by Gina C. Simon
In a rural town in ’47,
A special gift was sent from Heaven.
To a loving, Catholic family
An infant named Charlene Marie.
Her family helped her learn God’s way,
And many prayers that she could pray.
The one she loved above any other,
Was the Rosary to the Blessed Mother.
One day Charlene got very sick.
No medicine would do the trick.
With Reverend Brennan at her side,
She prayed each day until she died.
Yet her special story does not end sad.
She touched many with the faith she had.
People come to Charlene’s grave to pray,
From near and far almost every day.
Through her intercession it is believed,
That favors are granted, miracles received.
Now the Cajuns proclaim her to be,
Their adopted Saint, Charlene Marie.
Gina C. Simon is a writer/songwriter who grew up in the Acadiana region of Louisiana and recently relocated to Mississippi. This poem is an excerpt from an unpublished children’s version of the true story of Charlene Marie Richard, who died at age 12 of leukemia in South Louisiana and is believed to be a saint. Her tomb, located in St. Edward Church Cemetery, has become a shrine that thousands of people visit to seek her help.
by Kevin Heaton
Grandpa was born in 1896, and could play
just about anything with strings attached.
What pulled most at his heart, was an old fiddle
that he kept on top of a china cabinet
in the corner near his rocking chair; where
he fell asleep every night listening to Georgia
Bulldog games on a Philco dial radio
He worked part-time for the highway department
setting out kerosene warning flares that looked
like bowling balls without holes.
During the 20’s, and throughout Depression Era
days, he set great store in playing that fiddle
at barn raisings, and harvest dances; where neighbors
could find brief, and welcome respite from hardship,
in simple food and fellowship. Civil War ditties
frequented the menu; passed down to him
by the same fingers that first plucked his fiddle.
When his lame shoulder wasn’t throbbing,
and I asked him just right; he’d take her down
off the china cabinet, rosin up the bow, and with
a work boot conducting: take us down dusty,
forgotten pikes lined with blue, and gray soldiers;
singing, marking cadence on the road to awakening:
Ride a Scotch horse
to Danbury cross,
see an old woman
upon a white horse.
Rings on her fingers,
and bells on her toes—
she shall have music
wherever she goes, and goes
by Jesse Peters
I feel cold today.
I want to drive
across the South
with you again,
the sun baking us
in our old black Chevy,
listening to that Hank
Williams cassette we wore out.
The warped, dragging sound
funny at first, but
eventually gone, leaving
only a blank
tape with the label
The cotton is blooming
around Oxford and the
peach trees glowing pink.
We can eat boiled crawfish
in New Orleans, sucking
the heads like Cajuns and
We can drink bourbon
on the levee, listening
to Big Daddy Kinsey’s blues
coming from the club below.
Or let's park on the
beach in Pensacola and
sleep in the back of
the Chevy, sweating as
the waves beat us to sleep.
Let's eat a breakfast of
dry cereal and Coke on
the banks of the Chattooga,
watching the sun rise
from behind the steaming
But not today
I wonder how you
spend your time,
if you still like Hank,
if you still have that
green flannel shirt.
I feel cold today—
The old black Chevy
is up on blocks, and
I know my sun is in
someone else's sky.
Jesse Peters is a professor of English at University of North Carolina at Pembroke and grew up on a farm in rural, Southern Georgia. His work has appeared in The Lullwater Review, Zone 3, The Denver Quarterly and Pembroke Magazine. About his subjects, Peters says: "I think those of us who rise up
A photo essay by Texan Christopher Woods.
"Her Majesty, Queen of the Melons"
Taken at Hempstead, Texas's annual Watermelon Music Festival, scheduled for July 17 this year.
"Waiting For Word in Bellville, Texas"
"Road Outside Chappell Hill"
From the photographer: "We go up the road as so many from earlier generations have done. It is always a pilgrimage, a quest, and often a dreamy hope."
"Ice Cream Chapel"
Taken in Bellville, Texas. From the photographer: "It's so hard to be good all the time. But we all deserve a treat. Vanilla, chocolate, Rocky Road. Whatever tastes best."
"A Bed in the Forest"
Taken at The Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, Texas. From the photographer: "A peaceful place to rest, to sleep, to love."
Taken at the Washington County Fair in Brenham, Texas.
Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer. His photo essays have appeared in Public Republic, Glasgow Review and Narrative Magazine. He lives in Houston and Chappell Hill, Texas, where he and his wife, Linda, share a gallery at Moonbird Hill Arts. He calls this series of photographs "Ruralities" and says they feature "both the old and new South, its traditions, places and people. Generally, I am attracted to the beauty of rural scenes, and sometimes the quirkier aspects of small town
Recently, we were traveling through Alabama, passing through Mobile, Montgomery and Tuskegee, on our way to Atlanta. These cities, plus many more, all played a part in the South's Civil Rights history, but you won't necessarily know that looking at them from the interstate. We remembered reading about the Tuskegee Airmen and university, but weren't sure what there was to see off the exit. And we knew there had to be some good BBQ in Montgomery, plus similar historic sites.
For those of you who've asked yourself these same questions, there's now an app for that. Edith Parten with Alabama's tourism department, along with Francis Smiley, a resource for black heritage and Civil Rights, launched the Alabama Civil Rights Trail app earlier this month, after watching the state's physical trail markers become an international tourist destination. The app includes attractions, historic sites, insider tips and places to eat and stay along the trail. Parten of course hits highlights like Birmingham's Civil Rights Institute, Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, but do you know where Coretta Scott King's family home and grocery are located or where the last lynching in Mobile took place? How about where to
March 26 would have been Tennessee Williams' 100th birthday, so there's lots of activity involving the playwright this week. Troy Gilbert and Chef Greg Picolo with Dr. Kenneth Holditch published their new book, "Dinner With Tennessee Williams," just in time, and we've got a review plus three books to give away. Part food memoir and part cookbook, the book includes more than 80 recipes, many inspired by Williams' life in New Orleans. The perfect cookbook for literary lovers and foodies, "Dinner With Tennessee Williams" is also a perfect way to celebrate his birthday this month.
For the chance to win a copy, read our review, then comment on this post and tell us what you'd make Tennessee Williams if he came over for dinner. Giveaway closes at midnight on his birthday.
Each year surrounding Williams' birthday, the city of New Orleans holds the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. This year, the festival has gone all out to celebrate what is also its 25th anniversary, presenting a literary panel with the founders of the festival, world premiere of three never-before produced one-act plays by Williams, a Saturday night birthday toast and a special tasting and symposium for "Dinner With Tennessee Williams" at
By Troy Gilbert and Chef Greg Picolo with Dr. W. Kenneth Holditch
reviewed by Erin Z. Bass
You may have thought about what it would be like to have dinner with Tennessee Williams. Or maybe you've only thought as far as drinks with the playwright. Regardless, the restaurant would probably be in New Orleans' French Quarter, and you know the conversation would be good.
New Orleans native Troy Gilbert and Chef Greg Picolo of Bistro Maison de Ville have taken the idea a step further in their new book, "Dinner With Tennessee Williams," released just in time for what would have been his 100th birthday on March 26. Part food memoir and part cookbook, the book includes more than 80 recipes that would have delighted Williams' on any given evening. Each chapter is based on a play and delves into Williams' references to food, whether it be in "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Glass Menagerie" or "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
Tennessee Williams spent his childhood in the Mississippi Delta, eating fried chicken and turnip greens and drinking sweet tea. He came to the New Orleans French Quarter for the first time in 1938 and got a room on the third floor
This is a book about beauty and age, about the blessings and curses of each, and how the true beauty of a person - on the inside - never fades.
Jill Conner Browne and her Sweet Potato Queens prepare for their annual parade.
Since we've gotten on the bandwagon and deemed 2011 the "Year of Pimento Cheese," we'll periodically be updating y'all on recipes, mentions and happenings surrounding the South's favorite cheese spread. And with filming beginning for the Kickstarter-funded film, "Pimento Cheese, Please," we predict no shortage of news. Here's what's been happening in the cheese world lately: The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn, Victoria Belanger, whipped up a Pimento Cheese Jello Mold for a Southern-themed dinner party recently. See the photo here. Atlanta's Tim The Cheese Man explores how pimento cheese got to the South in the first place, whether Georgia was once the "Pimento Capital" and how the spread made its way inside the gates at the Master's in a blog post. We made Runaway Spoon's pimento cheese biscuits for our book club meeting last month, and they were a hit! We discovered the blog, "Pimento Cheese, Please" - not to be confused with the movie - which of course has a recipe for its version of Pimento Cheese (pictured above), as well as lots of other yummy, Southern stuff. Blogger Laurel Mills tweeted about eating bacon pimento mac 'n' cheese for lunch last week at Carlisle Drugs in Alexander City, Alabama. We promise we're working