These 10 New Orleans Books Make Great Last Minute Gifts For Fans Of Carnival, Music, Art & More | Books

This is the time of year to visit your local bookstore and swoon over the great beautiful books for holiday gifts.

And this season’s harvest is something to celebrate – gorgeous photographs, exhibition catalogs, a lovely new children’s book, something for everyone! Let the reading and research begin.

“Above New Orleans: The Roofs of the Crescent City”, Photographs by Marco Rasi, Text by Richard Campanella (LSU Press, $ 59.95), is my favorite giveaway book this year.

Italian engineer turned drone photographer Marco Rasi moved to Crescent City after reading Tulane geographer Richard Campanella’s books, so it seems inevitable that the two will team up.

These beautiful and elegant photographs invite hours of research, a fascinating new perspective from which to see our city – its neighborhoods, its relationship to nature, its aquatic surroundings, its glories and its problems.

“Above New Orleans: The Roofs of the Crescent City”, photographs by Marco Rasi, text by Richard Campanella (LSU Press, $ 59.95

Campanella’s writing, as always, adds a graceful and informed context. It is simply irresistible, a surprise on every page.

“Rex: 150 years of the design school”, by Stephen Hales, with a foreword by Walter Isaacson (Arthur Hardy Enterprises, $ 65), is THE gift for the carnival lover on your list.

This beautifully illustrated, decade-by-decade story of The Rex Organization tells the story of the ways this carnival community is intertwined with the city’s history – its economy, its rise as a tourist destination, its struggle for civil rights. , its complicated social structure.

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“Rex: 150 years of the design school”, by Stephen Hales, (Arthur Hardy Enterprises, $ 65),

Isaacson’s insightful introduction celebrates the ways Rex has met the challenge of his motto, “Pro bono public,” for the public good. Particularly charming is how Hales includes the many contributions of women to the brotherhood – in roles such as carnival queens, floats, and costume designers – as well as breaking the anonymity of those who have served as captains.

“Made in Louisiana: The History of the Acadian Accordion,” by Marc Savoy (University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, $ 45), is a music lover’s treasure, the story of a man’s obsession with a musical instrument.

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“Made in Louisiana: The History of the Acadian Accordion,” by Marc Savoy (University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, $ 45)

As Savoy writes, “The Cajun world I was born into led me on a road that I have traveled ever since and it made all the difference.” Savoy, owner of the Savoy Music Center in Eunice, has been building his accordions for over six decades, keeping music and traditions alive.

“The French holiday: from Paris to the parish of Orléans”, by Debra Shriver (Crescent City Publishing, $ 75), is a dreamlike reverie centered on a journey of soul restoration. Media director-turned-author Debra Shriver takes some stunning photos, and here are some eye-opening comparisons between Paris and New Orleans, as well as meditations on cultural icons like Catherine Deneuve (and several actual reunions!), Coco Chanel, and Henry. Miller and a wonderful visit to the Hôtel de Pontalba in Paris. Just enough for the Francophile on your list, and who doesn’t?

Some of the best books of the year continued in well-established series or accompanied by major art exhibitions. Make sure to keep them on your list:


“A Century on Harmony Street: Kohlmaier Cabinetmakers of New Orleans”, by Cybèle Gontar (Louisiana Museum Foundation, $ 60), is the perfect gift for the furniture lover or antique lover. Gallery owner and art historian Cybèle Gontar tells the fascinating story of this German father and son who worked together to make beautiful objects that are treasured in many homes in New Orleans. (They even made a tackle box for Andrew Higgins!) This book is beautifully designed, a pleasure to watch and read.


“John Clemmer: a legacy in art” (New Orleans Historical Collection, $ 54.95), is a lovely volume about the beloved teacher, who worked at the Arts and Crafts Club as well as Newcomb. It includes fascinating essays by David Clemmer, the artist’s son, curator Judith Bonner, who paints his own vivid portrait of Clemmer’s New Orleans artist circle, and a loving tribute from novelist John Ed Bradley, who knew Clemmer as a friend and as a collector.


“Dancing in the Streets: Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs of New Orleans,” by Judy Cooper (New Orleans Historical Collection, $ 49.95), makes a cheerful noise all its own. Cooper has been photographing second lines for decades and his long investment in culture shines through every page, with glorious imagery and illuminating text with contributions from Freddi Evans, Rachel Carrico, Michael G. White, Matt Sakakeeny and Charles “Action” Jackson.

“The Music of New Orleans Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys”, by David Kunian and Emilie Rhys ($ 39.95), is a celebration of both music and art, and how this unusual artist couple, father and daughter, took inspiration from the music from our city. Those horns on the cover say it all! There are revealing essays on the artistic process, as well as essays by John Ed Bradley and Myles Robicheaux, and interviews with musicians by Gwen Thompkins.

“Architecture of New Orleans, Vol. IX: Carrollton, “ text by Robert G. Cangelosi Jr., photographs by Neil Alexander (LSU Press, $ 39.95), continues the great work of the New Orleans Architecture series. Cangelosi, President and Partner of Koch and Wilson Architects, brings the history of one of the city’s most beloved neighborhoods to life. The book also includes the indispensable Building Index, which documents 420 houses.

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“Santa like me” by Dawn Robinson Weldon, illustrations by Nick Weldon (XYZ Books, $ 20, ages 3 to 8), is a perfect stocking stuffer for the kid on your list. It’s a charming and stimulating rhyming tale that invites children to imagine Santa Claus in a new way – tall, short, short, tall, superhero or green foot, and yes, there is even a Santa Claus. of Mardi Gras – any size or color. Exuberant and luminous, this story reminds us of “Remember it is our magic that fills Christmas with joy and brings the Santa Claus we imagine every year.” Perfect for Christmas Eve story time.

Susan Larson hosts WWNO’s The Reading Life.

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