Sam Irwin


After listening to trumpeter Nicholas Payton’s brilliant performance on Allen Toussaint’s The Bright Mississippi, author Sam Irwin was inspired. He picked up his horn after a 30-year layoff and started practicing. He hasn’t stopped yet and is now the trumpet bandleader of the Florida Street Blowhards, a Baton Rouge-based traditional jazz band. He spends more time playing trumpet with the FSB than writing. Irwin has been writing about Louisiana for the last two decades.


10:45 am to 11:15 am
State Capitol, Senate Committee Room C
The Hidden History of Louisiana’s Jazz Age

11:30 am to 12:15 pm
Cavalier House Books Tent
Book Signing

2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
State Capitol, Senate Committee Room A
Country Roads Magazine Celebrates 40 Years
with Sam Irwin, Ruth Laney, and moderators Jordan LaHaye Fontenot and Alexandra Kennon


The Hidden History of Louisiana's Jazz Age

Step backstage in this look at little-known and utterly fascinating aspects of Jazz Age Louisiana. New Orleans' early jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory and Buddy Bolden had fascinating careers, but Hidden History of Louisiana's Jazz Age is filled with tales of murder, lust and adventure. Clarinetist Joe Darensbourg of Baton Rouge ran away and joined the circus three times before the age of 20. The Martel Band of Opelousas witnessed a legal public hanging of a convicted serial murderer in 1923 Evangeline Parish. Trumpeter Evan Thomas of Crowley could have been a rival to Satchmo but was cut down on the bandstand in the Promised Land neighborhood of Rayne, La. Author Sam Irwin explores the odd and quirky in these fascinating stories of the Roaring Twenties.


Book-loving volunteers are essential to the Louisiana Book Festival's success. Whether it's escorting authors, guiding visitors, selling refreshments, working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion or other fun and rewarding assignments, the Louisiana Book Festival wants you to join the volunteer team.

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