Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Louisiana books — last chance gift ideas

            Lovers of the Crosby Arboretum just over the Mississippi state line near Picayune will not want to miss Robert F. Brzuszek’s petite but lovely book on the nature preserve titled “The Crosby Arboretum: A Sustainable Regional Landscape.” The book details the arboretum’s history and development, the creation of the Pinecote Pavilion by noted architect Fay Jones (Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs) and the arboretum today.
            Love the old hotels of New Orleans? Paul Oswell offers a guide with photos and historical documents to hotels such as The Roosevelt, the Monteleone and the Audubon Cottages in “New Orleans Historic Hotels.” Being that it’s a New Orleans book, there are wonderful recipes in the back as lagniappe, including the Peychaud sazerac and the Ramos gin fizz, both made famous at The Roosevelt. Oswell is an English transplant to the city who’s written travel guide books on New Orleans, including “New Orleans for Free.”
            How about that art lover on your list? Pelican Publishing and author John R. Kemp honor Alan Flattmann’s dreamy pastels of New Orleans with a coffee table book titled “The Paintings of Alan Flattmann: An Artist’s Vision of New Orleans.” The University of Mississippi Press offers a memoir of Louisiana artist Rolland Golden accented by 150 illustrations, including some of the artist never seen before, in “Rolland Golden: Life, Love and Art in the French Quarter.” Golden worked in a Royal Street studio, capturing French Quarter life. His memoir discusses his life and art from 1955 to 1976, concluding with his visit to the former Soviet Union as the only American artist to enjoy a one-man touring exhibition there.

Literary Ball
            The 2014 Hands On Literary Festival & Masquerade Ball will be today through New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. The event features keynote speakers Joy Castro, author of the post-Katrina thrillers “Hell or High Water” and “Nearer Home,” and Lee Gutkind, recognized by Vanity Fair as “the Godfather behind creative nonfiction,” and author and editor of more than 30 books and founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary magazine to publish narrative nonfiction exclusively. Other authors include Amanda Boyden, Joseph Boyden, Steven Church, Moira Crone, John Gery, Rodger Kamenetz, Bill Lavender, Bill Loehfelm, Ira Sukrungruang, Tawni Waters, Neil White, and many more. The theme is Silver & Gold: Wealth and Economics in Creative Writing and Literature. For information, visit http://burlesquepressllc.com/handsonball/

Cheré Coen is an award-winning travel writer specializing in the Deep South. She is also the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.