Sunday, October 13, 2013

Wendy Rodrigue explains 'Other Side of the Painting' in new memoir

            There are days when I would sell my soul for a few more hours, just enough to crawl into a comfy chair and relish the crisp fall weather and a good book.
            So it was this week enjoying Wendy Rodrigue’s “The Other Side of the Painting,” a collection of essays that make up both her personal history and that of her New Iberia husband, artist George Rodrigue.
            The compilation resulted from her popular blog, “Musings of An Artist’s Wife,” which began in 2009. The UL-Lafayette published book tells the story of George Rodrigue from the eye of an artist lover, showcasing George’s early foray into art, finding his style beneath oak trees and with a Blue Dog and their lives together. Each essay offers a peek behind the scenes, where a local man we can surprisingly relate to well produces world-renowned art.
            The writing is crisp and entertaining yet informal and fun, accented by Wendy Rodrigue’s undeniable passion for the arts.
            I found personal favorites among the essays, but then I kept reading and discovered more. And more. It’s a book you can imagine enjoying at leisure, but then difficult to put down.
            Oh for a few more hours in a day.
Lafayette Library happenings
            C.R. “Rusty” Cloutier, president and CEO of MidSouth Bank and author of “Big Bad Banks,” will be the special guest of the Friends of the Lafayette Public Library’s annual Author Dinner. The social aspect of the event begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, with a dinner buffet following at 7 p.m. at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette. Admission is $25 per person and the reservation deadline is noon Tuesday; call (337) 984-8661.
            Need some accessories for the upcoming Steampunk and Makers Fair, hosted by the Lafayette Science Museum & Cité des Arts on Nov. 9? There will be a Steampunk Jewelry and Thingamajigs workshop from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the South Regional Library in Lafayette and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the North Regional Library.

New releases
            Jonathan Fowler and Earle Lockerby have published an account of a man embarking from Boston in 1755 to capture the French Fort Beauséjour at Chignecto, located on the present-day border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. “Jeremiah Bancroft at Fort Beausejour & Grand-Pre (Diaries of the Acadian Deportations)” offers an eyewitness account of the deportation of the Acadians in the Grand-Pré area. Edited, introduced and annotated by Fowler and Lockerby, and supported with maps and illustrations, this publication marks the first appearance of Bancroft’s diary in book form. It also launches “Diaries of the Acadian Deportations,” a new series of history books aimed at attentive readers of Canadian history.

Book events
            Margaret Gibson Simon and her father, John Gibson, have collaborated on a book of art and poetry titled “Illuminate.” They will be signing the book from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at A&E Gallery in New Iberia.
            Judyth Vary Baker, author of “Me and Lee: How I Came To Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald,” and Louisiana reporter and author Todd Elliott, author of “A Rose by Many Other Names,” will be the featured speakers at a Saturday symposium at Loyola University’s Miller Hall in New Orleans. Baker will speak from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 19. The symposium will feature other JFK researchers and authors. The event is open to the public, but registration is required. A $20 admission includes Baker’s book or another title about the JFK assassination. To reserve a space, visit or call (800) 556-2012.
            Louisiana Cultural Vistas columnist and Tulane University professor Richard Campanella presents “Arrivals,” a three-part series examining previous population influxes in New Orleans. The series kicks off at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Louisiana Humanities Center in New Orleans. The first panel, “Colonial Louisiana and the Louisiana Purchase,” features Dr. Raphael Cassimere Jr. of the University of New Orleans, Dr. Emily Clark of Tulane University and Dr. Larry Powell, most recently the author of the LEH 2013 Book of the Year “The Accidental City.” LCV Executive Editor David Johnson moderates. The series is free and open to the public.

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