Books

Friday, June 15, 2018

Remembering the Up Stairs Lounge: upcoming memorials and panels

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 5:13 PM

A marker on the sidewalk at the corner of Iberville and Chartres streets memorializes the 32 people who were killed as a result of the Up Stairs Lounge fire in 1973. - PHOTO COURTESY THE ADVOCATE
  • PHOTO COURTESY THE ADVOCATE
  • A marker on the sidewalk at the corner of Iberville and Chartres streets memorializes the 32 people who were killed as a result of the Up Stairs Lounge fire in 1973.

This week's cover story about the Up Stairs Lounge fire that killed 32 people in the French Quarter in 1973 drew some discussion online, from those who were surprised they'd never heard of the tragedy to others who remember it well.

"I was a new attorney at the firm that was handling the Up Stairs fire case and the deceased victims claims," local attorney David Oestreicher of Oestreicher Law wrote to Gambit. "I was assigned to go into the space right after the fire and investigate. It was very sad and grisly. The great shame of the event is that there was no way to exit the lounge; and further, there was no insurance coverage available for the victims and their families of this disaster. What a hard way to begin my career."

Several events commemorating the Up Stairs Lounge will take place over the next few weeks. Here are the ones we know about right now:

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

At Joe Biden's New Orleans appearance, further hints of a 2020 run

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2018 at 11:39 PM

PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST

If Joe Biden ran for president, who would vote for him?

Judging from the enthusiasm of the crowd at the Saenger Theatre June 5, one of whom called out to Biden "We need you!", a lot of people.

The warm room turned out for Biden's New Orleans appearance, which was sold as a book tour for his recent memoir Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose. In an affectionate conversation with journalist (and apparent longtime Biden acquaintance) Cokie Roberts, the former vice president from Scranton, Pennsylvania touched on foreign policy, his enduring friendship with President Barack Obama and the death of his son Beau from brain cancer, all of which are part of the book. 

But the subtext to it all — Roberts joked that she'd have her journalist credentials revoked if she didn't ask about it — was the prospect of a Biden campaign in 2020. Biden is popular among Democrats, and he made clear that he's still actively considering a future run after sitting out 2016 due to his son's illness.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Six literary events in New Orleans in June

Posted By on Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 9:46 AM

PHOTO BY FREDDIE MARRIAGE / UNSPLASH
  • PHOTO BY FREDDIE MARRIAGE / UNSPLASH

An unusually temperate-feeling New Orleans spring has (tragically, inevitably) come to an end. Farewell, festivals; hello, desticking your thighs from leather carseats and reassuring yourself "everybody sweats like this."

In this less hospitable weather, it's necessary to come up with air-conditioned activities. Below, a few picks for literary events — generally indoors! — where you can chill out.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Michelle Obama to open library convention in New Orleans next month

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 5:11 PM

Former first lady Michelle Obama. - PHOTO BY SIMON DAVIS/DFID VIA CREATIVE COMMONS
  • PHOTO BY SIMON DAVIS/DFID VIA CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Former first lady Michelle Obama.

Former first lady Michelle Obama will be the opening speaker at the American Library Association's (ALA) annual conference, which will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center June 21-26. She will speak at 4 p.m. during the conference's opening general session, the association said in a press release.

The appearance is being sponsored by Penguin Random House, which will publish Obama's memoir Becoming in November.

The conference is for "librarians, authors, publishers, business professionals, educators and students" — though the general public is invited to attend at non-member registration rates. For more information, go here.
Location Details Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Blvd.
Warehouse District
New Orleans, LA
(504) 582-3000

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

New Orleans Independent Bookstore Day returns May 12

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 3:24 PM

PHOTO BY TOM HERMANS / UNSPLASH
  • PHOTO BY TOM HERMANS / UNSPLASH

Independent Bookstore Day, celebrated nationally at the end of April, arrives a little later in New Orleans. Events at Octavia Books, Garden District Book Shop, Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop and Blue Cypress Books May 12 will fete the booksellers (and their customers) that comprise the local reading scene.

Saturday's bookstore parties include special books, stencils, journals and prints for sale; limited giveaways of Blackbird Letterpress' New Orleans "City" notebooks with a $25 purchase and the chance to win a $100 gift certificate for people who visit all four participating stores in New Orleans.

Here's a quick look at what you can expect at some of the events.

  • At Garden District Book Shop, there are giveaways of tote bags, advance reading copies of forthcoming releases and recommendations by notable authors.

  • Tubby and Coo's Mid-City Book Shop will have sci-fi and fantasy author panels throughout the day, plus special merch and giveaways.

  • Over at Octavia Books, local authors including former Gambit editor Michael Tisserand, illustrator Emma Fick and cheese expert Liz Thorpe give talks, and there's a cheese tasting plus merchandise and giveaways.

  • Blue Cypress Books has tote bag and advance reading copies giveaways, plus a big selection of $1 books.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Six literary events in New Orleans in May

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2018 at 12:11 PM

PHOTO BY FREDDIE MARRIAGE / UNSPLASH
  • PHOTO BY FREDDIE MARRIAGE / UNSPLASH

May 12 heralds Independent Bookstore Day in New Orleans, when booksellers host parties and activities to toast their continued existence in our anti-literate age. We'll have some details on that event for you early next week, but for now, here are some other literary scene picks during the month.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

'Books for Brews' prison book drive returns April 21

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 2:40 PM

PHOTO BY TOM HERMANS / UNSPLASH
  • PHOTO BY TOM HERMANS / UNSPLASH

One Book One New Orleans and Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners will host a "Books for Brews" book drive at Second Line Brewing this Saturday.

At the event, attendees can receive free beer tokens in exchange for donations of books to be sent to people who are incarcerated. The organizing groups will collect a few specific types of books, including new or gently used paperback dictionaries, composition notebooks (the kind without a spiral binding), and softcover trade or how-to manuals on subjects such as carpentry or needlework.

Other types of books are not needed at this time.

One Book One New Orleans also is looking for a couple of volunteers to help box and transport the books after the event. If you can't make it, but want to lend a hand, Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners has an Amazon list to purchase books for donation (tragically, no free beer is involved).

The book drive takes place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 21. Admission is free.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

New Orleans Public Library main branch to remain closed through May 13

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 4:16 PM

The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library. - PHOTO BY JASON PARIS/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • PHOTO BY JASON PARIS/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library.

The New Orleans Public Library announced last month it would be closed for two weeks in April for repairs, renovations and improvements. Now the closure will last through Sunday, May 13, the library announced today.

Other branches will remain open for the public.


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Friday, April 6, 2018

'This isn't a resting point, it's a launch pad' — an interview with WWL-TV's Sheba Turk on the release of her new book

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 9:46 AM

WWL-TV Anchor Sheba Turk's new book was published by Pelican Publishing March 27. - PHOTO BY JOSH DETIEGE
  • Photo by Josh Detiege
  • WWL-TV Anchor Sheba Turk's new book was published by Pelican Publishing March 27.

In March, WWL-TV anchor Sheba Turk and Pelican Publishing released Turk’s book Off Air: My Journey to the Anchor Desk, about growing up in New Orleans in a family of modest means, striking out on her own in New York City for college (only to have to return home when she no longer could afford to attend school there), and her meteoric rise from co-producer to reporter to traffic anchor to morning show anchor at WWL in just two years.

Turk credits her success to her loving, albeit flawed parents, a positive attitude and an abundance of strong female role models, including her mom and her mentors Kim Bondy, a former program producer and now-strategist and consultant, and Soledad O’Brien, former CNN anchor and now-CEO of Starfish Media Group. O'Brien also composed the book's foreword.

Turk celebrates the book’s premiere at a signing 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 8 at Terrance Osborne Gallery (3029 Magazine St.). Books are available for purchase at the event, or online at www.ShebaTurk.com. She took a few minutes to talk with Gambit about her journey so far, her book and what’s next.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Six literary events in New Orleans in April

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 2:15 PM

PHOTO BY TOM HERMANS / UNSPLASH
  • PHOTO BY TOM HERMANS / UNSPLASH

Despite being National Poetry Month, April isn't the most bookish time in New Orleans — blame it on the idyllic weather and the jam-packed event calendar. But should you need a break from your ceaseless festing — your crawfish-eating, your courtyard mojito-drinking, your revelry in dad sandals — here's a shortlist of literary picks.

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