Birding at Oakley Plantation House during Audubon Pilgrimage 2017, St. Francisville, Louisiana

In March, Oakley Plantation House near St. Francisville was the site of Audubon Pilgrimage events honoring John James Audubon who painted images

Murrell Butler, naturalist and artist, described the birds of the area today. C.C. Lockwood, Louisiana’s famous wetlands photographer, described how he takes world-class photos of wildlife. Dr. Tom Tully, wildlife veterinarian, explained his work and took the class on a birding expedition around Oakley’s grounds. The exciting siting of the day was a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker! Try it, you’ll like it.


Louisiana Trust for Historical Preservation “Ramble” in New Iberia, Louisiana

“Ramble” in New Iberia

The Louisiana Trust for Historical Preservation had a downtown restoration of the old city was the first feature on display. The 1930’s era movie theatre being restored provided seating for the opening introductions and historical review of Iberia Parish on the banks of Bayou Teche.

It was being readied for a production of  Jesus Christ Superstar Saturday evening. Old buildings on the Main Street have been purchased by interested citizens for restoration and repurposing. A grand museum has been opened displaying the industries, people, and history. I enjoyed visiting with Howard Kingston, proprietor of Books Along the Teche, a small, but packed, book store at 106 East Main Street. The sugar industry has dominated the  culture since the Eighteenth Century. Together with the influx of Acadians, the arrival of the steamboat, rails and highways, plus salt mines, Tabasco sauce, and a crawfish farms, Iberia Parish has evolved to produce a prosperous population.

The old town tours were followed by visits to two Acadian cottages just off of Main Street being restored by Leo Watermeier. Visits followed to Olivier Plantation Store in Lydia and the restored ancestral residence of Peter Patout in Patoutville. That community celebrates Enterprise Sugar Mill, the oldest operating sugar mill in the United States. The Patout Plantation main house is a magnificent example of the prosperity that sugar made. A final visit to artist Hunt Slonem’s Albania Plantation is a dazzling example of the best of restoration accomplishments. Plus, the three story home on the banks of the Teche is filled with the finest in period paintings and Hunt’s own imaginative art work.

The twenty-four hours immersed me in a region busily preserving its past to benefit the  present.

Louisiana Book Festival

My destination today (10/30/15) was the LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL in Baton Rouge. First on my agenda was a training session by book publicist Sara Russo. ( She described well the process of promoting books, particularly focusing on the importance and techniques for promoting the author. Personal contacts are essential in the process. Explain who you are, what your experiences have been that make your writing significant. Then she walked through the Internet media and how she uses them to build followers. But first, she said, begin with a personal plan for the promotional project. Then stick with it.