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Celebration of a Lafayette Legend

Mademoiselle Gigi_Front Cover3x5
Find Mademoiselle Gigi on Amazon.com

The inaugural Acadiana PRIDE Festival celebrates the life of a Lafayette legend, Gisele “Gigi” Carriton, with a March 27-April 11 production run of Dennis Ward’s play, Chez Gisele, at the Cité des Arts Theater. A special premier night, Thursday, March 27, 2014, will feature the novelist and playwright, Dennis Ward, discussing the life of Gigi, his writing journey, and signing copies of his latest novel, Mademoiselle Gigi.

The late Gisele “Gigi” Carriton (1928-2008) is a beloved, historical figure in the Acadiana community. She was owner of the first gay, cabaret nightclub in the decades 1960-1970. In an era of emerging gay rights, Ms Carriton provided not only a place of entertainment, but her nightclub was a safe haven from discrimination and persecution for her gay friends. Gigi even took the extraordinary measure of sheltering gays in her home who had been abandoned by their families. Dennis Ward’s award winning play, Chez Gisele, is a portrait painting of those years and will have its third production since 2010.

Who was this French woman who married a Cajun soldier after World War II in Paris? She was the only child of an upper class financier of the early aviation industry in France and lived quite comfortably before the war in a lavish apartment in an area of Paris known as Les Gobelins. Her Jewish family had immigrated to France at the turn of the 20th century during the time of the pogroms in Russia. Dennis Ward’s first novel in the Gigi series, Mademoiselle Gigi, recalls Gigi’s struggle as a young Jewish girl struggling to survive the Nazi occupation of France. The novel is set in France from 1940-1946 and is the first volume of the Gigi series. Fast forward twenty years later, the same Gigi finds herself the owner of the infamous gay cabaret nightclub, Chez Gisele, championing the cause of her gay friends.

Dennis Ward is proud and humbled the inaugural Acadiana PRIDE Festival chose to open the festival with his stage play, Chez Gisele. The honor confirms the petite French lady, Gisele “Gigi” Carriton,  will always be a part of Lafayette gay history. For further details or tickets, contact Cite des Arts Theater at 337-291-1122 or online at citedesarts.org.

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First Book Launch of Mademoiselle Gigi

Mademoiselle Gigi Book Launch of Mademoiselle Gigi, Dec 14

I will release and sign copies of my historical fiction novel, Mademoiselle Gigi, December 14th from 5-7pm at Cite des Arts at 109 Vine St., downtown Lafayette, Louisiana. The novel is based on the life of Gisele “Gigi” Carriton, a fictional account of her life as a Jewish teenager struggling to survive the Nazi occupation of France. Gisele “Gigi” Carriton was a resident of the Acadiana region from 1946 to the end of her life in 2008. Dennis Ward’s other major artistic work about the life of the late Ms Carriton is the popular play, Chez Gisele, the story of Gisele “Gigi” Carriton’s years of owning the infamous gay cabaret nightclub, Chez Gisele, in Lafayette during the 1960s to 1970s. In addition, I will read a short segment from my novel and will discuss the aspect of the story of how a Parisian Jewish girl became a war bride and began her new life in Louisiana in the spring of 1946. If you are unable to attend the book launch, the book is available at Amazon by clicking the following link: Mademoiselle Gigi by Dennis Ward. 

Read an excerpt from Mademoiselle Gigi.

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