Monday, October 31, 2016

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd to speak at Tulane Nov. 16

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 12:34 PM

  • Photo Courtesy Tulane Office of Cocurricular Programs

Maureen Dowd, the acid-tongued New York Times columnist known for her acerbic political commentary and insider-y conversations with Washington bigwigs, will speak at Tulane next month. She'll discuss the peculiarities of this election cycle as explained in her book The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics.

Dowd won a Pulitzer Prize in the '90s for her commentary on the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. At the event, she'll be in conversation with think tank VP and former journalist H. Andrew Schwartz.

The event takes place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall at Tulane's Lavin-Bernick Center and is open to the public. Admission is free. A book signing follows.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mid-City, Nix branches of New Orleans Public Library to close temporarily later this month

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 5:25 PM

The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall. - KEVIN ALLMAN
  • The Automotive Life Insurance Building on Canal Street, which will reopen as the Mid-City branch of the New Orleans Public Library this fall.

Two New Orleans library branches will close temporarily this month — one for renovation, the other for relocation, according to a memo released today from library director Charles Brown.

The Nix branch library on N. Carrollton Avenue will close Oct. 15 for painting, electrical, plastering, plumbing and other major maintenance work. No specific date is set for the reopening, but library staff was told it would be in "early 2017."

As Gambit reported in May, the Mid-City branch will be moving from the American Can Company on Orleans Avenue to the 1963 Automobile Life Insurance building at 4140 Canal Street. That building was designed by Curtis & Davis Architects, and was designated a city historic landmark by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission in 2010. The American Can location will close Oct. 22, and the Canal Street branch is set to reopen at the end of November. 

Patrons with book holds at either Nix or Mid-City Library are encouraged to visit a local branch to update their preferences, or do so in person at any library branch.

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Five books events to check out in October

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 11:30 AM

  • CREATIVE COMMONS/somegeekintn

Along with crisp, autumnal 80 degree weather, this fall brings a full slate of activities for local readers, writers and other word enthusiasts.

Here are five best bets for book nerds in October. 

• Oct. 5: Ethan Brown. The true crime writer presents his latest page-turner, Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis Eight? at Garden District Book Shop. (Check out Gambit's interview with Brown.) 6 p.m.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Interview: Robert Sterling Hecker, New Orleans Harbor Police Chief and first-time crime novelist

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Robert Sterling Hecker.
  • Robert Sterling Hecker.

Some say “it’s never too late to follow your dreams,” but we all know how life has a way of beating down even the most modest ambitions. Goals are circumscribed by family obligations, the day-to-day slog of work, the banal repetition of doing laundry and cleaning the gutters. “I was born to do it” becomes “maybe someday” becomes “I just don’t have time.”

Well, that’s you (and me). Not so much for Robert Sterling Hecker, former Gambit New Orleanian of the Year, 49-year veteran of law enforcement and the author of The Accidental Vigilante, a hard-boiled crime thriller about a detective who stumbles into involvement in a series of murders and abductions when he’s promoted into the unit that handles child abuse crimes. (If that sounds short on intrigue, just wait until the detective uncovers a connection to the Russian mob.) Hecker, who currently serves as chief of the Harbor Police Department, has been waiting to write a novel since high school. He spent the past three years writing his fiction debut.

Hecker spoke with Gambit about being inspired by police work and being a first-time novelist at age 69. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book release parties next weekend

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 12:33 PM

Maple Street Book Shop owner Gladin Scott (right) talks about books with a customer. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Maple Street Book Shop owner Gladin Scott (right) talks about books with a customer.

Muggles, rejoice: a new chapter in the Harry Potter saga arrives in bookstores at midnight July 30. While not technically a novel, the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book (from a production opening on London's West End) revives the popular tale about the young wizard and his wand-brandishing buddies. 

Climb on those broomsticks or apparate to the following parties and events celebrating the book release.

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Chuck Palahniuk to sign Fight Club 2 at Garden District Book Shop July 11

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 2:58 PM

Author Chuck Palahniuk. - ALLAN AMATO
  • Author Chuck Palahniuk.
One-time literary enfant terrible Chuck Palahniuk, best-known for his anti-consumerist, pro-chaos novel Fight Club, will appear at the Garden District Book Shop to sign copies of his new graphic novel Fight Club 2.

Palahniuk will also sign up to two books or other pieces of memorabilia for fans and pose for photos, though he won't deliver a formal talk or reading, according to a press release. (This may be a blessing in disguise for fans—Palahniuk has told press that people have a tendency to faint during readings of some of his more disturbing material.) 

Admission tickets ($32.50) are required for the event. The price includes a copy of the new book. 

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bookstores celebrate New Orleans Independent Bookstore Day May 7

Posted By on Sun, May 1, 2016 at 2:54 PM

  • Tracie Morris Schaefer

New Orleans takes a better-late-than-never approach to Independent Bookstore Day. While booksellers in other cities will fete themselves on Saturday, April 30, local stores dodge the dreaded Jazz Fest conflict by postponing their celebration until Saturday, May 7. If you feel like you can never have too many books, here's our roundup of literary-minded activities to take part in.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Suing Big Oil no longer 'frivolous'

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 11:48 AM

  • Jill Mastrototaro/Sierra Club
Turns out John Barry was right about the efficacy of suing Big Oil to foster discussions about paying for coastal restoration. That’s no surprise to anyone who has followed various environmental lawsuits brought by a few brave coastal parishes and the regional flood protection authority.

Back in 2013, when the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E) filed its landmark lawsuit against scores of oil and gas companies, then-Gov. Bobby Jindal and other energy industry bootlickers breathlessly denounced the suit as “frivolous.” Barry, who was then vice chair of the SLFPA-E board, predicted the litigation would prod energy companies to help pay for coastal restoration.

Jindal and a compliant Louisiana Legislature frantically passed a ham-fisted law seeking to derail the lawsuit retroactively. Jindal also contrived with egregiously conflicted “reformers” like oil-and-gas bidnessman Jay Lapeyre to purge the SLFPA-E board of litigation supporters. They almost succeeded. Fortunately, the rule of law and a new governor could soon get things back on track.

That is, if Louisiana politics doesn’t get in the way.

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Lusitania author Erik Larson to speak at Jewish Community Center

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 11:28 AM

Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. - BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER
  • Benjamin Benschneider
  • Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.
In some ways, Erik Larson is as much historian and detective as writer. The New York Times-bestselling author writes nonfiction accounts of events or milieus through the experiences of individuals. Using sources like archival materials, news clippings and transcripts of conversations, he painstakingly reconstructs events as they were experienced by the people who lived through them. His latest book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, chronicles the sinking of a British ocean liner by a German submarine in 1915. The event killed hundreds of people and is sometimes credited with helping draw the U.S. into World War I.

Larson will speak at the Jewish Community Center of New Orleans Tuesday, April 12, in an appearance sponsored by Octavia Books. Tickets are required and can be purchased at the Octavia Books store or online. He spoke with Gambit in advance of the event about history, his research process and sinking ships.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Astrophysicist Janna Levin, author of Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, to speak at Tulane

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 4:46 PM

Janna Levin is an astrophysicist and writer.
  • Janna Levin is an astrophysicist and writer.

When two black holes collide, does it make a sound? It sounds like a physics class riddle, but it’s a question that haunted astrophysicist and author Janna Levin . Her new book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, tells the story of the scientists who worked on the instruments that recently detected gravitational waves, which are the ripples in spacetime caused by such collisions that can be amplified and expressed as sound. 

Gravitational waves were first proposed by Einstein. Their confirmation vindicated a century of research and delighted Levin, who has studied black holes and the finite nature of the universe. (To give you an idea of how long she’s been pondering this question, her TED talk on the sound black holes might make was posted in 2011.) Her book is a profile of several brilliant scientists, an “adventure story” on the seas of high-level research, and a lyrical nod to the moody, uncertain world of a black hole, “…roll[ing] along in its own galaxy, dark and quiet until something wanders past, an interstellar dust cloud or an errant star.”

Levin will speak at Tulane’s Freeman Auditorium in the Woldenberg Art Center on Tuesday, April 5, at 6 p.m., followed by a book signing. Gambit spoke with her briefly about black holes, her book and the sound outer space makes. 

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