Located in uptown
New Orleans, Louisiana
513 Octavia Street
(corner of Laurel)
Welcome to Octavia Books, where our well-read staff is always happy to provide friendly assistance. Thank you for choosing to let Octavia Books serve you and be your independent bookstore.
Please join us for a reading and signing with Natalie Baszile featuring QUEEN SUGAR, her debut novel.
A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana
Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.
They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.
Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and initimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.
Natalie Baszile has a M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA, and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers where she was a Holden Minority Scholar. An early version of Queen Sugar won the Hurston Wright College Writer’s Award, was a co-runner up in the Faulkner Pirate’s Alley Novel-in-Progress competition, and excerpts were published in Cairn and ZYZZYVA. She has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation where she was awarded the Sylvia Clare Brown fellowship, Virginia Center for the Arts, and Hedgebrook. Her non-fiction work has appeared in The Rumpus.net, Mission at Tenth, and in The Best Women’s Travel Writing Volume 9. She is a former fiction editor at The Cortland Review, and is a member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Natalie lives in San Francisco with her family.
Where's Waldo? It’s no surprise that Waldo has chosen a return visit to hang out with his dog, Woof, near his favorite bookstore in beautiful uptown New Orleans for his vacation this July! The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is out hobnobbing at 24 different independent local shops all around Octavia Books — from ice cream parlors, snowball stands, chocolate shops, and eateries to toy stores, hobby shops, movie theaters, and bike shops. Those who spot him can win prizes, including buttons, book coupons and more, with the top prize being a six-volume deluxe set of Waldo books.
Anyone who wishes to participate can drop by Octavia Books to pick up a “Find Waldo Local in New Orleans!” sighting checklist with the names of all the participating business, and get their passport stamped or signed for each Waldo they spot starting July 1st.
The first 100 Waldo seekers to get their sighting checklists stamped or signed at ten or more sites can bring their checklists back to Octavia Books to collect prizes. Collecting store stamps or signatures at 15 or more businesses will entitle diligent seekers to entry in a grand prize drawing at a special Waldo party at 5:00 p.m. on July 31. There is no charge to participate. And the hunt lasts for the entire month of July.
Here are the participating businesses:
Join us in welcoming Katy Simpson Smith featuring THE STORY of LAND and SEA, her debut novel.
Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.
Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.
In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the lonely paths we travel in the name of renewal.
Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has been working as an Adjunct Professor at Tulane University and is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. She lives in New Orleans.