DERIDDER—The children of K.R. Hanchey Elementary were taught the richness Louisiana culture has to offer by singing and dancing with award winning author and musician Johnette Downing on Wednesday.
Downing is an author, singer, songwriter and musician performing music and presenting books about Louisiana. According to Downing she writes about what she knows, as she was born in Louisiana. Downing’s list of multiple awards include: six Parents’ Choice Awards, four iParenting Media Awards, two Parent’s Guide To Children’s Media Awards, four National Parenting Publications Awards, a Family Choice Award, a Family Review Center Award, an Imagination Award and a Haiku International Association Honorable Mention Award.
The books she performed for the students were ‘Today Is Monday In Louisiana’ which takes young readers through a culinary calendar describing a delicious Louisiana meal for each day of the week.
Another book she sang to the children was ‘Chef Creole’. In this book Downing presents a character Chef made entirely out of Louisiana cuisine, like boudin sausage arms.
“The students were very enthusiastic and knew my books and music already. So I know the teachers are using them in the classrooms and they were just a fabulous audience,” said Downing.
Every year the students at K.R. Hanchey have a Louisiana Culture program to help the students learn more about the state, according to K.R. Hanchey Principal Elizabeth Maricle.
“We had to book her a year in advance and we’ve been very, very excited about the prospect of her coming. We put on a Louisiana program every year and we use her books and songs so that’s how we knew of her and her music. So we thought what better way to promote our program than to have her come and actually sing and tell her stories,” said Maricle.
“It was so awesome. She is so active with her audience and with the kids. She really gets down to their level. We just enjoyed it tremendously. We have been honored to have her here at our school,” continued Maricle.
-By Billie Jo Rassat
Beauregard Daily News, DeRidder, LA