Press Release

Press Release


Jeff Lyons
Jane Austen Publicity
(985) 373-1139

— April 1 & 2, 2017 10th Annual Jane Austen Literary Festival

The 10th Annual Jane Austen Literary Festival on April 1 & 2 and will include efforts to set a record for most Regency era attire in St. Tammany and a NEW authentic Regency Ball Saturday night. Our book focus is on Austen’s novel PERSUASION. Our poetry readings on Sunday is renamed: The Richard H. Boyd Poetry Readings after our recently deceased beloved co-founder, Richard Boyd. Readings by local winners of the popular Perfect Love Letter Writing contests for youth and adults are always special.
Events on April 1 will unfold from 9 am to 1 pm and is FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, at the Mandeville Trailhead Cultural Interpretive Center Amphitheatre Stage until 1pm and in the Depot Room starting at 2pm. The Regency Ball will be held at the Old Rail Brewery at 639 Girod St., 2nd Fl. On April 2 will all take place at Maison Lafitte Reception Center, 402 Lafitte Street, from 11:30 am to 5:15 pm.
As the event, the only annual St. Tammany literary festival, has evolved over the years, the annual participation in the Perfect Love Writing contest has grown steadily with several teachers now using the contest as a class project. The mission of the festival, co-founded by still active board member Kerri Blache, Richard Boyd (deceased) and Danner Acker (inactive), is to “foster the fine art of letter writing.”
Letters are judged and winners declared in adult, high school, junior high and middle school categories and can be no more than 250 words on the theme of love — for a person, pet, object, place. Letters must be original and are judged for creativity, emotion and appearance and must be handwritten with a accompanying typewritten copy.
This year’s deadline for letters is 4 pm Monday, March 20. Submissions can be dropped off at any branch of the St. Tammany Parish library system, at WYES TV at 916 Navarre Ave., in New Orleans or mailed to The Jane Austen Literary Festival, P.O. Box 1105, Mandeville, La. 70470. Submission forms and required releases can be found at the festival website,
This year the 2017 student winners will be invited to read from their letters Saturday morning 9:15-10am at the Depot Room at the Trailhead. The 2017 adult category winners will be invited to read their letters and the 2017 winners will be announced and invited to read Sunday between 2:00-2:45 pm at Maison Lafitte.
Saturday events from 9 am to 1 pm will include hairstyles of the Regency era of England in which novelist Austen lived and worked and an interactive display from the library system, script writing displays and chances to buy tickets on a raffle basket, all around the amphitheater stage. All Saturday DAY events are free of charge.
From 10:00-10:45, the No Plain Janes costume contest of past years is again revamped into a fashion show in which area women are encouraged to come in their finest Regency era gowns and bring their own commentary of their attire which will be read as they walk across the amphitheater stage. All participants will receive certificates.
Then participates will come off the stage and proceed through the Trailhead grounds in our Grand March. “We would hope to set a world record for the most participates marching in Regency era attire in St. Tammany,” said Lyons.
The march concludes at 11:00 and attention will shift back to the stage for the Looking for Mr. Darcy And Lizzie Oratory Contest. In another format change, this year this segment will be open to male and female participants, reading from provided passages from the novel Persuasion. Darcy and Lizzie (the character Elizabeth Bennett) are from the Austen novel Pride & Prejudice.
Area actors and actresses are invited to participate and in best British accent can propose to Lizzie and be turned down, drawn from Pride & Prejudice.
Trailhead activities will conclude from 12:00-1 pm with Regency era dance demonstrations on the stage by the Northshore Vintage Dancers and a segment for audience dance participation.

Saturday afternoon activities begin at 2:00:
Mandeville Trailhead Depot Room, 675 Lafitte St.
2:00 Welcome & announcements
2:15-2:45p Anniversary of Jane’s Death: Maladay & Medicine by Maureen “MO” O’Brien St. Tammany Parish Council District 10
2:45-3:30p Craft of Writing and Tips on How To Get Published by Pelican Publishing, Antoinette de Alteriis.
3:30-4:30p “Snobs and Sailors: The Royal Navy and Jane Austen’s England.” by Samantha Cavell.
4:30-5:15 Reconsidering PERSUASION Discussion by Amy Pellitieri Fleming, Northshore Technical College and Denelle Cowart, Southeastern Louisiana University
5:15-5:30p Announcements
Enjoy Old Mandeville. See you at the Ball, 7pm!

REGENCY BALL Sat., April 1st 7-10pm Old Rail Brewery, 2nd Fl 639 Girod Street
Authentic Regency Ball, beautiful wood floors, wrap around porch venue overlooking historic Old Mandeville. Includes food & drink, card games & entertainment of the era.
7:00 Guests check -in and arrive.
7:15 Buffet Dinner is served. Desert table opens at 8:30 intermission.
Dancers perform demo of Les Lanciers, a French quadrille, performed annually at French Military Academy/officers Ball, Paris.
Ballet performance/Regency Era by Dance Mistress Lucia Kuimova.
7:30-8:30 First set of dancing begins;
1. The Physical Snob
2. Military Two-Step
3. Duke of Kent Waltz
4. Hunt the Squirrell
5. Pat-a-Cake Polka
6. Well Hall

Intermission: Violin duets; music from Regency Era by Anne Hibbs and Margaret McLellan; N.O. Strathspey & Reel Society.

Dancing set II
1. Jackey Tarr
2. Canadian Barn Dance
3. Hole in the Wall
4. Puck’s Deceit
5. Gay Gordons
6. Cambridge Waltz

All dance levels. Regency attire preferred but not required. $25. advance admission/$30 door. Details/admission purchase: Bring your printed receipt; your name listed at check-in.

Events Sunday
Sunday, April 2, 2017
All Sunday’s events at Maison Lafitte , 402 Lafitte Street,
Cost is $35 advance; $25 for students with picture ID. Includes event activities, from 12:00noon-5:30pm, Silent Auction, entertainment and Brunch Buffet including Grits & Grillades & Scrambled Eggs with Cash Bar. Regency Reception with Cake and Champagne as Finale. $20. Admission 2p-5:30p
12:00 – 1:00p Music of the era: Harp Concert by N.O. Celtic Harp Ensemble
12:00 – 12:15 Meet and Greet
“Letters from the Attic” and tokens of love display
12:15 Welcome and Introductions by President, Jeff Lyons. Explanations of Letter Displays by Denelle Cowart, Silent Auction Opens with Overview
Reading of a Jane Austen prayer/Silent Moment
12:00 Brunch – Enjoy Brunch buffet of Grits & Grillades, Scrambled Eggs and more (included in Admission price) Cash Bar.
1:00 – 2:00p The Richard H. Boyd Poetry Readings by poets Gina Ferrara, Stacey Balkun and David Schoen
2:00 – 2:45p “Perfect Love Letter Writing Contest” Adult Categories
2016 Winner Readings
2017 Winners announced; Readings
2:45 – 3:00p – Afternoon Tea Break
3:00 – 3:30p – Famous and not so Famous Letters including Jane’s!
3:30 – 4:00p – Jane on the English Pound
4:00 – 5:00p – The Singing Austen: Parlor Songs from the British Isles by Arynne Fannin accompanied by pianist Marta Vincent.
5:00 – 5:30p – REGENCY RECEPTION, Cake, Champagne (champagne by Saia’s Market). Included in admission fee.
5:00p – Raffle basket drawings & Silent Auction closes
Please check back periodically as this schedule may change to accommodate all happenings.

More information on the Foundation, festival or purchases for Admission to the Ball or Sunday Brunch & Activities: and on Facebook: Jane Austen Literary Festival.

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