I’m back from Baton Rouge, where I spent the weekend at the Louisiana Book Festival. This was a noteworthy trip if for nothing other than the fact that I made the entire trip without any significant problems with the travel. My planes were on time. My connections were smooth. Nothing went wrong, which left me wondering what sort of cosmic balance the trip was endangering.
I don’t remember the last time I’ve made such a quick trip. I flew down on Friday afternoon, getting to my hotel at 10:30pm. I was back on the plane on Sunday morning, and home by 7pm, so the whole thing was about 48 hours. I got up in the morning, had a bite to eat, and had my panel and signing, and then I had the afternoon free to explore Baton Rouge.
The panel was early, and it was pouring rain, which tends to keep numbers down. Still, it went well, and I had a good time talking about the research that went into Don’t Go to Sleep, as well as some of the things that surprised me about New Orleans during that time period. (The biggest takeaway for me is almost always that people were people. It doesn’t matter when they lived. They still acted the same as they do today.) After that, my signing was very well run. They had plenty of books in stock. and people started showing up in bigger and bigger numbers. I left by signing around 25 copies of books that hadn’t sold yet, and I’m pretty confident those would have sold by the end of the day.
Really, I was impressed with the amount of time and effort that went into the event. They had something like 200 authors who came in to present. They had vendors from all over the state, filling three large tents with their wares. They had activities for children. Tons of volunteers. I was really happy to see how it attracted people from all across Louisiana. Not just librarians or teachers, but people from all walks of life. I would love to see if Maine could follow suit somehow. It would be a great way to connect book lovers.
As for Baton Rouge, I really liked the city. I was staying right downtown, and it was easy to walk around and see much of what was there. My hotel was right on the Mississippi, and there’s a long path that follows the river. It was lovely to be there at sunset. Plus, there was good food, which is always a plus. (I went to an old root beer place that still makes its own and sells root beer floats. Delicious. And then I had a po’ boy for dinner, along with some great bread pudding.) Would there have been enough to keep me busy for much longer than a day or two? Debatable. But for an afternoon, it was great.
Anyone know of any other state-level book festivals?
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