From the bayous and the backroads to the city streets and parade routes, Louisiana is a state full of stories. Generations of writers, musicians, and other artists have been inspired by the people and places that call Louisiana home.
But when it comes to the inspiration and stories inspired by and set along the one-and-only Bayou Teche, you’ll find unforgettable stories that are as engrained in the state’s identity as Mardi Gras itself. And the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival is the place to experience those stories and more in their natural setting of the American South.
Located in historic New Iberia, Louisiana, the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival is three days full of good stories, good food, and good times from sunup to sundown. It’s a celebration of Southern literature featuring Rebecca Wells, this year’s Great Southern Writer and author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. The festival also includes live storytelling, workshops, music, boat tours, and plenty of food to feed your soul.
The festival spans all along the charming Main Street of New Iberia, which you’re sure to recognize from the iconic James Lee Burke’s Det. Dave Robicheaux novels. But the fest’s happenings also spill into the Bayou Teche itself with guided boat tours and other recreational activities.
Whether you’re a lifelong fan of Southern literature, an aspiring writer, or simply looking for a way to make the most of a three-day weekend, you’re sure to enjoy the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival from cover to cover. Here’s what you can expect at the fourth year of this annual Louisiana festival.
Day One — Friday, April 5, 2019
Before we can do any reading, storytelling, or workshopping, we have to eat first. Dig into food demonstrations and special tastings featuring two championship chefs, 2018 King of Louisiana Seafood Chef Ryan Trahan (of Blue Dog restaurant), and 2017 Queen of Louisiana Seafood Chef Bonnie Breaux (of Cafe Sydnie Mae). It’s an up-close look at how some of the best Southern chefs cook some of the best Southern food.
After you’ve had your fill of Southern cooking, spend the day touring the sights and sounds of New Iberia on Dave’s Haunts & Jaunts Tour. It’s a guided bus tour that takes you around town and includes stops at places that inspired James Lee Burke’s Det. Dave Robicheaux novels.
Other events happening on Friday include a Live Oak Walk, the L'Acadian Art Guild Exhibit and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood movie screening. It all culminates with the Jazz It Up Opening Reception at the Shadows on the Teche, a National Trust for Historic Preservation Site. Enjoy cochon de lait (pig roast), cocktails and more Cajun cooking from award-winning seafood chefs Ryan Trahan and Bonnie Breaux, while the Bunk Johnson Brazz Band provides live jazz music.
Friday’s List of Events:
- Louisiana Seafood Great Southern Chef Food Demos
- Dave’s Haunts & Jaunts Tour
- Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Movie Screening
- Live Oak Walk
- Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque accompanied by musician Mary Broussard
- L'Acadian Art Guild Exhibit
- Jazz It Up Opening Reception
Day Two — Saturday, April 6, 2019
The festival’s second day is also its most eventful. We hit the ground running—literally—with the Sir Speedy Run, a 5k fun run through some of the most scenic areas along the Bayou Teche. Then, there are 12 other things happening to fill out your Saturday schedule with literary goodness.
Pick and choose how you spend the day between events like the panel on writing children’s books, the authors book fair, a bourée tournament, University of Lafayette’s Academic Symposium: James Lee Burke and Louisiana Politics, and more. Of course, there will be plenty of food available for lunch at the Allons Manger Food Truck & Music Event, where you can chow down on Cajun cuisine while tapping your foot along to live music.
Saturday’s can’t-miss main event is the Great Southern Writer Symposium at the Sliman Theater. The Great Southern Writer this year is best-selling author Rebecca Wells, writer of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. The only thing stronger than Wells’s strong female-driven stories might be her strong following of fans. Her two-hour program is sure to be insightful, empowering, and entertaining.
Saturday’s List of Events:
- Sir Speedy Run
- Panel on Writing Children’s Books
- University of LA at Lafayette Academic Symposium
- Authors Book Fair
- Allons Manger Food Truck & Music Event
- Bourée on the Bayou Lessons
- Books Made Into Movies Panel Discussion
- Dave’s Haunts & Jaunts Tour
- Center Stage Readers’ Theater
- Bourée on the Bayou Tournament
- On the Big Screen Movie
- Great Southern Writer Symposium
- Boogie on Down Evening Party
Day Three — Sunday, April 7, 2019
After a busy second day, we take it a little easier on the third and final day of the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival. You’re encouraged to get outside and enjoy the Bayou Teche like so many do in the stories set here: on a boat. Take a guided boat tour to get the full feel of why this place is so special—presented by T-Boy’s Bayou Adventure Tour.
The other events happening on Sunday include a free screening of a movie by a Southern writer at the Grand 10 Theater. And, of course, the symphony concert in the park. Bring a chair, order some food from local food trucks, and enjoy the live music under the live oaks. It’s the perfect final chapter for the three-day weekend.
Sunday’s List of Events:
- T-Boy’s Bayou Adventure Tour
- On the Big Screen Movie
- Symphony Sunday in the Park
Click here for more about the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival and get your all-inclusive tickets to enjoy all of this year’s events. And to discover more upcoming festivals and find all the best things to do in Louisiana throughout the year, visit LouisianaTravel.com.