Readings in Literature and Culture

Audience Evaluation Form

If you were an attendee for this program please open and print the audience evaluation form, and return it to Kelly Kingrey-Edwards at the Main Library of the Rapides Parish Library.

Audience Evaluation Form

Videos at bottom of page

The Westside Regional branch of the Rapides Parish Library at 5416 Provine Place in Alexandria will host a six-week series of readings and discussions about the Louisiana literature as a setting for encounter among social and ethnic groups as well as others.  The program is entitled "Encounter in Louisiana: Conflict and Confluence in Literary Currents” and it is funded by the Rapides Parish Library and sponsored by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.  Hitherto funded by the State of Louisiana, state budget cuts to the LEH would have meant the cancellation of the program had it not been for the generous funding provided by the library to replace the shortfall in funding and prevent a disruption in what has become a highly popular annual cultural event in the parish.

The program is free and open to the public and will be held on Thursdays from 6:00 to 8:00 p. m., beginning on September 8 and concluding on October 13 for a total of six sessions.  Those interested in attending are encouraged to register in advance at the library.  The phone number is 445-2411, ext. 241

"Encounter in Louisiana” will be conducted by Dr. Virginia Jones, Professor of English in the Department of Arts, English and the Humanities at Louisiana State University-Alexandria.  The program will use four critically acclaimed novels to acquaint participants with works that illuminate or utilize the experience of encounter among the diverse groups who have inhabited Louisiana for over the generations.  Texts to be used are: The Keepers of the House, by Shirley Ann Grau, A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest Gaines, A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, and Tim Gautreaux’s recently published The Clearing.

The sessions are entitled:


  1. Louisiana’s Legacy: A Multicultural Challenge;
  2. World View and Identity in A Lesson before Dying;
  3.  Place and Identity in The Keepers of the House;
  4.  Rules of Behavior and Identity in The Clearing;
  5.  Caricature and Identity in A Confederacy of Dunces
  6.  Reflections.                             


“Given the severity of the cuts in State funding to the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, communities that value and rely on programming such as RELIC face two choices: either doing without, or securing local funding from library budgets, friends groups, civic minded individuals or the business sector to maintain the annual momentum in humanities programs,” observed James Segreto, Director of RELIC Library Programs for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.  He added, “’Encounter in Louisiana’ affords participants the opportunity to explore Louisiana’s purported role as a gumbo or sorts for diverse people and backgrounds.  There exists a vast field of literature by the state’s writers that uses settings, plots and characters to explore how diverse sets of people encounter each other in Louisiana. “

 Pre-registration is strongly encouraged because of the limited number of books and expected public response

Week 2 video

Week 3 Video

Week 4 Video

Week 5

Click here to download a pdf copy of the Article

Week 6