“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
-Ignatius J. Reilly
When I recently asked the question, what is the one book, fiction or non-fiction, set or about New Orleans you’d pick, the responses came in fast and the top one was, of course, Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Toole created quite the character with Ignatius J. Reilly, you can even find a life-sized bronze statue of Ignatius, outside of what was D.H. Holmes which was where the first scene of the book also takes place. This statue pays homage to one of the greatest satirical novels ever written, not surprising to anyone who has read the book that it also won a Pultizer Prize.
Now you may be asking yourself, what other books were recommended. I’m glad you asked, in no particular order here a few other books to add to your list:
The Last Madam: A Life In The New Orleans Underworld by Christine Wiltz
Rising Tide by John M. Barry
American Uprising by Daniel Rasmussen
The Witching Hour by Ann Rice
The Feast of All Saints by Ann Rice
Interview with a Vampire by Ann Rice
The World That Made New Orleans by Ned Sublette
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins (only partially set in New Orleans, but highly recommended)
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennesse Williams
The Moviegoer by Walter Percy
New Orleans, Mon Amour by Andre Codrescu
Jass by David Fulmer (part of A Valentin St. Cyr Mystery Series)
Soul Kitchen and Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite (both part of Rickey and G-Man Series)
Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children: . . . and Other Streets of New Orleans! by John Chase
Mr. New Orleans: The Life of a Big Easy Underworld Legend by Frenchy Brouillette & Matthew Randazzo V
We Cast A Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Obituary Cocktail by Kerri McCaffety and Andrei Codrescu
Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum
Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of Baroness de Pontalba by Christina Vella
A Pattern Book of New Orleans Architecture by Roulhac Toledano
Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans by Gary Krist
The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case: Race, Law, and Justice in the Reconstruction Era by Michael Ross
The Lost German Slave Girl: The Extraordinary True Story of Sally Miller and Her Fight for Freedom in Old New Orleans by John Bailey
The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square by Ned Sublette.
The ‘Baby Dolls’ by Kim Marie Vaz
Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table by Sara Roahen
It’s hot out there, perfect for sitting in the AC with a good book. And don’t forget to take advantage of our fantastic New Orleans Public Libraries and shop local bookstores!
Happy Reading Y’all!