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6 Must-Read Books Set in New Orleans

Histories, mysteries and a culinary memoir offer a rich experience of The Big Easy

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The scene of this year's AARP member event is also the stage for many great literary works. For a best books collection.

New Orleans is the scene of this year's AARP member event and it's also the stage for many great literary works. — Photo by Getty Images

New Orleans has an impressive literary tradition, spawning countless top-notch writers and serving as the colorful setting for classic novels like The Moviegoer by Walker Percy and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, as well as Tennessee Williams' play A Streetcar Named Desire. Not to mention the many novels of vampire conjurer Anne Rice. Most of the books below are lesser known, but each, whether fiction or fact, offers a unique slice of New Orleans, making your visit to The Big Easy a much richer experience.

Learn about AARP's Life@50+ National Event and Expo in New Orleans, Sept. 20-22, 2012.


The Missing 
by Tim Gautreaux
$9.99 Paperback, $5.99 e-book

A moody novel set in southern Louisiana that will appeal to lovers of literary fiction, with a good ol' mystery thrown in to boot. It's the 1920s, and our troubled hero is Sam Simoneaux, nicknamed "Lucky," who's working in New Orleans as a department store security guard when a little girl goes missing on his shift. He sets off on a wild search that involves traveling the Mississippi on a riverboat, and a reckoning with his own family's long-ago tragedy.

Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table 
by Sara Roahen

$11.67 Paperback, $9.57 e-book

This book is required reading for those who experience a new place most profoundly through their taste buds. Roahen, a Wisconsin native and chef, offers her funny, personal, weight-loss-defying story of culinary discovery, including where to find the quirky hole-in-the-wall that offers bliss-inducing smothered mustard greens (smothered in fat, that is), why it's a New Orleans tradition to eat red beans and rice on Mondays, and the nuances to ordering the city's iconic po'boy.

Next: A thriller steeped in the rich culture of New Orleans. »

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Kelly Schulz from the New Orleans Conventions & Visitors Bureau is excited to welcome AARP Life@50+ National Event and Expo on Sept. 20.

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