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Wacky Southerner

Cheré Dastugue Coen is an award-winning journalist and author. 


A native of New Orleans, Cheré began her career in communications at the 1984 World’s Fair. She has worked for Variety magazine in Hollywood, the Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, Gambit Weekly in New Orleans, the Gannett newspapers of Louisiana, The Californian, and many others. 


She currently writes freelance for a variety of publications, including AAA Southern Explorer; New Orleans magazine, Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile of the Renaissance magazine group of New Orleans; TravelAgeWest magazine; and many others. She's also the editor of DeSoto Magazine of Mississippi and writes their monthly cocktail column, In Good Spirits.

Chere's nonfiction books include "Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History," "Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana," and "Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Tour of Acadiana" by The History Press, the cookbook travelogue “Cooking in Cajun Country” with "Cajun" Karl Breaux (2009, Gibbs Smith Publishing) and “Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets” (2010, Llewellyn) with Jude Bradley.




Her fiction, under the pen name of Cherie Claire, includes the Viola Valentine paranormal mystery series, the Cajun Series of historical romances, and The Cajun Embassy, a contemporary romance series. 


Cheré has sat on the Louisiana boards of the Lafayette Public Library Foundation of Lafayette, the Festival of Words literary festival of Grand Coteau, the Writers Guild of Acadiana, and the Heart of Louisiana Romance Writers of America of Baton Rouge. She has appeared numerous times at the Louisiana Book Festival, Romance Writers of America's national convention, the Los Angeles Times Book Festival, the Louisiana Library Association conference, and many other literary events. Contact her for speaking engagements and workshops at cherecoen@gmail.com.

​You can read more about Cheré

and her publications here.

Blogs Cheré contributes to include:


California Tours

The Travel 100

Travel the South Bloggers

VisitSouth.com (defunct)


Lafayette Travel blog


International Regional Magazine Association

Gold, food feature, "Best Boudin" Acadiana Profile, 2017

Gold, food feature, "Best New Restaurants," Acadiana Profile, 2018

Gold, art direction of a single story, "Best New Restaurants," Acadiana Profile, 2018

Silver, recreation feature, "Best Bars," Acadiana Profile, 2020

Silver, art and culture feature, "Cracklins," Acadiana Profile, 2020

Bronze, food feature, "Cracklins," Acadiana Profile, 2020

Bronze, reader service article, "Game On," Acadiana Profile, 2018

Bronze, portrait series, "Best Chefs," Acadiana Profile, 2018

ArtSpark Grant, Lafayette, 2019

Robin Hardy New Student Scholarship, Writers Retreat Workshop, 2012

Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation Grant, 2007

Louisiana Press Women, First Place Entertainment Feature and Best Novel, 1999

Louisiana Press Women, First Place, Web Page Feature Story, 2000

National Federation of Press Women Award for Best Novel, 2000 (third place)

Helicon Achievement Award of Excellence, "Power and Influence: Women Who Have It and How They Use It," Gambit Weekly, 1994

Ingersol national news writing and feature finalist, 1988 and 1989

Margaret Dixon Journalism Award for LSU Outstanding Female Senior, 1982


Produced plays in 2007 and 2008 at the Hub City Theater Festival, Lafayette, LA

Screenplay “ZeZe’s Waltz” took first place in Scriptscene Contest, 2003.

Articles About Cheré Coen/pen name Cherie Claire

American Journalism Review

SensibleTalk and click here

Louisiana Book Festival Q&A

Pauline Baird Jones Blog

Cynthia Wolf Blog

Lisa Mondello Blog

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