Book Events for Sunday, July 28, 2013

Journalist Sam Irwin is writing a book on the modern Louisiana crawfish industry.

The book, titled Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean, is expected to be released by History Press in time for Mardi Gras 2014.

Irwin, a native of Breaux Bridge, spent nearly all of his childhood (and a good part of his adult life) in Henderson at Amy’s Fisheries, his grandfather’s fish market. Amy’s Fisheries was first established in Butte la Rose in the 1920s and became one of the early businesses in Henderson in 1936.

The “fish dock,” as it was called by family members, was located directly behind Amy’s Grocery, a popular grocery store at the foot of the Atchafalaya Spillway levee near Pat’s Waterfront Restaurant.

“Everyone, even little kids, knew my grandfather as Joe,” Irwin said. “I called him Poppa, but the best way to pronounce his last name is always Cajun-style — Ahh-mee. “

Irwin said he witnessed the Atchafalaya River’s evolution from a fish economy to a crawfish-driven market.

He has heard that some folks were embarrassed to admit they ate crawfish because it was considered “low class” (bas clas) and would like to interview anyone with such a story.

Irwin would also like to hear from Pierre Part residents and other locations on the eastern side of the Atchafalaya Basin and the rice-growing parishes to learn how crawfish became king in the big city, the Cajun prairie and beyond Louisiana’s boundaries.

He also wants to hear your “crazy for crawfish” story. Contact Irwin’s at or (225) 924-2756.

Researching WBR families

The West Baton Rouge Genealogical Society is gathering information relating to West Baton Rouge families for a new book, which will be a sequel to the original West Baton Rouge Families book (available at the West Baton Rouge Parish Library) published in 1999.

The original book contains hundreds of family names and is used as a research and reference tool for many family genealogists. The West Baton Rouge Genealogical Society plans to include many more family names in the sequel project, but will also consider including additional information for family names contained in the first edition.

Contact Margaret Canella at or by mail at P.O. Box 682, Brusly, LA 70719 with family information, including stories, genealogy data, or photographs. In the interest of space, submitting “direct line” ancestry charts is suggested. Canella can also provide information and credentials for the West Baton Rouge Genealogical Society website at

An evening for poetry

Former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque will read from his new collection of poetry, Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie (2013, University of Louisiana Press), during a Voices Seasonal Reading Series event at 7 p.m. Wednesdayat Carpe Diem! Gelato – Espresso Bar, 812 Jefferson St. in Lafayette.

Bourque’s books include Plainsongs (1994, Inaugural Issue of the Cajun Writers Series, Cross-Cultural Communications, Merrick, N.Y.), The Doors between Us (1997, Inaugural Issue of Chapbook Series, Louisiana Literature Press, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond), Burnt Water Suite (1999, Wings Press, Austin, Texas), The Blue Boat (2004, Inaugural Issue of Louisiana Writers Series, Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Call and Response: Conversations in Verse, with Jack B. Bedell, (2009, Texas Review Press, Huntsville, Texas — a member of the Texas A&M Press Consortium), In Ordinary Light, New and Selected Poems (2010, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press), and a special edition chapbook, Holding the Notes (2011, Chicory Bloom Press, Thibodaux).

He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate during 2007-2008 and from 2009 to 2011, and serves on the Ernest J. Gaines Center Board of Directors where he directs the Gaines Center Young Writers Apprentice Program. He is a past president of the Festival of Words Board of Directors and continues to serve on the board. He works with Director Lisa Consiglio in the Narrative4 project based in Chicago.

He is professor emeritus in English and interdisciplinary humanities from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and he lives in rural St. Landry Parish with his wife Karen, who is a glass artist.

Meet the Author(s)

The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s next Meet the Author event will feature George Bishop, Fredrick Barton and Lolis Eric Elie 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at The Cabildo-Louisiana State Musuem, 701 Chartres St. in New Orleans, in the second floor gallery overlooking the square.

The event is free, but make reservations by emailing

Bishop, whose debut novel was A Letter to My Daughter, has a new novel, The Night of the Comet from Ballantine Books. Barton, who directs the University of New Orleans creative writing master of fine arts program, is author of nine books, including Black and White on the Rocks, just out from University of New Orleans Press. Elie, screenwriter for HBO’s popular series Treme, has a new book, Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans. For more on these authors and their new work, visit To reserve copies of their books in advance, call (504) 524-2940 with credit card information.

More book signings

  • Stephen Maitland-Lewis discusses and signs his book Ambition, with New Orleans writer and producer Jon Pult moderating, 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.
  • Scottish author Zoe Venditozzi will sign her book Anywhere’s Better Than Here at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Maple Street Book Shop, 7529 Maple St. in New Orleans.
  • Baton Rouge native Bennett Sims will read and sign his new book, A Questionable Shape, at 7 p.m. Friday at CitiPlace Barnes & Noble, 2590 CitiPlace Court in Baton Rouge.
  • Bishop will sign The Night of the Comet at 1 p.m. Saturday at CitiPlace Barnes & Noble.
  • Murder mystery writer Chuck Hustmyre will sign copies of his new book, The Axman of New Orleans, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. in New Orleans.
  • Erica Spindler will be signing her brand-new book, Justice for Sara, at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Premier Center II Barnes & Noble, 3414 La. 190, Suite 10 in Mandeville.

She has written 30 novels, including Watch Me Die, Blood Vines, Breakneck and Last Known Victim.

She lives just outside New Orleans with her husband and two sons.

Writers groups

  • Westbank Writers’ Group, open to anyone from novices to serious authors. meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Centre at Westbank Barns & Noble, 1601B West Bank Expressway in Harvey,.

The group meets for inspiration, friendly critiques and networking with other writers.

  • The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana, a group for writers, published and unpublished who meet to share and gain knowledge in the craft of writing, will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Lafayette Barnes & Noble, 5705 Johnston St. in Lafayette.

Compiled by Advocate staff