|Despite budget issues, book festival still makes a good read|
It’s been through rocky years of state budget cuts and uncertainty, but the Louisiana Book Festival keeps bouncing back. The one-day event was canceled in 2010 when state funding dwindled to nearly nothing, but rallied last year, drawing thousands to the state capitol for author talks, a book market, exhibitions and more. Chalk it up to talented writers and booklovers who call the Pelican State home, private partners like Barnes & Noble, but also the dedicated folks at the State Library and the lieutenant governor’s office who have sought out federal grants and local support to keep it going.
“Louisiana is very often at the bottom of the list [in many categories],” says State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “But Louisiana is at the top of the list for Louisiana authors and artists who really contribute to our cultural economy. Having such fantastic authors writing about our beautiful, unique state—it’s promoting that idea of how important it is to have a culture of literacy.”
Hamilton also touts the festival’s boost to tourism, bringing $2 million in revenue to the city, she says. The ninth such event, the festival takes over downtown in front of the state capitol and Fourth Street Oct. 27. louisianabookfestival.org
CHECK THESE OUT:
We asked State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton to highlight some of her favorite books set in the South and by Louisiana authors (pictured above), all of which can be found, of course, at your local library.
The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
Working in a New Orleans Department store after World War I, Sam Simoneaux is haunted by the kidnapping of a young girl from the store and sets out to find her. The plot is rich with folklore and descriptions of the past.
Mariana Titus is one of my best friends. I met her when I worked in the St. Mary Parish Library System. Her books reflect her love and devotion to the Bayou Teche area of Louisiana. This one is full of graveyard epitaphs, photographs and short narratives that connect past and present souls in a thoughtful, humorous, often wistful oral history of Franklin and St. Mary Parish.
Summers Full of Porch Bull by Mariana Titus
Many stories have been shared and lessons learned on the front porch. I spent several summers on Mama T’s front porch with Mariana waving to those that passed by and meeting new friends to stopped by to chat. This is an enchanting foray into the hearts and minds of South Louisiana folk.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel by Rebecca Wells
I think we all know some Ya Ya’s. Sometimes considered a Southern book, it will resonate with anyone who knows that special bond between life-long friends, of accepting the good with bad, the achievements and embarrassments that arise between friends.
This Louisiana Thing that Drives Me: The Legacy of Ernest J. Gaines by Reggie Scott Young, Marcia Gaudet and Wiley Cash
Ernest Gaines is one of my absolute favorite authors. I grew up in West Baton Rouge Parish right on the border of Point Coupee Parish, and Gaines’ books refer to areas I know very well. His life, legacy and inspiration are brought to life in photographs, letters, essays and quotations.
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Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
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