Mary Alice Fontenot was born just outside of Eunice, Louisiana, in Acadia
Parish. As a child, she often spent time at her grandfather's farm in Bayou
Tigre, taking a train to Erath, then joining him in his buggy. Childhood
memories such as these served as inspiration for many of her books.
Fontenot worked for thirty-five years as a journalist for various
publications, including the Lafayette (Louisiana) Daily Advertiser and
the Crowley (Louisiana) Post Signal. She wrote features for newspapers
and hosted a radio show on KSIG-AM in Crowley, Louisiana. Fontenot also taught
kindergarten classes at St. Edmund Elementary School in Eunice and eventually
took classes at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in order to improve her
Honored numerous times for her writing, Fontenot was awarded the 1998
Acadiana Arts Council Lifetime Achievement Award and the Louisiana State Library
Award. In 2003, she was named a Louisiana Legend by Louisiana Public
Broadcasting and a Living Legend by the Acadian Museum of Erath, a program that
recognizes individuals who help shape Cajun culture.
Fontenot was best known for the Clovis Crawfish series, eighteen books that
are published in both English and French. The character of Clovis was initially
a product of boredom, created on a slow day at the Lafayette Daily Advertiser
when Fontenot's editor left her in charge. The character wasn't even a crawfish
at first, but Fontenot soon made it so to make it truer to her Acadian heritage.
Through the character of Clovis, children learn moral values such as kindness
and caring over adversity and meanspiritedness. Fontenot's other Pelican titles
include the children's books Mardi Gras in the Country and
The Star Seed, a Christmas tale.
Fontenot died May 12, 2003, at the age of ninety-three. For more information
about her life, please read