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LOUISIANA BOOK FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR 10TH ANNIVERSARY THIS FALL

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The 10th annual Louisiana Book Festival, a celebration of readers, writers and their books, returns 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 in Capitol Park in downtown Baton Rouge. This milestone festival will feature presentations by local and national bestselling writers; panel discussions; activities for children and teens; and live music and food.

The 2012 festival attracted more than 21,000 attendees. As part of Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne’s and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism’s yearlong salute to Louisiana music, the festival will feature author presentations on music-related books including Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz by John McCusker, Traditional Music of Coastal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings by Joshua Caffery and Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley by J.D. Davis.

Other participating authors include Rod Dreher, Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly, Nathaniel Rich and Kent Wascom. For a complete list of participating authors with biographies, visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org.

After a yearlong hiatus the popular cooking demonstration tent is returning and will include demonstrations by chefs and cookbook authors such as Kit Wohl and Poppy Tooker.

A variety of writing WordShops are scheduled for the day before the festival, including a nonfiction writing session led by Rick Bragg and a songwriting class taught by singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, whose The Foundling was listed as a Favorite Album of 2010 by the Los Angeles Time. Registration for WordShops is available at www.LouisianaBookFestival.org.

For more information or to volunteer, visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org. Also look for book festival updates on Facebook and Twitter.

www.LouisianaTravel.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 21, 2013

Contact:
Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.9713
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.8607
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2013 LETTERS ABOUT LITERATURE CONTEST WINNERS

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The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is announcing the 2013 winners in the annual Letters About Literature contest. This year, 498 fourth- through 10th-grade Louisiana students wrote personal letters to authors, living or dead, from any genre explaining how what they read changed the students’ way of thinking about the world or themselves.

The Louisiana winners of the competition from throughout the state are listed below.

Level I (grades 4 – 6)

1st Place:                      Alexis Laster, Crawford Elementary School, Arcadia

2nd Place:                     Adrianna Hawkins, Creekside Junior High, Pearl River

3rd Place:                     Brailyn King, Northwestern Middle School, Zachary

Level II (grades 7 – 8)

1st Place:                      Story Frantzen, Episcopal School of Acadiana, Broussard

2nd Place:                     Mathilda Meyer, Lusher Charter Middle School, New Orleans

3rd Place:                     Tresaundra Roberson, Lusher Charter Middle School, New Orleans

Level III (grades 9 – 12)

1st Place:                      Catherine Dunlap, Dunlap Academy, Walker

2nd Place:                     Logan Buras, St. Paul’s School, Covington

3rd Place:                     Michael Seenappa, St. Paul’s School, Covington            

State winners will be recognized at the Louisiana Book Festival on Nov. 2. Winners will be awarded $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place, made possible by a Library of Congressgrant. Louisiana’s first place winners’ entries were submitted to the Library of Congress for the national competition.

To see a list of all state finalists and read the winners’ letters, visit www.state.lib.la.us. Letters About Literature was presented in partnership with the Louisiana Writing Project.

www.LouisianaTravel.com


1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Letters

Level I - 1st Place
Grades 4 6

Level 1
4-6 grades

Dear Gary Paulson,

I’m going to tell you how your book has changed my life.  Now, after reading your book Hatchet, I look at three things differently. First, is the way I now look at the woods. At night time when I ride my trusty, lightning fast bike, I get strange feelings that I’m being watched by man-eating, hungry, starving animals. Or hunters that think I’m a prancing deer. It scares me to be watched secretly.

Next, Hatchet has also given me great tips to do if I’m ever in Brian’s position. If I were ever lost in the woods, now I would definitely look for berries. Maybe even some great tasting fruit. I would drink the berry or fruit juice. Also, of course a shelter as well.

Last but not least, the way I observe the wild. I wasn’t thinking about how hungry animals could kill me. Danger is everywhere. You are almost never safe. But Brian went through pain, guilt, and sadness. He still survived. This is how Hatchet has changed my life forever.

Sincerely,
AlexisLaster

Level I - 2nd Place
Grades 4 6

Dear Cynthia Lord,

I am Adrianna Hawkins. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, Rules. It has made me realize that even though I have a hard time with my brother, there are other people in the world who have bigger struggles, such as paying for food.

I was very surprised to find out about me after reading this book was that I wanted to be an author that writes books about kids with special needs. I want to write the books from their point of view so readers can picture the struggles some people have, like my brother. Rules showed me that my brother is a huge part of my world. The book reminded me of the struggles he will face and the struggles I will have to overcome with him because of his sensory processing disorder such as holding a pen. Your book made me think about my life and the obstacles we will have to overcome. It has made a huge impact on my life. I realize that my brother needs help with many things soon to come, like reading. I know now that I need to help him with my best effort. I would like to help every person that is going through something like this, including my brother.

Sincerely,
Adrianna Hawkins

Level I – 3rd Place
Grades 4 - 6

Dear Mr. Patterson,

Hi! I love your book Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. It really shows how cruel the world can be. But you really need to look close to find where it’s at. Like global warming, child abuse, and children soldiers. Most people would never look twice about it unless it ever had anything to do with their daily lives. But if you brought it to their attention they would probably try and help.

Sometimes I wonder what I could do to help; sometimes I mean child soldiers are all the way in Africa and I already recycle and stuff like that but I really wonder what I could do. I don’t have wings or powers or whatever. I’m really just normal. They’re not really anything different about me. I’m a short kind of chubby, wild haired random kid. Nothing ever different happens to me. All my days blur together just me going through the motions. Wake up, get ready, wait for bus, go to my classes, go back home, go to sleep, and the cycle starts over. So if I did or said anything 9 times out of 10 no one would even look my way.

I understand that there will never be a happily ever after. I wish life could be like books I’ve read where we could battle global warming or child abuse or whatever and win; then it would never come back again. But life just isn’t like that; there will always be problems and the world will never be perfect. But if someone actually did something worth doing instead of writing a stupid song that will help, then perhaps we could have a better world! Then we could actually get somewhere in life.

With hope,
Brailyn King


Level II – 1st Place
Grades 7 – 8

Dear John Bul Dau,

Your autobiography, Lost Boy, Lost Girl, influenced many of my thoughts since I read your perilous and moving story. In your book, you elaborately explained the brutality of war. When I read your book, I had to keep telling myself that it wasn’t fiction, because the story itself seemed too saddening to be true.

I’m thirteen years old, which is the same age as you were, Mr. Dau, when your village was bombed. I used to think my life was hard because everybody in my home town of New Orleans evacuated from a hurricane and we never got to go home. When I read in your book about a world where children like me had to flee from their villages without their families during a war, it made my problems look trivial.

When I had to leave home, I got to evacuate in an air-conditioned mini-van with my family and some of my favorite things to get away from a very bad storm. You fled from your village in Sudan to Ethiopia on foot just to find a place to be safe from killing and bloodshed. Then, Ethiopia became unsafe so you and thousands of other lost boys and girls were forced to move again.

You had no idea what was coming, but we got time to evacuate and plan for it. You walked out of your country on foot, but I got to stay in my country in a new house that was not near as nice as what I had, but it was at least a safe place to be. I used to think I felt lost, but when I think about it, I always knew I had some kind of safety and direction. I always had my family around me to help guide me to some destination that might be unknown, but I knew we had a direction and a destination somewhere. You did not have such a luxury.

After reading your book, I considered more closely the idea of wars. Many times in war, people don’t understand what they are destroying, or who they are thoughtlessly murdering, and the worst part of war is that the country declaring war usually is just killing for power or money.  In your case, you  were very young and likely did not understand the politics behind the war, yet you had to experience your own friends being gunned down and killed by diseases. For you to have witnessed these kinds of encounters must have taken a lot of courage and bravery to continue moving, especially without your parents to guide you. You then chose to relive all of your misery by writing about what you had to endure during those years of war so that others like me might understand what your country and people went through.

Your book made me appreciate my hardships. I know my problems past, present, and future will never amount to what you and the people of Sudan had to endure for so many years in exile. My idea of a common everyday problem would be forgetting to do my homework, whereas you had to worry every day about being killed by war, starvation or disease. When bad things happen, I don’t want to keep thinking about them; I want to forget them and move on. However, you had the courage to suffer the terrible events that transpired again by writing this amazing book, which helps me understand that healing and moving on often mean going backwards to face your pain and share it with others. Without your pain that you suffered and relived to share with us, society could not begin to listen and help others who need aid just to live in this world.

Before reading your book, if I would have ever been in your position, I don’t know if I would have had the strength to go on; but one of the lessons you taught me so many times throughout the book is that you have to keep going, and you can’t give up. Ever. You also helped me discover within myself the idea that I can’t get stuck in being lost because I might miss the opportunity of being found. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book.

Sincerely,

Story Frantzen

Level II – 2nd Place
Grades 7 – 8

Mr. Stephen Chbosky,

I’m a teenager, and when you get to this age, you start wondering who your real friends are and what friendship even means. You also start to wonder about how so many people, and animals, around you are hurting. Friendship, to me, means that you stick up for your peers in every way. I have so many amazing friends and we stick up for each other a lot. For example, my friend was abused at home as a child and she now lives with her grandparents. I helped her by being one of her best friends and hanging out with her a lot, because that was what she needed. A friend. That’s what Charlie, in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, needed, too. You always need a friend to be with and spend time with, and it was great when Sam and Patrick gave him their love and friendship. After reading your book, I felt more empathy for people that were hurt by something or had been bullied.

When I was in second grade, I moved to a new school and I was the new kid, like Charlie when he started high school and didn’t have any friends. I was bullied by the other kids at my school because I didn’t do things or wear things like they did and I didn’t really have any friends until the second week of school. One day a girl came up to me and introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Katherine, who are you?” I smiled and said that my name is Mathilda. After that I made many more friends, but also lost some on the way, the same way Charlie lost Michael.

One of my friends when I was younger, Abby Shaw Nalty, died two years ago in an ATV accident on November 27, 2010. She was an amazing girl and she had the best personality ever. I love her so much and I miss her to death. I guess that must be how Charlie felt when he lost his friend Michael. Even though Abby’s death wasn’t suicide, I definitely cried about it, and I still do cry about it sometimes.

Also like Charlie, I made older friends. For instance, when Charlie goes to the football game at his school, Patrick openly welcomes him even though he is much older. That’s like the time I went to a play and I didn’t know anyone. I was scared because I was there alone. However, as I walked in, one of my 11th grade friends came up to me and offered me a seat next to her. I was so happy that the older kids would welcome another, younger, kid to hang out with them. Even if it was only to go see a play.

“You’re not alone, together we stand, I’ll be by your side, you know I’ll take your hand. When it gets cold, and it feels like the end, there’s no place to go you know I won’t give in.”–Avril Lavigne. This quote is really meaningful and it relates a lot to how Charlie, Sam, and Patrick acted towards each other. They all stood up for each other and had a lot of fun. There were a lot of times in the book where Charlie’s friends really stick up for him. Once when Charlie got invited to a party, Bob gave him brownies that had drugs in it and Sam made him a milkshake when he was high and asked for one. And the other time when he kissed Sam over his girlfriend, Mary-Elizabeth, at a truth or dare game, Patrick went out with him after the ordeal and tried to comfort and humor him. These two instances in the book are the best models of real friendship.

I was so deeply touched by your book and I will definitely read it over and over again. I never think that anybody should be alone and sad when they are in school and out. I also learned to never take your friends for granted. Friends are forever and you never want to jeopardize that.

Sincerely,
Mathilda Mayer

Level II – 3rd Place
Grades 7 – 8

Dear John Howard Griffin:

“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned…Everything is war. Me say war. That until they’re no longer 1st class and 2nd class citizens of any nation…Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, me say war. That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race me say war!” This quote by Bob Marley adds light to the end of the tunnel. Your autobiography, Black Like Me, has changed the way I think about the world. You’ve made me not only think about the injustice suffered by different races, but genders, politics, religion, and ranks in social class as well. It’s heart-wrenching to know that you’re judged based upon your exterior, instead of the person you are on the inside. I can personally relate to the hardships placed upon African Americans in your book. I have experienced prejudice living in New Orleans. Instead of it being just black vs. white, it’s also black vs. black, which is confusing. Most people would think in a time of struggle you would at least support your own race, but what I realized is that they try to tear you down more than help build you up. The only nationality that we can agree upon is being part of mankind.

Being from New Orleans, a southern part of the United States, racism is sometimes very common. A big part of the way of operation for some white families is that blacks are the inferior scum compared to their superior boot. It would be difficult to be part of one of their families because they’re taught from many past generations that we are ghetto, that we’re not well educated, and that we would bring shame or lessen their family name just by being their friend. I am tired of being stereotyped! It’s aggravating sitting next to a white person listen to a black person say something dumb and “Black people,” with a sigh, as if that one person consists of the entire population. Then, you turn and face them, then when they notice, they say, “No offense.” Yet you’re expected not be offended, because you’re one of the few smart African Americans in your class. It’s like you’re partially considered to be on their side because you’re smart, yet you’re not fully within their “clique” because of the color boundary.

Being raised as a Catholic, I believe God created us equally, just in different forms of his image. Just because we are created equally doesn’t mean that we are the same type of people. One person might be a pro in sports, while the other excels in core academics. One person may live in a mansion, while the other is homeless. A girl might be Jewish while a boy is Muslim. The reasons should cease to exist because we’re individualized by what makes us unique, not by the flaws you have.

Color is the boundary that prevents us from uniting as one. Honestly, in my preference we’re no different shades on a plate, we’re people. I am not a color, I am a person! You don’t call a Mexican orange or a Persian tan. They are recognized by their nationality, not a color. What is that I’m labeled “black,” a “n*****,” or a “negro”? Why is it that a Caucasian is labeled as a “white person,” or a “cracker”? Being white or black isn’t a race.  If I and a Caucasian were to get our blood tested it would only tell our blood type, not our color. To me, this is still a discreet way of segregation, still recognized on standardized tests; they have the following: African American/Black, Caucasian/White.

I admire the risks you took posing as a “colored” person, through your travel in the South. I could only image how difficult it must have been to see the filthy restrooms, torn up books and no air-conditioning within the school facilities, hospitalization, and the treatment of African Americans compared to Caucasians. It’s amazing to see how concerned you were with this subject, and astonishing how you risked endangering you and your family to find answers to your questions. To me, you took matters into your own hands to see “which side is truly greener,” which is commended by me.

In previous years at other schools, I was either judged by the Caucasians or by the African Americans. For the Caucasians at my old school, it made their blood boil to see an African American on their level and sometimes excelling beyond them. Yet I was judged by other African Americans for being “too white.” They disliked that I spoke properly at school and considered me the “teacher’s pet” because I made good grades and stayed to myself when gossip was going around.

In third grade, I was cursed at simply for a Caucasian boy’s hatred of African Americans. One day, my father was walking out of a grocery store, and a little Caucasian boy, no more than the age of five, identified him as a “n*****.” Through this book you helped me fully appreciate my race based upon the hardships of my ancestors. After reading the book, I’ve realized how far my people have really come to allow me to have the better life that I live today. By you writing this book, you’ve allowed me to reflect on how it has changed my mentality of race. Now when I look in the mirror, I not only see a reflection, but the future of tomorrow!

Sincerely,
Tresaundra Roberson


Level III – 1st Place
Grades 9 – 12

Ever since my Dad read The Magician’s Nephew aloud to me, even before I could read, I was hooked on your books. Since then, I have devoured The Chronicles of Narnia (several times), the space trilogy, and The Great Divorce;but it was not until two summers ago that I read your best fictional story, Till We Have Faces. Although the first time I thoroughly disliked the book (except for the sword fight), it proved to be a turning point for me—it was almost like learning to read all over again.

Actually, I was rather slow learning to read at first—not from lack of ability, but from lack of desire. In other words, I was extremely stubborn about it. Sure, I could learn to read, but why should I? Of what use was it? I refused to listen to my parents’ explanations (which my 8-year-old mind found absurd), maintaining that reading was useless and a waste of time, with so many literate adults around.

I held this position until one fateful night when curiosity overcame obstinance, one fateful night when I discovered the most lauded form of entertainment today – recreational reading. My friends were all going crazy; they would talk of nothing but Disney’s The Little Mermaid and the new Ariel Polly Pockets they were collecting.  I had never seen the movie of which they spoke so animatedly, but it sounded wonderfully exciting. Unfortunately, we didn’t own it, which meant I would probably never see it. However, I soon discovered that I owned a book of fables and faerie-tales for second-graders—a book that included the original tale of The Little Mermaid. Excited, I plopped down one night in front of the nightlight (when I was supposed to be in bed, no doubt), opened the pages with their bold 24-point print, and eagerly watched the story unfold in a magical kingdom under the sea.

I was amazed. I had just read a story—on my own!—without being told. And it was fun. I knew what happened to Ariel now. I was still mystified and a bit horrified that my friends were so enthusiastic about the tale, but that was likely because I had read the non-Disney version—the real version, where the mer-princess dies.

So began my love of reading, in spite of the tragedy of Ariel’s death. I loved being swept off into different worlds and going on adventures I would never have at home. In a few months, I had devoured the Magic Tree House and Trixie Belden books and was working on Nancy Drew. Reading was fun—I loved it—but I revolted if someone attempted to ask me questions about what I read. “Reading comprehension questions” were my worst nightmare—and later, they were joined by the papers. Having to stammer out on paper an entire paragraph or—heaven forbid!—two paragraphs about what I learn from so-and-so was torment. This dislike of expressing anything about my reading—partly due to stubbornness—continued through middle school. It was not, however, due entirely to obstinance; often I simply didn’t know what to say. When quizzed about a work, I could confidently say whether I liked it or not, but when asked why, I was clueless.

It was in such a state that I began to read your book. Little did I know that I was to have another Little Mermaid-type realisation along the way. I began it with trembling, for I was reading in preparation for Omnibus, that killer six-year course that rhymes with ominous and is the Latin word for ‘everything.’  My mother signed me up for it without my knowledge or consent—my consent, which she knew she would never have obtained. The best description of the course is “a book club for classical literature—with exams.” The three main teaching methods? Discussion, reading comprehension and papers. In other words, pure torment. Till We Have Faces was the first book on the list; and, just as when I learned to read, I went in kicking and screaming (figuratively).

I admit—the first time I read your work (it took me about four hours—I was known for being a very fast reader), it made no sense. I dislike it intensely. It was confusing, did not have a satisfactory ending—and Bardia and the Fox died! But as class wore on, I read it again (this took three days). Suddenly I began to see what the teacher was talking about. Your book, as one called it, is a “multilayered cake”; and for the first time I began to taste those layers instead of gulping down the story whole.

It was when I realized the difference between Orual and Psyche’s love—how Orual devours those she loves like the goddess Ungit she abhors—that something clicked.

I saw how in the world today most love is selfish like Orual’s; and through this, I learned of a love that is selfless. I saw how man is born in the house of Ungit and has to find his way out; and until he does, he will be a greedy, faceless, devouring creature. I saw how Psyche’s lack of faith in the god of the mountain brought about her downfall—and I could talk about it. I could confidently answer a question on the matter—no, I could write a paper on it! How wonderful it was to be able to take something from a book and apply it to my life! This was a turning point, another Little Mermaid moment in my life. Reading became no longer merely an escape, but a way to learn and think.

Since then, I have re-read Till We Have Faces twice. The first time it took three weeks; the second took three months. Each time I’ve gleamed something new from it. Your book has slowed my overall reading pace enormously—because now when I read, I’m thinking, pondering the ideas in the work. It’s been my most important skill as a scholar—and as a living, breathing, thinking person in general.

Thank you, Mr. Lewis, for writing such a complex, many-layered book. Without it, I may not have been jarred into this realisation. Your book totally changed my view of reading, and of thinking in general. Now it is one of my favourite books. I’ve gone from merely “liking” or “not liking” books to knowing why I like or dislike them. Thank you for making me think. Thank you for giving me access to the great ideas of mankind that are hidden in print. Thank you for changing my life.

Sincerely,

Catherine Dunlap

Level III – 2nd Place
Grades 9 – 12

Dear Rudy Ruettiger,

I have always loved football, but I have always been a lot smaller than everybody else on the field. I am a pretty athletic kid; but my pituitary gland doesn’t function like other kids, and I have to take shots every day. Like you, I need to remain motivated at all times and never let my physical stature override my heart. That became a lot harder this past year, but your autobiography [Rudy: My Story] gave me the extra incentive to persevere through some tough times.

My family decided that it was in my best interest to switch schools to one of the most competitive schools in the state. I am very shy, and I was extremely nervous about leaving behind all of my friends. Although I would be the smallest kid on the team, my family encouraged me to try out for my high school football team if I wanted to. The team was the number one ranked team in the state, and hadn’t lost a district game in years. My initial goal was just to make the team and some friends because I didn’t have any at my new school.

I felt like I was living your life walking down that same path of obstacles. I quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be easy being the smallest guy in a big man’s game. I got beat up everyday. I felt like I was the designated tackling dummy on the scout team. Many of the seniors would have bets on who could make me fly back the most yards on any given play. The record was 9 yards, but most averaged seven. Although I was five foot nothing, and hundred and nothing, I continued to take my medication and decided to stay on the team.

I found inspiration in your words. I connected with the way that you set a personal goal and persevered at Notre Dame. You made friends and influenced people. Although you were small in size, other players found strength in you because of the size of your heart. I made up my mind to have an all-star heart, even if I wasn’t an all-star player.

I never missed practice. I always cheered for my teammates, and I understood when I didn’t get to play because the games were too close. I always asked my coach to put me in the game. When the last game of the season was played, I was determined to prove myself to all of the teammates, family, and friends (yes, I made a lot of friends) who supported me. In the fourth quarter of the last game, my coach gave me an opportunity to play safety. I got my chance!

As I ran out on the field thoughts spun around in my head. I thought of my responsibilities on the field, and looked across at the extremely tall guy I was covering. Apparently the other team saw a small guy go onto the field, because they immediately attacked my side of the field. When the ball was snapped, a receiver ran down the center of the field straight towards me. I knew what I had to do. I turned and ran after him!

He was faster than me, and began to separate. I kept on running. He was taller than me, and jumped higher than me when the ball was thrown. Rather than slow down by jumping, I decided to keep running. That decision paid off. As soon as the receiver caught the pass, I hit him as hard as I could. My hit did not actually knock him down, but I held on and slowed him down long enough for a few of my teammates to finish him off. A touchdown scoring pass averted!

As I walked back to the huddle, I heard the announcer say “Touchdown saving tackle by Number 45, Logan Buras!” It was the first time that I heard my name on the loudspeaker. I felt great. As I came off the field, my coach and a lot of my teammates congratulated me. I was so happy that I actually contributed on the field!

Today, my dad will still mention that tackle and I cannot stop myself from smiling. It was after I was in the car riding home that I remembered your book and how you made a sack for Notre Dame on your last play. I was in the same circumstances as you, and because I never quit, I was successful. I had always wondered how you felt, and now I know. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

Sincerely,
Logan Buras

Level III –3rd Place
Grades 9 – 12

Dear Ms. Lee,

I want to tell you how much To Kill a Mockingbird has taught me since I read it several years ago. Few books have taught me moral lessons and inspired me to live a more courageous life as this book has. Before reading it, it didn’t seem real to me that one person could stand up to an entire society, especially one that is so judgmental and tight-knit, to do what he believes is right. Atticus Finch, however, makes me believe it is possible. His moral center is so strong that it seems impossible for him to do anything other than what he does.

The book also taught me just how courageous his decisions are because it shows me how deeply prejudice affects a society. I had been aware of it, but I didn’t realize how intense it had been in the South and how stratified the culture was on so many levels. I’ve learned over time that that kind of division wasn’t exclusive to the South, but because I am from the South myself and recognized other aspects of the culture it helped me to understand—or really feel—what it would be like to grow up in such a place. That makes Atticus and his choices seem much more real.

The book taught me to be true to myself, and to those who mean the most to me. Atticus knows that his most important job is to be a role model to his children and influence them even if he doesn’t change his town as a whole, or even win his case. Winning isn’t always what matters most, and it really shouldn’t be. Atticus demonstrates that the fear of losing shouldn’t deter us from supporting the right cause, and it has inspired me to try to do the same thing in my own life.

The most important thing I learned about myself while reading To Kill a Mockingbird is that I think in Atticus Finch’s position I would have made the same decision that he did. It surprised me to realize that I would, but the case of Tom Robinson is so clear and unjust that I don’t really think I could have done anything else and live with myself. It may be wishful thinking to believe I would make such a morally courageous choice, but if I knew everything about the case and had dedicated myself to upholding justice and the law, there doesn’t seem to be any other alternative. The situation demands it, and it is an important life lesson to understand that I will face such situations in my own life. To Kill a Mockingbird inspires me to face them.

Sincerely,
Michael Seenappa


 

Letters About Literature finalists
Level 1
SCHOOL OR LIBRARY NAME AUTHOR WRITTEN TO
Baton Rouge International School, Baton Rouge Isabella Hewitt Allie Condie
Baton Rouge International School, Baton Rouge Maile Braden Norton Juster
Buckeye High School, Deville Emily Pentz J.K. Rowling
Buckeye High School, Deville Shelby Brundige Kimberly Willis Holt
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Rachel Leese Natalie Babbit
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Adley Bunch Jenny Han
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Anthony Voiers Harry Mazer
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Garrett Rome Jeff Kinney
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Grace Robertson Stormie Omartian
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Jacob Grice Suzanne Collins
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Jacob Ragsdale Beverly Cleary
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Jaylon Greening Lisa Greenwald
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Kobe Lucas Ray Glier
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary LeDelwyn Mealey Nikki Grimes
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Miranda Schaefer Michael Morpurgo
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Noah Weston Suzanne Collins
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Ronald Williams Doug Tennapel
Copper Mill Elementary, Zachary Sam Cottongim Suzanne Collins
Crawford Elementary School, Arcadia Jamal Hill Dr. Seuss
Crawford Elementary School, Arcadia Sydney Rogers Dr. Seuss
Creekside Junior High, Pearl River Brennan Murray Dr. Seuss
D.C. Reeves Elementary, Ponchatoula Taylor Wright God
D'arbonne Woods Charter School, Farmerville Amina Shahid Suzanne LaFleur
D'arbonne Woods Charter School, Farmerville Calli Echols Suzanne Collins
D'arbonne Woods Charter School, Farmerville Camryn Huval Suzanne Collins
D'arbonne Woods Charter School, Farmerville Haley Taylor Barbara Park
D'arbonne Woods Charter School, Farmerville Jessie Gean Walter Farley
D'arbonne Woods Charter School, Farmerville Madison Mcconkey Fred Gipson
Delcambre Elementary School, Delcambre Emilee Lopez Wilson Rawls
Episcopal School of Acadiana, Lafayette Arden Frantzen Anne Frank
Episcopal School of Acadiana, Lafayette Cydni Legé Helen Keller
Episcopal School of Acadiana, Lafayette Ruthanne Reaux Gabrielle Douglas
homeschool, Pineville Elaina Ammons Mark Twain
Jefferson Island Rd. Elementary, New Iberia Kaylie Bonin Wilson Rawls
Northwestern Middle School, Zachary Gracie Pulliam John Green
Northwestern Middle School, Zachary Caynan Byrd Anthony Horowitz
Northwestern Middle School, Zachary Elyse Duplantier Amber McRee Turner
Northwestern Middle School, Zachary J.J. Hantash J.R.R. Tolkien
Northwestern Middle School, Zachary Joshua Lavender Andrew Clements
Northwestern Middle School, Zachary Paige Veal Lauren Tarshis
NSU Elementary Lab, Natchitoches Matthew Dunn Gary Paulsen
NSU Elementary Lab, Natchitoches Madalyn Peddy Paula Danziger
NSU Elementary Lab, Natchitoches Parker Grace Burroughs Andy Andrews
Runnels, Baton Rouge Caroline Henning Suzanne LaFleur
     
Level 2
SCHOOL OR LIBRARY NAME AUTHOR WRITTEN TO
Baton Rouge International School, Baton Rouge Christoph Larson Beverly Cleary
Creekside Junior High, Pearl River Claire Brenia Suzanne Collins
Creekside Junior High, Pearl River Daniel Cook Justin Bieber
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Ashley Williams Carrie Jones
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Casey Franklin Jodi Picoult
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Cici Groves Maya Angelou
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Gabriel Louis Neil Swidey
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Isabella Beninate Marya Hornbacher
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Katherine Rose Marya Hornbacher
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Lizette Toto Viola Canales
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Margaret Kates Julia Alvarez
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Michael Glaser Michael Capuzzo
Lusher Charter School, New Orleans Mitchell Bullington Peter Borgen
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Ashley Messina Rick Riordan
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Aubrie St. Germain J.K. Rowling
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Caroline Lusso Caroline B. Cooney
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Cassidy McDaniel Lauren Oliver
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Kellie Kampen Harper Lee
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Sabrina Boyd Julia Alvarez
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Sara Strassel Natalie Babbitt
New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans Bre-Niece Boddie Barbara Park
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Alexis Albert Susan Richards
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Austin Veal Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Charles Cantwell Dr. Seuss
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Ellen Manuel Rich Riordan
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Grace Dry Scott Westerfeld
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Jessica Staggs A.M. Hudson
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Kenlee McHugh Suzanne Collins
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Lydia Johnson Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Northwestern Middle, Zachary Presley Simmons J.K. Rowling
Our Lady of Fatima School, Lafayette Alexander Hannie Harper Lee
Our Lady of Fatima School, Lafayette Caroline Mitchell Toni Teepill
Our Lady of Fatima School, Lafayette Lauren Guilliot Barbara Park
Our Lady of Fatima School, Lafayette Madison Hanks Nicholas Sparks
Paul Breaux Middle School, Lafayette Ainsley Hymel Laurie Halse Anderson
Paul Breaux Middle School, Lafayette Alexandra LeBlanc Stephenie Myer
Paul Breaux Middle School, Lafayette Brynne Tynes Todd Burpo
Paul Breaux Middle School, Lafayette C.J. Cook Jenn Reese
Paul Breaux Middle School, Lafayette Rory Nolan F. Scott Fitzgerald
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Ville Platte Catherine Poché Tatiani de Rosney
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Ville Platte Elizabeth Fontenot Catherine Fisher
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Ville Platte Ellis LaHaye Neal Shusterman
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Ville Platte Emma Mire Ruta Sepetys
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Ville Platte Jase Marcantel Christian Frank
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Ville Platte Julien Vidrine Drew Brees
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Ville Platte Morgan Fontenot S.E. Hinton
Sacred Heart Elementary School, Ville Platte Olivia Brignac Dori Hillestad Butler
     
Level 3
SCHOOL OR LIBRARY  NAME AUTHOR WRITTEN TO
Archbishop Hannan High School, Covington Shreya Bhatt John Green
Breaux Bridge High School, Breaux Bridge Kaylie Blanchard Robert Munch
Carencro High, Lafayette Brika Broussard Antonia Carter
Carencro High, Lafayette Brody Dobbs Andrew Hussie
Carencro High, Lafayette Erin Washington Gordon Korman
Carencro High, Lafayette Jules Cormier Susan Hinton
Carencro High, Lafayette Justice Narcisse  Connie Porter
Carencro High, Lafayette Rachel Kesel Stephen Chbosky
Delcambre High School, Delcambre Ally Nguyen Frank McCourt
Delcambre High School, Delcambre Cameron Esponge James Dashner
Delcambre High School, Delcambre Kelsey Choate Elie Wiesel
East Jefferson High School, Metairie Anna Dinh Alex Flinn
East Jefferson High School, Metairie Kasey Kraft C.S. Lewis
East Jefferson High School, Metairie Mark Fleming Jon Krakauer
East Jefferson High School, Metairie Savannah Pucella Stephen King
Hahnville High School, Boutte Brice Soignier O.S. Card
Hahnville High School, Boutte Jessica Becnel Lauren Oliver
Hahnville High School, Boutte Jon Benton Drew Brees
Hahnville High School, Boutte Julian Turner Mitch Albom
Hahnville High School, Boutte Lauren Beadle Ann Brashares
Hahnville High School, Boutte Wesley Speyrer Mitch Albom
Isidore Newman School, New Orleans Ahmad Shabalala Ben Carson
Isidore Newman School, New Orleans Alex Abramson Martin Luther King Jr.
Isidore Newman School, New Orleans Connor Dorion Harper Lee
Isidore Newman School, New Orleans Princeton Carter Martin Luther King Jr.
Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, Lake Charles Savannah Bernard Cassandra Clare
McKinley High School, Baton Rouge Anna Sheffield Dan Brown
McKinley High School, Baton Rouge Megan Littleton Elie Wiesel
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Elizabeth Knowles Harper Lee
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Laura Housey Nicholas Sparks
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans Melinda Davis Victor Hugo
St. Paul's School, Covington Austin Groeneveld Sean Payton
St. Paul's School, Covington Brock May Pat Frank
St. Paul's School, Covington Bryce Smith Alice Mead
St. Paul's School, Covington Christian Flick Christopher Paul Curtis
St. Paul's School, Covington Christopher Barnett Drew Brees
St. Paul's School, Covington Colin Ross Pat Frank
St. Paul's School, Covington Connor Trahan John Knowles
St. Paul's School, Covington Ethan Desforges Todd Burpo
St. Paul's School, Covington Ethan Molitor Ray Bradbury
St. Paul's School, Covington John Cresson Harper Lee
St. Paul's School, Covington Kevin Baker John Howard Griffin
St. Paul's School, Covington Luke Avenel John Howard Griffin
St. Paul's School, Covington Nick Gordon Nevil Shute
St. Paul's School, Covington Oliver Guice Harper Lee
St. Paul's School, Covington Sean Whitehead Harper Lee
St. Paul's School, Covington Seth Dragon Anthony Robles
submitted individually, Slidell Liana Bethala Gerald Morris

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 30, 2013

Contact:
Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.8607
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2013 LOUISIANA READERS’ CHOICE AWARD WINNERS

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More than 20,000 students throughout the state voted to choose the winners of the 2013 Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award and Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice Award. Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas wasthe top choice among third through fifth graders while Smile by Raina Telgemeier received the most votes among middle school students. The Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice Award for students in grades nine through 12 goes to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

Voting day is an exciting time in many schools and libraries throughout Louisiana as some students cast their votes using voting machines supplied by the Secretary of State’s Voter Outreach Division.

The Young Readers’ Choice program is an important element of one of the core missions of the State Library of Louisiana—to foster a love of reading in Louisianans.

“The Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice program encourages children to be readers,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said. “Children who read tend to achieve more in school, instilling in them the value of the culture of literacy.”

For information about the program including previous winners, this year’s second place finishers and the list of books nominated for next year’s awards, visit www.state.lib.la.us and click on Literacy and Reading, then on Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award.

www.LouisianaTravel.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.9713
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
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STATE LIBRARY SUMMER READING PROGRAM ANNOUNCED

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“Underground”is the theme of the State Library of Louisiana’s 2013 Summer Reading Program. Children, teen and adult programs each have a different slogan. The children’s slogan is “Dig into Reading”; the teen slogan is “Beneath the Surface” and the adult slogan is “Groundbreaking Reads.”

The Summer Reading Program offers a variety of activities to draw families into libraries such as art projects, creative writing, sports and gaming. These activities encourage students to continue to read throughout the summer and cultivate a love of reading in Louisiana’s next generation. Families are encouraged to check with their local public library to learn about specific incentives and programs available in their communities.

In 2012, 93,000 people participated in the Summer Reading Program and Louisiana libraries offered 8,250 free programs with more than 278,000 patrons in attendance.  Studies show that youths who read during the summer return to school in the fall at or above their spring reading levels.

The Summer Reading Program is part of the Collaborative Summer Library Programs, a national cooperative to encourage reading throughout the summer. Those registered with the State Library’s Talking Books and Braille Library may also participate. For more information on the Summer Reading Program and other State Library programs, visit www.state.lib.la.us.

www.LouisianaTravel.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
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STATE LIBRARY CELEBRATES POETRY MONTH WITH POET LAUREATE EVENT

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STATE LIBRARY CELEBRATES POETRY MONTH WITH POET LAUREATE EVENT

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the State Library of Louisiana is announcing the third annual Just Listen to Yourself: The Louisiana Poet Laureate Presents Louisiana Poets. Julie Kane, Louisiana’s poet laureate, will host the event from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10 at the State Library Seminar Center.

Poets from throughout the state will participate with Kane in readings of their works. Included poets are Nordette Adams, Jack B. Bedell, Darrell Bourque, Gina Ferrara, Charles Garrett, Christopher Hannan, Ava Leavell Haymon, Elizabeth King, Laura Mullen, Melinda Palacio and Jennifer Reeser.

“Louisiana has a rich poetic history that embodies the uniqueness of our culture,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said. “The State Library’s poetry month program provides this opportunity for our state’s talented poets to present their works.”

Just Listen to Yourself is free and attendees are invited to bring their lunch. For more information including biographies of the participating poets, visit www.state.lib.la.us.


Short Bios: “Just Listen to Yourself” 2013

Nordette Adamsgrew up in New Orleans, having her first poem published in the Times Picayune before she was six years old. She's lived in other places, but New Orleans was always on her mind. Since she returned in 2007, she's been writing a series of poems about the city. She is a contributing editor to BlogHer.com.

Born and raised in Houma, Louisiana, Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press.  His latest collection is Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems, from Texas Review Press.

A past Louisiana Poet Laureate, Darrell Bourque is professor emeritus in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His newest poetry collection is Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie. He lives in a bamboo grove in rural St. Landry Parish with his wife Karen, a glass artist.

Gina Ferrara is a New Orleans native who lives near Bayou St. John. Her poems have appeared in journals including Callaloo, The Southern Poetry Anthology/Louisiana, and Poetry Ireland Review. Her second book, Amber Porch Light, will be forthcoming in September from WordTech Communications.

Charles Garrett lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and works as a substitute teacher. He is also a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) practitioner. During a Night of Champions event at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette this past February, he knocked out his opponent in three rounds.

Christopher Hannan is a New Orleans attorney. First prize winner in the 2012 Tennessee Williams Festival Poetry Competition, he has published poems in The Classical Outlook, The Texas Review, The Connecticut Review, The New Orleans Review, and LouisianaCultural Vistas.

Ava Leavell Haymon teaches poetry writing in Baton Rouge and directs a retreat center for writers and artists in New Mexico. She has published five chapbooks and three books, with a fourth one due out from LSU Press this fall. Her poems have appeared in journals including Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and The Sun.

Julie Kane was the Louisiana Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013. Her two most recent poetry collections are Jazz Funeral, which won the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and Rhythm & Booze, a National Poetry Series winner and Poets’ Prize finalist. She teaches at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches

Elizabeth King is 21 years of age. Born and raised in New Orleans, she is a junior psychology major at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. She is the current President of Brainy Acts Poetry Society at NSU, and she won first prize in the 2013 Argus literary magazinestudent poetry contest.

Laura Mullen lives on the parade route in Spanish Town in Baton Rouge. She is the McElveen Professor in English at LSU and the author of seven books. Her work is included in the new edition of the Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry.

A native of South Central Los Angeles, Melinda Palacio married a Louisiana native and now divides her time between New Orleans and Santa Barbara, California. Her publications include the novel Ocotillo Dreams, winner of the 2012 PEN Oakland Award for Excellence in Literature, and the poetry collection How Fire Is a Story, Waiting.

Jennifer Reeser was born and raised in Lake Charles, her current home, where she attended McNeese State University. She has published poems and translations in journals including Poetry, The Hudson Review, and The National Review. Her most recent poetry book is Sonnets from the Dark Lady and Other Poems.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2013

Contact:
Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.9713
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.8607
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STATE LIBRARY OF LOUISIANA ANNOUNCES TEEN VIDEO CHALLENGE

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The State Library of Louisiana will again participate in the Collaborative Summer Library Program’s Teen Video Challenge, a national video competition for teens to get involved with reading and their public library’s summer reading program.

Teenagers may enter the competition by creating a public service announcement that encourages teens to read and visit libraries during the summer using the theme “Beneath the Surface.”

“This is a fun competition that encourages teenagers to be creative and get excited about reading,” State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton said. “Participating teens send a clear message that public libraries are important to them.”

The winning video from each participating state will be announced in spring 2013 and used by public libraries nationally to promote summer reading. The creators of the winning state video will be awarded $275 and their associated public library will receive prizes worth $125 from the CSLP.

The CSLP is a grassroots consortium of 49 states, Washington, D.C., American Samoa, the Mariana Islands, Cayman Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia that provides children, teens and families with a summer reading program. It also supplies public libraries with promotional materials.

Rules and details for the teen video challenge can be found on the State Library’s website, www.state.lib.la.us. Click Literacy and Reading, then Summer Reading Program and scroll to Teen Video Challenge.

www.LouisianaTravel.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 20, 2012

Contact:
Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.9713
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.8607
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STATE LIBRARY ANNOUNCES LETTERS ABOUT LITERATURE CONTEST

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Letters About Literature, a national reading and writing contest for students, is now accepting entries. To enter, fourth through 12th grade students write personal letters to living or dead authors from any genre explaining how what the students read changed their views of the world or themselves.

Students may enter on their own or through their schools or local libraries in three levels: Level 1 for grades 4 – 6, Level 2 for grades 7 – 8 and Level 3 for grades 9 – 12.

The national LAL team will choose up to 50 entries in each level from each state, and then state winnerswill be chosen by a panel of judges from throughout the state. Louisiana’s first place winners’ entries will be submitted to the Library of Congress for the national competition with the chance of winning $1,000.

Winning entrants will receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place. State winners will be recognized at next year’s Louisiana Book Festival, scheduled for Nov. 1, 2014.

The student’s letter and entry coupon, available online or on the attached flier, must be sent to Letters About Literature, P.O. Box 5308, Woodbridge, VA 22194. The postmark deadline for Level 3 is Dec. 10, 2013; for Levels 1 and 2 it is Jan. 10, 2014.

Teachers and librarians can download Letters About Literature lesson plans and entry forms at www.read.gov/letters

The Louisiana Letters About Literature contest is made possible by the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana with the assistance of the Louisiana Writing Project. For more information about the State Library, visit www.state.lib.la.us.

www.LouisianaTravel.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 15, 2013

 

Contact:

Jacques Berry

Office of the Lieutenant Governor

225.342.8607

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RODRIGUE PAINTINGS ON DISPLAY AT STATE LIBRARY

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The State Library of Louisiana is hosting a new exhibit featuring portraits by George Rodrigue. The exhibit, Walker Percy, Sylvester Stallone and the Blue Dog features 10 Rodrigue paintings, one of which features his famous Blue Dog. The exhibit will be displayed at the library from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30. During the Louisiana Book Festival on Oct. 27, Rodrigue will host a forum about the exhibit from noon until 12:30 p.m.

Nine of the portraits are part of a series Rodrigue painted during the 1980s of guest lecturers who took part in the Flora Levy Lecture Series at the then-University of Southwest Louisiana, now ULL. The portraits include authors Walter Percy and Shirley Ann Grau and artistic allusions to John Kennedy Toole and Robert Penn Warren.

The tenth portrait, , Rodrigue’s 6-foot tall painting featuring Sylvester Stallone as his famed character Rocky with the Blue Dog, is being exhibited for the first time.

“The early portraits represent classic literature, developing into pop culture through phenomena like The Moviegoer, All the King’s Men and A Confederacy of Dunces,” Rodrigue said. “Stallone’s contribution is a continuation of this tradition, combining a strong, iconic character with the medium of film.”

Rodrigue began painting as a boy growing up in New Iberia. In addition to the Blue Dog series, he has painted oak trees, Cajuns, hurricanes, Louisiana governors and U.S. presidents.

For more information on the Louisiana Book Festival, visit www.LouisianaBookFestival.org.

– www.LouisianaTravel.com –

 


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct 22, 2012

Contact:
Paulita Chartier
State Library of Louisiana
225.342.9713
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Jacques Berry
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
225.342.8607
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