Sunday, July 5, 2015

Louisiana books make for great summer reading

Releasing this Tuesday is Suzanne Palmieri’s “The Witch of Bourbon Street,” a novel set in the formerly opulent Sorrow Estate, once home to a magical family but now in ruins since a series of murders in 1902. Part ghost story, part mystery, the story follows Bronwyn Whalen as she returns home after 14 years to solve the family mystery and face the demons of her past.
Palmieri lives in Connecticut with her husband and three daughters but has roots along the Florida and Alabama coast. Her former books include “The Witch of Belladonna Bay” and “The Witch of Little Italy.” 
She will sign copies of her books, including the latest, her New Orleans title, at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Octavia Books in New Orleans.
            Also coming out this week is “Scotlandville” by Rachel L. Emanuel, Ruby Jean Simms and Charles Vincent, who will read from and sign copies of their new book at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Maple Street Book Shop in New Orleans. A rural village that was once the entry point for the slave trade and home to a cotton plantation, Scotlandville became the largest majority African American town in Louisiana. Located in the northern part of East Baton Rouge Parish, Scotlandville’s history is intricately tied to Southern University and A&M College System, the only historically black university system in the United States.
Vic Hummert of Lafayette worked for many years as a chaplain to the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center but his heart lies in environmental activism. He has published several books that combine information on global warming and other environmental issues with his love of haiku. Hummert’s latest book, “Our Sacred Ocean is Suffering Now,” tackles the strain occurring on our oceans and the effect of pollution on its ecosystems. Well documented and produced, Hummert offers great arguments for change before our waters are irreparably harmed. Hummert’s books are available at For more information, visit
Louisiana storyteller, inventor and master turkey hunter Kenny Morgan published his first book, “Turkey Hunting: A One Man Game,” in 1987. He and his wife, Sally Stuart Morgan, then began a cottage business titled Morgan’s Turkey Callers that sold turkey callers, videos and books. Sally Morgan just published Kenny Morgan’s latest book posthumously, “America, Wild Turkeys and Mongrel Dogs: Life Lessons from a Hunting Master,” a collection of essays centered around hunting and growing up in Jackson, Louisiana, in the mid-20th century. Sally Morgan also created
Morgan’s Americana, an umbrella company that includes Morgan’s Turkey Callers as well as a publishing arm for the wildlife, hunting, and conservation community. For more information, visit
Book events this week
            I’ll be teaching “So You Want to Get Published” for those wanting to learn more about the publishing world, both traditional and self publishing, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at UL’s Continuing Education. For information, call 482-6386 or visit
            Neal Bertrand signs copies of his latest book, “Dad’s War Photos,” from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Lafayette.
            Kent Wascom of New Orleans will be signing copies of his book, “Secessia,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books in New Orleans. Wascom was awarded the 2012 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Prize for Fiction. “The Blood ofHeaven” was his first novel.
            Katy Simpson Smith, author of “The Story of Land and Sea,” will interview Laura Lane McNeal, author of “Dollbaby,” at 6 p.m. Thursday at Octavia Books of New Orleans.
Secondary students hailing from across the United States participating in the Putney Student Travel program, “Writing in the American South”, will celebrate the work they’ve done over two weeks of exploring New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta with a final reading from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Maple Street Book Shop of New Orleans. Refreshments will be served.
            Big Freedia, ambassador of the Bounce movement and a visitor to this year’s Festival International, will sign and read from her memoir, “Big Freedia: GodSave the Queen Diva,” at 6 p.m. Friday at Octavia Books of New Orleans. Big Freedia was born Freddie Ross in New Orleans and is a hip hop musician known for bringing “bounce” from the underground music scene to the forefront. She is also the star of “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” reality show on the Fuse network.
           Ronald F. Borne will discuss and sign copies of “Troutmouth: The Two Careers of HughClegg” at 6 p.m. Thursday at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans. Clegg was a member of the FBI from 1926 to 1954, during which time he rose to the top leadership and worked directly under Director J. Edgar Hoover. In his second career, as executive assistant to Chancellor J. D. Williams at the University of Mississippi from 1954 to 1969, he was in a top leadership position before and during the civil rights crises.

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