O, MY DARLING, CLEMENTINE
Not exactly Clementine Hunter, but the folksy, bustling Louisiana scenes — acrylic on wood cutouts and boards — have earned Hahnville artist Lorraine Gendron a reputation at fairs and festivals across the Gulf Coast, most notably at Jazz Fest, where her tent is a must-visit for out-of-towners looking to bring home some “authentic” Louisiana. She earned regional fame in the 1980s with her Mississippi River mud sculptures. Her paintings — a smudgy, naive cross between Hunter’s fence pickets and George Rodrigue’s early “oak tree” paintings — are widely collected by Louisiana politicos. Now, University of Louisiana Lafayette Press has collected Gendron’s work in a glossy book chronicling her career. See what all the fuss is about. The hardcover version of Lorraine Gendron: Louisiana Folk Artist retails for $40; $25 for the soft cover. Get it at major booksellers and through ulpress.org. — Walter Pierce
NO BELLS, NO WHISTLES
As a description on the back of the CD case indicates, this is “Cajun music played stripped down, no bells, no whistles.” What you will find is a back-porch acoustic ensemble that features accomplished blues guitar picking, twin fiddle, banjo, rubboard and some striking vocal harmonies. In other words, classic Magnolia Sisters. On Stripped Down, the sisters bring their minimalist approach to numbers ranging from blues to Cajun waltz to Creole stomp to a capella ballad, and provide proof to the old adage that sometimes less is more. Stripped Down retails for $15 and is available locally at Barnes and Noble or online through www.magnoliasisters.com . — Nathan Stubbs
ON ANGELS’ WINGS
The first installment in what promises to be a delightful series of children’s books has just hit local bookstore shelves. Angels in Training: Twin Angel School is written by Jeanerette native Arlene Hebert, a retired RN who began writing stories in 1955 while still employed at Our Lady of Lourdes, and is beautifully illustrated by Peter Berchman DeHart, a graduate of STM and the Savannah College of Art and Design (where he was salutatorian). The story is about how God chooses two student angels in Guardian Angel School as the guardians for a set of twins yet to be born. Valuable life lessons are presented in a whimsical way that will bring a smile to any young child’s face; the book targets readers 7 to 10 but can certainly be read to younger children. And there’s an even better reason to buy this $19.95 book: Hebert is donating all of the profits to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The second book in the series, Angels in Training: Advanced Training, is already in production. Angels in Training: Twin Angel School is available at Crossroads Catholic Book Store, Southern Belle Boutique in Broussard, Cashway Pharmacy in Scott, OLOL Gift Shop and at www.angeltaleadventures.com . — Leslie Turk
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.