Destination: Franklin, Louisiana
Book: Sunday Morning, Crowning Glories, by Mariana Titus
A GUEST POST by Dr. Jessie Voigts
Author Mariana Titus is an old friend and I’ve always admired her writing, care for others, and artistry. Yes, she’s an accomplished artist – she’s inspired our daughter in her artistic pursuits as well. Mariana’s books are full of a sense of PLACE and character. It is rare that an author can dig deep and truly share the essence of a place, culture, people. She has written five books about the area around Franklin, Louisiana, including Graveyards and Bayou Bars, Summers Full of Porch Bull, Hurricanes, Healings and Dancing Ceilings, and Rain,Cane, Bayou Refrain. We were lucky enough to be sent a review copy of her latest book, Sunday Mornings, Crowning Glories. Sunday Mornings is beautiful journey into some of the black churches around Franklin, Louisiana. Mariana shares history, food, family, and church memories of many people, creating an anthropological view into this area. The stories are enhanced by Mariana’s incredible photographs of family, gorgeous outfits and hats at church, beautiful smiles, historic buildings, the joy inherent in the church communities.
We meet incredible people like Ethel McClain Johnson, who noted: “We were poor but, then again, we were rich because we had so much love for each other and other people.”
Ethel Jenkins says, “I came into the world shouting…When I say something, people know it’s the truth…they can feel what I’m saying!” A section on the seven sisters of the McDaniel family truly gets the essence of religion and family, including this from Golden McDaniel Charles – “I attended the Evening Star Baptist Church. My Pastor was the late Reverend Johnnie Carr, Jr. I was baptized in the Bayou Techie. That was a glorious time. My Pastor prayed until the waters trembled!”
We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Mariana about the book, her experiences in Louisiana, writing the book, and more. Here’s what she had to say…
Wandering Educators: Please tell us about your book, Sunday Mornings, Crowning Glories
Mariana Titus: Sunday Mornings, Crowning Glories is my fifth book. It contains 149 pages of photographs as well as church related stories told to me by black women from my hometown of Franklin, Louisiana and surrounding areas.
It is the book I’ve always wanted to read. I’m drawn to personal diaries, oral history, real life stories, local cookbooks, etc. , regional tales. I believe that knowing where we come from helps us to see where we’re going. The best way for me to do this is to transcribe verbatim what the subjects have to say about themselves – that way I learn about the area and their culture first hand.
WE: What is your history of living in Louisiana?
MT: I moved to southwest Louisiana at an early age after my dad graduated from Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He and my mother met in her native country of Venezuela. I grew up in the Franklin/Garden City area. Our house welcomed everyone and my dad often gave his services for free to those who could not afford them. We were often paid with chickens, fish and vegetables from the patients’ gardens. One man, Mr. Dean, gave my dad free oyster shells for the driveway. My dad was well-respected and my mother dearly loved by all in the community. I was able to interact with a variety of people because dad’s office was in our house. They told me stories about their own lives which nourished my curiosity and planted the seed for my future books.
Read the complete interview at Wandering Educators web site.