‘Dollbaby’ recalls racial upheaval of 1960s New Orleans _lowres

'Dollbaby' by Laura McNeal

Four books from local authors will be featured during the 2014 season of Coffee and Conversation, a literary initiative sponsored by the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the Jefferson Parish Library. The events will be at 7 p.m. in the meeting rooms of the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, as follows.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 1, Laura Lane McNeal, author of “Dollbaby.” “Dollbaby” begins when Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in summer 1964. Her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure.
  • Thursday, Oct. 9, Scott Cowen, “The Inevitable City.” The book presents 10 principles that changed the game for this city and, if adopted, can alter the curve for any business, endeavor, community — and perhaps even a nation. It is the story of the resurgence and reinvention of one of America’s greatest cities.
  • Thursday, Oct. 16, Sally Asher, “Hope and New Orleans,” explains Bourbon’s royal lineage, the magnitude of Napoleon’s influence, how Tchoupitoulas’ history is just as long and vexing as its spelling and why mispronouncing such streets as Burgundy, Calliope and Socrates doesn’t mean you are incorrect —it just means you are local.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19, Richard Campanella, “Bourbon Street, A History.” New Orleans is a city of many storied streets, but only one conjures up as much passion as it does fervent hatred, simultaneously polarizing the public while drawing millions of visitors a year.

POETRY TIME: Brad Richard, a local poet and chair of the creative writing program at Lusher Charter High School, and Carolyn Hembree, a poetry teacher at the University of New Orleans, will read and sign copies of their books at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie.

Richard’s poetry collection “Motion Studies” won the 2010 Washington Prize from The Word Works.

Hembree’s first poetry collection, “Skinny,” was published by Kore Press in 2012. She has received three Pushcart Prize nominations for individual poems.

Members of the Friends of the Jefferson Public Library will sell copies of the books.

WORLD WAR II DISCUSSION GROUP: Kim Guise, a curator at the National WWII Museum, will speak on “Wartime Logs” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2, at the East Bank Regional Library in Metairie. Wartime Logs are the special diaries that the YMCA and Red Cross provided for POWs held captive by the Germans in WWII. They served as sketchbooks, journals, cookbooks, song books and photo albums. The World War II Discussion Group, headed by local teacher and historian Brian Altobello, meets the first Thursday of every month to discuss events of the 1930s and 1940s.

GREAT BOOKS DISCUSSION GROUP: The group meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Old Metairie Library. The book to be discussed during this session is “Iphigenia at Aulis” by Euripides. The group helps people learn how to think and share ideas by educating them to become participants in, leaders of and advocates for “shared inquiry.” It meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

TOASTMASTERS: Those interested in improving their public speaking skills can choose between two different Toastmaster groups that meet at the Old Metairie Library, 2350 Metairie Road, Metairie. The Naturally Nawlins Toastmaster Group meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30. The APAS Toastmaster Group meets at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2. Both groups provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills.

MIND YOUR KNITTING: The Monday Knitters Group gathers each Monday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gretna Library, 102 Willow Drive, Gretna. Bev Madere, Craft Yarn Council of America Master Knitter, facilitates this group of adult knitters. All level of skills welcomed; basic knitting skills are taught to beginners.

For more 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.