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Book Recommendations - New Orleans and Cajun Country

Book Recommendations - New Orleans and Cajun Country

Old Jan 30th, 2007, 03:55 PM
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Book Recommendations - New Orleans and Cajun Country

My trip to New Orleans and Cajun Country is still 4 months away, so in the mean time, I'd like to read some New Orleans and Cajun Country-themed books to get me in the spirit. Literature and fiction, historic or contemporary, classic or obscure, memoirs and biographies, family sagas, legends, mysteries and thrillers - I like them all Well, nothing too scary - still need to sleep at night - LOL. And I am not big on romances, although I did read Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts and it was ok.

So what are your recommedations?

I've read most of Anne Rice's books and recently reread Interview, The Witching Hour, and Merrick to go with my New Orleans themed reading. I have Feast of All Saints on my reread list too. I also have Uncle Tom's Cabin on my list - it is a classic that I have never read and also on the list of 100 most commonly banned books, so it seems like a good time to read it It is said that Beecher-Stowe got her inspiration for the book while staying at the Cornstalk. I recently read Doves and Morning by James Lee Burke and will probably read another couple of his books - any recommendations there? Several years ago I read Cane River by Lalita Tademy, which I know is further north than we will be going. I saw that she has a new book out, Red River, but all copies are currently out at our library, so I will have to wait on that one.

So any recommendations would be greatly appreciated
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 05:04 PM
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Julie Smith wrote a series of mysteries based in NO - I liked the earlier ones best...I think "New Orleans Mourning" is the first one.
Also - Harry Connick Jr has 2 new cd's out - to set the background for you!
Non-fiction read: Bayou Farewell by Mike with some of the ecological changes from a first person perspective. Very readable.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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If you want to read something that will "explain" why Louisiana has so many problems...and all the inside dealings of corruption...then I highly recommend "Bad Bet on the Bayou" by Tyler Bridges. You will never come to N.O. again and look at it the sameway!

Second from a historical view...great book "Louisiana Purchase" by A.E. Hetchner.

Great book on the history of the first founders, and the events leading up to modern day New Orleans. I could not put this book down until I was done.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 03:30 AM
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This is one of the best I've read about New Orleans. Enjoy your trip!

Managing Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in New Orleans
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 03:54 AM
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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, aand All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (not NO exactly, but Louisiana).
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Great recommendations - woohoo, time for a trip to the library

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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 08:54 AM
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John Grisham's Pelican Brief and Runaway Jury are good ones. All his novels are excellent and most take place in the South.
Tennessee William's A Streetcar Named Desire is also very good.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 09:01 AM
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This is a good one. People of the Bayou, Cajin life in Lost America, by Christopher Halloway.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 11:06 AM
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Frances Parkinson Keyes wrote a lot of Louisiana books, several of them set in New Orleans, e.g., Crescent Carnival, Dinner at Antoine's, Madame Castel's Lodger. A couple of LA ones are River Road and Steamboat Gothic.

They will all be out of print, but I'm sure you can get them on or alibris or Amazon.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 11:24 AM
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Barbara Hambly has written some great mysteries set in old-time New Orleans, featuring Benjamin January, a free man of color.

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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 12:01 PM
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The Grandissimes by George Washington Cable. A classic.
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Old Jan 31st, 2007, 01:07 PM
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I'm not sure whether this link will work. However, you can search for fiction taking place in different parts of the world on Barnes & Noble. The link takes you to books set in New Orleans.
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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James Lee Burke is without a doubt one of the best mystery writers in the world and his books are set in New Orleans and New Iberia (in Cajun Country). In fact, we went to New Iberia on our overnight trip into Cajun Country and actually saw many of the buildings, parks and locations he mentions in his novels. The first book in his detective series is Neon Rain. I highly recommend him.
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 12:44 PM
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Great suggestions. I am putting them all down in a list.

Red River by Lalita Tademy became availible at my library, so I am currently reading that. I also have Dixie City Jam by Burke out from the library - next on the list.
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 05:11 PM
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Louisiana, A (WPA) Guide to the State. There's a used reprint copy available on Amazon for about five bucks.
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 07:19 PM
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I'd recommend "Good Scent on a Strange Mountain" by Robert Olen Butler, a former McNeese professor and Pulitzer Prize winning author.

His stories focus on the Vietnamese community in Louisiana and are extremely interesting.

I have met Mr. Butler at the Prien Lake Mall in Lake Charles where he lived at the time (he now works for FSU). He lived in Vietnam for a while, fell in love with it, and even though he's originally from Illinois, he loves Louisiana and especially was intrigued by the Vietnamese community in Louisiana.

It is a great collection of short fictional stories, and they are based in either Lake Charles, New Orleans, the Gulf, with some other stories in Puerto Vallarta. Every character is a Vietnamese that moved to Louisiana, most at the fall of Saigon.
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 08:37 AM
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Just wanted to follow up and let you all know I am having a great time with your suggestions

I just finished Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke and Red River by Lalita Tademy. Red River was excellent and Dixie City Jam was pretty good.

Yesterday I picked up Louisiana Hotshot by Julie Smith and Confederacy of Dunces by John Kenedy Toole.

All of the suggestions look really great, so I have been going to my library with my list from everyone's suggestions and picking up what is on the shelf
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