Local author talks books at LaPlace Elementary School

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE- LaPlace Elementary School recently had a popular New Orelans author visit the school to teach them about Mardi Gras, Black History, and the writing process.

Denise Walter McConduit, an author of three children’s books, said she began writing children’s books that taught the customs and traditions of New Orleans because she wanted the children of New Orleans to see a positive representation of their culture.

Her three books focus on three familiar customs in the New Orleans area.

She used her son as inspiration to write the books.

Her three books, &#8220D.J. and the Debutante Ball”, &#8220D.J. and the Jazz Fest”, and &#8220D.J. and the Zulu Parade” all tell the story of D.J.’s experience at each event.

&#8220D.J. is a little boy that gets into mischief and kids can relate to that,” McConduit said.

&#8220I am from a large family. I had 12 brothers and sisters and I used to read for them and invent plays for them to entertain the younger children. That is how I got my start in writing,” McConduit said.

&#8220I loved the library as a child. We couldn’t afford to own a lot of books, but going to the library was a major family event for us. It was our treat on Saturdays,” she said.

&#8220As I got older, I wrote poetry and then later wrote a story about my three daughters. Then one of them said that my son Darrel’s experience riding in the Zulu parade would make a good story so I decided to give it a try,” she said.

&#8220I wrote and revised the story many times, and when I finally approached the publisher at Pelican Publishing, she told me they weren’t taking children’s manuscripts at this time. Then she said well what’s it about, and I told her, so she read it anyway. That is how the book got started,” she said.

&#8220I was lucky I had an original idea and she liked it. Pelican was the first publisher I called after looking for one in the phone book. I wanted it to be a regional publisher so I would have a better chance of having the book published,” McConduit said.

McConduit has two poems on display in the Riverwalk’s &#8220Book of Legends” and is still active as the secretary for the board of directors of the New Orleans Poetry Forum.