Louisiana Book News by Cheré Dastugue Coen

Published Sundays in The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette and Monroe News Star of Monroe.

Friday, February 27, 2015

'The Returned' return and multiply

"The Returned" American version.
            Here’s a story that is sure to have you confused by its conclusion.
            The French produced a television series titled “Les Revenants,” about a town haunted by a series of tragedies — a school bus accident, the disappearance of a finance and a rash of attacks on women. 
            Then one day the dead come back to life.
            “Les Revenants” means “The Returned” and it’s a riveting suspense series that won International Emmy Awards. Buzzfeed called it, “Some of the most beautifully eerie scenes ever on television.” For those of you who have access to the Sundance Channel, "Les Revenants" will begin airing Tuesday, March 3. For those of you with a Netflix subscription, you can watch the entire first season.
            In 2013, award-winning poet Jason Mott posed a similar scenario in his novel, “The Returned,” but this time it’s many people who have died throughout the world (although the book is focused on one small town), and the subsequent reaction by the government. We reviewed the book and you can read it here.
            In both stories, the “returned” appear as they had when they died.
            For readers, Seth Patrick has novelized the French series, published in 2014.
            Also in 2014, Mott’s story became an ABC TV series titled “Resurrection.”
            Confused yet?
            This year, A and E will offer an American version of “Les Revenants,” although producers insist the adaptation will be unique. The A&E version, titled "The Returned," premieres at 9 p.m. March 9.
            Again, for readers, Sourcebooks will release a U.S. edition of Patrick’s novel on April 7.
           Meanwhile, season 2 of "Les Revenants" is being filmed in France through the end of March. This is one viewer eagerly anticipating its release.

Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

UL-Lafayette Wind Ensemble to premiere African drum performance “Congo Square”

            The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Wind Ensemble present the premiere of “Congo Square” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, in Angelle Hall on the university campus. This performance is for African Drum Quartet and Wind Ensemble.
            San Antonion composer James Syler will be on campus two days before the event to interact with UL students, and author Freddi Williams Evans will give a pre-concert lecture at 6:45 p.m. Her book, “Congo Square: African Roots in New Orleans,” published by University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, served as an important resource and inspiration for Syler’s new work. 
            The first band to perform is the Symphonic Winds conducted by Dr. Eric Melley, which features music by Holst and others. After intermission, the UL Wind Ensemble, conducted by Dr. William Hochkeppel, will do a program of five works. After an opening Fanfare, the premiere of “Congo Square” will take place. A few program highlights include: Ecstatic Fanfare by Steven Bryant, Overture for Winds by Felix Mendelssohn, Fantasia in G Major by J.S. Bach, and Dance for the New World by Dana Wilson.

            The UL Band is a member of the consortium commissioning project by Syler, who also wrote “Storyville,” two historic places in New Orleans jazz. The work will also be featured at the new “Music For All” Regional Festival in March, when the Wind Ensemble is the featured ensemble.

Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cokie Roberts named 2015 Humanist of the Year

             The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will honor Louisiana native Cokie Roberts as its 2015 Humanist of the Year at an April 23 awards dinner in Baton Rouge.
            The award is given annually by the state’s humanities council as part of its efforts to recognize the individuals and organizations making invaluable contributions to the culture of Louisiana.
            A native of New Orleans, Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News. She has served as senior news analyst for National Public Radio and from 1996-2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program “This Week.” In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys, and has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting.
            Roberts’ books have included the bestsellers “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters,” “Founding Mothers” and “Ladies of Liberty.” Her book with husband, Steven, “From this Day Forward,” an account of their more than 40-year marriage and other marriages in American history, was a New York Times bestseller.
            In addition to Humanist of the Year and other 2015 LEH awards, the Humanities Book Awards goes to Rick Bragg, author of “Jerry Lee Lewis,” about Ferriday’s famous musician, and Clayton Delery-Edwards for “Upstairs Lounge Arson,” a horrific fire that occurred in a French Quarter gay bar in the 1970s.            
            The inaugural Light Up for Literacy Award, given in partnership with the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana and the Library of Congress, goes to Ann Dobie, a retired English professor who taught almost 40 years at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, directed the Acadiana Writing Project, and continues to serve as the literature section editor for KnowLA.org. Dobie has published more than 50 scholarly works and serves as the head judge for Louisiana Letters About Literature, a statewide student writing competition.
          For more information about the 2015 LEH Awards, visit www.leh.org.

Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Louisiana book events this week - Feb. 23-28

Tuesday. Feb. 24 
          The Irvin Mayfield Quintet performs a Tribute to Ernest Gaines at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Angelle Hall on the UL-Lafayette campus. The free concert includes the UL-Lafayette Jazz Combo.
            The Lafayette Public Library System is teaming up with area public schools and other local partners to encourage Lafayette to read and discuss the same book in a program called Lafayette Reads Together. The program focuses on the New York Times bestseller “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park, a survivor’s tale inspired by the real story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Park will Skype at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at South Regional Library in Lafayette. For a list of events, visit LafayettePublicLibrary.org.
            The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Barnes & Nobles in Lafayette.

Wednesday, Feb. 25
           The Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective hosts an evening of oral history and poetry at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Grand Coteau House Ballroom in Grand Coteau. The event will feature poet Clemonce Heard from Baton Rouge and siblings Allen Charles, Earline Duplechaine and Rose Marie Perry who will share personal stories. Heard is a poet and typographer from New Orleans (now living in Baton Rouge) who’s cofounder of Brainy Acts Poetry Society (BAPS), an organization of spoken word poets conceived at Northwestern in Natchitoches. During the oral history portion of the program Allen Charles and his sisters will share stories of their father, Alcide Charles, a sharecropper, and their aunt, Marie Louise Charles, who worked as a live-in domestic for the Chatrian family and eventually inherited their house. Both Alcide and Mary Louise Charles spoke Creole French and moved to Grand Coteau during the great flood of 1927. The oral history presentation will be videotaped and placed in the Cajun and Creole Archives at the Center for Louisiana Studies in the “Grand Coteau Voices” collection. The public is invited to bring their own poems, songs or stories for the open mic. Guests are also invited to bring snacks or drinks to share. For more information, call Patrice Melnick at (337) 254-9695 or email festivalwords@gmail.com.
            Thea Tamborella returns to New Orleans after a 10-year absence to find it gripped in fear in Christine Wiltz’s “Glass House,” published by LSU Press in 2001 and this year’s finalist for the One Book, One New Orleans selection. The book’s main character finds the privileged white socialites of her private-school days packing guns to fancy dinner parties and spending their free time in paramilitary patrols. The black gardeners, maids and cooks who work days in the mansions of the elite Garden District return each evening to housing projects wracked by poverty, drugs and gang violence. The city’s haves and have-nots glare at each other across a yawning racial divide as fear turns to hate and an us-against-them mentality. Wiltz is also the author of “The Killing Circle,” “A Diamond Before You Die,” “The Emerald Lizard,” “The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld” and “Shoot the Money.” She will sign copies of “Glass House” at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Maple Street Bookstore in New Orleans.
            Keith Weldon Medley discusses his book, “Black Life in Old New Orleans,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave. in Metairie.

Thursday, Feb. 26
            Warren and Mary Perrin, editors of “Acadie Then and Now: A People’s History,” will speak about their new book at noon Thursday at the Rotary Club in the Petroleum Club. For more information, call (337) 233-5832, or email perrin@plddo.com.
            Andi Eaton signs “New Orleans Style” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.
            M.O. Walsh signs and discusses his debut novel “My Sunshine Away” at 6 p.m. Thursday at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.
            Carolyn Kolb, a former Times-Picayune reporter and current columnist for New Orleans Magazine, has collected essays that have appeared as “Chronicles of Recent History” in “New Orleans Memories: One Writer’s City.” Kolb will read from and discuss her book at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Nix branch of the New Orleans Public Library.

Louisiana Book News is written by Cheré Coen, the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Louisiana children's books, spring releases

       There are several wonderful new children's books just out that are either Louisiana related or perfect for this time of year.  
        Johnette Downing has penned a delightful children’s book involving those pesky swamp gases that have inspired numerous legends. In “The Fifolet,” swamp lights attract fishermen Jean-Paul Pierre Downing into the swamps in the hope of finding treasure, but they are not what they seem. Downing will discuss, read from and sign “The Fifolet,” along with illustrator Jennifer Lindsley, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at Maple Street Book Shops in New Orleans. The official book launch will include a book reading, art discussion, treasure hunt, coloring sheet, refreshments and a book signing by both the author and illustrator
        Carol Boston Weatherford has published the biography, “Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century,” that follows the groundbreaking soprano from her upbringing in Laurel, Miss., to the New York Metropolitan Opera House. The children’s book is illustrated by Raúl Colón and makes an inspiring tale for Black History Month.
        Another great title for Black History Month is "Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama" by Hester Bass, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Although much of the Civil Rights Movement was violent and turbulent, the integration of Huntsville went much smoother, thanks to the courage and persistent residents of the northern Alabama city. Bass and Lewis are the author/illustrator of "The Secret World of Walter Anderson," which won the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children. Lewis took the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for "Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman" by Nikki Grimes.
         A fun Mardi Gras book for this time of year has been created by Lafayette artist Vergie Banks. “The Journey of the Little Red Tricycle, Zoe Meets Gumbo,” for ages 3 and up, centers around a young girl named Zoe who can speak three languages, English, French and Spanish. Zoe dresses in costumes and enjoys a country Mardi Gras with zydeco music, chasing chickens and a gumbo at day’s end, even though the chicken she brings home becomes a pet. Banks’s little red tricycle is part of her most popular body of artwork that portrays a little Creole girl with pigtails on her three-wheeler. 

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cookbook Thursday: Jyl Benson's 'Fun, Funky and Fabulous' New Orleans

            New Orleans food writer Jyl Benson takes on the more colorful side of New Orleans cuisine in “Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans’ Casual Restaurant Recipes,” with photography by Sam Hanna and illustrations by Simon of New Orleans. It’s a fun trip through a city whose cuisine continues to evolve, spotlighting recipes from unique spots such as Vega Tapas Café, Juan’s Flying Burrito, The Three Muses and Miss Linda’s New Orleans Soul Food.  
            Benson will be signing copies of this eclectic cookbook from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at Oil and Vinegar Louisiana culinary shop, 6111 Pinnacle Pkwy. in Covington. The book features three recipes from Covington chefs Keith Frentz and Nealy Frentz of LOLA Restaurant and we'll be serving samples to snack. She will also sign copies at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, at Coquette, 2800 Magazine St. in New Orleans, with Chef Michael Stolzfus serving up samples from the book.
            The official book launch will be at 6 p.m. March 5 at Octavia Books in New Orleans with Chef Michael Nirenberg of Fulton Alley serving the andouille tots shown on the book’s cover.
            Here’s a recipe for chilled crab and cappellini salad by Chef Isaac Toups of Toups’Meatery.

Chilled Crab and Cappellini Salad
From “Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans’ Casual Restaurant Recipes”
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
8 ounces dried cappellini pasta cooked until al dente, chilled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 ounce of your favorite caviar
8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
20 satsuma, tangerine or blood orange segments, membranes removed
4 large basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade

            Directions: Start with well-chilled ingredients. Whisk the lemon juice, mustard, and sugar in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the oil in thin rivulets, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cappellini, parsley, chives and caviar; toss gently to coat. Gently fold in the crabmeat, taking care not to break up the lumps. Divide the salad evenly among four chilled salad plates. Divide the citrus segments and basil evenly among the plates.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book events this week

            Family Puppet Theater for ages 5 to 12 begins at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, at the North Regional Library of Lafayette.
            Matt Kepnes signs “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, at Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans.
            Warren and Mary Perrin, editors of “Acadie Then and Now: A People’s History,” will speak about their new book from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at the 250th Anniversary of the Arrival of Beausoleil and the Acadians at the, Old U. S. Mint in New Orleans. For more information, call 233-5832, or email perrin@plddo.com.
            Louisiana’s first comic con convention will be Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Bossier Civic Center in Bossier City. For more information, visit Louisianacomiccon.com.
            T. Geronimo Johnson will celebrate the release of his latest book, “Welcome to Braggsville,” at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at Octavia Books of New Orleans.
            Johnette Downing and Jennifer Lindsley will be reading from and signing their new book, “Fifolet,” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Maple Street Bookshop in New Orleans. The official book launch will include a book reading, art discussion, treasure hunt, coloring sheet, refreshments and a book signing by both the author and illustrator!
            Jyl Benson will be signing her cookbook, “Fun, Funky & Fabulous: New Orleans Casual Restaurant Recipes” from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at Oil & Vinegar Louisiana culinary shop, 6111 Pinnacle Pkwy, Covington. The book features three recipes from Covington chefs Keith Frentz and Nealy Frentz of LOLA Restaurant and we'll be serving samples to snack.
            The SWLA Family Book Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at Central School, 806 Kirby St. in Lake Charles. The free event includes over 35 book vendors coming from all over Louisiana and Texas, activities for everyone including a miniature horse for the children to pet and read to, a Kids' Korral with "steer" roping, a children's story and activity center, plus food! The CAL/CAM 4-H Horse Club is sponsoring a jambalaya lunch and Coke is offering free soft drinks.
              The Writers and Readers Symposium: A Celebration of Literature and Art will be Saturday, Feb. 21, in St. Francisville and feature writers Abigail Padgett, Moira Crone, Louisiana Poet Laureate Ava Hayman and photographer/writer Richard Sexton with Carolyn Thornton. Info: http://www.stfrancisville.us/.


Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “ExploringCajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.