Sunday, August 14, 2016

More recollections of Hot Wells, upcoming literary events, Southern bookstores and more

            Randy C. Landry, a Maurice native who presently lives in Lafayette, wrote this in response to my book review last week of Larry Jorgensen’s “Hot Wells: A Louisiana Ghost” book. 
            “Your article in this morning’s Advertiser about the new book on Hot Wells brought back memories for me,” Landry wrote. “When I was younger, I remember my grandparents making trips to spend a few days there for the massages and hot baths. Later on, in the 80s, as a state employee, state workers from other parts of the state were required to stay in the motel there overnight when traveling on state business in the Alexandria area. Since the facility was state-owned at the time, staying there saved on travel expenses. I am sure this is covered in the book, but besides the motel, there was a swimming pool, the bath house and a restaurant.”
Also, in the review I erroneously named Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long as Gov. Earl Long’s father. Huey and Earl were brothers and both governors of Louisiana. Being a lover of Louisiana I knew that, but think the heat had gotten to me that day. I apologize for the error.

Book events
            Several authors will be signing and discussing their books at the Acadian Museum of Erath’s 25th anniversary and fundraiser. The event will also open a new exhibit titled “The Life of Sen. Dudley J. LeBlanc, Sr.: Acadian to Cajun.” The event begins at 5 p.m. and tickets are $35, dinner and drinks included. Sen. LeBlanc's granddaughter, Michèle Le Blanc, will re-release books that LeBlanc authored, including “Acadian Miracle” (1966) on the 50th anniversary of its publication, and “The True Story of the Acadians” (1926) on its 90th anniversary. Authors attending the event are Le Blanc, Tom Angers, Josh Caffery, Warren and Mary Perrin, Sheila Hebert Collins and Nelwyn Hebert.
The Mississippi Book Festival is Saturday at the State Capitol in Jackson, Miss. Authors with a Louisiana connection attending the festival are Julie Reed of Mississippi who now lives in New Orleans; Greg Iles of Natchez, originally of Baton Rouge; Jesmyn Ward, an American novelist and an associate professor of English at Tulane University who won the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction and a 2012 Alex Award with her second novel “Salvage the Bones;” and retired assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Spillers, author of “Confessions of An Undercover Agent: Adventures, Close Calls and the Toll of a Double Life,” who has Louisiana roots and spent six years with the Baton Rouge Police Department. For more information, visit

At the library
Each year, the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana offers writing workshops, or WordShops, on the day before the Louisiana Book Festival. (The Louisiana Book Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 29, in downtown Baton Rouge so the WordShops will be Friday, Oct. 28.) This year, a special workshop will be offered for those who nurture others learning to read and write and express their thoughts on paper. This includes teachers, librarians, parents and others. Catherine Gourley, national project director of the Letters About Literature national writing competition, sponsored by the Library of Congress Center for the Book and its state affiliates, will present “The Journey Within: Reflective Writing and the Letters About Literature Program.” Visit for more information.
It’s a Pokemon Go Party from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the South Regional Branch Library in Lafayette. Librarians will be dropping lures every 30 minutes and offering classes in 3-D Poke-creation and other crafts. There will also be Wii gaming and refreshments. No registration is required.
The Lafayette Public Library System now has 12 Speck air quality monitors available for free checkout at four of its locations - the Main Library downtown, the East Regional Library in Youngsville, the North Regional Library in Carencro and the South Regional Library on Johnston Street. Library card holders can check out the sensors for three weeks at a time to try in their homes. The Speck sensors detect particulate air pollution in the home.

            Chicago native Kane falls hard for Rocko and his sweet Louisiana accent in Nakiala Comeaux’s “My Louisiana Thug,” available as an ebook. Comeaux lives in Opelousas and has written numerous books, including “Whisper and Hitta: A Louisiana Love Story.”
            Lisa Coots, a native of Lacassine, has published a Coeur du Bayou Trilogy that is available through Amazon and as signed copies through the author. The books include “Promise,” “Hope” and “Magic.” For more information, visit

Southern bookstores
            Last month I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Page and Palette bookstore in Fairhope, Ala., an independent bookstore that’s been open since 1968. The bookstore in the heart of town offers local, regional and Southern authors, plus ongoing literary events. Staff is helpful and attentive, the selection impressive. And there’s both a coffee shop and a bar attached to the main bookstore.
            This week, Page and Palette will host best-selling author Kate DiCamillo at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss and sign her latest children’s book, “Raymie Nightingale.” 

The deadline for submissions to the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence is Monday so get to work today to send in your 2016 novel or short story collection. The contest includes a $10,000 prize.

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