About the Author
Mariana Titus divides her time between Franklin, Louisiana and Santa Barbara, California. She grew up along the banks of Bayou Teche across from the Franklin cemetery. She spends her time in Acadiana gathering material and photographs for her books. Having two residences makes Mariana aware of the cultural uniqueness of southwestern Louisiana.
Louisiana cemeteries have always been a source of inspiration for Mariana, "I became familiar with my neighbors at rest. I watched rose bushes grow bark and learned where old plants and vines were planted." Her first book, ‘Graveyards and Bayou Bars’, is a collection of barroom stories and philosophy combined with epitaphs from this graveyard. The chapters flow gracefully from love to heritage to life to death in the captured conversations and black and white photographs.
Three books followed her first work, ‘Summers Full of Porch Bull’, ‘Hurricanes, Healings and Dancing Ceilings’, and ‘Rain,Cane, Bayou Refrain.’ They are a continuing compilation of stories and anecdotes collected during her summer returns to Louisiana. They reflect her profound appreciation for the simplicity and drama of everyday people, their lives and their stories. Dramatic and often humorous black and white photographs complement the text. The reader will delight in chapters titled "If I Can Catch It, I Can Cook It" and "Love is Better than Rabbit Spaghetti".
Mariana prefers stories that give the "...gift of a valuable lesson. Old folks are good with these, but sometimes just a simple exchange between old friends makes a great story."
‘Hurricanes, Healings and Dancing Ceilings’ is filled with hurricane stories (pre-Katrina and Rita). In this book, Mariana has testimonies from her father's patients. Her father was a chiropractor until his passing in August 1971. Also, many good time stories are in Dancing Ceilings to entertain the reader as well as black and white photographs.
‘Rain, Cane, Bayou Refrain’ tells about the Flood of 1927. Mariana interviewed folks who lived through the flood. Also, several sugar cane farmers tell their stories and in the last chapter, Bayou Refrain, local musicians talk about their lives in music.
‘Sunday Mornings, Crowning Glories’ is her latest addition to a total of five books. Mariana has spent many years taking photographs of the sugar cane country outside Franklin, Louisiana. The passages of time, hurricanes and progress have altered the landscape but the rural beauty lives on. Generations of families have worshiped in the small churches of this bucolic area and many continue to do so. Some folks have passed on, many have moved and others attend churches closer to her hometown, Franklin. ‘Sunday Mornings, Crowning Glories’ takes the reader inside these churches to meet the beautiful people inside through black and white photographs and stories.
Mariana has a very relaxed disarming style in gathering material for her books. In conversations with folks she says, "I've never experienced any real objections in these interchanges. I want only positive things in my books."
"I've never had trouble relating to people in Louisiana or anywhere else. I project an open attitude which helps. I think all people have an inner sense and can feel vibrations similar to the way dogs do. I'm also never pushy about photographs and always ask if I can take the picture and usually send them a copy."
Mariana is also an artist, calling herself a "molecular re-arranger." She does large abstracts in oil and acrylic, along with works in other mediums.
Feel free to e-mail Mariana if you have questions or just want to talk. Caution, you may end up in her next book!