Wow, folks, it’s official. This just out:
Good food, craft beer and bourbon, live music, and a great time talking about books and Southern culture under the live oaks: That’s what the inaugural Walker Percy Weekend has to offer. New in 2014, the Walker Percy Weekend will be a literary festival celebrating the acclaimed novelist’s life and work, taking place June 6—8 in St. Francisville. To reserve tickets, click HERE.
Intellectually serious but broadly accessible, the festival invites fans of Southern literature to pursue appreciation of Percy’s thought and writing while attending presentations by renowned Percy scholars, panel discussions, readings, documentary film presentations, tours, and a series of social and culinary events inspired by the author’s most famous works. Events take place at locations around St. Francisville’s historic district.
• A Friday night film screening of Walker Percy: A Documentary by Win Riley presented by Louisiana Public Broadcasting. With a Crawfish boil and Craft Beer dinner in St. Francisville’s Parker Park catered by Chef Cody Carroll of New Roads’ acclaimed Hot Tails Restaurant.
• A Saturday series of panel discussions on themes explored in Percy’s books including The Moviegoer, The Last Gentleman, Lost in the Cosmos and The Thanatos Syndrome. Events to be held at historic district locations including St. Francisville’s Old Courthouse and restored Temple Sinai. Participating panelists include Peter Augustine Lawler, Dana Professor of Government at Berry College, Bill McClay, Chair of Excellence in Humanities at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga; and Ralph C. Wood, Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor.
• “I Knew Walker When …” A digital recording project encouraging attendees to contribute their own experiences with Walker Percy and his writing to the LSU Libraries T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History’s archive of stories about Louisiana’s unique history and culture.
• A Saturday-afternoon Progressive Front-Porch Tour and Bourbon Tasting with readings, inspired by Percy’s Esquire essay, “Bourbon, Neat.”
• A Saturday night gala dinner in Parker Park catered by Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads. (Think cochon de lait and an oyster grilling station.) With music by Ben Bell & the Stardust Boys
• A series of tours to visit sites familiar to fans of Percy’s fiction: Entergy’s River Bend Nuclear Plant and Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola (The Thanatos Syndrome), and a stargazing event from Catholic Hill (Lost in the Cosmos).
strong>About Walker Percy
Walker Percy (1916—1990) wrote novels that explored the “dislocation of man in the modern age.” Most of his work was set in New Orleans and around South Louisiana, including the semi-fictitious Feliciana, which the author based upon West Feliciana and the other Florida parishes. Percy’s debut novel, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award for Fiction and was included on Timemagazine’s list of the 100 Best English language novels from 1923—2005. In later works includingLove in the Ruins, The Last Gentleman and The Thanatos Syndrome, Percy continued exploring the search for meaning in an increasingly materialistic society via masterfully wrought tales delivered with a poetic Southern sensibility and informed by the author’s deep Catholic faith.
Festival proceeds support the Julius Freyhan Foundation-an organization dedicated to restoring the historic Freyhan School building to serve as a community and cultural center for the town of St. Francisville.
Thanks to Our Sponsors
Entergy • West Feliciana Historical Society • Louisiana Public Broadcasting • Country Roads Magazine • The Davis Family Foundation • Ms. Sue Turner • Bank of St. Francisville • Louisiana Office of Tourism • Dr. Adam Whatley • Gustaf Westfeldt McIlhenny Family Foundation • Kevin Couhig • Holly & Smith Architects • Highlands Bank • Steven G. & Linda Milam • Anne Percy Moores • Anna Macedo & Co.
I am especially grateful to Dr. Steve Milam, one of this blog’s readers, who heard about the festival through this medium and gave generously in thanks for his fellow physician Walker Percy’s role in leading him to the Catholic faith. Why don’t you plan on coming to St. Francisville this spring to celebrate Walker Percy with Dr. Milam and the rest of us? One of the front porches for the Progressive Bourbon Tasting will be my own, which is on the cover of The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming. I’ll see if I can get Mam and Paw to sit in the rocket chairs to meet and greet Little Way fans who take the tour. Tickets go on sale online tomorrow, Saturday March 1.
Keep in mind that hotel space is limited, so if you’re planning to come, now would be a good time to reserve your room. Check out the St. Francisville lodging website for more information. Insider hint: if you want to be in walking distance of festival events, book a room at the Shadetree, the Barrow House, the St. Francisville Inn, or the 3-V Cottages. The St. Francisville Inn and the 3-V are an easy stumble to Parker Park, where the evening crawfish boil and dinner will be held.