New Orleans, LA
My last stop in New Orleans is at one of the most beautiful and striking bookstores in the South, Octavia Books.
Octavia is housed in a century-old building on a prominent corner of uptown New Orleans. The spot had historically been a focal point for the neighborhood, and owners Judith Lafitte and Tom Lowenburg wanted that attention to continue. Their efforts in renovating the building put their store on the front cover of New Orleans Magazine’s “Best of New Orleans Architecture” issue. It is located behind what was once a stable, where the horses that pulled trolleys up and down Laurel Street were kept.
Tom and Judith opened Octavia Books a dozen years ago. Unwilling to cede the future to big-box bookstores, they really wanted show just how a bookstore could and should be an essential part of the life of the community, and they have succeeded admirably.
Here are Tom, his wife Judith and official greeter, Pippin. And yes, Judith is indeed related to Pierre and Jean (of pirate fame) Lafitte, so you had better stay on her good side.
Here also, with Tom, are ace employees James Wilson and Melanie Britt.
Many authors choose Octavia for signings and events. Here is the lovely Nevada Barr signing her psychological thriller 13 1/2.
And director/screenwriter John Sayles for his book
Moment in the Sun with Maggie Renzi, his life partner, producer and creative collaborator.
Leaving New Orleans behind, heading north on Old US Highway 51, allows me to see more interesting sites than staying on the freeway, like the "City of New Orleans" traveling to Chicago, up close and personal.
I can also admire the scenery,
talk to the locals,
(I especially love the contrast in colors in these two photos)
and stop in at non-chain restaurants.
Oh well, probably not vegetarian friendly.
New Orleans has been the setting of so many evocative books. My latest read with New Orleans at its center was
A Small Hotel, featured in a recent post--
what's your favorite tale of the Crescent City?