Christina Vella, a visiting professor of history at Tulane University and author of “Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness De Pontalba,” will discuss her latest book, “George Washington Carver: A Life,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., in Metairie.
Vella says that nearly every American can cite at least one of the accomplishments of George Washington Carver. The many tributes honoring his contributions to scientific advancement and black history include a national monument bearing his name, a U.S.-minted coin featuring his likeness and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Born into slavery, Carver earned a master’s degree at Iowa State Agricultural College and went on to become that university’s first black faculty member. A keen painter who chose agricultural studies over art, he focused the majority of his research on peanuts and sweet potatoes. His scientific breakthroughs with the crops would replenish the cotton-leached soil of the South and help spare multitudes of sharecroppers from poverty.
Despite Carver’s lifelong difficulties with systemic racial prejudice, millions of Americans mourned the death of one of the nation’s most honored and well-known scientists when he died in 1943. Scores of children’s books celebrate the contributions of this prolific botanist, but no biographer has fully examined both his personal life and career until now.
Vella received a Ph.D. in modern European and U.S. history from Tulane University. A consultant for the U.S. State Department, she lectures widely on historical and biographical topics.
This event is co-sponsored by the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, an annual five-day literary festival in the city of New Orleans.
PERFORMING ARTS: Dennis Assaf, co-founder and artistic director of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, will be the guest speaker when the Friends of the Jefferson Parish Library meets at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie. Assaf will discuss the fall season and the building of the new Performing Arts Center.
ARCHDIOCESE RECORDS: Sal Serio hosts two sessions of his popular genealogy course at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the West Bank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey. They are: “Archdiocese Records” at 1 p.m. with guest speaker Jack Belsom; and “Using the Latter Day Saints and Ancestry Websites” at 2:30 p.m. The next genealogy class will occur on Saturday, Oct. 3, and will feature “Using Libraries for Research” at 1 p.m.; followed by “Italian Research” at 2:30 p.m.
PROTEIN CHOICES: Karen Walker, nutrition agent with the Jefferson Parish office of the LSU AgCenter, will discuss “Ways to Vary Your Protein ” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, at the West Bank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey. The discussion is part of a series of classes in which she prepares seasonal dishes and talks about healthful eating. The demonstration involves making salmon patties.
WORLD WAR II INTERCEPTORS: Guest speaker Stan Chiocchio, former naval pilot, will discuss the introduction of the new interceptors by both sides in the last 18 months of World War II when the World War II Discussion Group meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie. The issue of air-to-air combat will be explored as well as the German introduction of the jet and its implications. Teacher and historian Brian Altobello heads the group, which meets the first Thursday of every month to discuss the events of the 1930s and 1940s.
JAZZ CONCERT: The Nouvelle Orleans Jazz Ensemble will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie. The group consists of four performers — two on banjo, one on bass and one on piano–who perform music from the 1920s.
All programs at the library are free of charge and are open to the public. For information about programs at the 15 branches of the Jefferson Parish Library, visit www.jplibrary.net or friend the library’s Facebook page for daily programming updates.