A few days ago I had the great pleasure of reading at Main Street Books in Hattiesburg, my hometown — a wonderful night, full of family and friends, which simply couldn’t have been nicer. Main Street Books, for those who don’t know it, is the south Mississippi equivalent to Lemuria Books in Jackson or Square Books in Oxford, and one of Hattiesburg’s true literary treasures: run by Diane and Jerry Shepherd — and their Maine coon, Patch — it has served as one of the catalysts for the revitalization of the downtown Hattiesburg area (where for many years, my grandfather owned and operated one of the two shoe stores in town). This year, they’re celebrating their 10th anniversary: congratulations to them both on such a remarkable achievement, and for anyone living in Hattiesburg, or even just passing through, make sure you go and support them. The store is beautiful, and always full of discoveries. And don’t forget to say hi to Patch.
The book was written and illustrated by our community members from Northern and Eastern Uganda (written in both English and their local language of Acholi). Proceeds raised help us continue our volunteer based arts programs here in NOLA and Africa. We have a big HIV/AIDS awareness campaign that’s being planned with the Healing Center in May, among other programs.