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Louisiana Books We Love in 2022 | entertainment/life

From the many Louisiana-based, published, or inspired books coming our way in 2022, the editors have selected 10 of our favorites:

Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress

Lauded by The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Publishers Weekly despite not being published in Louisiana, Antonia Angress’s debut novel focuses heavily on the Pelican State, whose main character is from Breaux Bridge. The book gets all the right attention. Angress is married to Louisiana native Connor McManus and the couple lived in Louisiana for five years. She worked on the manuscript for six years, starting when she was 23 and finishing when she was 30.

Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress

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The result is that every word seems carefully chosen.

“Louisiana really is the closest thing to leaving the United States without actually leaving the United States,” Angress said in a September interview.

Angress says her two favorite books are Kate Chopin’s Awakening and Jesmyns Ward’s Salvage the Bones – both influenced by Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

Says Publishers Weekly, “Angress deftly embodies each of her characters and lets her exceptional storytelling skills shine.”

Southern and Smoked: Cajun Cooking Through the Seasons by Jarred Zeringue

With the convergence of COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida, chef Jarred Zeringue decided it was time to shake things up — and finally pull out the cookbook he’d been working on for several years.

Southern and Smoked by Jarred Zeringue

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And, boy, did he. The book is beautiful. Zeringue, whose family has lived in the River Parishes since the early 1700s, is the owner of Wayne Jacob’s Smokehouse and Restaurant in LaPlace. He also owned Eat, a restaurant in the French Quarter, and Vacherie, a coffee shop in a French Quarter hotel.

He also owned Between the Bread, a bakery, sandwich shop and coffeehouse on St. Charles Avenue across from Gallier Hall. All these experiences and insights flow into the wonderful cookbook.

Zeringue was able to reopen Wayne Jacob’s, 769 W. Fifth St., earlier this year after the building was vandalized by Ida.

“Louisiana Herb Journal: Healing on Home Ground” by Corinne Martin

Louisiana Herb Journal: Healing on Home Ground by Corinne Martin

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Inviting readers into the world of medicinal herbs, the Louisiana Herb Journal reviews 50 herbs found in Louisiana, with details on identification, habitat, distribution, healing properties, and traditional uses, including instructions on popular preparation methods like tinctures and teas.

Interspersed with these practical details, herbalist Corinne Martin tells stories that foster a connection between readers and the world around them, from tales of childhood cherry picking, to harvest mishaps, to folk traditions passed down through the generations.

“Nana’s Creole Italian Table: Recipes and Stories from Sicilian New Orleans” by Elizabeth M. Williams

“Nana’s Creole Italian Table” by Elizabeth M. William

Assuming Williams

From po-boys with meatballs to Creole red sauce, the Sicilian influence permeates New Orleans, one of America’s best food cities.

Nana’s Creole Italian Table tells the story of these immigrants and their communities through the lens of food, examining how traditional Sicilian dishes like pasta and olive salad became part of—and, in turn, were transformed by—New Orleans food culture.

“Breaking Barriers: A View from the Bench” by Judge Freddie Pitcher Jr.

Breaking Barriers by Freddie Pitcher, Jr.

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A legendary Baton Rouge judge, Freddie Pitcher Jr. has a long history of success in the legal field.

Well-written and insightful, his book gives an insight into how he made it from growing up in humble surroundings to becoming the first black man elected to judgeships at three different levels of the Baton Rouge court system. The book is also interesting to read for non-lawyers.

“Bayou D’Arbonne Swamp: A Naturalist’s Memoir of Place” by Kelby Ouchley

Bayou D’Arbonne Swamp by Kelby Ouchley

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“Bayou D’Arbonne Swamp” explores the living natural, cultural and social history of a swamp in northern Louisiana. Kelby Ouchley grew up near Bayou D’Arbonne Swamp and later spent much of his professional life as a wildlife biologist and naturalist overseeing the national wildlife sanctuary that was created from much of the area.

Ouchley’s deep personal and professional connections to the landscape give him valuable insight into the tremendous changes that have afflicted the swamp over the last century and the reasons for this transformation. In this fascinating tale, Ouchley offers a kaleidoscopic view of the Bayou D’Arbonne swamp, revealing its unique past and distinctive flora, fauna and people.

The Party Is Over: The New Louisiana Politics, edited by Pearson Cross and Christie L. Maloyed

The Party is Over, edited by Pearson Cross and Christie Maloyed

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Pearson Cross and Christie Maloyed did their best to create a contemporary political introduction to Louisiana.

If you want to understand what’s going on in Louisiana politics—and why—this is the book for you.

“The Party Is Over” brings together top scholars, journalists and policy analysts to examine these recent changes in institutions, politics and politics and place them in the context of national politics.

Both accessible and thorough, the volume provides an informed and reliable foundation for newcomers to Louisiana political culture and for veteran observers looking for new insights into recent developments. The contributors recognize the challenges presented by the new policies and point to ways to leverage the state’s cultural and economic strengths to build a better Louisiana.

“Brown Pelican” by Rien Fertel

Brown Pelican by Rien Fertel

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First of all, this is just a beautiful little book. It feels like a must-have in a Louisiana home library. It would be the perfect gift for the Louisiana book lover who has everything else.

Fertel tells the story of mankind’s complicated and often brutal relationship with the brown pelican over the past century. This beloved bird with the mythical bottomless belly is considered a living fossil and the most dinosaur-like creature. The pelican illuminates the tenuous connection between the bird and the environment in which it flies, feeds and rests.

Ghostwriters of New Orleans by Laura Michaud

Ghostwriters of New Orleans by Laura Michaud

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By day Laura Michaud is the librarian at Metairie Park Country Day School, but in her free time she has used her understanding of students to write this story about a teenage spirit named James who returns to his high school in New Orleans.

The book is intended for young adults and middle school readers.

A native of New York and Connecticut, Michaud moved to New Orleans in 2004. She says the city’s resilience after Hurricane Katrina inspired her stories.

“Cajun Night Before Christmas” – 50th Anniversary Editions

Pelican Press has two new issues of Cajun Night Before Christmas. The first is a linen-covered, embossed, numbered deluxe edition with slipcase. The second is an updated 50th anniversary edition.

Both editions have eight additional pages of new content and illustrations, as well as a letter from the editor. With over a million copies sold, this book is a Louisiana classic.

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