Thursday, March 26, 2015

'Crude Justice' author explains fighting 'Big Oil'

            Stuart H. Smith stumbled into fighting oil companies when asked to represent Winston Street of Laurel, Miss., who was faced with a contaminated work yard from years of cleaning radioactive oilfield pipe. It was a volatile case that shaped Smith’s career, and brought to life what companies knew was toxic while continuing to do business and exposing workers.
            Smith recounts that case and others like it in his memoir, “Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Attack on America.”           
            There are numerous cases detailed in the book — Smith has served as lead counsel on more than 100 oil pollution cases — including Smith’s battle with BP as he represents plaintiffs involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Smith also delves into the government’s role in oil regulation and enforcement. Here’s a hint, he’s not happy with the government’s role in the BP cleanup and aftermath or the way things are heading as we remain a society “addicted to oil” and take extreme risks to acquire it.
            It’s a tough topic and one that may keep you up at night, but that’s the strength of a good story told well. Smith relates his experiences like a legal thriller, its chapters leaving you handing, waiting for more. It’s understandable since Smith is a regular contributor to magazines, blogs and his own web site, constantly advocating for environmental justice.

Book news
            The seventh edition of “Integrated Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Communications,” penned by primary author Dr. Kenneth Clow, the Biedenharn Endowed Chair of Business at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, was recently released by Pearson Publishing. The book was coauthored by Donald Baack, a professor at Pittsburg State University where Clow began his academic career. According to Clow, the concept of the text, called integrated marketing communications or IMC, is that all communications generated by a company or brand should convey a single, unified message. The concept was used in the business world in the latter part of the 20th century, but Clow and Baack were the first to write a college textbook promoting the concept.
            Chef Donald Link of New Orleans is up for another award. His second cookbook, “Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything,” is a finalist for an International Association of Cooking Professionals award. Winners will be announced March 29 during IACP’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. Link’s first cookbook, “Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana," won a James Beard Award for the 2009 Best New American Cookbook.

            The Jane Austen Literary Festival will be today in Old Mandeville. For information, visit
            The 29th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival will Wednesday through Sunday, March 29, at various venues in New Orleans. There will be five days of literary discussions, theater, music and food events. For more information, visit
            Clayton Delery-Edwards signs copies of his book, “The UpStairs Lounge Arson” at the opening ceremony and reception of the Acadiana Pride Festival at 6 p.m. Thursday at Cité des Arts. The book details a horrific fire and apathetic aftermath that occurred at a gay bar in the French Quarter in the 1970s. A documentary screening of the film, “The Upstairs Lounge Fire” by Royd Anderson, follows at 7 p.m. and the performance of “Upstairs The Musical” at 7:30 p.m. A matinee performance of “Upstairs The Musical” will begin at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Cité.

LPLF Luncheon
            The Lafayette Public Library Foundation (LPLF) will hold its Awards Luncheon and Annual Meeting at the City Club at River Ranch on April 10. The silent auction opens at 11 a.m. and the program starts at 11:30 a.m. This year's theme honors Shakespeare with “To Read or Not To Read.” The guest speaker will be former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque, who will also be receiving the President’s Award. In addition, the Major Donor Award will go to Les Vingt Quatre club, responsible for starting the first public library in Lafayette, and Denelle Wrightson, director of library architecture at Dewberry, will receive the Foundation Award for her work on designing libraries, including Lafayette’s Main Library. The LPLF is a nonprofit organization founded in 1992 that exists to receive private funds and donations for materials and services not otherwise available for the Lafayette Public Library System. The cost of the luncheon is $30. Reservations will be accepted through April 3 and can be made by calling 593-4770 or mailing a check to Lafayette Public Library Foundation, P.O. Box 53024, Lafayette, LA 70505.

Book events
             Swirl in the City will conduct a wine tasting, to be followed by a reading by award-winning, visting Nigerian poet Niyi Osundare from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Nix Library in New Orleans.
             Author and naturalist Amy Ouchley will read her book, “Swamper,” at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Sterlington Branch Library in Monroe, appropriate for ages 2 to 6.
            Neil William Pierson will read from and sign his book “Sock Spot,” about lost socks, at 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Barnes and Noble, 3721 Veterans Blvd. in Metairie.
            Melissa Wallace will be reading from “It's Great To Be A NOLA Kid” at 1 p.m. Saturday at Barnes and Noble Mandeville.
            The Friends of the Jefferson Parish Library Book Sale will be Thursday through Sunday at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, 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