Monday, February 3, 2014

Prolific Cutrera doesn't let restrictions stop her

             Barbara Cutrera lives in Florida now, but she was reared in Louisiana and it’s where she began writing. Over the past few years she has released several books, including a collection of short stories in which one of the stories is set in “Guidry’s Handi-mart and Bait Shop” in a small Louisiana town. Her “Real World” series is set in Baton Rouge and begins in the 1970s and continues to the present. The second book in the series, “A Good Man's Life,” should be out this week. “In a Manner of Speaking” begins in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge and St. Francisville, and ends in Scotland. 
            Other books include “Over, Under, Across & Through” and “Mercy,” other titles in the Real World series; “The Healer’s Gift,” a romance; “A Lovely Dream,” a romantic thriller, “Prim and Proper,” a true romance with a touch of mystery, and “Lucky,” a thriller set in the not-so-distant future in post-plague Earth.
            “I recently completed another work of fiction titled ‘Compromising Positions’ and have started writing a romance titled ‘Sight Unseen,’” she told me.
            When I hear people tell me they don’t have time to write, I send them to Cutrera’s web site for inspiration.
            “I work with the visually-impaired and am visually-impaired myself,” she writes on her website. “I firmly believe that our minds are only limited by the restrictions that we place upon them. That is why my literary credo is, ‘Transcending reality by exploring it one story at a time….’”
            For more information on this prolific and inspiring Louisiana author, visit

            Multi-published author and business trainer Christee Gabour Atwood of Alexandria will receive the Knowledge Management Leadership Award for her work in the field of knowledge management and information sharing on June 27 in Mumbai, India. The award will be presented at the Global Knowledge Management Congress and Atwood will be the keynote speaker. The award is based on the body of work represented in Atwood’s workforce training and development projects as well as her five business books. In July 2012 Atwood was the keynote speaker at the Human Capital Conference in Tokyo.
With regrets
            Robert Anthony “Bobby” Gisclair, 65, a native and resident of Galliano and author of “Singing To The Lions,” passed away on Jan. 16 at his residence. Gisclair also produced and wrote a French play titled “Blanche Neige.” He was a Vietnam veteran, a world traveler and cultural connoisseur who spoke several languages.

Black History Month
            In celebration of Black History Month, the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library is hosting author Kim Marie Vaz for a discussion of “The ‘Baby Dolls’: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition” at noon Feb. 6 at the State Library Seminar Center.
Vaz’s book is a history of the Million Dollar Baby Dolls, one of the first women’s organizations to participate in Mardi Gras, and its post-Hurricane Katrina comeback. The “Baby Dolls” traces the tradition as it spread to different New Orleans neighborhoods and empowered women. The “Baby Dolls” served as the basis for a major installation on the Baby Doll tradition at The Presbytere museum as part of the permanent Carnival exhibit. Vaz is associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and education professor at Xavier University in New Orleans. Registration is not required for this free event and attendees are invited to bring brown bag lunches. She will also appear at the Hubbell Library in Algiers Point at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, 725 Pelican Ave. in Algiers Point.

            New Orleans Comic Con 2014 will be Friday through Sunday, Feb 7-9, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Some of the celebrities scheduled to visit are Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Jon Bernthal, Michael Rooker of “The Walking Dead;” Matt Smith, The 11th Doctor of “Doctor Who;” Manu Bennett of “The Hobbit” and “Arrow” and Carlos Pacheco, an Eisner Award nominee, among many more. For more information, visit
            The 31st annual Romantic Times Booklovers Convention is scheduled for May 13-18 at the Marriott Hotel on Canal Street in New Orleans. Some of the authors appearing will be Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series (and the movie starring Tom Cruise); inspirational fiction author Francine Rivers; Charlaine Harris, author of the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse novels adapted for HBO’s “True Blood” series and Louisiana regular Heather Graham, to name a few. Some Louisiana authors to be in attendance are Diana Rowland, Jana DeLeon and Sabrina Jeffries, again among many more. For more information, visit
            The 17th annual Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference will be April 4-5 at The Art Center in Blue Ridge, Ga. The keynote speaker will be Claire Cook, author of “Wallflower in Bloom” and “Must Love Dogs,” the latter of which was adapted into a film starring John Cusack and Diane Lane. Other speakers include Sally Apokedak, Glenda Beall, Jennifer Jabaley, Jennifer Justus, Elizabeth Dulemba and Stellasue Lee. The conference charges a very reasonable fee and the town of Blue Ridge is delightful, a perfect weekend getaway. For information, visit

Book events
            There will be a spoken word event featuring African American writers and poets beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the Ernest J. Gaines Center of the UL Dupre Library, third floor. Administrators, faculty and students will read passages and the public is invited to participate with a one- to five-minute reading of their favorite passage. For more information, contact the Gaines Center at 482-1848 or
            Ages 5-12 may make a Candy Butterfly Valentine 
at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at South Regional Library and 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the Milton Library and 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the
 Youngsville Library.
            Kim Vaz, author of “The ‘Baby Dolls,’ Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition,” will speak from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at the State Library Seminar Center in Baton Rouge.
            The three-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion Buddy Wakefield is coming to the Lafayette Science Museum at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7. Tickets are $10.           
            The Wild & Wacky Olympics for Teens begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at
 South Regional
 Library in Lafayette.

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