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A New Generation of Food Stories... Peggy Sweeney-McDonald Leads a Teen Workshop at East Baton Rouge Library

posted Aug 1, 2017, 4:22 PM by Peggy Sweeney-McDonald   [ updated Aug 2, 2017, 1:07 PM ]
Before moving back to Baton Rouge, Louisiana from Los Angeles last year, Peggy Sweeney-McDonald partnered with drama teacher Hank Amigo at Hale Charter School for a 6th Grade Introduction to Drama/Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... workshop. The 42 sixth graders wrote their food stories and performed them in a fabulous show for their parents, families and friends. It was a huge success, a sold out crowd of 200 people and the ticket sales went to the drama department to help support their future productions.

                                                         Hale Charter School Drama Students with Peggy Sweeney-McDonald

When Peggy met Mary Stein, Executive Director, and Chaundra Johnson, Community Programming Coordinator, of the East Baton Rouge Library at the 2016 Louisiana Book Festival, Peggy suggested they partner and produce a Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... show. Mary thought it would be a great event for the Baton Rouge Bicentennial which is now scheduled for August 13th at 6:00 PM at the Main Library on Goodwood. Mary suggested Peggy also lead a teen workshop for their Teen Summer Program.

                                                                                     Teen Class at the Library with Peggy

On July 24th - 28th, the first Baton Rouge Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Teen Workshop was held at the Main Library on Goodwood. The group of teens met from 10AM-Noon each day for five days. The first day, they read from the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Life Stories About Food coffeetable/cookbook by Pelican Publishing. The teens then shared their ideas of  "If I were a food, what would I be and why?"  

On Tuesday, they read more of the stories from the book and then the teens began sharing their ideas for their food stories.  Peyton Segrest, who just graduated from University High School, stopped by to share her food story she had written a few years ago called, "And This Is Why, I Go to L.A."  Her story is about a vacation to Los Angeles to see her Aunt and all the great food experiences including a picnic at the 4th of July concert at Hollywood Bowl and an In and Out Burger at Santa Monica Beach! The teens enjoyed meeting Peyton and they got a first hand look at how she took a fun time in her life and thread her food experiences throughout her story. A photo op ended the class!

                                                                             Peyton Segrest, Guest Storyteller with Class

Wednesday, the teens had their stories written and typed up by the end of the class.  They took the stories home to begin rehearsing. On Thursday and Friday, Peggy directed them and they punched up the stories up with energy and body language.  At the end of the class on Friday, they were excited and ready to perform!

At 6:00PM on Saturday night, they performed their food stories at a Meanwhile... show for family and friends. They opened their presentations with "If I were a food, what would I be and why?" and they entertained everyone with their creative food stories. The audience members joined in and several wanted to share what food they would be including Library Executive Director, Mary Stein, several brothers and sisters, plus a Grandmother!

                                                                     Peggy with Teen Storytellers, Tyrel, Nicholas and Ethan

The teens original food stories were about family food memories and Louisiana food culture. The titles included: Vacations with My Father, I Love Me Some New Orleans and My Family Gatherings.  Everyone was entertained and impressed with the talent, level of creativity after only a five day workshop.  It truly was a tasty treat savored by all!