Your Subtitle text

Press Release




Kerri Blache
Board President

(985) 624-5683

[email protected]

Richard Boyd 

Board Member

(985) 624-9604

[email protected]




      Who do you love?

    Nicky Hopkins of London, England and his pals with Quicksilver Messenger Service only asked the question in their 1969 hit song but the 2010 Old Mandeville Jane Austen Festival invites  young and old to provide an answer. And the answer can be who or what do you love.

    The popular Love Letter Writing Contest returns as do many other features on March 6-7 in Old Mandeville for the third festival honoring the legendary English novelist Jane Austen.

    And in a significant step in evolving from only a Jane Austen Festival into developing a major north shore literary festival, added to the schedule this year will be booths hosting several published area authors on Saturday and a workshop on writing and getting published featuring well known writers on Sunday.

This year all Saturday events will take place from 9 am-1 pm at the
Mandeville Trailhead Cultural Interpretive Center. All Sunday events will take place from noon to 5 pm at The Lake House restaurant on the Mandeville Lakefront.

"We have concentrated over the first two festivals in creating an atmosphere that combines fun cultural activities keyed to the Regency Era in England in which Jane Austen lived and created what are universally recognized as some of the greatest literary works in the English language. But our goal always has been to create a genuine literary festival for the north shore," said Kerri Blache, a founder of the event and president of the board of directors. "Now, in our third year, we are putting more emphasis this year on the literary aspect of our project," Blache said.

  And in the literary vein, the Perfect Love Letter Writing Contest invites those of all ages to write in longhand a love letter of no more than 250 words about a person, an object, a place or a pet. The letters are judged and winners are invited to the Sunday events where they read the winning selections. New this year will be the panel discussion on Sunday offering tips from established north shore authors such as Bev Marshall, Christa Allan and Pamela Ewen on how to write and get published, organized by The Northshore Literary Society spearheaded by Founder, Pamela Binnings Ewen.

But it is not all literary. Returning on Saturday at the Trailhead's
amphitheater stage will be the "Looking for Mr. Darcy" contest with dramatic readings and period costumes encouraged and the "No Plain Janes" costume contest. In between the two will be an hour long demonstration and lessons of the Regency Era dances described in many of Austen's works. This will be
conducted by the Louisiana Vintage Dancers of Baton Rouge and audience articipation is encouraged.

Saturday's keynote presentation will focus on the challenges of
adapting Jane Austen texts for movies and television specials. It will be  from 10-11 am in the depot building at the Trailhead presented by Daniel R. Mangiavellano, a doctoral student in English at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. His research focuses on 19th Century British literature and he recently had an article published in a journal on adaptation theory and Jane Austen. He is working on a paper on Austen's own adaptation of an 1800 novel by Sir Charles Grandison.

All events are free on Saturday. They include a calligraphy and wax
seal demonstration from 9 am-1 pm by the Papier Plume shop in the French Quarter which will have a retail booth offering both vintage and the latest writing instruments for sale in front of the amphitheater stage and on stage will be offered hairstyles of the Regency Era by Jacqueline's Family Hair Salon. There will be a letter writing workshop for grades  4-7 and for adults from 9-10 in the Depot room followed by the keynote presentation. The Looking for Mr. Darcy contest will be from 11-11:30 am on the amphitheater stage followed by the dancers from 11:30-12:30 and the No Plain Janes costume contest from 12:30-1 pm.
Alongside Papier Plume from 9 am-1 pm will be booths featuring
published St.Tammany writers, organized through Northshore Literary Society Founder, Pamela Ewen who wrote "Moon In The Mango Tree"; Other writers are expected according to festival board member Anne Hile who is coordinating this and the writer's panel discussion on Sunday.




     As they did the first two festivals, several Old Mandeville restaurants will be offering meals of the era during the afternoon including Vianne's Tea Salon and Cafe with a royal regency tea requiring reservations; Good Earth Market with fish and chips; The Rusty Pelican with fish and chips; Kickstand Cafe with fried green tomatoes and The Barley Oak spotlighting several English beers, ales and cider and others. Old Mandeville retail shops will also be open during the day. 

    Admission is $35 for all Sunday's events on the second floor of The Lake House, 2025 Lakeshore Dr. and $25 for students and teachers with proper ID. Brunch and dessert is included in the admission and a cash bar will be available.

    Activities begin at noon with a harp concert by the New Orleans Celtic Harp Ensemble ending at 1 pm. Visitors can view the popular "Letters from the Attic" display which spotlights old letters found by area residents in family collections and displayed for the day. The Festival is requesting letters from the community to be shared for display, please contact Christine Baglow (985) 898-2830 or (985) 951-9669.  There will be a reading of one of the three prayers written by Jane Austen. Following the harp concert is a presentation titled “Murderous Husbands in 19th Century Literature and then the readings of winners in the Perfect Love Letter Writing Contest beginning with the 2009 winners followed by the announcement and readings by the 2010 winners.

The panel on writing and publishing will be from 2:30-3:30 pm
followed by socializing with the writers while enjoying live flute music of the Regency Era by Les Ensembles Classique. 
The love letter writing event will be in four categories -- students
in middle, junior high and high school and adults.  The letters must be
written in longhand with a pen on paper and must also be typed and sent via e mail. The deadline is March 4. Entry forms can be obtained at the festival website, Students can also contact Hile at (281) 650-0361 and she will provide entry forms to the various schools.

    Blache said in order to continue to finance the festival, patron and sponsorship levels have been created this year. The sponsorship levels are Austentatious at $1,000; Pride at $500; Persuasion at $250 and the Sensibility level is $100 and Janite $35.

She said those wishing to financially support the festival can do so at any level and send checks, payable to The Jane Austen Foundation of Louisiana, Inc., P.O. Box 1105, Mandeville, La. 70470 or contact Anne Hile at (281) 650-0361 to discuss contribution arrangements. Hile is also soliciting financial support for the festival from  area businesses.

The festival is produced by a board consisting of Blache, Hile, Danna Acker, Janet Fabre Smith, Diane Rosiere, Gwyn Mendez, Linda Dupuy, Richard Boyd, William Reeves, Frank Stansbury,  Christine Baglow and Troi Kite.