Author shares Mardi Gras experiences in new book

Published 11:31 am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Author Colette Le Blanc displays her book, “Mardi Gras, An Alphabet Parade,” while Chelsea Park Elementary School second- and third-grade students Parker Bedsole, Sarah Hyde, Alex Carlee, Ragen Landrum, Thomas Root and Carson Wilder show off their sketches of Mardi Gras masks. (Special/Shelba Nivens)

By SHELBA NIVENS / Community Columnist

Mardi Gras is such a big (and happy) part of Colette Le Blanc Tatum’s  upbringing that she wants to help other children experience the fun of Mardi Gras, too, she said.

She has accomplished this, along with teaching the alphabet, through her book, “Mardi Gras, An Alphabet Parade.”

Children at Chelsea Park Elementary School attested to this fact Feb. 22 when Le Blanc shared her experiences through a book signing/workshop.

Le Blanc told the students about the fun she and her sister, Jeanne, shared growing up in New Orleans where Mardi Gras was a big part of their life, then shared how they worked together as adults to produce the Mardi Gras book.  Jeanne Le Blanc, now an award-winning graphic designer in California, did the illustrations.

“All the pictures were done on the computer,” Colette Le Blanc said. “The book is all digital.”
As Le Blanc talked to students, she explained terms and processes. She later asked questions, which children answered enthusiastically, showing they were, indeed, learning about writing and publishing books.

Le Blanc explained how she “brainstormed” to come up with what she wanted to share, and from there put her ideas on paper and then into the computer.  She sent the words to her sister Jeanne in California, who used the computer to “paint” pictures to illustrate the words, or text, and sent it back to her in Alabama.

A friend, who is a published author, edited the book for them, she said.  As part of the editing process, the friend suggested making the alphabet letters stand out so they are more noticeable, and adding an author’s page. The author’s note page helps people who are not familiar with Mardi Gras to understand more about it.

With the text of the book written, digital illustrations added, the copy edited and changes made, everything was put together in a mock copy, which looks much like the printed book. Le Blanc showed students the mock copy of “Mardi Gras, An Alphabet Parade,” along with a copy of the published book and explained the difference.

The book signing turned out to be a great learning experience for students, as well as adults.
And as a great finale, Le Blanc showed students how to sketch a Mardi Gras mask, and then let them sketch their own.

To purchase a book or contact Colette Le Blanc Tatum about a book signing, call 919-0924 or email
Shelba Nivens can be reached by e-mail at