Sunday, June 25, 2017

Connelly goes 'Into the Hurricane' with new novel

There was movement in the Gulf and tropics this past week, so hello Hurricane Season. Coming out Tuesday is the young adult novel “Into the Hurricane” by Neil Connelly, an author who weathered five hurricanes while living in Lake Charles and uses that experience for this action-packed story. Max and Eli are two teens who find themselves at the lighthouse on Shackles Island, a barrier outpost off the Cameron Parish coast. A category five hurricane is approaching but both are on a mission, one to scatter the ashes of her father from the top of the lighthouse and the other to face the fate of his sister’s death. Time is running out, for the bridge to the mainland closes in hours, and other island residents pose both harm and safety. Will Max and Eli make it off the island, and if not, will they survive the storm? I’ll leave the ending to readers, but offer this hint, you’ll feel like you’ve been through a hurricane after finishing this book.

Water’s wrath
One thing hurricanes have taught us in the last 100 years is that wetlands, barrier islands and the ecosystems they represent are vital to protecting Louisiana residents.

“Ain’t There No More: Louisiana’s Disappearing Coastal Plain” by Carl A. Brasseaux and Donald W. Davis spotlights the neglect of our coastline and the result of man-made flood control measures in aiding to the erosion of Louisiana’s coast. Louisiana has lost a land mass roughly twice the size of Connecticut and its shoreline erodes at the rate of five to 30 feet a year. This gorgeous book by the University of Mississippi Press, filled with historic photos and maps, examines efforts to harness the Mississippi River, the role of agriculture and industrialization and what the future holds. Brasseaux is the former director of the Center for Louisiana Studies at UL-Lafayette and a former Louisiana Writer of the Year. Davis of Baton Rouge has been involved in coastal-related research for more than 40 years.

Another University of Mississippi Press book detailing the Mississippi River and efforts to reign in this beast is James F. Barnett Jr.’s “Beyond Control: The Mississippi River’s New Channel to the Gulf of Mexico.” Barnett insists that even with the US Army Corps of Engineers Control Complex at Old River, which keeps the Mississippi from emerging through its historic channel and heading down the Atchafalaya Basin, the river will one day change course. Barnett lives in Natchez and is author of “The Natchez Indians: A History to 1735” and “Mississippi’s American Indians.” He is the retired director of the Historic Properties Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Ava’s Place
Baton Rouge author Emily Cogburn has followed up her charming debut novel, “Louisiana Saves the Library,” with “Ava’s Place,” a story also set in Saint Jude, a small South Louisiana town filled with colorful people. One is newcomer Ava Olson who juggles a part-time newspaper job while raising three young children on her own, She meets Ford, a café owner and a single dad who must bring his daughter to New Orleans on weekends to share custody with his ex-wife. The two hit it off until Ava gets a call to move to the big city for a new job, not to mention an important news story. Cogburn will sign copies of both novels from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Barnes and Noble Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge.

NOTE: Connelly, Brasseaux, Davis and Cogburn will be speaking at this year's Louisiana Book Festival Saturday, Oct. 28, in Baton Rouge.

Book events Jun 25-July 2
Mary Emma Dutreix Pierson will read from and discuss her new book of poetry, “New Orleans: City of My Heart,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon in Metairie. The book consists of more than 40 poems composed by Pierson during the past decade. Pierson is a retired speech and language pathologist, with more than 30 years of teaching experience in the Orleans Parish School System. She has performed in more than 50 ballets and operatic ballets in the Greater New Orleans area, is a weekly reader at the Maple Leaf Bar open mic poetry series and has been a member of the New Orleans Haiku Society since its inception. She has chaired the spring poetry festival of the Louisiana Poetry Society for the past 20 years.

Former U.S. ambassador and White House aide Frank Lavin presents and signs "Home Front to Battlefront: An Ohio Teenager in World War II," following his father's World War II experience at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books of New Orleans. The book is based on his father’s personal letters, official military history, private papers and more.

The New Orleans Literary Takeover, hosted by Victoria Christopher Murray and RsShonda Tate Billingsley and featuring six local and nationally known authors, will be Thursday through Saturday in New Orleans. Authors and their books are: Murray and Billingsley, “A Blessing and A Curse;” Charron Monaye, “Stop Asking for Permission and Give Notice: Guide to Living Unapologetically;” Dr. Scharmaine Lawson-Baker, “Nola the Nurse” children’s series; Christine Penn, “Girl, Stop Trippin’;” Diana Riley, “Cooking on Purpose: Life Lessons Learned From the Kitchen;” Kristina Eaton, “W.O.M.B. Sister Chronicles Vol. 1” and “20 Inspirational Stories About Life and Resiliency;” and Malena Crawford, “A Fistful of Honey.”

The Festival of Words hosts an evening of “Music & Mic with Songwriter Robert Kindrick” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Chicory’s Coffee & Café, 219 E. Martin Luther King Drive in Grand Coteau. Kindrick is a songwriter and spoken word artist. The free event suitable for all ages will be followed by an open pic. For more information call Patrice Melnick at (337) 254-9695 or email festivalwords@gmail.com. 

It’s Family Movie Day beginning at 1 p.m. Friday at the West Ouachita Branch Library. Friday’s movie is “Flubber,” appropriate for all ages. Visit www.oplib.org for more information.

Emily Cogburn will sign copies of her latest novel, “Ava’s Place,” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Barnes and Noble Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge.

Louisiana authors Courtney and J. P. Sloan discuss and sign their books, “Of Scions” and “Menand The Curse Mandate (Dark Choir #3),” respectively at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop of New Orleans.


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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.