Christopher Pena had his own personal homecoming week in Thibodaux in the coming weeks, when the former Nicholls State University professor attended two local library to celebrate publication of his newest literary offering.
“Death Over A Diamond Stud: The Assassination of the Orleans Parish District Attorney” (Pelican Books, Gretna, La. 2018) is the true tale of the first judicially-related murder to take place in the 20th century. Newly elected District Attorney J. Ward Gurley was shot dead in 1903, in a case that rocked New Orleans at the time.
Praised by former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New Orleans, Jim Letten, and already winning critical acclaim, Pena’s account of Gurley’s death and its aftermath is painstakingly researched, a hallmark of the author’s forays into historical true-crime. His prior literary work is “The Strange Case of Dr. Etienne Deschamps: Murder in the New Orleans French Quarter” (Pelican Books, 2017) which tells the story of a murder most foul of a young woman in 1889.
“I have been writing stories and formulating stories since I was a kid of 12-years-old,” Pena says. “I started writing short stories, hand written in cursive. Since 7th Grade I have loved writing.”
Pena is considered a leading south Louisiana historian. Native to Lake Charles, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Nicholls State University, where he later studied history.
His first book, “Touched By War,”centered on Louisiana Civil War battles. His second, “Scarred By War,” provides insightful information on the social and political effects of the war in the Bayou Region. •