When you’re from the South, your life’s sometimes measured out in sporting events. For me, I can still feel that chilly night air running down Carrollton Avenue when Les Miles took LSU to a national championship, yelling for all the world to hear although the town was still struggling to return post-Katrina. My mother loved telling the story of how her cousin “fainted dead away” when her son, Claude “Monk” Simons, ran the whole field for a touchdown at an LSU-Tulane game. And then there was that amazing last-second field goal to cinch the New Orleans Bowl for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Dennis Paul Williams is a multi-faceted artist living in St. Martinville, playing zydeco guitar with his brother’s band, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, creating his own music and serving on the St. Martinville City Council. Williams also produces dreamy, faith-based art that’s inspiring and emotionally powerful.
UL-Lafayette Press has produced a beautiful coffee table book honoring Williams and his ethereal work titled “Soul Exchange: The Paintings of Dennis Paul Williams.” The book is part of the Press’ Louisiana Artists Series edited by Philip Gould, who writes the foreword essays along with Darrell Bourque.
Photographer William Greiner presented writers with a trio of photographs and asked them to write a story based on those photos. The result is “Show and Tell,” 28 photographs centered around stories penned by a variety of authors. The idea came from a photograph of Greiner’s of a woman’s hand, a young girl and a rag doll resting upon an open book showing a woman’s torso. Greiner saw life cycles of a woman while a friend saw something completely different, which “made me realize that we all bring our own knowledge, experiences, and references to all we view in the world.”
You can view, purchase and have authors sign these books — among many others — from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the annual UL Press holiday book sale at the UL Alumni Center, 600 E. St. Mary Blvd. In addition, Zachary Richard will perform (as well as sign his new book “The History of the Acadians of Louisiana”), new and best-selling titles are 20 percent off and there will be free tote bags and pen with purchases and refreshments for all.
On Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Acadiana Author Symposium at Barnes and Noble Lafayette, Richard, Williams and Mule will be signing their books here as well.
The Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans launches its latest book, “Days and Nights in the Dreamy City: Locals Share Their Favorite Places,” by Mary Fitzpatrick and Virginia McCollam, on Saturday. The book featuring more than 100 great places in New Orleans was compiled from a daily blog titled www.neworleansfavorites.com, where locals shared their favorite spots and photographs. Readers will discover these local favorites, including everything from favorite cafés to religious grottoes and an all-night coffee shop you can kayak up to. Celebrities include actors Wendell Pierce, Bryan Batt and John Goodman and crime novelist George Pelecanos. The book is the third and final book in the PRC trilogy, following 2006’s “Life in an Epic City” and 2007’s “New Orleans’ Favorite Shotguns,” and all proceeds benefit PRC. The book is available online at www.prcno.org.
Former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque will teach a poetry writing workshop Tuesday at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. The hands-on poetry session is geared toward both beginners and more experienced writers. Enrollment is limited; register at festivalofwords.org. Bourque serves on the Ernest J. Gaines Center Board of Directors where he directs the Gaines Center Young Writers Apprentice Program and is a board member of Festival of Words. He is the author of seven books of poetry, the latest “Megan's Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie,” published by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press.
Acadiana Author Symposium
Numerous authors will be discussing and signing their books at the Acadiana Author Symposium from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Barnes & Noble Lafayette. Authors participating include: Brenda Collins and Shanna Seals, “Boo’s Amazing Rescue;” Elizabeth Pearce, “The French Quarter Drinking Companion;” Marty Mulé, “Game Changers: The Rousing Legacy of Louisiana Sports;” Dennis Paul Williams, “Soul Exchange;” Jonathan Walton, “The Fortress;” Katherine Klimitas, “Looking Up;” Yvette Naquin and Chad Guidry, “Louisiana Through My Lens;” Undrai Fizer, “The 365: A Personal Compass to Self Discovery and Enlightenment;” and Tracie Anne Davis, “But Love is Thicker Than Blood.”
Josh Besh will sign his cookbook, “Cooking from the Heart,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans and at noon Wednesday at Barnes and Noble in Lafayette.
The Coffee and Conversation at the Jefferson Parish Library hosts Errol Laborde, author of “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival from Twelfth Night to Ash Wednesday” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the meeting rooms of the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie.
The Thensted Center in Grand Coteau hosts an evening of poetry with Gina Ferrara and stories by Wilda Richard beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday. Ferrara is the author of “Ethereal Avalanche” and Richard will share stories of zydeco music in her life from childhood to the present, which will be recorded and archived at the Center for Louisiana Studies. An open mic follows and is suitable for all ages. Guests are invited to bring food and drink to share. For more information, call Patrice Melnick at (337) 254-9695 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Thensted Center is located at 268 Church St. in Grand Coteau.
John Shelton Reed will sign “Dixie Bohemia: A French Quarter Circle in the 1920s,” at 6 p.m. Friday at “The Art of Giving” Christmas benefit sale for The Ogden Museum at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St. in New Orleans.
Local authors will participate in “Author’s Alley,” where they sign and sell books, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at North Regional Library and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at South Regional Library.
Todd-Michael St. Pierre signs “The Southern Po-Boy Cookbook” and “A Taste from Treme” from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Copper Rooster Antiques & Gifts, 222 Lee Lane in Covington and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Louise S. McGehee School on Prytania Street in New Orleans.
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 email@example.com.