Sunday, November 3, 2013

Festival of Words brings in big-name authors, features drive-by poetry and more on Saturday

            The Festival of Words, featuring literary readings by nationally recognized authors, creative writing workshops in the public schools and community centers, a community stage for open mic, drive-by poetry, and opportunities for people to interact with featured authors, will be Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 7-9, in Grand Coteau and its surrounding area. 
            Authors participating in this year’s festival include Naomi Shihab Nye, former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque, Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith, Rebecca Henry, Fabienne Kanor, Akeem Martin and more. Students from throughout Acadiana will participate in the annual “Drive-by Poetry” readings on Saturday, where poetry will be read impromptu in places such as grocery stores, boutiques and restaurants.
            The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will host several local authors at a booksigning from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at The Thensted Center, 268 Church St. in Grand Coteau.
            In addition, there will be two pre-festival events — a Drive-By Poetry reading from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Java Square, 103 Landry St. in Opelousas and a potluck with novelist Kanor and music by D’Jalma Garnier on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
            The Festival of Words was founded and organized by Patrice Melnick, who won the 2012 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Public Humanities Programming Award for her work with both the festival and ongoing literary events in Grand Coteau. She is the author of “Po-boy Contraband: From Diagnosis Back to Life” and coauthor of “Grand Coteau” with John Slaughter.
            For more information, visit

New releases
            LSU Press has republished “The Forgotten People,” an examination of the Creoles of color in the Cane River region outside of Natchitoches, a community founded by a family of freed slaves. First published in 1977, “The Forgotten People” offers a socioeconomic history of this community — a minority group that fit no stereotypes, refused outside labels and still struggles to explain its identity to a world that does not understand Creolism. “The Forgotten People” corrects misassumptions about the origin of key properties in the Cane River National Heritage Area and demonstrates how historians reconstruct the lives of the enslaved, the impoverished and the disenfranchised, according to the book’s press release.
            Richard Jacks of Hammond has published a “Collection of Poetry” through RoseDog Books. For more information, visit
            LSU naturalist and avid traveler Vladimir Dinets of Baton Rouge takes on swamp creatures in “Love and Adventure among Crocodiles, Alligators, and Other Dinosaur Relations.” A zoologist interested in animal behavior, he obtained his doctorate from the University of Miami, studying the languages of crocodiles, alligators and their relatives. He works at LSU on whooping crane reintroduction and is also a nature photographer.
            Josephine Templeton of Baton Rouge has just released an urban fantasy with romantic elements titled “Scorned,” both in print and as an ebook. For more information, visit or
            New in paperback is J. Mark Souther’s “New Orleans on Parade,” published by LSU Press and winner of the Gulf South Historical Association Book Award and the F. Kemper and Leila Williams Prize for Louisiana History.

Center Open House
            The UL-Lafayette Center for Louisiana Studies celebrates its 40th anniversary with an open house and symposium on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the Edith Garland Dupré Library on the UL campus. The open house will be from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., followed by the symposium from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 314. Topics includes “The History of the Center and the Magnificent Collection” with Barry Ancelet, Mathé Allain, Vaughan Baker and David Barry; “The UL Press and the Contemporary State of the Book” with Susan Larson; “The Current State and Future of the Center for Louisiana Studies” with Michael S. Martin, Jennifer Ritter Guidry, John Sharp and James Wilson; and “The Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore” roundtable with Kristi Guillory, David Greely, Steve Riley, Ann Savoy and Jane Vidrine. Parking is available on campus at the Girard Park pay parking lot (which does not accept cash). The events are co-sponsored by the UL Lafayette College of Liberal Arts and Department of History. For more information about this event and the Center for Louisiana Studies, call 482-6027.

Book news
            The Cajun and Creole Music Collection, a part of Edith Garland Dupré Library’s Special Collections, is the subject of a recently published book chapter titled “Developing Regional Heritage Music Collections” in the anthology “Bringing the Arts into the Library.” The chapter is co-authored by Sandra Himel and Lance Chance in the book published by the American Library Association. It features collaborative projects and partnerships between libraries and arts and cultural communities in the United States and Canada. For information about The Cajun and Creole Music Collection visit
Book events
            Dr. Charles Allen will discuss edible plants at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Wild Birds Unlimited, 137 Arnould Blvd. in Lafayette. Allen is the coauthor of the recently published “Wildflowers of Louisiana,” plus “Trees Shrubs and Woody Vines of Louisiana” and “Grasses of Louisiana.”
            The Friends of the Dupre Library will host its annual book sale Thursday through Saturday on the first floor of the Dupre Library on the UL campus. The book sale will be 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7-8, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9. Friends of the Library members and UL faculty and staff are invited to a preview from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6. For more information, call 482-6677.
            Eunice News writer Todd C. Elliott will speak about his book, “A Rose By Many Other Names: Rose Cherami & the JFK Assassination” at noon Friday, Nov, 8, at the LSU-Eunice LeDoux Library in Eunice. This is the first book to be published on the subject of Rose Cherami, her arrest in Eunice, in 1963, 48 hours before the shooting of Pres. Kennedy in Dallas and her knowledge involving the plan to assassinate the president.
            Author and designer Phillip Collier will be holding a New Orleans release party for his new book, “Making New Orleans Products Past and Present,” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The event will feature a panel discussion focused on the people and products that make New Orleans unique along with a book signing.

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