Cheré Dastugue Coen
Cheré Dastugue Coen is an award-winning journalist, writing instructor, playwright, novelist and cookbook author. Coen's books include Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana, Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets with Jude Bradley and Cooking in Cajun Country with Karl Breaux. Her newest book, Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana, is a collection of little known ghost stories. A native of New Orleans, she now lives in Lafayette, La.
Will post information when available
Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana
Ghost stories abound in the Cajun and Creole city of Lafayette from those lost in Civil War skirmishes and fever outbreaks to the former living who can't say goodbye. Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana by The History Press takes readers inside some of the most historic sites in south Louisiana, including haunted bed and breakfasts, restaurants and entertainment venues — even the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In addition, there are the back roads and cemeteries where spirits linger, pirates who refuse to leave and ancient French legends hiding in the swamps, bayous and woods.
Join long-time journalist and ghost seeker Cheré Dastugue Coen as she visits Lafayette's haunted sites and travels the countryside in search of ghostly legends found only in south Louisiana.
What are the most important or interesting things readers can learn from your book Haunted Lafayette?
Most of the ghost stories in Haunted Lafayette are places that are open to the public, so readers will not only be able to learn about the history of the place, but visit it as well. Also, I've included many unusual Louisiana legends (such as the Grosse Betaille and the Cauchemar) and insights on death and the afterlife from area mediums and traiteurs. It's not your typical ghost book.
What motivated you to tell this story?
Louisiana has fascinating ghost stories. Even though many places have great haunted tales, I think South Louisiana trumps them all. Besides, I love ghost stories.
What was the most enjoyable part of the process of writing this book?
The best part of writing Haunted Lafayette was interviewing people and hearing their stories. Not only did I talk to owners and operators of haunted buildings and houses, but spiritualists, mediums and traiteurs, who have such an interesting outlook on death and messages from beyond.
How do you think this story resonates with Louisiana (culture, readers, history, Louisianans, etc.)?
I believe everyone loves a good ghost story. Even those who say they don't believe still want to learn more.
Haunted Lafayette is published by The History Press so I made sure each story is backed by historical detail so readers will learn about the place's history as well as those residents who have refused to leave.
What excites you about the festival?
I have loved the Louisiana Book Festival since its inception, have only missed one! It's a great celebration of literary expression. Louisiana has produced some of America's finest literary talents and it's imperative that we continue to celebrate this valuable cultural treasure.
What should people look forward to by coming to your presentation at the festival?
Of course I will discuss the book and the stories I have discovered, but I would love to hear from the audience, learn their stories, hear their thoughts on the afterlife. I'm hoping to have some of the people spotlighted in the book — the living ones — present as well.
Is there a question I should have asked you, or one that you have wished someone would ask?
One of the reasons I wrote this book is because I have written ghost stories over the years for numerous newspapers and magazines in my journalism career. They used to call me the ghost writer. I love ghost stories so when The History Press approached me about writing for them I immediately wanted to write a book for their Haunted series.
Also, because I'm a journalist, I wanted to dig into the stories I found, find out who these people are that are haunting South Louisiana. The book contains lots of intensive history.
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.