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.
Join us for an evening with New Orleans writer James Nolan when he reads and signs his new interrelated collection of short stories, YOU DON'T KNOW ME.
One of the most vivid pieces of writing I have come across for some time. It leapt from the page. . . a very fine book indeed. You Don’t Know Me shows the range and power of James Nolan’s writing. His sharp eye and lively prose bring a whole world to light in the space of a few pages. Nolan is a superb writer and these highly atmospheric stories deserve a wide audience. -Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels
In this collection, James Nolan swings wide open the courtyard gates of a city fabled both for its good times and bad. With ten new stories plus ten from his acclaimed previous volume, Perpetual Care, he introduces us to a quirky village of universal characters at crisis moments: white, black, and Hispanic; young, middle-aged, and elderly; straight and gay; women and men. We meet fatherless boys, Creole spinsters, and lying hustlers, a pregnant teenager, a concert pianist searching for his roots, a crooked homicide detective, a Carnival-parade king hiding in a Dunkin’ Donuts, a pistol-packing babysitter, and a codger who plots to blow up an overpass. Bookended by two post-Katrina stories, this collection takes us from the secretive hive of the French Quarter to decaying cemeteries, from Gentilly to Uptown to family dramas in the suburbs. With mordant dark humor, James Nolan paints a wry, disturbing but affectionately human portrait of his hometown for those who think they already know New Orleans, and what it means. But until you turn the addictive pages of these stories, you don’t—not really.
James Nolan is New Orleans' master storyteller. If Flannery O'Connor had been a bad boy living in the French Quarter, she'd have been James Nolan . . .These stories are wise, marvelous, funny. -Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator and author of The Blood Countess
In his remarkable new collection, You Don’t Know Me, James Nolan is a magician who can simultaneously inhabit the psyches of an18-year-old pregnant Latina, a romantically-challenged 32-year-old gay man, a world-famous black pianist with a heart condition, and many other true New Orleanians. Nobody writes as knowledgeably about this city, unless you count John Kennedy Toole. -Julie Smith, author of the Skip Langdon mysteries
Nolan will also be reading from and signing his recent book of poetry, DRUNK ON SALT.
James Nolan’s novel Higher Ground was awarded a Faulkner-Wisdom Gold Medal and the 2012 Independent Publishers Gold Medal in Southern Fiction. Perpetual Care won the 2009 Next-Generation Indie Book Award for Best Short Story Collection. His poetry collections include the recent Drunk on Salt, as well as Why I Live in the Forest and What Moves Is Not the Wind, and he has published four books of poetry in translation, criticism, and essays. A regular contributor to Boulevard, his recent work has appeared in such publications as the Southern Review, Shenandoah, Utne, the anthologies New Orleans Noir and The Gastronomica Reader, and the Washington Post. The recipient of NEA, Javits, and two Fulbright fellowships, he has taught at universities in San Francisco, Barcelona, Madrid, Beijing, and New Orleans. A fifth-generation native of the Crescent City, he lives in the French Quarter.
On Friday, October 24, 2014, 5-6, wear your Halloween pajamas or a costume and join us for our first ever Good Night, Sleep Tight Story Hour.
Dr. Jeffrey Sigler, regular winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Reading Contest during his time at UVA, will be our special guest reader. He'll recite "The Raven," read from I AM a WITCH'S CAT by Harriet Muncaster, LITTLE BOO by Stephen Wunderli, and EDGAR GETS READY FOR BED by Jennifer Adams.
Please help us in welcoming Anny Bloch-Raymond, author of FROM THE BANKS OF THE RHINE TO THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI: The History of Jewish Immigrants and Their Individual Stories, and Carol Mills-Nichol, author of LOUISIANA'S JEWISH IMMIGRANTS FROM THE BAS-RHIN, ALSACE, FRANCE, on Tuesday, October 28, 6:00 P.M.
ABOUT ANNY BLOCH-RAYMOND'S BOOK
With the large-scale immigration of Jews from diaspora communities, the Jewish population of the United States is the second largest in the world. You've most definitely heard about the Jewish communities in and near major cities such as New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. But did you know that one-fifth of the Jews who reached the US shores in the 19th and early 20th centuries settled in Louisiana?
From France and Germany, they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to become peddlers, small shop-owners or sugar and tobacco traders in small towns along the Mississippi River. Jews they were, but Jews who invented a new and liberal Judaism that interacted with the Christian world which dominates the South. Whites they were, but Whites who had to fight for their civil rights (and their new country) and did not abide by segregation laws. Migrants they were, but migrants who let the good time roll and invented an authentic Creole kosher cuisine.
Their history is written all over the South, here on street corners and on gravestones, there on synagogues and museums. But their legacy lives on: Anny Bloch-Raymond explored countless archival boxes and talked to dozens of families before beginning to write FROM THE BANKS OF THE RHINE TO THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI — a story and a history of Jewish life in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
ABOUT CAROL MILLS-NICHOL'S BOOK
In this her latest book, Carol Mills-Nichol has written about the French Jewish immigrants from the Bas-Rhin who settled in forty-nine of the sixty-four Louisiana parishes over the course of the last two centuries. She begins by explaining the special pitfalls of Jewish genealogical research, then goes on to show how to use both French and English on-line records in order to unlock the secrets of long-departed ancestors.
Carol Mills-Nichol includes four case studies as examples of how to tackle certain genealogical brick walls. While the novice researcher can expect to unlock many secrets from the past, there will also be many frustrations in store for him, many unanswered questions, and some details which may take years to uncover. Patience is the watchword for the competent genealogist.
The remainder of the book is devoted to the study of over six hundred Jewish immigrants who left from places in the Bas-Rhin, Alsace, such as Strasbourg, Haguenau, Hoenheim, Harskirchen, Rothbach, Ingwiller, Schirrhoffen, Schliethal, and Oberlauterbach, to name just a few. Some unlucky souls never even completed the journey. They may have died of disease in European ports while awaiting passage, or perished at sea during the arduous voyage. Those lucky enough to arrive did not always settle in New Orleans. Many journeyed still farther inland to big towns such as Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Opelousas, Donaldsonville or smaller villages like Chackbay, Waterloo, Livonia, Mansura, Hohen Solms, Bunkie, Berwick, Big Cane, Bayou Goula, or Pointe-à-la-Hâche. Still others were employed as store keepers on plantations such as Azima, Belmont, Cinclare, Cora, Cote Blanche, Cypress Hall, Live Oak, and Tezcuco.
While many of them prospered in Louisiana, others suffered unspeakable tragedies in their adopted homeland. Some were murdered. Others ended their own lives. A frightening number of them succumbed to cholera, typhoid, or yellow fever, many within a few years of their arrival. Whatever their story, the reader cannot help but be caught up in the drama of the existence of these immigrants who risked everything to start anew in Louisiana
ANNY BLOCH-RAYMOND teaches Jewish culture at the University of Toulouse (France), is a member of the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS, France) and a Doctor of Social Science from the University of Strasbourg. Catherine Temerson is an award-winning translator, with advanced degrees from Harvard and New York University.
CAROL MILLS-NICHOL was born in Michigan, but raised on Long Island, NY. She received her B.A. from New York University, and her M.A. from Fordham University in French language and literature. Carol has devoted the last fifteen years studying the Jewish families of the Gulf South, having discovered in 1999 that she was suddenly Jewish. While in her first book, The Forgotten Jews of Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, she concentrated on her ancestors’ home parish, in this one she has investigated Alsatian Jewish immigration to the whole of Louisiana.