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Contact: Matt Tarver Oct. 13, 2009
(337) 482-6397,WearRed@louisiana.edu
UL Lafayette is Leading Character at Book Festival
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will be well represented at the state’s largest literary event, the seventh annual Louisiana Book Festival.

More than 15,000 people from across the South are expected to attend the free event, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Louisiana State Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge.

“ The UL Lafayette Press and UL Lafayette scholars will be major players in the 2009 Louisiana Book Festival,” said Dr. Marcia Gaudet, the Dr. Doris Meriwether/BORSF Professor of English and Research Fellow of UL Lafayette’s Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism.

“It is a wonderful statewide showcasing of work being done here at the university. For example, having the book talk ‘Ernest J. Gaines: Still Driven by That ‘Louisiana Thing’ scheduled in the Senate Chamber is a mark of distinction at the festival.”

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press will have the most titles – seven – of any publisher at the festival. It will premier two books there, including one about author Ernest J. Gaines, UL Lafayette’s writer-in-residence emeritus. The Gaines book will be a fundraiser for the Ernest J. Gaines Center, which was established at the university last year.

Among the 190 authors who will speak at sessions or serve as moderators are five UL Lafayette faculty members: Gaudet, Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, Dr. Judith F. Gentry, Dr. Mary Ann Wilson and Dr. Reggie Scott Young. Professors emeritus who will speak or moderate include Dr. Darrel Bourque, Louisiana’s poet laureate; Ernest J. Gaines, UL Lafayette’s writer-in-residence emeritus; Dr. Burton N. Raffel and Dr. Thomas D. Schoonover.

UL Lafayette Press will launch The Louisiana Thing That Drives Me: The Legacy of Ernest J. Gaines at the festival. A coffee table book that covers Gaines’ life, career and legacy, it was written by Gaudet, Young and Wiley Cash, who earned his doctorate from UL Lafayette.

It explores the writer’s relationship with his native state through the use of quotations and photographs. Gaines shares a glimpse inside his world through the introduction to the book and through the inclusion of numerous images from his own personal collection of photographs.

The author will sign copies of the book during the festival at the UL Lafayette Press tent. Proceeds from book sales will help fund the Ernest J. Gaines Center, which is under construction on the third floor of Edith Garland Dupré Library on campus. Gaines has donated his papers and manuscripts to the center. The center will have the only complete collection of Ernest Gaines scholarship in the world.

Deluxe numbered editions of the book, signed by Gaines and the other authors, will be given to the first 100 contributors of $5,000 or more to the center.

Gaines will also sign copies of the book on Sunday, Oct. 18 at the Dupré Library from 2-4 p.m. These proceeds also go directly to the Ernest J. Gaines Center.

A second book that UL Lafayette Press is premiering is Lorraine Gendron: Louisiana Folk Artist by Nancy Tregre Wilson. This is the first extensive treatment of the Hahnville, Louisiana based artist, whose Mississippi River mud sculptures, painted wood cutouts, acrylic on wood paintings and primitive dolls are treasured by collectors around the world. Gendron is the featured artist of this year’s Louisiana Book Festival; one of her paintings was used for the 2009 commemorative poster and other promotional materials.

UL Lafayette Press was created in the early 1970s. It had a $200 budget and published books using typewriters. Nearly 40 years later, the press has become a nationally competitive book publisher. According to Dr. James D. Wilson Jr., assistant director, the press is the strongest publisher of Louisiana-related books and also publishes books for other universities, such as Grambling, ULM and Southern.

Other books published by the UL Lafayette Press this year include:

• Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans, by Richard Campanella, which presents 68 episodes in the historical geography of New Orleans. It begins with formation of the city and covers its urbanization and population, its “humanization” into a place of distinction, the manipulation of its environment, its devastation by Hurricane Katrina and its ongoing recovery.

• Old South Baton Rouge: The Roots of Hope, by Petra Munro Hendry and Jay Edwards, documents the history, architecture, and community of one of Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhoods. It is the culmination of diligent archival research and more than 10 years of collecting oral histories, about topics such as McKinley High School, the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott of 1953, the once-thriving business corridor, and the numerous churches and civic groups of the neighborhood.

• The Last Days of Last Island: the Hurricane of 1856, Louisiana First Great Storm, by Bill Dixon, is a gripping true story of one of Louisiana’s most tragic human dramas—the great hurricane of 1856 and its obliteration of Last Island, including the destruction of the island’s popular summer resort hotel. In addition to being the most comprehensive account of the storm available, this book includes the only exhaustive summary of victims and survivors of the storm.

• Up from the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War I, by Jason Berry, Jonathan Foose, and Tad Jones details the inside story of New Orleans music from the rise of rhythm-and-blues through the return after Hurricane Katrina. This new edition includes material on the cultural awakening that has elevated New Orleans music to new heights since the 1980s, as well as discussions of the return of the music and musicians to the Crescent City following Hurricane Katrina. It incorporates images from New Orleans photographers Michael Smith and Syndey Byrd.

• Amid the Swirling Ghosts and Other Essays, by William Caverlee, is a collection of essays that is the first book from Monroe, Louisiana-based writer William Caverlee. He is a contributing writer to the Oxford American, where many of these essays first appeared, and has published in the Christian Science Monitor, the Cimarron Review and the Louisiana Review.

About UL Lafayette

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the state, with over 16,000 students. It’s a public institution that awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It includes diverse offerings from the humanities to scientific research and leads the nation in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. Its student-athletes – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns – compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition.


Document last revised Thursday, October 15, 2009 3:12 PM

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