When I was doing research for a book on the history of Forest Hill, I ran across mentions of a hot mineral springs located in Rapides Parish at Cotile Lake. I’m a fan of hot springs, so discovering Louisiana had one interested me greatly.
Alas, the resort is no longer, demolished in 2007, but its story haunted me, no pun intended. Journalist Larry Jorgensen of Mansura relates the rise and fall of the Hot Wells resort in his book, “Hot Wells: A Louisiana Ghost.”
The springs existed on private property but were “discovered” when a worker drilling for oil in 1913 washed his hands in waters that healed his eczema. A laboratory test proved there were several minerals in the hot springs and a hotel and spa were built to attract tourists.
Over the years, visitors included boxing champion Jack Dempsey, musician Jay Chevalier and Gov. Earl Long, the latter of which had a financial interest in the town and springs. Earl’s brother, Gov. Huey P. Long, was said to have made his first political speech here.
The state took over the property and for years struggled to make a profit. When the buildings and spring remained a liability, the buildings were razed, the spring tapped and the resort now only a memory to the folks who live in Hot Wells or who worked there.
Jorgensen offers a short but concise and well-researched history that details the rise and fall of this Louisiana secret in the heart of the state. It’s a fascinating tale, one that includes thousands of dollars in a bathtub during the Earl Long administration, the insistence that selling alcohol might have changed the resort’s course and the attempt by the state to rival Hot Springs, Ark.
Copies of Jorgensen’s book are available in the Alexandria area at Kent Plantation House, Atwood’s, Tunk’s Cypress Inn, Silver Dollar Pawn and Hastings; in the Boyce area at Lil’ Boos Country Store and Boone’s Drug Store; at Grant Hardware in Colfax; and in Avoyelles Parish at Avoyelles Office Supply and Treasures & in Marksville, JoJo’s Flowers in Bunkie, the Avoyelles Commission of Tourism office in Mansura and the Cottonport Museum.
I'm honored to have my historical romance "Emilie" (first in a series and free to download) featured today at www.BookPebble.com. Check it out and sign up for free and bargain ebook deals. "Emilie" begins the Cajun Series of historical romances, written under my pen name of Cherie Claire. You can read more about the series, my contemporary series "The Cajun Embassy," book events, recipes, My Louisiana Home blog and more at http://www.cherieclaire.net/. Be sure and sign up for my newsletter.
|J Bruce Fuller|
|Jenn Alandy Trahan|
Two graduates of McNeese State University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program have received 2016 Wallace Stegner Fellowships for the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University this fall. They are J. Bruce Fuller, a 2011 graduate, in poetry, and Jenn Alandy Trahan, a 2015 graduate, in fiction. These alumni follow two other McNeese MFA graduates who received fellowships — Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Adam Johnson (1996), who now teaches at Stanford, and Michael Shewmaker (2010), an award-winning poet who is also teaching at Stanford as a Jones Lecturer in poetry. A native of New Orleans, Fuller received a doctorate in English from UL-Lafayette in 2015 and is currently teaching there. A native of Houston, and a former resident of California, Trahan is currently teaching English as a visiting lecturer at McNeese.
Janet Allured, professor of history and director of the Women’s Studies Program at McNeese, will discuss the late 20th century women’s rights movement in Louisiana beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Historic New Orleans Collection. The free lecture will take place at 533 Royal St. in the French Quarter. Allured is the author of the forthcoming book “Remapping Second-Wave Feminism: The Long Women’s Rights Movement in Louisiana, 1950–1997” (University of Georgia Press). The lecture is the second of three programs presented as part of THNOC exhibit, “Voices of Progress: Twenty Women Who Changed New Orleans,” presented as part of Nola4women’s Women of New Orleans: Builders and Rebuilders initiative. The final event, which will feature a conversation with political activists Dodie Smith-Simmons and author Sybil Haydel Morial, will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20. A reception with light refreshments will follow. Details about these and other events are available online at www.hnoc.org.
The LSU Manship School of Mass Communication will honor Alfred N. Delahaye, Craig Kelley and Charlie McBride and posthumously honor Jeffrey David Wright at its 42nd annual Hall of Fame Gala on Friday, Sept. 9. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. at Juban’s restaurant, 3739 Perkins Road in Baton Rouge. In addition to their numerous journalistic accolades, Kelley co-wrote a book on Peyton Manning titled, “A Quarterback for the Ages,” that is due out this fall. For more information, visit http://www.manship.lsu.edu/.
Carrie Delatte will be signing and discussing her new thriller “Vidalia” Saturday, Aug. 13, at Fair Grinds Coffeehouse in New Orleans. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/carried.author.writer.
LSU Libraries Special Collections is offering the exhibit, “From Grand Village to Bluff City: 300 Years of Natchez History,” on view until Sept. 3. In the library’s Lecture Hall is the exhibit, “Birds’ Eye View of LSU,” featuring University Archives aerial photographs spotlighting the evolution of the campus from its rural beginnings on former plantation land to today. For more information, visit http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special.
Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.