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  • Writer's pictureCherie Claire

Going 'Gone Pecan'

“Gone Pecan,” the third book in my Cajun Embassy series, is a story close to my heart. It’s set in Lafayette, the town where I live and the hub of Cajun Country, and my main character follows a career path close to my own.

But I was told many times that no one would get the title.

In South Louisiana, the expression “Gone Pecan,” pronounced gȯn pē-kan, means to split, to leave. For instance, “Boudreaux went gone pecan after they realized he had stolen the money.”

According to the Urban Dictionary, it could also apply to someone’s mental health: “A Southern term synonymous with ‘gone nuts,’ as in when somebody is doing something crazy, or saying something that doesn’t make sense.”

I’ve only heard it used in relation to the first definition. Louisiana musician Sonny Landreth, who Eric Clapton called one of the most advanced guitarists in the world, recorded a song titled “Gone Pecan” in that sense of the word. You can view a video of this amazing guitarist singing “Gone Pecan” here.

But here’s the rub. A lot of people pronounce pecans as pee-cans, so the expression doesn’t make sense if the pronunciation leans in that direction. Or at least it doesn’t sound right. So I was told over and over again not to use the title for fear of confusing my readers.

Like most people from South Louisiana, I’m a stubborn girl; I didn’t listen. So I ask you all. Does it confuse you? Or does it make you chuckle? Do you want to know more?

As for the novel, the story follows Dewey Hennessey who left Louisiana and Michael Arceneaux, the love of her life, with so many questions unanswered. Now, fourteen years after Dewey went “gone pecan,” her grandmother delivers an ultimatum — return to Louisiana and make things right or she’ll never speak to her again. Can Dewey leave her high profile job in Hollywood, even if it means restoring her broken heart? And even though Michael has forged ahead with his life, he can’t deny having Dewey back in town will make his life complete. But can he get past the pain she caused fourteen long years ago?

It’s the third book in the Cajun Embassy series of three Columbia journalism coeds homesick for Louisiana who find comfort in a bowl of Cajun gumbo. Each book — “Ticket to Paradise,” “Damn Yankees” and “Gone Pecan” — follows these dedicated friends as they make their way into the world. Because love — and a good gumbo — cures everything.

Next time you go “Gone Pecan,” bring one of my books along for the ride. Grab a Sonny Landreth CD, too, while you’re at it.

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