Return of a writer: Native author comes home for visit

Published 5:46 am Friday, March 3, 2017

It was like old home day when Bogalusa native Ardie Cesario, now a published author, visited and did a book signing at the Bogalusa Branch Library on Thursday. Hugs were exchanged as old friends stopped by to check him out, and the stories flowed.

Cesario was born in 1953. He lived on St. John’s Street, then moved to Spring Valley Road. He graduated from Bogalusa High School in 1971, and moved away the next day.

Now after 41 years as an insurance agent, who also taught the insurance business at Bossier Parish Community College, and after living in Washington D.C. for 11 years, he and his brother Mark are fixing up a house for their mother, Irma Lee Callendar, a distinguished story-teller in her own right. His father, A.M. Cesario, died when he was just 9 years old.

The 1960s and 1970s were historically significant times in Bogalusa.

“Integration was a big thing for me,” Cesario said. “I couldn’t afford to go to the movies, so I sat in the black section for 25 cents.”

He said he remembers that Bogalusa made the national news more than once in that era.

“If anything is a stumbling block to God, you have to get rid of it,” Cesario said Thursday. “I want people to think. I want to challenge them sometimes. I’m not judgmental.”

It was former Daily News publisher Lou Major Sr. who inspired him to write. Major spoke at Annunciation Catholic School, which Cesario attended. A teacher showed him a sample of Cesario’s writing, which the young author considered a hobby. When the newspaper publisher advised him to “stick with it,” he was hooked.

Well, that and the girls.

“I wrote a story about the Vietnam war,” Casario said. “I read it at Annunciation, and when I looked up and a few girls were crying. They were moved. I got the bug.

“I was a poor student in high school. In college, I had to start with remedial English, but I graduated in Honors English.”

Now Cesario has two books out — “It Is All Good And God Is At The End,” and “We Throw Things At You.” The first includes an account of him watching his mother-in-law die, which he calls the greatest moment of his life. Observing her in a state of ecstasy, he came to believe that maybe death is not an end, and he was inspired to become a hospice volunteer and a student of the dying process.

The second, more secular, book is about “dealing with life’s zingers,” Cesario said.

“I always want to inspire,” he added.

Cesario donated several of his books to the library. So, anyone can check the books out and check out Cesarios message and hometown talent at the Bogalusa Branch Library.

This story was written by Daily News reporter Marcelle Hanemann.