Food & Music

In Louisiana, we know food and music are essential to any festival. The Louisiana Book Festival features a variety of food and music related programs along with food concessions and live music.

The festival’s popular cooking demonstration tent will return this year. A full day of demos is planned with Kit Wohl, Poppy Tooker, Helana Brigman and the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation in conjunction with the George Rodrigue Foundation and the ProStart® - High School Culinary and Restaurant Management Program.

Food concession stands will be set up along Spanish Town Road between the State Library and State Capitol. Near the concession stands is the live music stage, where musicians representing a variety of genres will perform throughout the day.

As part of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism’s yearlong salute to Louisiana music, the 2013 festival will feature several musical presentations. Additionally, a pre-festival songwriting WordShop led by singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 1.

Several music-related books are being featured at the 2013 festival.

Tom Aswell will present about his book Louisiana Rocks!, a comprehensive history of rock and roll in the state. The book studies various styles, people and venues that contributed to Louisiana’s unique musical arena and its role in the popularization of rock and roll. Aswell explores the involvement of artists such as Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and John Fred, and how they helped evolve American popular music.

Josh Caffrey will discuss Traditional Music of Coastal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings. a study of songs recorded by John and Alan Lomax in 1934 in South Louisiana for the Library of Congress’ Archive of American Folk Song. The Lomaxes travelled from Acadiana’s rice fields to Angola, where the Louisiana State Penitentiary is located, to record African-American and Cajun folk music. The Lomax recordings were never transcribed or translated until Caffery wrote Traditional Music of Coastal Louisiana. The book contains song lyrics as well as photographs from the Lomax trip.

J.D. Davis’ Unconquered: The Saga of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley is a featured book this year. Unconquered tells the story of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart and Mickey Gilley, cousins born within a year of one another during the Great Depression in Ferriday, La. Davis explores their roots through lenses of music, the Pentecostal church, family struggle and poverty. Lewis, Swaggart and Gilley grew up to become big names in their respective domains of rock ‘n’ roll, televangelism and country music. Despite their different destinies, their closely-knit upbringing and shared talent for piano-playing presents parallels between the cousins both today and as they endured career highs and lows.

John McCusker’s Creole Trombone is a biography of Kid Ory, an early New Orleans jazz band leader. Ory was born on a plantation in rural, French-speaking Louisiana and made his way to New Orleans, where he helped pioneer the city’s jazz age. In Chicago, Ory made records alongside the likes of Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. Creole Trombone documents Ory’s life from beginning to end, focusing on his early life and musical success in the 1900 to 1933 period.

Sally Newhart will discuss The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, a history of Storyville’s Tuxedo Jazz Band from 1910 to present. Newhart charts the group’s story as it rose to become a popular ensemble that played around the nation and produced a number of successful musicians. The book includes oral histories, photos, discography and a list of members since 1910.

David Wesley Williams’ novel Long Gone Daddies follows Luther Gaunt and his band, the Long Gone Daddies, as they journey to Memphis with hopes of making it big. Though his father and grandfather both followed — and fell off of — the same path years before, Luther is determined to trace their footsteps on the way to better fortune.

Elsa Hahne combines two of Louisiana’s favorite things — food and music — in her book The Gravy: In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians. The Gravy crisscrosses New Orleans, visiting kitchens of 44 musicians from nearly every musical genre. Musicians from Marcia Ball to Dr. John share their favorite stories and dishes alongside more than 200 photographs.


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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