Author Rod Dreher will speak to the Friends of the West Feliciana Parish Library organization and the community about his collaboration with African-American actor Wendell Pierce on Pierce’s recent memoir, “The Wind in the Reeds.”
Pierce’s memoir tells the story of the his family’s rise out of slavery and rural poverty.
Dreher’s talk is 5:30 p.m. Monday at the West Feliciana Parish Library, 5114 Burnett Road, St. Francisville.
Friends of the Library, an area nonprofit that supports the library and its staff through fundraisers, is hosting the event.
“We wanted to have something really special to celebrate National Library Week, and we think we found it,” Friends President Pat Heurtin said. “With West Feliciana’s own Rod Dreher as our special guest and ‘The Wind in the Reeds’ having been nominated for several awards, we believe everyone who attends will enjoy this program.”
Membership to the Friends club is not a requirement to attend this free program.
Club members will conduct a short business meeting prior to the talk and host a reception following the program.
Heurtin describes “The Wind in the Reeds” as a moving story of faith, family and courage.
“In the book, Pierce explores the world of his ancestors and how the sacrifices they made opened the world up for his own success on Broadway and in Hollywood. The actor writes of his grandparents Mamo and Papo, hardscrabble farmers in the River Parishes, whose devotion to hard work, education and faith in God and their country helped them endure the worst of segregation and Jim Crow,” Heurtin said.
Pierce, who is known for his roles in USA Network’s “Suits” and Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” discusses his father’s heroism in World War II and how a white military officer refused to recognize that a black soldier could have won the medals he had been awarded.
The book also talks about Hurricane Katrina and how the disaster caused Pierce to rediscover his love for New Orleans and south Louisiana.
So, how does a black urban liberal end up working on his book with a white conservative who lives in the Feliciana hills, one might ask?
“Wendell and I were both a little bit suspicious of each other when we met to discuss the possibility of a collaboration, but over a long lunch in New Orleans, we discovered that we had a lot more in common than we thought,” Dreher said. “Both of us had discovered that in the middle of the journey of our lives and through tragedy how much we loved our homeland and wanted to be part of it.”
Prior to their meeting, Pierce read Dreher’s 2013 memoir, “The Little Way of Ruthie Leming,” which discusses how his sister’s struggle with cancer and the loving response of West Feliciana residents to it, made Dreher return home.
Dreher is the author of “Crunchy Cons” and “How Dante Can Save Your Life.”
He is a senior editor at a local magazine.