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.
Louisiana native Ken Wheaton, author of SWEET AS CANE, SALTY AS TEARS, visits with us on Thursday, October 2, 2014, 6:00 P.M. Come say hello!
A freak accident forces a New Yorker to return to Louisiana and confront her Cajun past.
There is nothing more dangerous than a spooked rhinoceros. It is just before lunchtime when Huey, the prized black rhino of Broussard, Louisiana, erupts from his enclosure, trampling a zoo employee on his way to a rampage in the Cajun countryside. The incident makes the rounds online as News of the Weird, and Katherine Fontenot is laughing along with the rest of her New York office when she notices the name of the hurt zookeeper: Karen-Anne Castille-her sister.
Fifty years old, lonely, and in danger of being laid off, Katherine has spent decades trying to ignore her Louisiana roots. Forced home by Karen-Anne's accident, she remembers everything about the bayou that she wanted to escape: the heat, the mosquitoes, and the constant, crushing embrace of family. But when forced to confront the ghosts of her past, she discovers that escape might never have been necessary.
Ken Wheaton was born in Opelousas, Louisiana, in 1973. Raised Catholic and Cajun, Wheaton aspired to one day be a navy pilot but was sidelined by bad eyesight and poor math skills. He graduated from Opelousas Catholic School in 1991 and went off to Southampton College-Long Island University in Southampton, New York, intending to study marine biology. An excess of drinking and (again) a dearth of math skills led him to become an English major. From there he returned to Louisiana, where he received an MA in creative writing from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana-Lafayette).
Wheaton is the author of THE FIRST ANNUAL GRAND PRARIE RABBIT FESTIVAL and BACON and EGG MAN, and is the managing editor of the trade publication Advertising Age. A Louisiana native, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Said Dave Barry of Wheaton's second novel: "I had several drinks with the author at a party, and based on that experience, I would rank this novel right up there with anything by Marcel Proust."
Please join us for a presentation and signing with Keith Weldon Medley celebrating the launch of his new book, BLACK LIFE IN OLD NEW ORLEANS.
People of African descent have shaped New Orleans from its earliest days into the vibrant city it is today. From the slaves and indentured servants who drained the swamps, erected the buildings, constructed the levees, and dug the canals to the Freedom Riders who fought for racial equality in a segregated South, New Orleans’ history and black history in America are intricately connected.
Historian Keith Weldon Medley recounts the rich history of African and African-American cultural influence on one of America’s most-beloved cities. This in-depth account is one of personal significance for the author, who was raised in New Orleans’ Faubourg Marigny and whose family history is tied to the area. Through fifteen self-contained chapters, Medley takes a chronological and focused look at some of New Orleans’ most prominent people and places.
Rife with detailed histories of Faubourg Tremé, Congo Square, and many other pivotal locations, Medley’s subjects include the Mardi Gras Indians, the Zulu Parade, and Louis Armstrong and his upbringing in black Storyville. Tales of many other prominent New Orleanians also fill the pages, such as educator and civic leader Fannie C. Williams, founder of the People’s Defense League Ernest Wright, and civil rights attorney A.P. Tureaud.
Keith Weldon Medley is a photographer, freelance writer, speaker, and author of We as Freemen: Plessy v. Ferguson. Medley holds a BA in psychology and sociology from Southern University at New Orleans and is a two-time recipient of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Louisiana Publishing Initiative Grant. His articles can be found in publications such as the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Smithsonian, American Legacy Magazine, Preservation, Southern Exposure Magazine, and New Orleans Tribune. Medley lives in, writes about, and researches the city where he grew up and the city he loves: New Orleans.
Downstream Toward Home is a moving voyage along the rivers that Oliver Houck has known, loved, and for which he has fought and sometimes despaired. These episodes chart a progression in the soul of an ecological visionary. The man is a law professor and writes like an angel." —Jason Berry
American rivers are among the most diverse and challenging in the world, and for many the excitement and escape they offer develops into a lifelong pursuit. In DOWNSTREAM TOWARD HOME, Oliver A. Houck recounts his six decades exploring America’s waterways,from unnamed creeks and Louisiana swamps to the rivers of western canyons and the Alaskan tundra.
This engaging travelogue leads readers down over thirty-two rivers found across the country. Along the way Houck provides quiet observations as he finds footprints of red wolves on a sandbank or paddles through an aqueous forest of cypress trees. Collectively, these moments of adventure and introspection reveal his distinct and extraordinary vision of the national landscape.
From the thrill of approaching rapids to the peace of resting on a shoal, Houck’s narrative draws from history and personal experience subtly to remind us how each body of water plays an outsized role in its surrounding environment.
At once a journal, a primer, and a guide, DOWNSTREAM TOWARD HOME is an invitation to create our own experiences on America’s rivers.
A law professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, Oliver A. Houck has been involved in river conservation throughout his life, beginning as general counsel to the National Wildlife Federation in the early l970s. He has served on litigation boards of the Environmental Defense Fund and Defenders of Wildlife, and several committees of the National Academy of Sciences. Named the Louisiana Conservationist of the Year, Gambit Weekly’s New Orleanian of the Year, Tulane University’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year, Houck has also received two National Educational Press Association awards for children’s literature. He was most recently honored by the Environmental Section of the American Bar Association with its Distinguished Achievement Award.