Sep 15

Around the Press in 80 Books: Louisiana Saturday Night

In celebration of LSUP’s 80th anniversary the staff selected 80 of our most memorable titles. Adding to our “Around the Press in 80 Books” blog series, Copy and Publicity Coordinator Jenny Keegan writes about Louisiana Saturday Night.

Louisiana Saturday Night

If you’re like me, your Saturday nights are spoken for from now until the end of football season (with the exception of our bye week before we crush Alabama at the start of November). But for the non-football fans out there — or those of you who have already started wondering how you’re going to fill the long empty Saturdays of the 2016 offseason — Alex Cook’s wonderful Louisiana Saturday Night is here to help you out.

An exuberant and experienced writer and traveler, Alex Cook is the perfect tour guide for the backwoods bars and dance halls of the state of Louisiana. He captures the atmosphere of each venue with enthusiasm and affection, from the decorations (Christmas lights strung across ceilings, concert posters from the 1970s) to the food (it’s enough to make your mouth water, especially if you’re reading it near lunchtime) to the type of crowd you’re likely to find (Cajun French speakers celebrating their shared heritage, uptight city folks who won’t even dance if there’s an accordion playing).

Louisiana is justly famous for its enthusiastic culture of music and booze, and Louisiana Saturday Night offers a guide to visitors and Louisianians alike who want to party like the locals.

Buy this book now for 20% off and get free shipping on all orders over $50; use code 0480FAV at checkout.

Oct 14

The stories behind the songs

Join us tonight, 30 October, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM, for a music-themed book festival to kick off the Louisiana Festival of Books. LSU Press authors Barbara Barnes Sims (author of The Next Elvis), John Wirt (author of Huey “Piano” Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues), and Alex Cook (author of Louisiana Saturday Night) will be at Lagniappe Records to sign their books. You’ll get to meet our authors and receive 20% off books and records! This event is free and open to the public.

In the run-up to the Lagniappe signing, our own Alex Cook put together a Spotify playlist for his book. Here it is–enjoy!

A lot of driving went into writing Louisiana Saturday Night, and driving always means music to me. Some of these selections like J. Paul Jr or Joe Falcon were about getting me in the mood for the music I was about to witness at some far-off location. Songs like “Whipping Post” just open up a time-tunnel that can get a weary driver down a lonely highway home in one piece. Most of these were happenstance: the CD my frequent traveling companion Clarke Gernon was into at the moment. One I was into. I’d just seen Calexico play at JazzFest and couldn’t get “Not Even Stevie Nicks…” out of my head for a month.

One selection holds a particular memory: I was on some St. Landry Parish backroad, totally lost, listening to K-BON out of Rayne, La. and the announcer was talking about the time he got to meet Charles Mann at some festival appearance. he brought his grandson up to meet him as well and the pride and admiration in that moment was palpable; it filled the dark car with light. You’d have thought he was talking about meeting Elvis or Muhammad Ali or something. I never really liked the original Dire Staits version of “Walk of Life’ but in Charles Mann’s flattened delivery over an accordion shuffle, “the song about the sweet lovin’ woman/the song about the knife” – the whole of that song came clear and I understood something profound about swamp pop and Louisiana music in general. It is important because it is peculiar in nature and bizarrely extant in the face of the monoculture, but it is special because the people of Louisiana make it special.