Sunday, February 19, 2012

Readings at the Library

Yesterday, Carnegie Library hosted its annual Reminiscent Writings Program.  Despite the rain a few folks showed up.  I had the privilege to read an entry from the 2009 program.  It was a story about how my grandpa met my grandma (my mama's parents).  She came with me and I knew it was going to be hard, since I'm so tender hearted.  My voice cracked and tears welled in my eyes on more than one occasion but I finally finished the story.  There is nothing like telling your story! It may sound a little selfish, but that story means so much to me just as it did when I visited with my grandpa that day and heard him tell it.  Sadly, of all the people in all the surrounding communities, the library only received ten entries this year.  The new theme for 2012 was announced and I can't wait until another special story gets out of my head to be forever recorded on the page.  Won't you please check out the Reminiscent Writings?  This is a great opportunity to record your stories.  Ms. Marcia Dutton and her husband Mr. Charlie were there, and I was so happy to see them.  I can't wait to read Ms. Marcia's story since she submitted one this year.  This competition, if you want to call it that, has been in place since 1991 and it's a way of collecting community members' stories.  There is no fee to enter, only adhere to the theme and word count.  Everyone who submits a story receives a spiral-bound copy of all submissions.  Although my story was somewhat sad and sappy, the program ended on a happy story about a young girl accidentally making muffins with Watkins liniment!  Please consider participating in this year's theme.  There are countless stories out there waiting for the right home. Some of our Bayou Writers' Group members have participated over the years such as Rachel Windham and Bob and Georgia Downer. It's really fun and a great way for writers to get published!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Poetry Out Loud

On Friday, Feb 17th, Central School will  host the regional competition of the National Poetry Out Loud Competition.  This event if open to the public.  For more info see the Arts & Humanities website.  I promise, you'll be blown away as high-school students recite poetry.  Show your support to our young people as they embrace the arts.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saint Domingue & Toussaint Louverture by Dr. Philippe Girard of McNeese State University

Dr. Phillipe Girard, associate professor of history and department head at McNeese State University gave an excellent presentation at our Bayou Writers' Group meeting yesterday.  The reason I'm writing about this is because not only was his topic fascinating, but he shared with us the five years it took him to research his book "The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian War of Independence (University of Alabama Press, 2011).  Dr. Girard's native language is French, and at times it was a little hard to understand.  His enthusiasm and education on the subject makes me want to enroll in one of his history classes just to listen to him speak.  I forgot what true French sounds like! As usual, I took notes:
  • 200 years ago Saint-Domingue was the world's leading exporter of sugar and coffee.  (WORLD'S largest, according to Dr. Girard.)  Now, present-day Haiti is one of the poorest countries.
  • Toussant Louverture was a slave who became a freedman who became a land owner and slave owner who then became a leader and finally governor of Haiti (sounds a bit like the movie Gladiator, huh?)
  • In 1803 Napolean's interest in Haiti and it's supporter Louisiana diminished, and he wondered how to get rid of Louisiana. At the same time, Jefferson and his team showed up in France to buy that piece of property.  Odd coincidence.
  • Haiti wasn't recognized by the United States as a country until 1863 (two years into the Civil War).
  • In 1794, France was the first country in the world to abolish slavery.  70 years before the U.S..
After his presentation, lots of members asked questions.  It was an excellent meeting and I encourage visitors to come.  You never know who will show up at the BWG meetings.  Our next meeting is Sat, March 3 at 10:00 am at the Carnegie Library on Pujo St in Lake Charles.  See our website at