Sunday, January 4, 2015

UL-Lafayette Professor of Architecture Geoff Gjertson offers lessons learned in new book on solar home

            UL-Lafayette Professor of Architecture Geoff Gjertson will present lessons learned from the BeauSoleil Home — which won First Place in Market Viability and People’s Choice in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Solar Decathlon — at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at South Regional Library.
            Gjertson is the author of “Generating Hope: Stories of the BeauSoleil Louisiana Solar Home” and the talk is part of the Bayou State Book Talk series, a collaboration of the Center for Louisiana Studies at UL Lafayette and the South Regional Library. It is sponsored by UL Press, which published the book.
            “Generating Hope” celebrates the BeauSoleil Louisiana Solar Home, discusses its significance for the future of sustainable design and affordable, energy-efficient, and hurricane-resistant housing in the Gulf Coast region and around the world. The book spotlights BeauSoleil Home’s technical innovations, experiments and professional collaborations accented by more than 180 photographs and drawings. The sidebars provide a do-it-yourself guide to implementing solar and sustainable practices for your own home.
            But the book is much more than that.
            “The book is really about the human stories,” Gjertson said in an interview for the UL College of the Arts web page. “That’s why it’s called ‘Generating Hope’ because hope was really the motivation, I think, for people to participate. Hope was generated for the community because it really got this kind of grassroots effort in our community. It got a discussion going about sustainability that maybe had started but wasn’t really tangible that the university had going that people could get behind. So, we had people supporting it almost like our football team.”
            To read the full interview, visit http://arts.louisiana.edu/.

Simon says
            Award-winning teacher Margaret Simon teaches gifted writing to lucky students in New Iberia and shares poetry, teaching advice, her kids’ work and inspiration in her blog “Reflections on the Teche.” In a recent blog post, Simon — who’s also a young adult author —turned me on to Stephanie Fournet of Lafayette, a high school English teacher who self-published her first romance novel titled “Fall Semester” with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.
            Margaret is the daughter-in-law of Anne L. Simon, who is also following her passion by self-publishing her first crime novel set in South Louisiana, “Blood in the Cane Field.” Anne Simon attended Wellesley and Yale and has a law degree from LSU. She has served as judge, taught at LSU law school and was an ad-hoc judge for the Louisiana Supreme Court. The novel is available at Champagne’s Grocery in the Oil Center of Lafayette, at Books Along the Teche in New Iberia, Fad’s New in Franklin and online.
            You can read more about Fournet, Anne Simon’s new book plus Margaret Simon’s musings and poetry at http://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com.

New releases
            I wrote about novelist Joe Reese in a past Louisiana Book News column and he recently informed me that his wife, Pam, has a series of cozy mysteries written under the name of T’Gracie Reese. The couple lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Pam Reese is teaching after finishing her dissertation at UL-Lafayette.
            “We’ve been busy writers,” Joe Reese wrote. “The sixth in our ‘cozy’ series of mysteries, ‘The Nina Bannister Mysteries,’ has just been published by Cozy Cat Press, a small independent publisher based in Chicago. The books are, in order, ‘Sea Change,’ ‘Set Change,’ ‘Game Change,’ ‘Oil Change,’ ‘Frame Change’ and ‘Sex Change,’” although the last title, he insisted, is “not what you think.”
            The main character, Nina Bannister, is a retired teacher and principal living in a seacoast town in Mississippi. She putters around in the curio shop of her good friend Margot, she walks on the beach, she feeds her cat Furl and, of course solves murder mysteries. One book leads her to Lafayette, and several to New Orleans, Reese said.
            All titles are available in hard copy or Kindle versions from Amazon. For information, visit www.reeseswrite.com.

Book events
            Stuart Smith signs “Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know about the Environmental Attack on America” at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Garden District Book Store in New Orleans.
            The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is hosting Morgan Molthrop to commemorate the Battle of New Orleans Bicentennial with a free program at noon Wednesday in the State Library’s Seminar Center. Molthrop’s new book “Andrew Jackson’s Playbook: 15 Strategies for Success” juxtaposes the cultural responses of New Orleans during the most important battle in early American history against the responses of Louisiana’s population after Hurricane Katrina. For more information, visit www.state.lib.la.us

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun 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.