Books you should know
<p>Our latest feature on New Orleans related books you should know. </p>
1. Where We Know : New Orleans as Home // By: David Rutledge
Five years after Katrina, New Orleans is still limping. This second book of a planned trilogy looks at both those who stayed on and rebuilt their lives in New Orleans and those who had to say goodbye. It also weaves in historical references and quotes from Louis Armstrong, Lafcadio Hearn, and many others. What emerges is a book that shows how lovers of New Orleans have always battled with its darker side, and how the people’s knack for celebrating an impromptu second line goes hand in hand with their acknowledgment of the ghosts in their midst.
2. Why New Orleans Matters // By: Tom Piazza
Every place has its history. But what is it about New Orleans that makes it more than just the sum of the events that have happened there? What is it about the spirit of the people who live there that could produce a music, a cuisine, an architecture, a total environment, the mere mention of which can bring a smile to the face of someone who has never even set foot there? What is the meaning of a place like that, and what is lost if it is lost?
3. 1 Dead in Attic // By : Chris Rose
1 Dead in Attic is a collection of stories by Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, recounting the first four harrowing months of life in New Orleans after Katrina. It is a roller coaster ride of observations, commentary, emotions, tragedy and even humor – in a way that only Rose could find in a devastated wasteland.
They are stories of the dead and the living, stories of survivors and believers, stories of hope and despair. And stories about refrigerators.
With photographs by British photojournalist Charlie Varley, 1 Dead in Attic freeze frames New Orleans caught between an old era and a new, New Orleans in its most desperate time, as it struggled out of floodwaters and willed itself back to life in the autumn and early winter of 2005.
4. Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans // By : Toni McGee Causey
This beautifully designed hardcover book starts with a line of cars leaving the city ahead of Hurricane Katrina and ends in a mad Mardi Gras romp. The book winds through the streets of New Orleans toward a deeper understanding of just what this great, wounded city means to the United States. Many of the essays in this collection were composed by writers trying to piece their lives together in the aftermath of the hurricane. Written in places like Baton Rouge, Houston, and Lafayette, these stories create a bridge back to the old New Orleans. And as the battle for this city rages on, this book becomes a razor-sharp weapon in the fight against corporate and governmental attempts to neuter a unique American city.
The structure of the book parallels a New Orleans jazz funeral, mournful on the approach and celebratory on the return. Woven throughout the book is a series of interviews with New Orleans residents from all walks of life—jazz pianists, grain traders, tour guides, and others who make up this city. Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? takes intimate looks at old New Orleans staples such as Cajun food and Zydeco music as well as some unexpected views on race, economics and living in exile.
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? is the second book from Chin Music Press. Chin Music released Kuhaku & Other Accounts from Japan in the spring of 2005 and immediately established itself as a publisher focused on meticulous design and collaboration among artists and writers. As Bookslut.com notes: “From the looks of their first title, it is clear they are positioning themselves to be a presence the publishing world has never seen before . . . [Chin Music Press] is a company that is rewriting the rulebook and making a beautiful and interesting product in the process.”
5. New Orleans: Playing a Jazz Chorus // By : Samuel Charters
This book is a deeply personal portrait of the people and music of today’s New Orleans—a city that has been hard hit by Katrina, but is managing to keep its great jazz tradition, brass band scene, incomparable food, and unique lifestyle vital and intact.
Among the musicians appearing in this book are: the Rebirth Brass Band, Hot 8, the Soul Rebels, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Johnny Vidacovich, Barry Martyn, Lars Edegran, Chuck Badie, Pete Fountain, Michael White, the Hot Club of New Orleans, Coco Robicheaux, record company owner George Buck, and gospel musician Billy Edwards.
The book also presents portraits of everyday New Orleans people confronting a challenging situation.
6. Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans // By: Thomas Brothers
Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans interweaves a searching account of early twentieth-century New Orleans with a narrative of the first twenty-one years of Armstrong’s life. Drawing on a stunning body of first-person accounts, this book tells the rags-to-riches tale of Armstrong’s early life and the social and musical forces that shaped him. The city and the musician are both extraordinary, their relationship unique, and their impact on American culture incalculable.