Sunday, September 4, 2016

LSU Golden Band honored with coffee table book

LSU football began yesterday when the Tigers visited Wisconsin but the first home game is Saturday in Death Valley. To get in the mood, LSU Press has published a gorgeous coffee table book titled “The Golden Band from Tigerland: A History of LSU’s Marching Band” by Tom Contoné and Faye Phillips. The band’s history begins with a handful of Ole War Skule cadets during LSU’s military school days and includes great photographs of the band practicing on what is now the new state capitol in Baton Rouge. Jump ahead and there’s former Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long, who had a soft spot for LSU, the war years, the fire of 1958, and the legacy of band directors, including Castro Carazo, William F. Swor, and Frank B. Wickes. The book concludes with the first female drum major, Kristie Smith, in 1999; the Sudler Trophy awarded by the John Philip Sousa Foundation; induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and traveling abroad to march in Hong Kong’s New Year celebration and Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

But what most people will savor in this book filled with bright photographs are the dramatic shots of the hill march to Death Valley, the pregame salute and halftime shows.

The book is written by Louisiana native and band alumnus Tom Continé, who has written numerous books and contributed to “Call Me Coach: A Life in College Football” by Paul F. Dietzel, and Faye Phillips, who served as associate dean of Libraries for Special Collections at LSU and worked as an archivist at the U.S. Senate, the National Archives and Records Administration, and many other institutions.

Coffee Table Ideas
If you're looking for some cool ways to display your coffee table books, the folks at can show you how to make 15 innovative but inexpensive coffee tables that are everything but ordinary tables. They show you how to make your own creations, from utilizing trash cans and vintage suitcases to an old window where priceless books such as the one above can be displayed without the possibility of damage. Check out their "15 Beautiful Cheap DIY Coffee Table Ideas" page here.

New releases
This Wednesday, co-editor Mark Yakich and contributors Anne Gisleson, Anya Groner, Thomas Beller, Sarah Allison, Pia Ehrhardt read, discuss and sign “Airplane Reading,” a collection of essays about plane travel, at Octavia Books of New Orleans. Yakich is a poet and professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans, and editor of the New Orleans Review. He is the author of “Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross,” “The Making of Collateral Beauty” and “The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine.” His first novel, “A Meaning for Wife,” was selected as the No. 1 Small Press Highlight of 2011 by the National Book Critics Circle. His latest book is “Poetry: A Survivor’s Guide,” and his next poetry collection, “Poetry for Planes,” is forthcoming with Eyewear.

New Orleans novelist Ladee Hubbard has won the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, given annually to six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers. Celebrating its 22nd year, the Rona Jaffe Awards assist women in building successful writing careers. The Awards are $30,000 each and will be presented to the six recipients on Sept. 15 in New York City. Hubbard’s first novel, “The Talented Tenth,” tells the story of the Ribkins family, each member of which is born with a unique talent: one can see in the dark, one can pick any lock, another can make intricate maps from memory of anything he sees.

“Riffing on W.E.B. Dubois’s famous essay about the need to cultivate a black leadership class, ‘The Talented Tenth’ is structured as a road novel that combines elements of the picaresque and the noble quest,” Hubbard explained in a press release. “The book is conceived as an allegory of African-American life during the second half of the 20th century and looks at the meaning of talent, its relation to notions of African-American mobility, and its role in the mediation of responsibility to a wider community.”

Hubbard’s work has appeared in the Beloit Fiction Journal, Crab Orchard Review, and others, and she has received fellowships from the Hambidge Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Hubbard received a B.A. from Princeton, an M.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, a Ph.D. from UCLA, and most recently an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her Writer’s Award will allow her to take time off from teaching, pay for child care, and devote her full attention to completing her novel.

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