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Odd Words August 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.

This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Monday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing with author Ellen Urbani celebrating her new novel, LANDFALL. Two mothers and their teenage daughters, whose lives collide in a fatal car crash, take turns narrating Ellen Urbani’s breathtaking novel, Landfall, set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Eighteen-year-olds Rose and Rosebud have never met but they share a birth year, a name, and a bloody pair of sneakers. Rose’s quest to atone for the accident that kills Rosebud, a young woman so much like herself but for the color of her skin, unfolds alongside Rosebud’s battle to survive the devastating flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward and to find help for her unstable mother. These unforgettable characters give voice to the dead of the storm and, in a stunning twist, demonstrate how what we think we know can make us blind to what matters most.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features Roberta Brandes Gratz’s We’re Still Here Ya Bastards: How the People of New Orleans Rebuilt Their City. Watching coverage of the hurricane on television in 2005, noted urbanist and veteran journalist Roberta Brandes Gratz knew that the best chance for the city’s recovery came from the people who would return to New Orleans. She also knew that she wanted to see for herself how the city would respond. Two years later, after having made several trips to the area and written several articles, Gratz bought a house in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans and immersed herself in the life of the city. We’re Still Here Ya Bastards presents an unprecedented panoramic look at New Orleans’ recovery in the years following the hurricane. From the Lower Ninth Ward to the storied French Quarter, Gratz shares the stories of people who returned to their homes and have taken the rebuilding of their city into their own hands. An internationally renowned urban critic, Gratz shows how the city is recovering despite erroneous governmental policies that serve private interests rather than the public good. By telling stories that are often ignored by the mainstream media, We’re Still Here Ya Bastards shows the strength and resilience of a community that continues to work to rebuild New Orleans.

& At 7 pm Tuesday the West bank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& Also at 6 pm Octavia Books welcomes Louisiana native son Blaine Lourd when he returns to discuss and sign his memoir, BORN ON THE BAYOU.

As the youngest brother and son of a father whom I respected, feared, and idolized, I know well the rights of passage Blaine writes about: We don’t really become men in our fathers eyes UNTIL we buck them and go our own way. Hard, scary and at times unfair, it works. Blaine Lourd tells a personal story that a lot of sons and little brothers know well. A story that a lot of us wouldn’t be where we are today without.”  –Matthew McConaughey

&  Gary Rivlin will be at Maple Street Book Shop, Wednesday, August 26th, at 6PM to read from his book, Katrina: After the Flood.  Ten years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana, journalist Gary Rivlin traces the storm’s immediate damage, the city of New Orleans’s efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm’s lasting affects not just on the city’s geography and infrastructure-but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation’s great cities. This book traces the stories of New Orleanians of all stripes-politicians and business owners, teachers and bus drivers, poor and wealthy, black and white-as they confront the aftermath of one of the great tragedies of our age and reconstruct, change, and in some cases abandon a city that’s the soul of this nation.

& Also at 6 pm Wednesday Octavia Books hosts acclaimed YA novelist Libba Bray is coming to NOLA to celebrate the release of LAIR OF DREAMS, the follow-up to THE DIVINERS.vAfter a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities. Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dream world and catch a killer?

& At 7 pm it’s Big Easy Author Night featuring Tom Piazza at the Keller Library & Community Center. Piazza is celebrated both as a novelist and as a music journalist. His twelve books include the novels A Free State, City of Refuge, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and Devil Sent the Rain, a collection of his essays and journalism. He was a principal writer for the innovated HBO drama series Treme, and the winner of a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey.

& At the East Jefferson Regional Library it’s also an Author Event featuring Conversations with My Daughter About Human Trafficking. Stephanie Hepburn, a local author and attorney, will discuss her new book for children titled Conversations with My Daughter About Human Trafficking. The event is free of charge and is open to the public. Books will be available for sale for those who would like to purchase them. Hepburn’s book focuses on the question – How does one get into a conversation with children about how individuals are tricked, extorted and enslaved without exposing them to ideas that may be too mature for them, such as sexual exploitation, rape and the murder of their loved ones?

Beginning Wednesday at 7 pm and running through Friday The Telling: Photo exhibit by Andy Levin, A reading + new work by Chris Rose, and Sounds provided by The Piano Warehouse. Independent curator Pamala Bishop brings together internationally renowned photographer ANDY LEVIN with Pulitzer Prize winning author CHRIS ROSE for THE TELLING, a multi-sensory experience of Katrina explored through visual art, music and written word. By Admission.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features John Biguenet’s Rising Water Trilogy: Plays. Widely praised by critics and hailed by audiences, the award-winning plays in John Biguenet’s The Rising Water Trilogy examine the emotional toll of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Approaching the storm, the levee collapse, and subsequent socioeconomic catastrophe through the lives of three couples and their families, Biguenet conveys insights into the universal nature of trauma and feelings of loss with heart-wrenching intimacy and palliative humor. Each play–Rising Water, Shotgun, and Mold–incorporates the structure of a house as it examines the anatomy of love, moving from the hours just after the levees’ collapse to four months into the flood’s chaotic aftermath–and then to a year later when a family returns to their now mold-encrusted home. In aggregate, these plays employ the seemingly simple act of living together to examine questions of what home truly means. Biguenet also delves into the consequences of living in a city wracked by catastrophe and long-simmering racial tensions, yet so beloved by its inhabitants that even decades of federal neglect and municipal mismanagement cannot erase their emotional attachment to the place and to each other.

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books features a presentation and signing with anthropologist Katherine E. Browne featuring her new book, STANDING IN THE NEED: Culture, Comfort, and Coming Home After Katrina. The book presents an intimate account of an extended Lower St. Bernard Parish African-American family’s ordeal after Hurricane Katrina. Before the storm struck, this family of 300 members lived in the bayou communities of St. Bernard Parish just outside New Orleans. Rooted there like the wild red iris of the coastal wetlands, the family had gathered for generations to cook and share homemade seafood meals, savor conversation, and refresh their interconnected lives In this lively narrative, Katherine Browne weaves together voices and experiences from eight years of post-Katrina research. Her story documents the heartbreaking struggles to remake life after everyone in the family faced ruin. Cast against a recovery landscape managed by outsiders, the efforts of family members to help themselves could get no traction; outsiders undermined any sense of their control over the process. In the end, the insights of the story offer hope. Written for a broad audience and supported by an array of photographs and graphics,

& At the East Bank Regional Library of Jefferson Parish the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at 7 pm. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Saturday at 11:30 am  it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen. In remembrance of 10 years past, we’ll read Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner (Chronicle Books, $16.99). In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Also,  The Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery, illustrated by Jean Cassels, which  tells the real-life story of animal friendship between a dog and a cat who helped each other survive during and after Katrina.

& At 2 pm Saturday a Poetry Reading: Before, During, and Since, will be hosted by master of poetical ceremonies Gina Ferrara at the Latter Memorial Library. Readers TBA in the daily post (or updated here when I find out).

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features a Katrina Open Mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.


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