Sunday, September 25, 2016

Two ULL Press titles look at French Louisiana traditions

            The University of Louisiana Press will release two works of children’s/adolescent literature this Wednesday at Pop’s Poboys in downtown Lafayette. They are “Madame Grand Doigt” by Yvette Landry with illustrations by Cullen Anthony Bernard and “Jean-le-Chasseur et ses chiens” by Barry Ancelet with illustrations by Denise Gallagher.
            Landry is an award-winning singer, songwriter, musician and educator. Her first children’s book, “The Ghost Tree,” received a nomination for the Louisiana’s Young Readers Choice Award and represented Louisiana at the National Book Fair in Washington, D.C. Bernard is a visual artist and illustrator from Lafayette and the owner and operator of Folklore Goods and Supply, a local business that focuses on unique functional art and apparel.
            The book follows the old Cajun folktale of a creepy old woman with long fingernails who grabs little kids who don’t fall asleep, no doubt told by parents over the years to get their children to go to bed. In Landry’s tale, two adolescent girls find the real Madame Grand Doigt in the woods near their camp, along with some terrifying discoveries.
Ancelet is a retired professor of modern languages and folklore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Gallagher is a designer and illustrator based in Lafayette. They’ve collaborated on an adaptation of a Louisiana French folktale in which Jean-le-Chasseur finds a beautiful young woman while hunting in the woods with his dogs. What the dogs see, however, is something different and they rescue their master from what is really an old witch with a hatred for love.
The main text of “Jean-le-Chasseur et ses chiens” is written in a style of Louisiana French meant to mirror its oral origins. In the back is an English translation.
Both books will be available for purchase at Wednesday’s event along with autographing by the authors and illustrators. Light refreshments will be served.

Landry will also be offering a workshop on songwriting and storytelling at the Festival of Words literary event Nov. 4-5 in Grand Coteau.

Cavanaugh Lecture
Ashley Weaver, author of “Death Wears a Mask,” will discuss the “delicate art of murder,” getting published and editing at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Alexandria Museum of Art in Alexandria. Weaver, who has a masters in library science from LSU, is also the author of “Murder at the Brightwell.” Her next novel, “A Most Novel Revenge,” hits bookstores in October.

LSU library
To kick off Homecoming Week at LSU, the LSU Libraries Special Collections will host Faye Phillips, author of “The Golden Band from Tigerland: A History of LSU’s Marching Band” (LSU Press, September 2016), co-authored with Tom Continé, at 6 p.m. Tuesday (informal pre-talk reception to begin at 5:30 p.m.) in the lecture hall of Hill Memorial Library on the LSU campus.  Director of Bands Emeritus Frank Wickes, who wrote a foreword for the history, will also be on hand to sign copies. Books will be sold onsite by the LSU Barnes & Noble.

Book events
            Camille Pavy Claibourne will speak on “Finding Faith in Caring for Others” at 10:30 a.m. today at Grace Presbyterian Church in Lafayette. Claibourne is the author of “Purses & Shoes for Sale: The joys and challenges of caring for your elderly parents” and “Dying in God’s Hands.”
            New Orleans author Whitney Stewart will discuss and sign her new book, “Feldpost: The War Letters, Friedrich Reiner Niemann” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books of New Orleans. The book documents the life and frontline experiences of a German soldier from the 6th Infantry Division from 1941-1945. Niemann was sent to the Russian Front four times and wrote his final two letters home from Poland on Jan. 12, 1945, before he disappeared during the Soviet Vistula-Oder Offensive. After the war, the Niemann family preserved Reiner's letters and photographs, and shipped them to New Orleans where Reiner’s sister, Liselotte Andersson, had emigrated. The documents surfaced after Hurricane Katrina flooded the family house. Stewart is Andersson’s daughter-in-law, and with Denis Havel has translated the letters. Stewart grew up in New England and is the author of numerous children’s books, adult nonfiction, and travel writing.
            The Rotary Club of Abbeville will host a book drive from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Azul Tequila in Abbeville. Cost is $10.95 per person plus a book donation. All books will be donated to Light House Christian Preparatory School to help them get a library started. Other book drop-off locations are Abbeville Electric, Facts-5, Abbeville Chiropractic Clinic, Melancon Jewelers and Gulf Coast Bank.
            New Orleans Storycom will be Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 at the Wyndam Garden Baronne Plaza, New Orleans
Josh Capps and Toby Daspit will read as part of the Thursday Night Reading presented by the UL-Lafayette English Department, EGSA and Sigma Tau Delta at 7 p.m. Thursday at Poets, 1043 Johnston St.

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