We’ve got a list of page turners for you, and your little ones too!
So, you’re going to be spending a lot of time at home. Well, dust off those reading glasses, Kindle or iPad because we’ve got a list of books by local authors to keep those pages (and imaginations) working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead
By: Kala Ambrose
Join Kala Ambrose, your travel-guide the other side, as she takes you back to her roots to discover the Spirits of New Orleans. As an intuitive child born in Louisiana, Kala Ambrose grew up exposed to a rich variety of cultures and influences. The city that had the strongest influence on Kala was New Orleans, the port city known for its bohemian lifestyle embracing art, music and spirituality.
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
By: Don Brown
The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality.
Cityscapes of New Orleans
By: Richard Campanella
Exploring the Crescent City from the ground up, Richard Campanella takes us on a winding journey toward explaining the city’s distinct urbanism and eccentricities. In Cityscapes of New Orleans, Campanella―a historical geographer and professor at Tulane University―reveals the why behind the where, delving into the historical and cultural forces that have shaped the spaces of New Orleans for over three centuries.
1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina
By: Chris Rose
1 Dead in Attic is a collection of stories by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, recounting the first harrowing year and a half of life in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Celebrated as a local treasure and heaped with national praise, Rose provides a rollercoaster ride of observation, commentary, emotion, tragedy, and even humor—in a way that only he could find in a devastated wasteland.
Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace
By: Ella Brennan and Ti Martin
Meet Ella Brennan: mother, mentor, blunt-talking fireball, and matriarch of a New Orleans restaurant empire, famous for bringing national attention to Creole cuisine. In this candid autobiography, she shares her life. From childhood in the Great Depression to opening esteemed eateries, it’s quite a story to tell. When she and her family launched Commander’s Palace, it became the city’s most popular restaurant, where famous chefs such as Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, and James Beard Award winner Troy McPhail got their start.
Classic Restaurants of New Orleans
By: Alexandra Kennon
Author Alexandra Kennon weaves the classic offerings of Creole grande dames together with contemporary neighborhood staples for a guide through the Crescent City’s culinary soul. From Brennan’s Bananas Foster to Galatoire’s Soufflé Potatoes, this collection also features a recipe from each restaurant, allowing readers to replicate iconic New Orleans cuisine at home.
The Cemeteries of New Orleans: A Cultural History
By: Peter B. Dedek
In The Cemeteries of New Orleans, Peter B. Dedek reveals the origins and evolution of the Crescent City’s world-famous necropolises, exploring both their distinctive architecture and their cultural impact. Spanning centuries, this fascinating body of research takes readers from muddy fields of crude burial markers to extravagantly designed cities of the dead, illuminating a vital and vulnerable piece of New Orleans’s identity.
Hidden History of New Orleans
By: Josh Foreman and Ryan Starrett
The history of New Orleans is one of contrasts–heroes and villains, catastrophe and celebration, sinners and saints. In this New Orleans, a serial-killing axeman threatens to murder anyone not playing jazz. A fearless band of missionary nuns pushes to civilize the frontier.
Why New Orleans Matters
By: Tom Piazza
In the decade since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Americans have learned much from the resilience of this proud, battered city. And yet, even as the city has regained some of its lost footing, other regions around the country continue to be battered by hurricanes, snow and ice storms, and massive weather events like Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the mid-Atlantic coast seven years later.
The Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story
By: Miriam C. Davis
From 1910 to 1919, New Orleans suffered at the hands of its very own Jack the Ripper–style killer. The story has been the subject of websites, short stories, novels, a graphic novel, and most recently the FX television series American Horror Story. But the full story of gruesome murders, sympathetic victims, accused innocents, public panic, the New Orleans Mafia, and a mysterious killer has never been written. Until now.
The ‘Baby Dolls’: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition
By: Kim Marie Vaz
One of the first women’s organizations to “mask” in a Mardi Gras parade, the “Million Dollar Baby Dolls” redefined the New Orleans carnival tradition. Tracing their origins from Storyville brothels and dance halls to their re-emergence in post-Katrina New Orleans, author Kim Vaz uncovers the fascinating history of the “raddy-walking, shake-dancing, cigar-smoking, money-flinging” ladies that strutted their way into a predominantly male establishment.
A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau
By: Carolyn Morrow Long
Legendary for an unusual combination of spiritual power, beauty, charisma, showmanship, intimidation, and shrewd business sense, Marie Leveau also was known for her kindness and charity, nursing yellow fever victims and ministering to condemned prisoners, and her devotion to the Roman Catholic Church.
Haunted New Orleans: History & Hauntings of the Crescent City
New Orleans is filled with spirits of all kinds. Some of the ghosts in these stories have sordid and scandalous histories, while others are friendly specters who simply can’t leave their beloved city behind. Join supernatural historian Troy Taylor as he takes readers beyond the French Quarter and shows a side of New Orleans never seen.
For the kids
P is for Pelican: A Louisiana Alphabet
By: Anita C. Prieto, Illustrated by: Laura Knorr
From its festive Mardi Gras parades to its wildlife-filled swamps, Louisiana is a state of great diversity. P is for Pelican: A Louisiana Alphabet is an alphabet book that introduces readers young and old to the culture, history, and wonders of this Gulf state.
Also available on Kindle
Allen the Alligator Counts Through New Orleans: A New Orleans Kids’ Counting Book
By: Megan Braden-Perry, Illustrated by: Lyn Brantley Vicknair
When Allen the Alligator sees his friend Gus the Goat on the bus, they decide to spend a relaxing day together. Their day at play evolves into an adventure as they enjoy New Orleans cuisine, help friends, hear live music and even tour a police station.
Click here to purchase from Octavia Books
Also available on Kindle: $2.99
Beignets for Breakfast
By: Jeanette Weiland, Illustrated by: Allison Lemon
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a New Orleans baby? Or what it means to miss New Orleans? Let the playful rhyming verse and vivid illustrations in Beignets for Breakfast transport children to one of the greatest cities in the world.
Hello, New Orleans!
By: Martha Zschock
From the French Quarter to the Garden District, along the Mississippi and across Lake Pontchartrain, join the pelicans as they listen to music at Preservation Hall, celebrate Mardi Gras, and eat jambalaya and gumbo. Visit the Audubon Zoo and City Park, ride a St. Charles Avenue streetcar, and cheer the Saints. Along the way take a swamp tour, visit a plantation, and even ride on a steamboat!
By: Cornell P. Landry, Illustrated by: Louis J. Schmitt
Goodnight NOLA is a lovable tribute to things unique to New Orleans. People of all ages will enjoy this rhythmic salute to red beans and rice, po’boys, celebrated chefs, music, historic landmarks, the sporting scene and many other features of the Crescent City. An excellent introduction for young children and a wonderful souvenir.
The Little Purple Mardi Gras Bead
By: Julie Rowley, Illustrated by: John Paquette
When Carnival rolls around in New Orleans, everyone gets into the celebration—including the beads! On Fat Tuesday, a plain string of little purple beads hangs from a hook on a parade float. His fervent wish is to be caught by someone special. The bigger and fancier beads tell him that no one will ever catch him. But a little hope and determination may go a long way in the magical season of Mardi Gras!
The Bourbon Street Band is Back
By: Ed Shankman, Illustrated by: Dave O’Neill
Drummer Bobcat Bob leads a hot band of multi-cultural musicians, featuring a gator on bass, a finger-snapping frog, and a horn section made up of raccoons, a crayfish, and some loons.
Jenny Giraffe and the Streetcar Party
By: Cecilia Dartez, Illustrated by: Andy Green
Jenny Giraffe’s second New Orleans adventure begins with an invitation to attend her friend T-Boy’s birthday party—on a rolling streetcar on the St. Charles line! Jenny is not sure what a streetcar is. Once her adopted family convinces her to try the new experience even though she is scared, she joins her friends aboard the historic streetcar. Decorated with ribbons and balloons, the party car rolls down the tracks!
Mr. Okra Sells Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
By: Lashon Daley, Illustrated by: Emile Henriquez
When Mr. Okra drives by in his iconic, painted truck piled high with garden-fresh fruits and vegetables, people hear him calling his wares. Mr. Okra’s asparagus is rounded like the steeples of St. Louis Cathedral, and his eggplants are as dark as the coffee at Café du Monde.
New Orleans Mother Goose
By: Ryan Adam, Illustrated by: Marita Gentry
Merriment and madness reign as king and queen of Carnival in this playful romp around the Crescent City. Mother Goose takes on Metairie, Mid City, the Mississippi, and more in these delightful twists on classic poems. Rhyme down on the bayou with the Mischievous Nutria and three shrimp in a tub. Cheerful illustrations fill this sweet and silly collection, perfect for Who Dats of all ages.
The Runaway Beignet
By: Connie Morgan, Illustrated by: Herb Leonhard
You’re not gonna taste this little beignet! In this confectionary folktale adaptation, a lonely baker gets his wish when he sprinkles magic sugar on a beignet and it comes to life. The little beignet boy runs away but is in danger of being eaten by the hungry people of New Orleans. He leads a wild chase through the French Quarter, visiting famous sights along the way.
Today is Monday in Louisiana
By: Johnette Downing, Illustrated by: Deborah Ousley Kadair
On Monday, there are red beans to eat, and on Tuesday, po’boys and on it goes throughout the week, each day bringing a unique and tasty Louisiana dish to the table. Based on a song by New Orleans singer/songwriter Johnette Downing, Today Is Monday in Louisiana offers the best of Cajun, Creole, African, and French foods.
The Littlest Bunny in New Orleans
By: Lily Jacons, Illustrated by: Robert Dunn
It’s Easter morning, and the littlest bunny has a big secret: he’s actually the Easter Bunny! He has a lot of work to do! Join him as he hides eggs high and low, with a final stop at your house!
What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo
By: Grace Millsaps and Ryan Murphy, Illustrated by: John Clark IV and Alyson Kilday
Ever wonder why the animals at the zoo are always so sleepy? When Renee asks her father why the zoo animals are snoozing all day, he dreams up an elaborate answer.
Cajun Night Before Christmas
By: “Trosclair”, Illustrated by: James Rice
The Cajun Night Before Christmas® has been a part of Louisiana’s holiday traditions since it was first published. Now, more than forty-five years later, a new generation is discovering the charm of Gaston® the Green-Nosed Alligator.
Chicory and Roux: The Creole Mouse and the Cajun Mouse
By: Todd-Michael St. Pierre, Illustrated by: Lee Randall
Sophisticated city mouse Chicory never imagined she would venture beyond her elegant Creole home in New Orleans—until she falls asleep in a picnic basket and wakes up in the Cajun swamps! There she meets Roux, a simple country mouse, and together they experience the bucolic bayou life.
Petite Rouge: A Cajun Little Red Riding Hood
By: Mike Artell, Illustrated by: Jim Harris
When her grand-mère comes down wit’ de flu, this Cajun Little Red knows what she has to do. With her witty cat, TeJean, she sets off in a pirogue to bring Grand-mère some gumbo. Who should she meet upon the way, but that big ol’ swamp gator, Claude!
The Legend of the Louisiana Great Grandaddy Crawdaddy – Lone Survivor
By: Charles C. Martin
In this story about a crawfish taken from his home in South Louisiana, the great grandaddy crawdaddy battles boats, dogs, pool robots, and boiling pots. Throughout his journey he never gives up and becomes a local legend.
The Zombie Who Visited New Orleans
By: Steve Brezenoff, Illustrated by: C.B. Canga
On a class trip to New Orleans, Catalina Cat Duran and her friends find themselves in the middle of a voodoo mystery.