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.
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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.