Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pena explains 'Strange Case of Dr. Etienne Deschamps'

Dr. Etienne Deschamps was fascinated by animal magnetism, a process made popular by Dr. Franz Anton Messmer, an 18th century physician who dabbled in hypnosis. Deschamps came to New Orleans in the late 1800s and worked as a dentist, but many times he treated his patients with magnetic and hypnotic powers. One of those patients was 12-year-old Juliette Dietsh, who died mysteriously under his care in 1889. Once she was discovered, information emerged that Deschamps had performed indecent acts upon Juliette and her sister while under hypnosis. Christopher G. Pena dissects this fascinating but horrific event in “The Strange Case of Dr. Etienne Deschamps: Murder in the New Orleans French Quarter,” published by Pelican Publishing. The book showcases the doctor’s life in Europe and America, the unfortunate father of the girls and the court case and execution that followed. Pena received a bachelor’s degree in theater and history from Nicholls State, where he taught nursing for many years. He now lives in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee Williams Fest
The 31st annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival returns Tuesday through Sunday at venues throughout the French Quarter. The five-day event offers a range of speakers and performers, including Dorothy Allison, Bryan Batt, Roy Blount Jr., Patricia Bosworth, Rick Bragg, Jericho Brown, Robert Olen Butler, Dick Cavett, Michael Cerveris, Lisa D’Amour, Amy Dickinson, Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes, Winston Groom, Wally Lamb, Nicholas Mainieri, John Patrick Shanley, Jill St. John, Robert Wagner and many more. In addition, there will be master classes, celebrity interviews, theater, food and music events, a scholarsS conference, breakfast book club, French Quarter literary and LGBT walking tours, book fair and special evening events and social gatherings. Saints and Sinners, an annual LGBT literary conference. will run concurrently with the festival. Speakers include Dorothy Allison, author of “Bastard Out of Carolina (National Book award finalist); Jamie Brickhouse, author of the Amazon “Best Book May 2015” “Dangerous When Wet: a Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother;” Jericho Brown, Whiting Writers Award-winner and author of the poetry collections “Please” and “The New Testament;” Kate Carroll de Gutes, Lambda Literary Award-winner for her memoir “Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear” and many more. SAS offers panel discussions, a reading series featuring nearly 50 writers and writing workshops. All SAS weekend pass holders can also attend any Tennessee Williams panel discussions without charge. For an SAS schedule, visit SASFest.org. For more information on the Tennessee Williams Festival, call (504) 581-1144 or visit www.tennesseewilliams.net

Poets for Art
The New Orleans Museum of Art is accepting applications for students in grades 8 to 12 to participate in Poets for Art, a one-day poetry workshop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8. Students will work with New Orleans poet Brod Baggert to develop poems inspired by art from NOMA’s galleries and the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. The event is free and lunch will be provided. After the workshop, the poems will be published in a softcover book. For more information, contact NOMA librarian Sheila Cork at scork@noma.org or call (504) 658-4117. 

Book events March 19-25
Monica Bottny from the University of Louisiana at Monroe History Department will discuss “Roman Women in the Ancient World” at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Main Branch of the Ouachita Parish Public Library.

Beau Boudreaux signs his second book of poems, “Rapunzel’s Braid,” at 6 p.m. Monday and Ari Herstand signs “How to Make it in the New Music Business” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop of New Orleans.

Troylyn Ball will discuss and sign “Pure Heart: A Spirited Tale of Grace, Grit, and Whiskey” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books of New Orleans. Also at Octavia this week: “Ask Amy” Dickinson will share pieces from “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things:  A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jack Davis signs “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” at 6 p.m. Friday, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker signs “Dinner Déjà vu: South Tonight, French Tomorrow” at 2 p.m. Saturday and James Johnson signs “Venice Incognito” at 6 p.m. Saturday.

A screening of “First Cousins: Cajun and Creole Music in South Louisiana” will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Jeanerette Museum, 500 Main St. in Jeanerette. Moriah Istr will introduce the film and lead a brief discussion on its making. The program is free.

Georgiann Potts will discuss “Huey P. Long: The Kingfish and the Long Dynasty” at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the West Monroe Branch Library. Also, Karen Laban from The Spice & Tea Exchange will discuss teas and host a tasting at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sterlington Branch Library.

Carole Cotton Winn will sign copies of “My Darling, A World War II Scrapbook” at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Slidell branch of the St. Tammany Parish Library.

In Lafayette, an adults-only class on Chinese acupressure facial massage will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at North Regional Library and Saturday Morning Retro Cartoons for adults will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Main Lafayette Library.


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 cherecoen@gmail.com.