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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler

What could be a better use of our Mardi Gras holiday than lying around eating King Cake and reading books about Louisiana life and culture? We've got to get all of our indulgences and debaucheries out before the start of the Lenten season (but who are we kidding, none of us are giving up our luxurious reading habits!).

Here's a list of great books about Mardi Gras, Louisiana, New Orleans and everything in between.

This extravagantly illustrated volume from a well-respected New Orleans expert covers such topics as the place of the old-line krewes in the evolution of Mardi Gras, women's groups, flambeaux, the Carnival foods, and more. Even with its loyalty to tradition, Carnival in New Orleans has changed dramatically since the 1980s. Terms such as Lundi Gras, Muses, Krewe d'Etat, and Orpheus are now part of the lexicon, while krewe names such as Venus, Mecca, and Freret survive only in trivia conversations and historical records. Fascinating and intimate, this book seamlessly intertwines the past with the present. The rich flavors of New Orleans-cultural and culinary-dance on every page of this handsome book.
Weird Louisiana by  Roger Manley
The essential travel guide to the land of voodoo, hoodoo, and backwater bayous, "Weird Louisiana" reveals everything weird, wacky, and wonderful about this state.
Mardi Gras, Gumbo, and Zydeco by Marcia Gaudet and James C. McDonald
An anthology of essays that afford an understanding of southern Louisiana's diverse culture;
collected here, the essays portray a land and a people that are unlike any other.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has sold over three-quarters of a million copies and continues to earn critical acclaim. The story of one Ignatius J. Reilly, a "Don Quixote of the French Quarter", it is a masterpiece of human folly and tragedy.
Out of Easy by Ruta Sepetys
Josie, the 17-year-old daughter of a French Quarter prostitute, is striving to escape 1950 New Orleans and enroll at prestigious Smith College when she becomes entangled in a murder investigation.
Satchmo by Steven Brower
A biography in the form of an art book, "Satchmo" tells the story of Louis Armstrong's life through his writings, scrapbooks, and artworks, many of which have never been published before.
Louisiana Curiosities by Bonnye E. Stuart
This definitive collection of the Pelican State's odd, wacky, and most offbeat people, places, and things is filled with quirky photographs throughout and maps for each region. "Louisiana Curiosities" includes humorous state facts and amusing stories and serves as a combination almanac, off-the-wall travel guide, and wacky news gazette.
 Gaston Goes to Mardi Gras by James Rice
Gaston the alligator goes to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras and joins in the "courir du Mardi Gras," watches floats being made, participates in the Zulu parade, and sees other typical sights.
Gumbo Ya-Ya by Lyle Saxon
The living folklore of Louisiana returns in this new edition of the classic long considered the finest collection of Louisiana folk tales and customs ever chronicled. A charming look at the legends and practices of the bayou country, especially New Orleans, Gumbo Ya-Ya has endured as a classic in its genre.
French Quarter Fiction by Joshua Clark and James Nolan
Beautiful, poignant, tragic, and comic, this collection of works by preeminent writers--John Biguenet, Poppy Z. Brite, Robert Olen Butler, Tennessee Williams, and others--explores the mysterious heart of New Orleans.
Dinosaur Mardi Gras by Diane de las Casas
Get ready to stomp and chomp to that mambo beat When carnival time rolls into New Orleans, these hip dinosaurs want to boogie on down. Iguanodon wiggles to the music of a marching band, while Zigongosaurus dances zydeco and Pterodactyal swoops into the crowd. From singing tunes and tossing beads, these big beasts sure know how to party.
Madam by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin
New Orleans, 1897. Mary Deubler makes a meager living on Venus Alley, the illegal red light district. That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a legalized district of vice that's mockingly dubbed "Storyville" in his honor. Despite her looks and intelligence, Mary doesn't think she can make it on Basin Street, where girls turn tricks in plush, velvet wallpapered bordellos. But thanks to gumption, twists of fate, even a touch of voodoo, Mary rises above her hopeless lot to become the notorious Madam Josie Arlington. Madam is a fabulous romp through The Big Easy and the irresistible tale of a woman's rise to influence and infamy in a world ruled by men.
 Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
First came the storms.Then came the Fever.And the Wall. After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct...but in reality, a new primitive society has been born. Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader's newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other's last hope for survival.
 Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts
Sitting deep in the bayou of Louisiana, Manet Hall has a secret that's been buried for 100 years. Its new owner is maverick Declan Fitzgerald, a man distracted by the alluring Angelina Simone, a woman with her own surprising connection to the mystery.
Unfathomable City by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker

A reinvention of the traditional atlas, one that provides a vivid, complex look at the multi-faceted nature of New Orleans, a city replete with contradictions.

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