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Storytelling Conference to move in Caffey Annex

Released: 11/12/2004

The Southern Crossroads Storytelling Conference scheduled Saturday at LSU Alexandria will move into the Barbara Brumfield Caffey Annex due to possible rain.

LSU Alexandria and the Central Louisiana Storytellers Guild are hosting the Nov. 20 conference, which begins at 9 a.m.

Events were going to be held outside, but organizers Friday decided to move the conference to the Caffey Annex on campus. (See campus map on the LSU Alexandria website.)

The conference will consist of morning workshops and an afternoon “concert of storytelling” featuring storytellers from throughout the state.

Dr. Owen Elmore, LSU Alexandria assistant professor of English, said he had a longstanding dream of combining an academic study of storytelling and its place in the Southern Crossroads with the practical experience of telling stories and learning the craft and art of storytelling. His dream led him to Neil Early, president of the Central Louisiana Storytellers Guild and the Louisiana Storytellers Association and the men began their collaboration for the upcoming conference.

Morning workshops, which begin at 9 a.m., include “Storytelling Basics” and “Why Do We Tell Stories?” A second set of workshops will encourage participants to take the basics and then apply them in a variety of ways. A $5 registration fee will be charged for people attending the morning workshops.

The afternoon storytellers’ concert, which is open to the public, begins at 2 p.m. and is offered free of charge. It will include various tellers from the Central Louisiana guild.

The special guest teller will be Rose Ann St. Romain of Avoyelles Parish, a professional storyteller since 1982. She is the featured storyteller on Jimmy Buffett’s Internet radio storytelling program “The Stories We Could Tell” at A favorite performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival since 1995, St. Romain’s other clients have included the International Reading Association, the American Association of University Women, Indiana's Noble Tales Storytelling Festival and hundreds of schools, libraries and festivals. Other presenters include Sylvia Davis of Alexandria, who will add an African flavor to the program.

She has an undergraduate degree in speech and drama and is a teacher at a local high school. Mary Lecompte of Lake Charles will add a touch of the French. She is a retired teacher and librarian who has been a regular teller in schools since 1991. Darlene DuFour of Pineville will contribute a sense of being “Louisiana-grown.” She is a published author, counselor, teacher and storyteller. Early and his wife, Mary, of Leesville will bring a taste of the Hispanic.

The Earlys have performed for many service and civic organizations, numerous festivals and in many academic program events. Mrs. Early recently retired after more than 30 years as an educator with the Vernon Parish School District. Neil Early is an adjunct instructor with Northwestern State University, Leesville/Ft. Polk.

The conference will feature an open bookstore with a variety of materials on story and storytelling, including offerings from some of the day’s presenters. It also will include a “Storyteller’s First Aid Basket” prepared by students of Kim Elmore’s Storytelling Class at Bolton High School in Alexandria. The basket will be raffled off during the conference.

For more information, contact Early at 337-238-1959 or Elmore at 318-473-6519.