Destrehan native seeking help in publishing third book

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 23, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

Former St. Charles resident Bert Montgo-mery is asking for the support of the River Parishes community to fund the publishing of his new book via Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects.
Montgomery is a 1986 graduate of Destrehan High School but moved away from the area shortly after graduation. He currently lives in Starkville, Miss., where he teaches religion and sociology at Mississippi State University. Despite the distance, Montgomery has maintained his high school friendships and hopes to tell the stories of his former classmates who experienced the wrath of a historic storm directly with his book, tentatively titled “Jungian Jambalaya: An Oral History of Hurricane Katrina.”
Montgomery said even though he had left the area long before Katrina, watching the coverage on the news and losing touch with friends hit him very hard. The author said his book is not meant to be a history of the storm, only a collection of other people’s stories.
“Over the weekend before it hit, I was like everybody else. I had been away 19 years. When Katrina hit in 2005, I was way up north in Kentucky about and hour and a half from Cincinatti, Ohio. I went through a pretty serious grieving process, and I didn’t know I was grieving at the moment, really,” said Montgomery. “All the news was mainly about the Gulf Coast, or specifically, the Ninth Ward area, but so many of my friends that lived out in the River Parishes. Some of them lost everything. I was collecting real stories from people I knew, and now I’ve got a whole bunch of these stories. And what am I gonna do with them? I’m going to put them together and put them in a book.”
Montgomery has been published before — his last book, “Psychic Pancakes and Communion Pizza” was published in 2011, and he published his first book, “Elvis, Willie, Jesus and Me: The Musings and Mutterings of a Church Misfit,” earlier that same year. The author is asking for contributions because he is choosing to go with a different type of publisher, Nurturing Faith/Faithlab, for this book project. His first publisher, Smyth & Helwys, is mainly focused on printing faith-related works.
“It’s not a self-publishing. It’s a younger publisher that emerged to do more of the digital media and do prints on demand, as opposed to my older books, which were traditional publishing house kind of books. They seek to share the cost up front, but on the back end, I get a whole lot more books and response to sell on my own. Basically you’re pre-selling the books in advance on this,” he said.
With just six days left on his project, the book already has 34 backers and has earned a total of $1,475. Montgomery plans to sign a book deal with a publisher if he clears his $2,500 goal by Wednesday, March 27, the last day of the project. If the book does not reach its goal, all funds will be returned to the donors.
All donations include some type of incentive. Donors who pledge at least $10 will receive an autographed copy of the book cover, which has yet to be determined. Backers who pledge at least $20 will receive a copy of the book. Larger pledge amounts will receive more incentives.
Montgomery feels that his project is an important exercise in healing for the victims of the storm.
“(I’m writing this) for the importance of keeping stories alive, because there are a lot of folks who don’t want to share their stories because it’s still been very painful to talk about, but they’ve appreciated reading what happened to somebody else. It’s just a part of the healing process, part of the recording of history,” he said.
For more information on Bert Montgomery or his book project, visit or