Jan Risher - Author, Columnist and Journalist

Jan Risher is an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter and was the managing editor of the Times of Acadiana.  Before and after her time as a full-time journalist, she was a teacher at University of Louisiana and the Lafayette Public Schools.  She now owns Shift Key, a content marketing and public relations firm and continues a freelance writing career. She and her family live on the banks of the Vermilion River.


Jan Risher lived in more than 40 countries before moving to Lafayette in the early 2000.  Since moving to Lafayette in 2001, she has been a columnist for the Daily Advertiser and has written a column every week.Looking to the Stars from Old Algiers and Other Long Stories Short” is the collection of these columns written over fifteen years. Arranged in chronological order, the collection creates a narrative of one woman’s aim to build her family, build up her community, and weave the stories and lessons learned from the past into the present.


Jan opened her discussion with a favorite story about Big Daddy Babaloo and memories from her childhood.  Through her travels and careers, Jan feels as if the following quote from St. Augustine sums up the human condition:  “The deepest desire of the human heart is belong, feel welcomed, to know you are seen and worthy of kindness.”


When Jan started writing her book, she had written over 800 essays and columns, the book features 182.  Through the editing process, Jan learned a lot about gratitude. “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” (William Arthur Ward)


Jan recollected her story that was the headliner of her book about a woman, Kiana, who lost her son during Hurricane Katrina, the relationship that was forged and how it impacted her life throughout the process.


Jan encouraged everyone with an interest in writing to write and gave 9 steps to making it happen (Jan’s Handy Dandy 9 steps to writing a weekly column).