Sunday, July 27, 2014

New books look at fascinating New Orleans history

            Tulane geographer and multi-published author Richard Campanella offers a comprehensive history of both Bourbon Street and the city that birthed the notorious avenue in “Bourbon Street: A History,” published by LSU Press. The book follows the one-mile boulevard from the inception of New Orleans until today, relating its history through colonial times, the Louisiana Purchase, Prohibition and Hurricane Katrina.
            Campanella is the author of “Bienville’s Dilemma” and “Geographies of New Orleans” and many other books on New Orleans. He is the two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award, the winner of the Williams Prize for Louisiana History and the Monroe Fellowship from Tulane’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South.
            Writer and photographer Sally Asher, who is currently pursuing her master’s in history at Tulane, explains the history behind New Orleans street names in “Hope & New Orleans: A History of Crescent City Street Names,” published by The History Press. Asher separates the book into subjects, such as explorers, European royalty, military heroes, pirates and “Whimsical Reality,” all of which can be found on New Orleans street signs. It’s a fun book with detailed information carefully footnoted and accented by fun photographs. Like every corner of the city itself, the street names of New Orleans have fascinating histories.

Poetry reading
            Dr. Keith Dorwick, a professor of English at UL-Lafayette, is conducting a Recovery Academy poetry workshop led by Clare Martin for the Outreach Center for Women and Children. The workshop is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Center and the Plastic Theater of Lafayette (Dorwick’s theater) since 2010. This year’s Recovery Academy culminates with a poetry reading at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, at Theatre 810, hosted by Martin. Chapbooks of the evening’s poems will be handed out. 

Writing guilds
            The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at Barnes & Noble. The guest speaker will be Lafayette native Loren Bellow, age 11, who is the author of two books. 
            On Oct. 18, the Guild will host a writing workshop with Philip Levin, author and president of the Gulf Coast Writers Association, at J & R Educational Supplies on Johnson Street in Lafayette. The workshop will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a lunch break. Registration is $20 for members, $25 for non-members.  For information on WGA, visit
            The Mississippi Writers Guild will host a conference Aug. 1-2 in Ocean Springs, Miss., with speakers Sandra Beasley, Terry L. Kennedy, Melanie Dickerson and Jane Nickerson. The conference will offer four workshops, a panel discussion, booksigning and time for formal and informal critiques. For more information, visit

Book events
            George Gunter will sign “Cast of Characters” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at A Tisket A Tasket Gifts & Books, 910 Decatur St. in New Orleans.
            Tamara Kaye Severin signs “Pink Lemonade: A Jubilant Survivor’s Inspirational Story About Overcoming Life’s Challenges and Emerging Triumphant!” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at the Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. 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