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. The Walker Percy Weekend will be a literary festival to celebrate the acclaimed novelist’s life and work, June 6 – 8 in St. Francisville.
• Crawfish & Craft Beer Dinner: 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 catered by Hot Tails Restaurant. 6 pm–9 pm in Parker Park. $25
• 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 held at historic district locations including the Old Courthouse and newly restored Temple Sinai. Participating panelists include Peter Augustine Lawler, Dana Professor of Government at Berry College, Bill McClay, Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, University of Oklahoma; and Ralph C. Wood, Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor. Free; registration required.
• A Saturday-afternoon Progressive Front-Porch Tour and Bourbon Tasting with readings, inspired by Percy’s essay on Bourbon. 4 pm–6 pm at various locations in St. Francisville’s Historic District.Must be 21 or over to attend. $25
• A Saturday night Louisiana Flavors gala dinner catered by Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads. (Think cochon de lait and an oyster grilling station.) With a cash bar, and music by Ben Bell & the Stardust Boys. 7 pm–10 pm in St. Francisville’s Parker Park. $50
• Guided tours to sites familiar to fans of Percy’s fiction: Entergy’s River Bend Nuclear Plant and Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola (The Thanatos Syndrome). Free; registration required.
We’ve decided to make a family trip out of it. We’ll pack the kids in the van, drive down to visit some friends in Baton Rouge, shoot up to St. Francisville, and maybe visit a few other places in Louisiana. We lived in Alexandria briefly and would often stop in Baton Rouge on our long drives from Houston to Ashe County, but we haven’t been back in a year. It’s one of our favorite places in the country–great people, great food, and an old-world atmosphere that’s hard to find anywhere else in the States.
If you’ve never been to Louisiana, you’re missing out, and what better excuse than a Walker Percy celebration to make the trip. Do it.