Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Books Along the Teche Literary Festival 2019: Making my Schedule

Shadows on the Teche
Somehow in my past I had neglected reading The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I remember when the book came out and I remember everyone reading it and talking about it. My daughter even read it (I think) because I had it on my shelf here for years; I never picked it up.

When I found out that author Rebecca Wells will be the featured author at the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival this year, I decided it was time to read the book. My librarian friend and fellow book-nerd insisted that I also read Little Altars Everywhere, which I did. Then I read Ya-Ya's in Bloom.  I now know the Ya-Ya's like my own family.

Now that I've read these, I'm excited to see Rebecca Wells next weekend at the literary festival! This is a woman that can tell a story! My favorite of the three books is Little Altars Everywhere but they are all wonderful; I have not read The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder yet, I've been so caught up in the Ya-Ya's. They remind me of my mother and her friends in a lot of ways and oh they are so Southern! 

So now I'm looking at the events schedule for the festival and trying to plan my events. This is more difficult than it sounds; there is so much I want to do!

We attended this festival last year and had a wonderful time, made new friends, and fell in love with Iberia Parish. That we would return this year was never in question. 

Do I want to do the same events I did last year?  (Yes!) Do I want to add new events? (Yes!) The festival organizers have spread things out a bit from last year and there are more opportunities to do things; for example, last year I missed most of the authors fair on Main Street because we were doing the Dave's Haunts and Jaunts tour. During the afternoon a nasty cold front blew in and by the time the bus tour was over most of the authors had closed up. 

Last year I didn't do the Bouree lessons and I think that would be sort of fun! 

This is my tentative schedule this year:

Louisiana Seafood Great Southern Chefs Foods Demo  9:30 - 11:00: this was great last year and
we got to sample delicious food!
Dave's Haunts and Jaunts Tour   12:30 - 3:00  We did this one last year but two things make me want to repeat this: James Lee Burke has released New Iberia Blues since then, and Danny Bonaventure. Danny is the tour guide and he's terrific, tons of fun, and excellent at his job.  This was a blast and I'm all in for doing this again.
Live Oak Walk  3:00 - 5:00  Main Street is lined with beautiful live oaks and I think this would be fun.  The walk is hosted by a local arborist and I would probably learn some things. We did not do this last year.  
The Jazz it Up Opening Reception  6:00 - 8:00  There is no way on God's green planet that I would miss this.  Hosted at the beautiful Shadows on the Teche plantation home of Weeks Hall, this was a fabulous event last year. The Bunk Johnson Brazz Band provides the music and there is a cochon de lait on the grounds under large white tents. If that's not your thing, you have the option of other seafood specialties. Tables are scattered on the grounds along the bayou and you can eat, visit, listen to music, and at the end of the evening there is a really fun second-line around the grounds! We met so many wonderful people last year at this event; it was one of my favorite things we did.  I'm all in
for this one.

So Friday looks to be a pretty busy day!  So far I've only picked up one new event.

The Dave's Haunts and Jaunts Tour runs again at 8:00; it is a possibility we might do it Saturday instead of Friday.  
Books Into Movies Panel Discussion  10:30 - 12:00.  I'm maybe interested in this event.  The panel will discuss what authors should know about making a film of their books. A lot of people tell me Cane River Bohemia ought to be a movie; I'm not so sure about that, but maybe I'll learn something or get some networking in via this panel. 
Allons Manger Food Truck and Music Event begins at 10:30 and runs until 1:30 while the Authors Book Fair runs from 9:30 - 3:00. I think I want to participate in both of these and have a fairly unscheduled day on Main Street, eating, looking at books, listening to music, and watching Bayou Teche.  This might give me time to visit the Bayou Teche Museum which we did last year and loved. 
Bouree Lessons are from 11:00 - 12:00 and I could fit that in, too.
University of Lafayette Academic Symposium 12:30 - 2:30.  We attended this last year and it was great; I definitely want to do this again.  The topic is James Lee Burke and Louisiana Politics: right up my alley. 

Now this is my problem: if I do the Symposium, I can't do the Reader's Theater which runs from 1:00 - 2:00, and I missed this last year, too. The actors are reading from Divine Secrets and this will be awesome!  Ugh!

From 3:00 - 5:00 Rebecca Wells will speak and I'm definitely doing this. I wouldn't miss a chance to meet this storyteller/author!  I bet this is going to be awesome!

The Boogie on Down Evening Party is from 6:00 - 9:00 and we will definitely do this again. It was great fun last year. Terry Huval and his group will play fabulous Cajun music, the food will be abundant and delicious, and the friendship and fellowship will be heartwarming!  

On Sunday, Steve and I will be heading back home so we will miss the Swamp Tours and the
Symphony in the Park. The trip home for us will include lunch in St. Martinville and a stop in Arnaudville to stock up on Bayou Teche Brewing beers and Cajun Saucer Pizza.  

It sounds like an exhausting weekend and I can't wait!  And even still there is not enough time to do it all. I did not even list the Art Guild Exhibit, the movie screenings, the Poetry and Music event, or the Sir Speedy Run.  

And my gosh, you're in Iberia Parish! When is there time to visit Avery Island? Rip Van Winkle Gardens? Konriko Rice Mill?  I'm dying to go to Cypremort Point!  I've never been to Jeanerette or Loreauville! The docks at Delcambre are cool to see!  There is so much to see and do.  This is why after we attended the literary festival last year, we have made at least four more trips to the area since then, and I still haven't seen and done everything there is to do.

Guess that means I'll keep on coming back to Iberia Parish!

If you go:
Here is the Schedule of Events
My trip report from last year, Part 1 and Part 2

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Loose Saturday Morning Musings

Wishful thinking: where is the sun?
Some loose thoughts this gray, gloomy, not-yet-Spring morning:

On sunshine:  Sun?  What is that?  It's been cloudy and damp as long as I can remember.  I need sun. I'm tired of gloomy, gray days.  So there.

On writing:  Blogging has been rather slow here as I've been involved in research and in writing on book two. Plus, it's been gray and gloomy and there has not much I felt like blogging about. I'm so over politics these days -- I doubt I'll ever return to full time political blogging. I'm super excited about my new book project, however, and am looking forward to sharing it with you, but not quite yet. Patience.

On reading: I've been reading a lot of research material for the new book, but I also have to have my pleasure reading. I am currently reading The Sound of Building Coffins by Louis Maistros, which Steve picked up at the Louisiana Book Festival last fall.  It's a stunning book and I can't recommend it enough, especially if you're from NOLA or Louisiana. I'll post a full review when I've finished but man, it's a truly beautiful book. Check it out.

On school:  Another reason for slow blogging. This semester has been a challenging one and I'm only halfway through the semester. I take seriously my responsibility to teach my students and prepare them for those end of the year tests, even when those students don't always fully realize the importance of those tests. Most days I feel like I've had rocks thrown at me all day and I'm exhausted,  sometimes in tears, but this is part of it. And it's why I love my job: we will all get there together and we will be successful. It's a challenge every single day, but one so very much worth taking.

On thank-you notes:  I received the loveliest thank-you note yesterday from the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN), thanking me for speaking at their banquet last month, when in truth, I'm the one thanking them. I love sharing the Cane River Bohemia story with groups and I'm so grateful that they like my book. Thank you notes are too often an overlooked touch, I think. My mama drilled me about writing them when I was young and I still do it. There is something special about the fact that someone took the time to hand write a note, put a stamp on it, and mail it. My APHN note is on lovely creme colored stationery with the APHN monogram and the handwriting is beautiful cursive writing with a personal, lovely message. I will keep it forever and plan to put it in my Cane River Bohemia scrapbook that I'm going to start on this summer.

On the calendar:  With the approach of spring there are some exciting events coming up. I'm headed to Baton Rouge in a couple of weeks to talk about Cane River Bohemia with the members of the Baton Rouge Country Club Book Club.  In April I will be speaking with the North Louisiana Historical Association at their annual banquet in Natchitoches. I'm very excited about both of these invitations! The Baton Rouge event gives me an opportunity to head back down south and I could not be more excited about that. We're going to head over to New Iberia, St. Martinville, and Arnaudville and hit some of our favorite spots.  Also in April is the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival and while I am only going as a book lover and not an author, I can't wait to get back to New Iberia and see friends, listen to Cajun music, and take part in the joie de vivre that is so much a part of that area. I need the break.

On baseball:  Bring it.  I'm ready. And leave the damn pitch clock in spring training - quit messing with the game!

On crawfish: I need some. I don't want to pay $7.00 a pound for them. I must wait.

Since it appears the sun will not come out today I'm going to settle in and get some work done today. I hope the sun is shining where you are and that you have warm, bright days.