.           
            Former Times-Picayune book editor Susan Larson wrote “The Booklover’s Guide to New Orleans” in 1999, offering a literary history of the city as well as a guide to bookstores, festivals, relevant addresses and “A New Orleans Reading List.” LSU Press has updated and reissued the guide this month in a handy size that’s easy to carry along for a visit. It’s a fabulous resource for Crescent City authors, but not a comprehensive one; many popular fiction authors are not included.

New releases
            Laura Joh Rowland of New Orleans continues her Sano Ichiro Mysteries with “The Shogun’s Daughter,” due out this month. For more information on the series and the author, visit
            Julien Vernet, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, looks at the protests by merchants and planters within the Orleans Territory following the Louisiana Purchase in “Strangers on Their Native Soil: Opposition to United States’ Governance in Louisiana’s Orleans Territory, 1803-1809,” published by the University of Mississippi Press. The government and 13-man legislative council within the Orleans Territory following the American purchase was appointed by Pres. Thomas Jefferson, which caused an uproar by New Orleans citizens. Their actions and the discussion over slavery played a significant role in influencing American territorial expansion, Vernet asserts.
            Camilla Hunt Cole has published a Southern Gothic psychological mystery concerning 17-year-old Chloe Bernard who is trapped with her four colorful aunts in her family’s sinister antebellum home by horrors her forefathers committed there more than 100 years before. She will sign copies of “Long Shadows” at 5 p.m. Friday at Johnston Street Java in Lafayette.

Book events
            The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will host a table at PlantFest with several local authors in attendance from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Lafayette Horse Farm. Authors include Christee Atwood, Sudie Landry, Nancy Rust, Sue Schleifer, Rosemary Smith, Carol Stubbs and yours truly. There will also be WGA cookbooks for sale.
            Former Louisiana poet laureate Darrell Bourque will read from his latest book, “Megan’s Guitar,” at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Kaplan Museum in Kaplan.
            Deborah Burst will sign copies of “Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans: Historic Churches, Cathedrals and Sanctuaries” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at The Catholic Book Store in New Orleans.
            Author Camilla Hunt Cole will sign her book “Long Shadows” at 5 p.m. Friday at Johnston Street Java, 3123 Johnston St.  
            Sherry T. Broussard will sign “Louisiana’s Zydeco” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Jefferson Street Branch Library as part of the Second Saturday ArtWalk. The book includes rare photos and interviews with zydeco musicians and their families.

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

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