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Acadiana Lifestyle

Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown Literary Festival

04/05/2016 08:00AM, Published by Aimee Cormier, Categories: Life+Leisure, Today



By Shanna Perkins • Submitted Photos


In the sprawling 20-book Dave Robicheaux series, author James Lee Burke celebrates the people and places of New Iberia. And now, it’s New Iberia’s turn to celebrate the acclaimed author. On April 8-10, the inaugural Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown Literary Festival, presented by The Iberia Preservation Alliance and the New Iberia Main Street Program, will bring James Lee Burke’s settings and characters to life. While Burke won’t be in attendance, the spirit of what he created will hang heavy in the air. 

“James Lee Burke wrote the Dave Robicheaux novels based on New Iberia,” explains Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Fran Thibodeaux. “All 20 of those books portray the area in a wonderful light and we’re all very proud of that – that’s the reason for the festival. Also, there are so many authors, writers and creative people in this area and we certainly want to celebrate that.” 

As a child, Burke spent his summers in New Iberia with relatives, playing and fishing in the many water holes that populate the area. He’s confessed that his favorite area of town is Main Street, where his grandfather once lived. His early infatuation with the area never left him, which is why it inspired his fictional character, Detective Dave Robicheaux, and the mischief, mystery and magic that fill the pages of each book in the series. 


 

This festival is one of those rare occurrences that after they have been conceived, it’s hard to imagine why they didn’t always exist. Fans of the novel have flocked to Iberia Parish for years looking to explore the places Detective Robicheaux frequented. Director of the Shadows-on-the-Teche Pat Kahle says that rarely a day goes by that someone doesn’t come into the Shadows-on-the-Teche with a map of Ibeira Parish looking to see all of the places mentioned in the novels. She recalls fans from the Philippines, Sweden, Germany and Russia. 

Blues music, po’boys, Bourée, boudin and Victor’s Cafeteria – these are just a few of Robicheaux’s favorite things and a few of the things that festival attendees will get to experience. However, it’s expected that the most sought after festival attraction will be the Last Tour to Elysian Fields. Kahle explains that the tourists she sees who have made the pilgrimage to New Iberia have clearly been cast under the spell of James Lee Burke’s New Iberia. 

“People who come in are asking for the tour; they want to see the bait shop and experience everything in the books,” Kahle relates. “The description in his books, it just catches you after the first line and pulls you in. I think that all of these people from everywhere else in the world recognize the value of this area, we need to recognize it and take advantage of it, too.” 

There will be plenty for residents and tourists alike to take advantage of. For comprehensive details about the festival, visit Iberiatravel.com or Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown Literary Festival on Facebook, Facebook.com/daverobicheauxliteraryfestival.com. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com and at the Shadows-on-the-Teche.  The official festival poster is available at Shadows-on-the-Teche and Books Along the Teche. Dave’s devotees can purchase all-inclusive tickets or single tickets to specific events. Aside from the festival events, each day will present something to do in Iberia Parish via a promotion called “Burke’s Iberia On Your Own.” 



Friday, April 8 

12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Last Tour to Elysian Fields

A guided bus tour to many of Dave Robicheaux’s favorite places.  A ticketed lunch at Victor’s Cafeteria will commence prior to the guided tour.


2:00-4:00 p.m. 

In the Electric Mist 

Grand Theatre New Iberia screening of “In the Electric Mist” staring Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux. 


6:00-8:00 p.m. 

Bayou City Jam 

Cajun cochon de lait  (pig roast) with a music, “Dave’s Doppleganger” look-a-like contest, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at Shadows-on-the-Teche, a National Trust for Historic Preservation site. 



Saturday, April 9 

8:00 a.m. 

Neon Rain 5K Run 

Beginning at Bouligny Plaza, Main Street, the 5K run and 1 mile fun run route will be through residential New Iberia and New Iberia City Park.  Register at Cajuntiming.com or day of race at Bouligny Plaza.


8:00 am - Noon

Last Tour to Elysian Fields 

A guided bus tour to many of Dave Robicheaux’s favorite places. A ticketed breakfast at Victor’s Cafeteria will commence prior to the guided tour. 


8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

Storytellers Limited 

Storytellers Limited will see authors and publishers gather in a roundtable discussion at the Sliman Theatre.


9:45 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Glass Rainbow Readings

A children’s program from 9:45 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. will kick off the day of readings at the Sliman Theatre, 129 E. Main St.   Then authors will read from a selection of their work every 20 minutes. The entire day of readings will be family friendly.


10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Crusader’s Curtain Call

Iberia Performing Arts League actors will perform readings from Dave Robicheaux novel at the Essanee Theatre.  In addition there will be a dramatic scene performed from the book Out of the Shadows of Leprosy by Claire Manes.


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Jolie Blon’s Book Fair 

Open to the public, this event will be held along Main Street and operate similar to an Art Walk.  There will be various book signing opportunities.


10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Dave Robicheaux and Acadiana

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s symposium at Shadows-on-the-Teche Visitor Center will be split into two sessions.  The first session, “The Soul of Dave Robicheaux” from 10 a.m. – noon will conclude with a discussion and will showcase:

Suzanne DugasIntroductions/Moderator

Barbara Bogue“The Soul of Dave Robicheaux”

Shane Bernard“Dave Robicheaux: The Cajun Context”

Kathryn Dubus“James Lee Burke: The Author”


The second session, “Place in the Identity of Regional Writers” from 2 – 5 p.m. will feature the following authors and how “place” plays a part in their works.  Sally O. Donlon will be the moderator and the panel will conclude with a discussion.  In addition to their credentials, the five presenters have roots in New Iberia, Mississippi, and Acadiana:

• Sam Irwin

• Claire Manes

• Anne Simon 

• Margaret Simon 

• Alice J. Voorhies


10:30 a.m. – 1:00 pm.

Eat with Clete

There will be a food truck festival in Bouligny Plaza with live music and Cajun delicacies. 


11:00 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Creole Belle Bouree Lessons 

Learn to play bouree, New Iberia’s favorite card game, at Clementine Dining & Spirits.    Tickets cannot be purchased on Eventbrite.com.  For tickets contact Shadows-on-the-Teche, 337-369-6446.


12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Last Tour to Elysian Fields 

A guided bus tour to many of Dave Robicheaux’s favorite places. A ticketed lunch at Victor’s Cafeteria will commence prior to the guided tour. 


2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Purple Cane Performances

Iberia Performing Arts League actors will perform readings from Dave Robicheaux novels at the Essanee Theatre.  In addition there will be a dramatic scene performed from the book Out of the Shadows of Leprosy by Claire Manes.


2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Creole Belle Bouree Tournament

Bouree tournament at Clementine Dining & Spirits conducted by local bouree master Leon Minvielle.  Prizes will be awarded.  Tickets for the tournament cannot be purchased on Eventbrite.com.  For tickets contact Shadows-on-the-Teche, 337-369-6446. 


4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

In the Electric Mist 

Grand Theatre New Iberia screening of “In the Electric Mist” staring Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux. 


7:00 – 9 p.m.

Black Cherry Blues & Boudin

The Steamboat Pavilion in Bouligny Plaza will have a blues band and Cajun food.  Experience why Dave Robicheaux always wanted to come back home.



Sunday, April 10 

9:00 am

Cadillac Jukebox Brunch

Attendees who purchased the all-inclusive ticket will participate in a brunch at Café Jefferson, Jefferson Island’s Rip Van Winkle Gardens.


2:00 - 4:00 p.m. 

In the Electric Mist 

Grand Theatre New Iberia screening of “In the Electric Mist” staring Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux. 




Dave Robicheaux’s Hometown Literary Festival April 8-10, 2016


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