DENHAM SPRINGS -- The creators of “Chicory & Roux,” a children’s book about a pair of Louisiana mice from different backgrounds, recently stopped by Cavalier House Books for a storytelling session and book signing. 

Author Todd-Michael St. Pierre and illustrator Lee Brandt Randall, along with musician David Randall, led a lively 30-minute storytelling session Oct. 20 that included reading, singing and puppetry. 

Visitors to the local bookstore heard a tale seeped in Louisiana culture.

Released in February 2017, “Chicory & Roux” follows the story of Chicory, a sophisticated city mouse who never imagined she’d have to leave her elegant Creole home in New Orleans.

That changes, however, when she falls asleep in a picnic basket, wakes up in the Cajun swamps and stumbles upon Roux, a simple country mouse who shows Chicory the bucolic bayou life she’d never known.

Chicory eventually persuades Roux to see what the city has to offer, and together they journey to New Orleans for a taste of Creole culture.

The story includes idyllic picnics, lavish white-linen luncheons, whimsical illustrations and two original songs in a southern retelling of Aesop’s classic fable.

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Chicory & Roux

Lee Brandt Randall, left, holds up a cat puppet for Madison Brewster to pet during a visit to Cavalier House Books on Saturday, Oct. 20.

This was the sixth book that St. Pierre, an author who published 17 books in 2011 alone, and Randall, an experience illustrator who has designed costumes for Mardi Gras parades in the past, have worked on together.

St. Pierre, a New Orleans native, is the author of several cookbooks and children’s books. He was also a judge for The Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest and is a dedicated gardener and cat lover.

Randall has a degree in printmaking from LSU and works in graphic design, film animation, and book illustration and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

St. Pierre, who’s also had a book featured on HBO, has been pleased with his partnership with Randall. 

“There was no one else I’d rather have illustrate my book,” St. Pierre said of Randall, who also claimed she made 40 crawfish outfits one Mardi Gras season.

This won’t be the pair’s last children’s book: St. Pierre and Randall are currently working on their next title, which gives another Louisiana spin to a well-known fable.

“It’s basically ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ with a Louisiana twist,” St. Pierre said with a laugh.

The next author scheduled to visit Cavalier House Books will be Roger Johns, the author of the Wallace Hartman Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books: “Dark River Rising” (2017) and “River of Secrets” (2018), both of which are set in Baton Rouge.

He is the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year (Detective - Mystery Category), a 2018 Killer Nashville Readers’ Choice Award nominee, and a finalist for the 2018 Silver Falchion Award for best police procedural.

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Roger Johns

Roger Johns, the author of the Wallace Hartman Mysteries from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books, will visit Cavalier House Books for a book signing at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Johns’ books, “Dark River Rising” (2017) and “River of Secrets” (2018), are both set in Baton Rouge.

Roger belongs to the Atlanta Writers Club, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, where he is one of The Fearless Bloggers, and a mentor in the Big Writer program.

Along with four other crime fiction writers, he co-authors the MurderBooks blog at www.murder-books.com.

Johns, a former corporate lawyer and retired college professor, grew up in Louisiana and lived in Baton Rouge for many years. He and his wife now live near Atlanta.

Cavalier House Books is located at 100 N. Range Avenue in the Denham Springs Antique Village.

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