Programs by Genre - Autobiography, Biography, and Memoir

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 3
Big Names in Big Business: Biographies of Louisiana Entrepreneurs

David Cappello, The People’s Grocer: John G. Schwegmann, New Orleans, and the Making of the Modern Retail World
Kathy Finn, Tom Benson: A Billionaire’s Journey
with David Johnson, moderator

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 4
Feldpost: The War Letters of Friedrich Reiner Neimann, a German Soldier on the Eastern Front
Denis Havel and Whitney Stewart

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room A
Breaking Vases

Dima Ghawi discusses her forthcoming suspenseful memoir which captures the terrors and joys of escaping confinements, crossing continents, and daring to discover and create a bold identity and life purpose.

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room E
Scopena: A Memoir of Home

Charles E. “Buddy” Roemer III gives readers his personal reflections on the influential people and events that taught him life lessons as he grew up on his family’s cotton plantation in Bossier Parish, Louisiana

10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 1
Salvos into the World of Micro-Memoirs

Mississippi Poet Laureate Beth Ann Fennelly reads and chats with Louisiana poet laureate Jack Bedell, sharing strategies that inform her book, Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs. In today’s increasingly heterogeneous landscape, cross-genre works that blend inheritances from multiple literary parents have a new urgency and popularity. Combining the extreme brevity of poetry yet hewing to the truth-telling of creative nonfiction, Fennelly's micro-memoirs allow us to consider questions of genre. Bedell will moderate audience questions and shape the conversation with a few of his own.  

11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Senate Chamber
Aging Out

This is the story of how Alton Carter aged out of the foster care system only to have his college dreams shattered and how he found the courage to face his past and dare to take the steps to the life and family he always dreamed he would one day have.

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 3
Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey
Melissa Daggett with David Johnson, moderator

Noon to 12:45 p.m.
Senate Chamber
A Life in Jazz

Danny Barker was born when jazz was still in its infancy, and by the time of his death he was known as both a master of the idiom and a guardian of its history.Join British jazz scholar Alyn Shipton and journalist Gwen Thompkins, host of public radio’s Music Inside Out, as they reflect on the breadth of Barker’s knowledge and the scope of his vision as a storyteller.

Noon to 12:45 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 2
Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White

In the tradition of Schulz and Peanuts, Michael Tisserand has written an epic and revelatory biography of Krazy Kat creator George Herriman that explores the turbulent time and place from which he emerged—and the deep secret he explored through his art.

12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Capitol Park Museum, Third Floor Exhibit Hall
General Fox Conner: Pershing's Chief of Operations and Eisenhower's Mentor
Steven Rabalais

1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room A
Hard Roll: A Paramedic's Perspective of Life and Death in New Orleans

Jon McCarthy chronicles some of the most formative calls of his career in this autobiography that reads like crime fiction.

2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Chamber
My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor

My Damage is more than a book about the highs and lows of punk rock legend Kieth Morris. It's a story from the perspective of someone who has shared the stage with just about every major figure in the music industry and has appeared in cult films like The Decline of Western Civilization and Repo Man.

2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room F
Flight Risk: Memoirs of a New Orleans Bad Boy

Rebellious native son, James Nolan, reflects on his attempts to escape the magnetic pull of New Orleans.

2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room C
Blues from the Bayou: The Rhythms of Baton Rouge

This intensely personal and entertaining account by Julian C. Piper is a snapshot of Blues from an outsider welcomed into the inner circles of Southern Blues icons.

2:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Capitol Park Museum, Third Floor Exhibit Hall
The General’s Niece: The Little-Known de Gaulle Who Fought to Free Occupied France
Paige Bowers

3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 5
Arrête pas la musique!: Portraits of South Louisiana Musicians

From the introduction: “This is my story—how I discovered Cajun music and its musicians…time and again I was surprised by the cultural endurance of this relatively small group of people. Both old and young keep their history alive through a simple bond—the culture, the language, and the songs of their ancestors…These images record my journey into a culture that continually captivates me.” – Emile Waagenaar

3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Capitol Park Museum, Third Floor Exhibit Hall
Ten Stars: The African American Journey of Gary Cooper - Marine General, Diplomat, Businessman, and Politician

Ten Stars is a nonfiction narrative by Kendall Weaver–part biography, part oral history–of the life story of Gary Cooper, an African American born in the depths of Jim Crow to an Alabama family that challenged the rule of segregation.

3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
State Capitol Building, House Committee Room 1
Nilsson: The Life of a Singer-Songwriter

Paul McCartney and John Lennon described him as the Beatles' "favorite group," he won Grammy awards, wrote and recorded hit songs, and yet no figure in popular music is as much of a paradox, or as underrated, as Harry Nilsson. Alyn Shipton probes beneath the enigma to discover the real Harry Nilsson, offering an intimate portrait of a man who has seemed both famous and unknowable–until now

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
State Capitol Building, Senate Committee Room E
The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading

Following Hurricane Katrina and other losses and crises of life, a group of resilient New Orleanians formed what they called the Existential Crisis Reading Group, jokingly dubbed "the Futilitarians." From Epicurus to Tolstoy, from Cheever to Amis to Lispector, each month they read and talked about identity, parenting, love, mortality, and life in post-Katrina New Orleans at gatherings that increasingly fortified author Anne Gisleson and helped her blaze a trail out of her well-worn grief. Written with wisdom, soul, and a playful sense of humor, The Futilitarians is a guide to living curiously and fully, and a testament to the way that even from the toughest soil of sorrow, beauty and wonder can bloom.


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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