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Nathaniel Rich in conversation with Katy Simpson Smith: King Zeno

Tuesday, January 9th


New Orleans, 1918. The birth of jazz, the Spanish flu, an ax murderer on the loose. The lives of a traumatized cop, a conflicted Mafia matriarch, and a brilliant trumpeter converge--and the Crescent City gets the rich, dark, sweeping novel it so deserves.

New Orleans, a century ago: a city determined to reshape its destiny and, with it, the nations. Downtown, a new American music is born. In Storyville, prostitution is outlawed and the police retake the streets with maximum violence. In the Ninth Ward, laborers break ground on a gigantic canal that will split the city, a work of staggering human ingenuity intended to restore New Orleans's faded mercantile glory. The war is ending and a prosperous new age dawns. But everything is thrown into chaos by a series of murders committed by an ax-wielding maniac with a peculiar taste in music.

In New Orleans, a city built on swamp, nothing stays buried long.

This book is available in hardcover ($28.00).

Nathaniel Rich in will be on conversation with another of our favorite authors, Katy Simpson Smith (The Story of Land and Sea and Free Men), discussing King Zeno. Nathaniel will sign books following the discussion.

If you are unable to attend, you must call the book shop to order signed books.

Martha B. Boone : The Big Free

Friday, January 12th



The Big Free describes the medical humor and drama in the life of one of the first women surgeons in the busiest trauma surgery program in New Orleans in 1982. The excitement and dark humor of the inner city emergency room is the background for this coming of age story.

Only a great storyteller with inside knowledge can capture the intimacy of the lives of doctors, nurses, and their patients. Readers will laugh and cry and long to know more of the spirited, young, female-doctor protagonist.

This book is available in paperback ($17.95).

Martha B. Boone discusses and signs her book, The Big Free.

If you are unable to attend, you must call the book shop to order signed books.


Jennifer Atkins: New Orleans Carnival Balls: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras, 1870-1920

Wednesday, January 31st


Mardi Gras festivities don’t end after the parades roll through the streets; rather, a large part of the celebration continues unseen by the general public. Retreating to theaters, convention centers, and banquet halls, krewes spend the post-parade evening at lavish balls, where members cultivate a sense of fraternity and reinforce the organization’s shared values through pageantry and dance. In New Orleans Carnival Balls, Jennifer Atkins draws back the curtain on the origin of these exclusive soirees, bringing to light unique traditions unseen by outsiders.

The oldest Carnival organizations—the Mistick Krewe of Comus, Twelfth Night Revelers, Krewe of Proteus, Knights of Momus, and Rex—emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. These old-line krewes ruled Mardi Gras from the Civil War until World War I, and the traditions of their private balls reflected a need for group solidarity amidst a world in flux. For these organizations, Carnival balls became magical realms where krewes-men reinforced their elite identity through sculpted tableaux vivants performances, mock coronations, and romantic ballroom dancing. This world was full of possibilities: krewes-men became gods, kings, and knights, while their daughters became queens and maids. As the old-line krewes cultivated a sense of brotherhood, they used costume and movement to reaffirm their group identity, and the crux of these performances relied on a specific mode of expression—dancing.

Jennifer Atkins discusses and signs her book, New Orleans Carnival Balls: The Secret Side of Mardi Gras, 1870-1920.

If you are unable to attend, you must call the book shop to order signed books.

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