ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Louisiana Bookstores

Updated on April 13, 2012

Let a book traveler take you to some of the coolest climes in sub-tropical territory, the bookstores of Louisiana

Bienvenue à la Louisiane! If you have crossed the bridge or ridden the ferry from my lens on Mississippi Bookstores, that's Welcome to Louisiana. Why would upmtraveler create a squidoo lens on a neighboring state? Well, I do travel to Louisiana bookstores, though not often enough, and this will spur me. A powerful part of University Press of Mississippi's list of books includes some really hot cooking and music books, and some really smart books of history, art, architecture, photography and folklore, all on Louisiana. Plus Mississippi and Louisiana are two giant capacitors of creative energy joined by the same sizzling cord of the Mississippi River. When Mississippians need to do serious unwinding, they head to Louisiana (Mississippi writer James Whitehead called the state a blessing and the only foreign country in America). And---WARNING: THIS IS GOING TO GET MYSTICAL AND LOOPY---in college a past life reader told me my "spirit had been exhibited in male form from 1793 to 1823, a poacher in the swamps of Acadiana, that I was recruited by and fought for Andrew Jackson at Chalmette, not because I was a good shot but because bodies were needed in the trench, that I then became a bouncer in New Orleans and deeply enjoyed enforcing order but quit when someone larger finally bested me, that I returned to my home country in the bayous and to poaching, and eventually died in quicksand. And finally that my name was Jere Changste." And then I had to pay this strange, pasty little past life reader $60.00 through his assistant (the reader was still "DEEP" in trance). Ah, College! Ah, Humanity! Ah, Louisiana! Ah, I'm still out $60.00!

The booksellers in Louisiana have full grip on the uniqueness their state has to offer. The booksellers, like Mississippi's, are expressive sharers of what it means to live (or to have lived) in Monroe, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, New Iberia, New Orleans and onward. I will be taking this slowly, maybe even adding UPM authors' perspectives on stores to flesh this out. I want it to be as first person as www.squidoo.com/Mississippi-Bookstores, and that can't happen without feet on the ground. So, bookstores, book travelers, booklovers, bear with me. And let's travel with this grand Ville Platte Lancer's protection into some fantastic bookselling territory. Allons!

(photo by Ian McNulty)

(POSTSCRIPT TO BOOKSTORES: If you are not listed here: 1) I'm always building; 2) I'm happy to hear from you; 3) I'm including only stores I know sell new books, not just used; 4) I haven't visited you and need to! So let me hear from you: syates @ mississippi.edu)

Tabasco Country Store

Avery Island

McIlhenny Company, Avery Island, LA 70513, 337.373.6129, countrystore.tabasco.com

There's some border or barrier that is shed when you cross the narrow bridge onto Avery Island. Whether it is the stolid brick of the factory and offices or the vast pepper fields or the bungalows of the cafe and the Country Store, I don't know, but you feel entirely pulled loose from ordinary time. As you might imagine at the Country Store, Tabasco® (the fermented pepper sauce), and Tabasco® shirts, ties, caps, tees, dominate, but there are lots of cookbooks and books on Louisiana culture, oh, and Tabasco: An Illustrated History by our author, Shane K. Bernard.

Books Along the Teche

New Iberia

106 E. Main Street, New Iberia, LA, 70560, 337.367.7621

Situated in a very appealing downtown that has managed to keep its architecture and revitalize, Books Along the Teche holds a superb collection of Cajun history and Louisiana authors. The store also keeps track of the new and worthwhile. Howard Kingston has a handle on just about every book published on Acadiana (and who published it and the book's status); and, in addition to warmly welcoming everyone, Lorraine Kingston knows where every volume fits on the shelf and whether that volume is earning its keep. 19 years they have been operating! But enough from me. Let's hear from Shane K. Bernard, author of Cajuns and Their Acadian Ancestors: A Young Reader's History and many other books:

"Fans of James Lee Burke's fictional detective Dave Robicheaux come from all over to visit New Iberia, and they consider a stop at Books along the Teche a must. Burke himself stops by to sign copies of his newest books when in town. (A few doors down you can eat at Victor's Cafeteria, which has a 'Dave Robicheaux eats here' sign out front.) The Kingstons always have signed books on hand by other local authors, including yours truly."

Faulkner House Books

New Orleans

624 Pirate's Alley, New Orleans, LA 70119, 504.524.2940, www.faulknerhousebooks.net

Assuming you are on foot, wheresoever you are rambling in the French Quarter, look for the tall spires of the Saint Louis Cathedral. Head for them. Pirate's Alley runs along the west side of the Cathedral. Inside Faulkner House Books a whole lot literary happens in not a lot of space. Among many other authors, a great collection of, naturally, William Faulkner is here. He lived at 624 when he was a young gadabout poet. He wrote New Orleans Sketches and his first novel here.

Book traveling story: I walked in the store with novelist Brad Barkley and introduced him to the clerk just as Brad Barkley, no more. The clerk jumps up and immediately says, "Mr. Barkley, I have a couple of copies of your novel and short story collection here. Will you please sign them for us?" Talk about knowing your stock! Joe DeSalvo has been a great mentor to me. Karmically thank him for me by stopping by and buying something amazing or going to the website.

Garden District Books

New Orleans

2727 Prytania Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, 504.895.2266, www.gardendistrictbookshop.com

This store is a hallmark in one of the Crescent City's glorious residential areas. Browsing the stock you get the sense that any book signed by its author in the city has somehow made it here. Britton Trice thinks outside the store as well taking signings to pubs, even. He is also a master of one liners. In the heat of success for Ian McNulty's A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina, making his umpteenth order for the book, Britton joked, "Steve! How many more 'friends' does this guy have!" Of course, Britton tranformed those friends into readers and guided his customers to the book to make the author an exponential number of friends. That's dedicated bookselling!

type=text
type=text

Maple Street Book Shop

New Orleans

7523 Maple Street, New Orleans, LA 70188, 504.866.4416, www.maplestreetbookshop.com

It's been a pleasure working with Donna Allen on the phone, but, shame on me, I have not been to her shop, and now I must. Let's hear instead from author Shane K. Bernard who signed his books there:

"Located near the campuses of Tulane and Loyola universities, Maple Street Books sits in a small 'uptown' neighborhood best described as 'funky,' with venerable old homes, small mom-and-pop cafes and restaurants, and lots and lots of college students. A converted wood-frame residence, the small store is packed with titles, including many by local and state authors. Don't miss the children's book store, located in the similarly quaint dwelling next door."

Octavia Books

New Orleans

513 Octavia Street, New Orleans, LA 70115-2055

504.899.7323, www.octaviabooks.com/index.php

After Katrina, Tom Lowenburg said that something amazing happened. Neighbors and dazed souls began coming in, because next door there was bottled water. And then of course he had some, too. And people stopped, commiserated, swapped stories, plotted their comebacks. The community essence of what a bookstore is became 100-proof distilled. This store backs local writers, Louisiana history, and does a great job with books about natural history, the environment, and Lousiana ecology, a reflection of the bookseller's passion.

Ogden Museum Shop

New Orleans

925 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, 504.539.9600, www.ogdenmuseum.org/shop/index.html

WARNING! This shop will cost you money, but in a good way because you will be taking home some memento of the art that has just enthralled you. In gallery after gallery of its splendid design, the Ogden's mission of being the interpreter of Southern art is fulfilled with as much grace as pure cool. And I mean the cool of Walter Anderson, Maude Clay, William Dunlap, Birney Imes and so on. You never cross the same river twice; you never leave these doors the same twice.

Southern Food & Beverage Museum Store

New Orleans

Riverwalk Marketplace, 1 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA 70130, 504-569-0405, www.southernfood.org

Ian McNulty tells us: "It seemed so obvious it was hard to believe it hadn't emerged earlier: a museum devoted to the culture and history of Southern eating and drinking in one of the world's great cities for eating and drinking. But it was only in the summer of 2008 that the doors finally opened at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans, albeit after several years of itinerant exhibits at borrowed venues around the city. A spin through the museum's permanent and seasonal exhibits is quite enough to get the mouth watering, and the museum store is there to help if the visit also inspires you to get back in front of a stove. The roomy, beautiful retail space of natural woods and floor-to-ceiling windows is well stocked with cookbooks from regional chefs as well as histories, photography collections and cultural explorations of the role of food and drink in the South. The museum regularly hosts authors, chefs, teachers and media personalities for readings and discussions of their work, and many signed copies are on hand. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is situated at the far end of the Riverwalk Marketplace, a shopping mall with an underappreciated view of the Mississippi River, and, appropriately enough, right behind the mall's food court."

A Tisket, A Tasket

New Orleans

910 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, 504.524.8482, www.atisketatasketneworleans.com

What a space this store has now! An offshoot of a store that thrived in the French Market, A Tisket, A Tasket is now one of the first permanent storefronts you come to walking east along Decatur from the Public Parking or the Cafe Du Monde. Non-stop Louisiana books, cooking, culture, the Quarter. Come see!

Floyd's Record Shop

Ville Platte

434 East Main Street, Ville Platte, LA 70586, 337.363.2185 - mail order dept.; 337.363.2138 - retail dept. www.floydsrecordshop.com

For years Romona Ortego and Floyd Soileau have taken UPM's Cajun and Louisiana music books far and wide. When I visited, Romona gave us the grand tour; behind the spacious retail floor are rooms and racks of Cajun and Zydeco rarities. As her sign says: "If you don't find it, please ask for it. We may yet have it in stock." The "yet" portion of the warehouse goes back to the days when Floyd's was a studio recording Swamp Pop and more in 1956. Ben Sandmel gives us the perspective of both a writer and great musician:

"For over fifty years, producer and entrepreneur Floyd Soileau has helped carry the torch of Cajun music, zydeco, and Gulf Coast swamp-pop. As the renowned folklorist Barry Ancelet put it, "Floyd is that rare combination of a shrewd businessman and a sensitive cultural observer -- two traits which don't always mix. His busi­ness savvy has worked to traditional cul­ture's benefit, because it made him record the best people available, and maintain quality and authen­ticity." The fruits of these cultural and commercial accomplishments (if we may deliberately mix several metaphors) are on display and on sale within the friendly confines of Floyd's Record Shop in Ville Platte, Louisiana. This is the place to pick up CDs, LPs and cassettes by the vast array of South Louisiana musicians whom Floyd recorded and promoted, including Belton Richard, The Balfa Brothers, Boozoo Chavis, Rod Bernard, and many other greats. Floyd's Record Shop sells books, too -- including, I'm glad to say, mine: Zydeco!, a collaboration with photographer Rick Olivier, published by University Press of Mississippi. At a time when regional culture is threatened by bland homogenization, Floyd's Record Shop is a fun and zesty island of independence in a sea of dull conformity. And, when you're through stocking up on music, stop in at another Ville Platte institution--the Pig Stand restaurant!"

Talk about a reading space! - Garden District Books

Ian McNulty meets his readers for the first time in this splendid courtyard.

Zydeco mascot - Zydeco! Do It!

This ready fellow presides over a wall of children's accordions at Floyd's Record Shop in Ville Platte.

While we're waiting on upmtraveler... - Cajun jockey challenge

While we are waiting on upmtraveler to get with it and enrich the listings, here's a Cajun sports trivia challenge. Scan any racing program at any top thoroughbred track in America and you will notice the dominant names among jockeys are of Cajun origin. Here's the challenge while you wait on me to update: First three visitors to email me with the correct names of these great Cajun jockeys (all of them) wins a copy of Shane Bernard's Cajuns and Their Acadian Ancestors: A Young Reader's History. Email syates @ mississippi.edu

Back to Mississippi - Faulkner's Rowan Oak

If you have William Faulkner's house in sight, Square Books is not far away. Learn more at www.squidoo.com/Mississippi-Bookstores at the link below.

Reader Feedback

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      www.ThomasSavageBooks.com Best Used bookshop in Baton Rouge

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      Looking to purchase used book store fixtures. please contact me at mmg_19@hotmail.com

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      9 years ago

      Lots of work going on! Nice.

      Here are a few independent book stores in Birmingham:

      Alabama Booksmith

      Little Professor

      Milestone Books

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 

      9 years ago from Croatia

      You are one of December graduates! Come by and answer few questions to show the way to those who will follow! Wish you many, many more great lenses!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)