In celebration of National Poetry Month, the State Library of Louisiana is holding the third annual “Just Listen to Yourself: The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets.” Julie Kane, Louisiana’s poet laureate, will host the event from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at the State Library Seminar Center, 701 N. 4th St.

Poets from throughout the state will participate with Kane in readings of their works. Included poets are Nordette Adams, Jack B. Bedell, Darrell Bourque, Gina Ferrara, Charles Garrett, Christopher Hannan, Ava Leavell Haymon, Elizabeth King, Laura Mullen, Melinda Palacio and Jennifer Reeser.

“Louisiana has a rich poetic history that embodies the uniqueness of our culture,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said. “The State Library’s poetry month program provides this opportunity for our state’s talented poets to present their works.”

Just Listen to Yourself is free and attendees are invited to bring their lunch. For more information including biographies of the participating poets, visit

Perique Mystique

South Louisiana photographer Charles Martin will lecture at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Old Governor’s Mansion, 502 North Blvd., about Perique, known to many as the strongest and most flavorful of tobacco plants. The title of the lecture is “Perique Mystique.”

Perique is cultivated on only one place on earth: a 30-mile tract of land in St. James Parish where it dates back to the 19th century. Harvested, bunched and stemmed by hand, the tobacco is pressure cured for a year in whiskey barrels. Martin spent eight years documenting the tradition of the harvest and its process, carried on by only a few St. James families. Martin also documents through his lens Louisiana wetlands and the communities that surround them, including much of the River Parish culture of Louisiana.

The lecture is free to Foundation for Historical Louisiana members and $10 for guests. Calandro’s Select Cellars will host refreshments at 6 p.m. For more information, call (225) 387-2464 or visit

Native Guards commemoration

Gulf Islands National Seashore will hold a special commemorative event honoring the Louisiana Native Guards all day Sunday, April 14, at Jones Park, intersection of U.S. 49 and U.S. 90 in Gulfport, Miss., and on Ship Island in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The first documented combat by U.S. African-American troops occurred April 9, 1863, in East Pascagoula, Miss. Stationed on Ship Island, the 74th United States Colored Troops, known as the Louisiana Native Guards, engaged the Confederates in a short but successful skirmish,” writes Dan Brown, superintendent of Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Speakers for the event at Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island include National Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey (author of the Pulitzer Prize winning 2006 poetry collection Native Guard), Brown, and Civil War researcher Bennie McRae. Speakers will address attendees from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The Louisiana Native Guards comprised former slaves and free people of color from Louisiana, Brown writes. A plaque will be dedicated to the Louisiana Native Guards at 10 a.m. next to the Ship Island ferry dock. The public ferry to Ship Island departs at noon. Tickets for the ferry are available at the box office or online at

A tour of the fort will be offered at 2:30 p.m. In addition, a Civil War encampment with costumed re-enactors will be on-site.

The ferry departs the island for the mainland at 5 p.m.

For more information about Gulf Islands National Seashore, call the visitor center at (228) 230-4100 or visit the website at

Clark to lecture

Emily Clark, author of The Strange History of the American Quadroon: Free Women of Color in the Revolutionary Atlantic World, will speak at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at The Cabildo, Jackson Square in New Orleans. Known as “quadroons,” mixed-race free women of color were a popular metaphor for free-wheeling and exotic antebellum New Orleans. In her book, historian Emily Clark untangles myth from reality to present a nuanced understanding of New Orleans’s free women of color. Clark is Clement Chambers Benenson Professor of American Colonial History and associate professor of history at Tulane University. The event is presented by Friends of the Cabildo and the Louisiana State Museum and is free and open to the public.

EBR Parish Library

The library is celebrating National Library Week this month and is also celebrating one of its own libraries in particular for a milestone. The Bluebonnet Regional branch is 20 years old. The public is invited to stop by to celebrate Bluebonnet’s 20th anniversary and share favorite memories with library staff 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 13. The Lagniappe Dulcimer Society and blues artists Dom and Ace will supply musical entertainment. Refreshments will be provided. Also, take a free tour of the BREC Bluebonnet Swamp trails via the special entrance near the rear of the building. Call (225) 763-2250.

“Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys Book Discussion: A Conference of Birds,” will be presented 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at the Carver branch, 720 Terrace St. Part of continuing programming supported by the NEH, this book discussion will be centered on the 12th century Sufi poem “A Conference of Birds.”

Discussion questions will be made available beforehand. Copies of the books are available upon request.

Louisiana author William Tellot will present his novel, The Long Haul, at the Baker Branch at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13.The story is a testament to the human spirit. Tellot, a truck driver for more than 15 years, relates his own experiences in novel form.

For more information, call (225) 778-5940.

Book clubs:

  • ?Morning Book Club will meet at the Baker branch, 3501 Groom Road, at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 8. Members will discuss selections from The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe.
  • ?Mystery Lovers Book Club will meet at the Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd., at noon Tuesday, April 9.

Livingston Parish Library

Soul Inspired Journaling group will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 10, at the Watson branch, 36581 Outback Road in Denham Springs. New members are welcome. Call the library at (225) 664-3963.

Book clubs:

  • ?Mystery Mavens Book Club will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at the Denham Springs-Walker branch, 8101 U.S. 190 in Denham Springs. Members will discuss Cinnamon Kiss by Walter Mosley.
  • ?Sunny Side Up Inspirational Book Club will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Watson branch, 36581 Outback Road in Denham Springs. Members will discuss The Tehran Initiative by Joel C. Rosenburg.
  • ?Adult Book Club will meet at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Main Branch, 20390 Iowa St. in Livingston. Members will discuss The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.
  • ?Spine Tinglers Book Club will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Watson branch, 36581 Outback Road in Denham Springs. Members will discuss I’ll Be Watching You by Tina Wainscott.

Lafayette Public Library

Book club:

  • ?SRL Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at South Regional branch, 6101 Johnston St. in Lafayette. Members will discuss Devil’s Alphabet by Daryl Gregory.

Library links

East Baton Rouge Parish Library:

Livingston Parish Library:

Ascension Parish Library:

West Baton Rouge Parish Library:

Iberville Parish Library:

West Feliciana Parish Library:

Audubon Regional Library:

Lafayette Public Library:

St. James Parish Library:

St. John the Baptist Parish Library:

St. Charles Parish Library:

Jefferson Parish Library:

New Orleans Public Library:

St. Bernard Parish Library:

St. Tammany Parish Library:

St. Martin Parish Library:

Writers’ group

Barnes & Noble Westbank, 1601B West Bank Expressway in Harvey, is hosting a Writers’ Group 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Tuesdays. This is a networking and critiquing forum for writers of all skill levels. Be prepared to read what you are working on, to take constructive criticism and to give it.

1718 Society

Pam Houston will be 1718 Society’s featured reader in April. 1718 is a student-run literary organization of Tulane, Loyola, and UNO students, hosting their reading series the first Tuesday of every month at the Columns Hotel, 3811 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans. Readings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public, providing an opportunity to experience writers (primarily local poets, but also fiction writers both local and national).

Houston will be reading from her book Contents May Have Shifted. Pam Houston is the author of two collections of linked short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, the novel, Sight Hound, and a collection of essays called A Little More About Me. Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century.

She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction, and The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards. She is the director of creative writing at U.C. Davis and teaches in The Pacific University low residency MFA program, and at writer’s conferences.


Mark LaFlaur, author of Elysian Fields, will sign copies of his book 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, April 7, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

Rita Leganski, author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, will sign copies of her book 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Monday, April 8, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted, will sign copies of her book at 6 p.m. Monday, April 8, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. in New Orleans.

Michelle Hirstius, author of Juju the Good Voodoo!, will sign copies of her book at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at Barnes & Noble, 3721 Veterans Blvd. in Metairie.

Brenda Marie Osbey, author of History And Other Poems, will sign copies of her book at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. in New Orleans.

Lorraine Johnston, author of Later Tartan Gator!, will sign copies of her book at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, at Barnes & Noble, 3721 Veterans Blvd. in Metairie, and at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Barnes & Noble Westbank, 1601B West Bank Expressway, Harvey.

Johnette Downing, author of How to Dress a Po’Boy, will sign copies of her book 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Maple Street Book Shop, 7529 Maple St. in New Orleans.

Cecily White, author of Prophecy Girl, will sign copies of her book 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

Items for Book Events were provided by National Park Service, Foundation for Historical Louisiana, Louisiana State Museum, Maple Street Book Shop, East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Livingston Parish Library, Lafayette Public Library, Barnes & Noble and the 1718 Society.