Charlsa Moore, an avid historian of Henry Watkins Allen, will lecture about Gov. Allen and his leadership role as Louisiana’s 17th governor and as a Confederate brigadier general in the Civil War.

The Foundation for Historical Louisiana’s Heritage Lecture is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14, in the East Room of the Old Governor’s Mansion, 502 North Blvd.

Allen served as governor late in the Civil War, from 1864 to 1865, and was the second and last Confederate governor elected under Constitutional law. Moore will share insights about Allen’s life as a planter on Allendale Plantation in West Baton Rouge Parish, a soldier in the Civil War and governor of Louisiana.

Allen served as a general in the Battle of Shiloh, and he also fought in the Battle of Baton Rouge where he was wounded in both legs. As governor, Allen persuaded the legislature to adopt programs which benefited a poverty-stricken populace. He died in 1866 and is buried at the Old State Capitol. The city of Port Allen was named after him in 1878.

Moore first became interested in Allen while working on research for the West Baton Rouge Museum about his life on Allendale Plantation. Since that time, Moore has continued to expand her research study of Allen as a soldier and his term as governor. She is an LSU graduate with a degree in fine arts-printmaking, and holds a degree in anthropology with a specialty in historical archaeology. Moore is retired from the state, and spends much time doing historical research and printmaking. She is also a tour guide at Magnolia Mound Plantation.

A reception, hosted by Calandro’s Fine Wine and Cellars, begins at 6 p.m. followed by the lecture. The event is free to FHL members and $10 for guests. FHL can be reached at (225) 387-2464 or at to register.

Gaines Award entries

Entries are being accepted through April 30 for the seventh annual Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Information on criteria and entrance forms for the award, which includes a $10,000 cash prize, is available at

Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, The Ernest J. Gaines award is meant to inspire and recognize excellence among rising African-American writers and to honor Gaines as one of the world’s most celebrated authors.

A Louisiana native, Gaines’ critically acclaimed novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, was adapted into a 1974 made-for-TV movie that received nine Emmy awards. His 1993 book, A Lesson Before Dying, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Currently, he is a creative writing instructor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Entries for the Ernest J. Gaines Award are judged by a panel of professional writers and academics that will announce a winner later this year. An awards ceremony will take place in January 2014.

The current winner is Stephanie Powell Watts for her collection of short stories We Are Taking Only What We Need, which was named one of the best books of 2012 by the New Yorker. Dinaw Mengestu, the 2011 winner for How to Read the Air, was recently named a MacArthur Fellow.

Other past winners include Victor LaValle for Big Machine; Jeffrey Allen for Holding Pattern: Stories; Ravi Howard for Like Trees Walking; and Olympia Vernon for A Killing in this Town.

For more information, visit

Poet Laureate finalists

Louisiana is one step closer to naming its next poet laureate. A special statewide panel, chaired by Michael Sartisky, president and executive director of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, has sent the names of three finalists to Gov. Bobby Jindal who by statute will make the final selection subject to confirmation by the Louisiana senate.

The finalists are:

  • ?Jack Bedell, Professor of the Humanities at Southeastern Louisiana University and the author of seven books, including Call and Response (with Darrell Bourque, 2010), Come Rain, Come Shine (2006), What Passes for Love (2001), and the forthcoming Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems. His journal, Louisiana Literature, has published numerous Louisiana poets and Bedell has taught creative writing to students from the third-grade level to the graduate level. Intimate and personable, his work reflects a familiarity with daily life in the state and its people. In addition, he has worked with the LEH’s award-winning PRIME TIME Family Literacy Program as a storyteller and continues to promote the writing of his fellow Louisianans.
  • ?Ava Leavell Haymon, a nationally recognized poet and teacher who organizes poetry workshops and seminars throughout the state, including the Artists-in-the-Schools program in Baton Rouge, the Junior Great Books program in several parishes, and numerous classes at LSU. Her three full-length collections (The Strict Economy of Fire, Kitchen Heat and, most recently, Why the House is Made of Gingerbread) have been published by LSU Press. In 2010, the Academy of American Poets featured one of her poems as the poem of the day. She is a master craftsperson and respected presence in the state.
  • ?Laura Mullen, the McElveen Professor of English at LSU. Well-regarded both locally and nationally, Mullen is the author of seven books, including Enduring Freedom, Dark Archiveand Murmur. She is a popular professor at LSU and is credited with attracting new graduate students to the campus. Among her awards are an LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award and the National Poetry Series prize and she has lectured at Creteil Universite in Paris and the National University in Tapei. Experimental yet accessible, her work maintains a musical quality that invigorates her public presentations.

According to selection guidelines, nominees must have published works in books, anthologies, literary journals or magazines. In addition, the selection committee must seek information from the general public and the literary community. The committee must select nominees who reflect the diverse cultures and heritage of Louisiana.

Once the nominee is approved by the governor, the new poet laureate will replace current poet laureate Julie Kane, a professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, who has served in that position since 2011. Her term ends May 21. Under state law, the LEH is charged with overseeing the poet laureate nomination process. It selects a nominations committee consisting of two published poets from Louisiana, two professors of literature from a Louisiana college or university, two representatives from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and a representative from LSU Press. Nominees must be either born or domiciled in Louisiana at the time of nomination. This year’s panel included John Biguenet, Loyola University; Bourque; Reggie Young, ULL; Jack Heflin, University of Louisiana at Monroe; Brian Boyles, director of public relations and programs at the LEH; and MaryKatherine Callaway, director, LSU Press.

The LEH will provide grants to non-profit organizations in Louisiana, such as libraries, adult literacy groups and groups interested in language studies, that wish to host the poet laureate for poetry readings, discussion or presentations. For more information, contact Michael Sartisky at (504) 620-2480 or

Williams Festival winners

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival has announced the winners and finalists of its 27th Annual One-Act Play Contest and 5th Annual Fiction Contest. The winning play is Frederick Mensch’s Father. Mensch’s play will be published in Bayou Magazine. He will also receive $1,500, and VIP All-Access Festival Passes to both the 2013 Festival, which will host a staged reading of Father, and the 2014 Festival, which will feature a full production of his winning play. The winning short story is Ben Philippe’s “Momentum.” Philippe’s story will be published in Louisiana Literature. He will also receive $1,500, domestic airfare, French Quarter accommodations, and a VIP All-Access Pass to attend the upcoming 2013 Festival, where he will give a public reading of his winning piece.

Other play finalists are: Ariadne Blayde, The Low Millions; Micah Bloomberg, Hero Light; Sharon Dilworth, The Hotel Olafson; Louis Felder, Threat; Roark Littlefield, The Violin Maker; Will Murdock, Kill Me Now; Renier J. Murillo, Just Coffee; and Elizabeth Milloy Nappo, Last Day.

Other short story finalists are: Charlene Allen, “Carry Me Home”; Cara Bayles, “Ostrita”; Rachel Borup, “Crash”; Heather Dundas, “House Menu”; Jennifer Jacobson, “Trouble and Bones”; Julie Justicz, “Conch Pearl”; David Parr, “How to Survive Overwhelming Loss and Loneliness in 5 Easy Steps”; and Maegan Poland, “Sustainable.”

SOLA meeting

South Louisiana Chapter of Romance Writers of America (SOLA) will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Jefferson Parish Library, East Bank branch, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave. in Metairie. The speaker will be Christee Atwood, a recognized expert by the American Society for Training and Development, who will give a motivational, interactive presentation on “Top Time Tips for Writers … Because there really are enough hours in the day.” Atwood is an expert on making time work for the working writer. Visit the website,

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators will meet 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday March 16, at UNO Education Building, Room 305Q. For details, visit

Lunchtime Lagniappe

Lunchtime Lagniappe, a popular weekly series of lectures that explores the rich culture and history of Louisiana, meets at noon Wednesday, March 13, at Capitol Park Museum, 660 N. Fourth St. Polly Rolman-Smith will speak about “Louisiana’s Contributions to Advancements in Medicine.” Rolman-Smith is curator of the Louisiana State Museum science and technology collections.

Her talk brings Louisiana medical history to life with artifacts and images from the museum. The program is free and open to public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lunch and may come and go as their schedules require. The Louisiana State Museum Friends will have refreshments available for a small donation. The museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit

EBR Parish Library

Poe events:

  • ?J. Gerald Kennedy, LSU Boyd Professor of English and Edgar Allan Poe expert, will share his scholarly insight into why Poe is the best source for helping us understand how we deal with terror in everyday post-9/11 life. Kennedy will begin his presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at the Bluebonnet Regional branch, 9200 Bluebonnet Blvd. Call (225) 763-2250.
  • ?Staff of the Zachary branch, 1900 Church St., will present dramatic readings of The Tell Tale Heart and Poe poetry selections at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19. Call (225) 658-1840.
  • ?Go on a “walking tour” of Edgar Allan Poe’s life at the Central branch, 11260 Joor Road, at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12. Learn about major points of his life with a display of pictures, poetry, and food. Call (225) 262-2640.

Come to the Scotlandville Branch on Saturday, March 16, at 3 p.m., for a presentation by the Wings of Hope Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Wings of Hope Wildlife Sanctuary is dedicated to the professional treatment and care for native wild birds and mammal species that are injured, orphaned or otherwise unable to care for themselves and return to their native habit.

This educational program dispels myths and provides the audience with a history and knowledge of all animals presented in the program. For more information, call (225) 354-7540.

Reed and Reed Consulting invites individuals to share their poetry with other creative writers at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at the Greenwell Springs Road Regional branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road. Ten participants can share five minutes of recitation. For more information or to register, email Carolyn Reed at

Book clubs:

  • ?Baker Book Club meets at 10:30 a.m. Monday, March 11, at the Baker branch, 3501 Groom Road. Members will discuss Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury.
  • ?Mystery Lovers Book Club will meet at noon Tuesday, March 12, at the Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. Members will discuss Edgar Award Winners.
  • ?Eden Park Book Club will meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 16, at Eden Park branch, 5131 Greenwell Springs Road. Members will discuss 26a by Diana Evans.
  • ?Scotlandville Book Club will meet at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Scotlandville branch, 7373 Scenic Highway. Members will discuss Goodness & Mercy by Vanessa Griggs.
  • ?Let’s Talk Books Club meets at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Zachary branch, 1900 Church St. Teens in grades 6 and up, rock your green, read Nory Ryan’s Song by Patricia Reilly Giff and come to the Zachary branch to discuss Ireland and this moving story and listen to Irish music from the library collection. For more information, call (225) 658-1870.

Livingston Parish Library

The Watson Branch of the Livingston Parish Library is hosting a group highlighting the personal benefits of journaling. The group meets at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 13. For details, call the Watson Branch at (225) 664-3963.

Book clubs:

  • ?Adult Book Club meets at the Main branch, 20390 Iowa St. in Livingston, at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 14. Members will discuss The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.
  • ?Mystery Mavens meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at Denham Springs-Walker branch, 8101 U.S. 190 in Denham Springs. Members will discuss a novel of your choice by any author.
  • ?Sunny Side Up Inspirational Book Club meets at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 14, at Watson branch, 36581 Outback Road, Denham Springs. Members will discuss All Through the Night by Davis Bunn.
  • ?Spine Tinglers Book Club meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Watson branch, 36581 Outback Road, Denham Springs. Members will discuss I’ll Be Watching You by Tina Wainscott.

Lafayette Public Library

Book club:

  • ?SRL Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at South Regional branch, 6101 Johnston St. in Lafayette. Members will discuss Mrs. God by Peter Straub.


The Rev. Dr. Sam Laine, author of Hope Realized: Blessings and Opportunities Provide Pathways to a Hopeful Present and Future, will sign copies of his book at noon Sunday, March 10, in the Broadmoor Presbyterian Church Activities Building, 9340 Florida Blvd., and 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday, March 11, at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Jones Creek Regional branch, 6222 Jones Creek Road.

Aimee Agresti, author of Infatuate, will sign copies of her book at 5 p.m. Tuesday. March 12, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. in New Orleans.

Paul Dorrell, author of Living the Artist’s Life, will sign copies of his book 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

Rodger Kamenetz, author of The Jew in the Lotus, will sign copies of his book 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Maple Street Book Shop Healing Center location, 2372 St. Claude Ave. in New Orleans.

Earl W. Hampton, Jr., author of The Streetcar Guide to New Orleans, will sign copies of his book 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Maple Street Book Shop, 7529 Maple St. in New Orleans.

Van Mayhall, author of Judas the Apostle, will sign copies of his book at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Barnes & Noble, 3721 Veterans Blvd. in Metairie.

Tom Andes, author of the short story “The Hit,” will sign copies of The Best American Mystery Stories 2012 at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Maple Street Book Shop at Bayou St. John, 3141 Ponce de Leon in New Orleans.

Items for Book Events were provided by The Foundation for Historical Louisiana; Zehnder Communications; Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival; South Louisiana Chapter of Romance Writers of America; Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Louisiana/Mississippi Region; Louisiana State Museum; East Baton Rouge Parish Library; Livingston Parish Library; and Lafayette Public Library.