Author pens children’s Mardi Gras book

Published 2:15 am Saturday, January 23, 2016

Former Bogalusa resident Dr. Keith Polk, an anesthesiologist turned children’s author, recently debuted his first book, The Mardi Grasfish (Crawfish), just in time for Mardi Gras.

The 24-page picture storybook, featuring the colorful art of Eric Miranda, is the tale of a kindhearted crawfish named Crawfrere, who writes to the mayor of New Orleans to convince him that his physically and emotionally-challenged friends from the bayou should win a local contest to ride the main float in the Mardi Gras parade. Mayor Billy the Big Mouth Bass is so moved by Crawfrere’s letter that he selects him and his friends to join the “Krewe of Compassion” that builds and rides the main float in the parade.

Polk is the son of Gwendolyn and Ernest Pope, who still live in Bogalusa. He now lives in the Pasadena, Calif., area, where he has been a physician for 35 years.

The book was inspired by Polk’s love of Louisiana’s rustic landscapes and colorful characters, but more importantly, by the children he has treated as a physician.

Polk said he feels tremendous compassion for the young people he has comforted before and after surgery as they have faced some of the most frightening moments of their lives without a parent by their side. He has assured his littlest patients that they’re special, offering them the kind of love and acceptance that he learned in the southern countryside.

“I’m a lot like Crawfrere, who teaches his friends that the sky’s the limit, and that they can overcome their disadvantages to accomplish their dreams,” Polk said.

Polk started attending Mardi Gras as a little boy and still thinks it’s one of the best parties on earth.

“Who wouldn’t love a parade where they throw sparkly beads and candy at you,” he asked.
The Mardi Grasfish is the first in a trilogy of Crawfrere stories that explore the ways Fat Tuesday is celebrated around the globe. The next two books are set in Brazil and France.

The Mardi Grasfish retails for $18.35 at A Kindle edition of the book is also available on Amazon for $2.99.