When James Lee Burke was building his new house in New Iberia, over a decade ago, he called me to ask if there happened to be a liberal catholic church in town. I didn’t know, but I knew who would — a small group of nuns who had been working for social justice in south Louisiana since the 1960s. The nun's organization, Southern Mutual Help Association, has won many awards over the years and recently received tremendous accolades for their quick response to Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

Jim Burke found spiritual sisters in them, and lovingly created a character, Molly Boyle, a red headed ex-nun who becomes the third wife of Burke’s famous detective, Dave Robicheaux, in the novels Crusader’s Cross and Pegasus Descending. So it is no stretch to see why the red carpet premier of In The Electric Mist, the film version of another Burke novel, In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, starring Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Starsgaard and Mary Steenburgen, is being held as a benefit for SMHA.

The premier will take place on February 18, at the Grand 10 Theatre in New Iberia. Burke will be in attendance. The $35 price of the ticket will also include a reception at The Gouguenheim, in downtown New Iberia, following the screening. Tickets will go on sale at Books Along the Teche, 367-7621, on Feb. 7, with a limit of two tickets per purchase. On line, tickets can be bought at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/55744. The film will also play for a limited run, from Feb. 20-26, at the Grand 10 in New Iberia, before heading straight to DVD.

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