Sarah Colombo West Side reading nook

A few months ago, a library patron came in and asked if I’d like to read his mother’s book. We walked over to our Louisiana Collection, and he found it for me. I was excited to read it. I love local histories and personal stories. His mother’s book is about life in the early 1920s through the year 2000 in Morganza, Brusly St. Martin, and Port Allen and full of fascinating tidbits.

I never knew that whipping soap in hot water with an egg beater and blowing it on a tree would make it look like the tree was covered in ice, or that soaking cotton in whisky with roaches was thought to cure an ear infection. The wonderful thing about this book is that it feels like the author is talking to the reader, telling you her story in person. It’s written simply and to the point.

That book is just one of many in the library’s Louisiana collection which offer diverse perspectives on our local history and culture. Many of these books exist only in print--some were typed up and put in binders, others were bound by the library – and cannot be found anywhere online. A glance at the shelves shows books on Cajun French, the history of the Creoles, Louisiana artists, and many family and personal histories.

It’s never too late to learn more about the place you live, and the library’s Louisiana collection is a one-of-a-kind way to do so. I highly recommend stopping by one day and pulling a few books off the shelf to see what we have to offer.

A sampling of titles available:

Creole: The History and Legacy of Louisiana’s Free People of Color edited by Sybil Kein

Zydeco Shoes: A Sensory Tour of Cajun Culture by Alexandria Hayes with art by Earl Hebert

Celebrating Our Remembrances: transcripts of interviews with members of the West Baton Rouge community regarding the contributions of the African American community to the parish in the twentieth century.

The History of West Baton Rouge Parish: People, Places, and Progress by the West Baton Rouge Historical Association.

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