Sunday, March 2, 2014

Abbeville offers fun new bookstore promoting locals

            Independent bookstores are rare these days, so it’s exciting to see one open, especially one promoting local and statewide authors and artists.
            Kjuntales, Etc. is located across from St. Mary Magdalen Church in Abbeville, at 309 Pere Megret St. Because of its proximity to the church, they offer a selection of religious gifts and books in addition to books by local authors.
            “We have monthly book signings or ‘meet the artists’ evenings with refreshments,” said owner and author Sheila Hebert Friedland. “We have weekly activities like storytime for children, ‘cafe philo’ (discussions on topics of interest in the community), Friday night open mic for music, poetry readings or comic relief and also a  French table where French only will be spoken.”
            And of course they serve coffee — what’s a bookstore without java? — which happens to be our local blend, Mello Joy.
            Events this week include a Mardi Gras shoebox float competition for kids, starting at 1 p.m. Monday. The floats will travel down Pere Megret and the best shoebox float wins $50.
            In March, all Thursdays will include a 7 p.m. Café Philo and Fridays a 7 p.m. open mic. On March 22, the bookstore will feature its second “Meet the Artist” night with Bryant Benoit from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Then on March 29 author Warren Perrin signs copies of his books at 1 p.m.  
            For information on monthly activities, email owners Sheila Hebert Friedland and Mark Friedland at or call (337) 740-0889.

New releases
            Food historian Zella Palmer Cuadra has researched the Spanish history of Louisiana and how it has influenced our culture, particularly culinary, in “New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking,” published by the University of Mississippi Press. After a fascinating history that poses New Orleans as more of a Caribbean city, she profiles several New Orleans Latinos and their experiences with both the city and its cuisine. There’s Alexey Marti, a Cuban immigrant who performs with his band Urban Mind; socialite Margarita Bergen from Santo Domingo; Kid Chef Eliana, a 13-year-old of diverse genealogy who’s already written two cookbooks; and Edgar M. Sierra Jimenez of Columbia, waiter at K’Paul’s. They and others are interviewed documentary style, with recipes that exemplify their Latin influences. Dishes run the gamut, many typical Louisiana dishes with a Latin flare, some more traditional to their origins.
            Michael Murphy has published a guidebook that celebrates both New Orleans’s food and its people in “Eat Dat New Orleans.” The book spotlights nearly 250 eating spots, from snowball stands to famous restaurants, plus offers some of the city’s culinary lore. There’s also helpful appendixes that list restaurants by cuisine, culinary classes and tours, food festivals and more.
            A book of short stories by John Henry Fleming titled “Song for the Deaf” will be published this month. Fleming holds a doctorate in English and creative writing from UL-Lafayette. This is his third book of fiction.
            South Louisiana native and historian Jason Theriot explores Louisiana’s energy and environmental history in “American Energy, Imperiled Coast: Oil and GasDevelopment in Louisiana’s Wetlands,” published by LSU Press. Theriot is an energy and environmental consultant and a former Energy Policy Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He has a journalism degree from LSU and a doctorate from the University of Houston.
            Margaret Media Publishing of Louisiana has a new title available in eBook form, the “Mystick Krewe of Swan Songs” by Darlene Olivo, “a rollicking trip through Mardi Gras in New Orleans unlike any other,” claims the publisher. The book, designed as a Carnival parade on Bayou St. John with Ruthie the Duck Girl, has been described by New Orleans novelist Patty Friedmann: “If Ignatius Reilly [of “A Confederacy of Dunces”] wrote a novel, this would be it; all arcana, all farcicality, all New Orleans. With footnotes! Oh, my pyloric valve!” The book is second in a series of eBooks by Margaret Media to be published this year. Downloads are $6 and available at and other online outlets.
            E.A. Cook of Loveland, Colo., has published his first mystery and thriller novel “Spanish Moss” that follows 17-year-old Calvin fleeing a dark past when a violent hitchhiking encounter leaves him wounded and alone in a remote bayou of Louisiana. Calvin is welcomed into a Cajun family with mysteries of their own and is swept into a search for truth and vengeance in the streets of New Orleans. 

Book events
            A large exhibit of Louisiana movie posters and film memorabilia, titled “Hollywood on the Bayou,” opens Tuesday at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, part of the school’s annual Jubilee event. Based on the book “Louisiana Film History: A Comprehensive Overview Beginning 1896,” the exhibit will officially open with a morning ceremony and a presentation and book signing in the library by the authors Ed and Susan Poole at 6 p.m. The exhibit includes much of their 30-year collection of film-related materials.
            Mary and Warren Perrin will discuss their forthcoming book “Acadia Then and Now: a People’s History” at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 9, at the Lafayette Museum. For more information, contact Mrs. Chesson at 235-7705.

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