The best books about New Orleans

9 authors have picked their favorite books about New Orleans and why they recommend each book.

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Orleans

By Sherri L. Smith,

Book cover of Orleans

In the wake of super-hurricanes and the deadly pandemic that follows, New Orleans has been quarantined from the rest of the United States, and those who seek to cross the border wall are killed. Narrator Fen, a member of the clan-based culture that has developed behind the wall, tells the story of her people and her personal quest for freedom in a dialect voice that is both beautifully rendered and brutally honest.


Who am I?

When I was eight years old, I read a book titled Dar Tellum: Stranger from a Distant Planet, by James R. Berry. It told the story of a boy who communicates with an alien intelligence to save the Earth from… global warming. That was in 1973, and it was the first time I’d heard about “the greenhouse effect”. Some things haven’t changed since then: I still read (and write) sci-fi, and I still have Dar Tellum on my bookshelf. But our climate is changing, and I’ve chosen four books of science fiction and one of science facts that help us think about the future—and present—of our planet.


I wrote...

Ecosystem

By Joshua David Bellin,

Book cover of Ecosystem

What is my book about?

In Earth’s distant future, Nature has mutated into the Ecosystem, a planet-wide sentience that has driven humankind to the brink of extinction. While survivors seek shelter in small villages of stone, those known as Sensors—people gifted with the psychic ability to read the Ecosystem’s mind—travel in the wild to gather food, water, and fuel for their communities.

At seventeen, Sarah is the youngest Sensor in her village. She doesn’t fear the Ecosystem, but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. Her hunt for revenge leads her into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places, where she discovers secrets that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart.

A Free Man of Color

By Barbara Hambly,

Book cover of A Free Man of Color

A Free Man of Color is the first book in the Benjamin January series by Barbara Hambly. I was already a fan of Hambly's fabulous fantasy books, so following her as she ventured off into more historically slanted books was an easy leap for me. 

The world of Benjamin January is set during a fascinating and chaotic time in the United States. New Orleans in the 1800s was a clash of cultures and creeds. The French and the Creole philosophies they'd imprinted on the city collide with the new ways of the growing American populace. Throw in the convoluted social structure for slaves and free people of color, and you've got a city in constant turmoil. Add in murder, and the stakes rise even higher.


Who am I?

From movies and shows I watched as a child, I've always had a fascination for all things oriental. When I did the research for my first published novel, In the Service of Samurai—a YA fantasy based in feudal Japan, I also fell in love with history. Mysteries have also always been a draw for me, so combining these two loves and the story fodder research brings up, which might not have otherwise presented itself, is like magic. Magic that other authors and I bring to you to enlighten, entertain, and forge connections with the past and present—a pleasure I wish to share with you.  


I wrote...

Black Jade: A Daiyu Wu Mystery

By Gloria Oliver,

Book cover of Black Jade: A Daiyu Wu Mystery

What is my book about?

Could an old-fashioned ballgown be used to commit murder?

Daiyu Wu believes there's been a murder by arsenic poisoning. But being blind, Chinese, and living in Dallas in 1930 carries many impediments. Add in the fact the police aren't aware of any foul play, and her job becomes doubly hard. With the help of her confidant Jacques, Dai sets out to find who has been murdered. And, if possible, who committed the foul deed. But there are many obstacles in her path—a spoiled popinjay, his jealous self-appointed girlfriend, and Dai's overprotective parents. Can she and Jacques avoid all the hurdles and get to the truth before it's too late?

Gods of New Orleans

By AJ Sikes,

Book cover of Gods of New Orleans

In a complete departure from the previous book, Gods of New Orleans is a dieselpunk science fiction adventure. Emma Farnsworth, her saxophone-playing boyfriend Eddie Collins, and the Conroy family have escaped from Chicago City and are going to start life again in New Orleans. However, everything they think they know about New Orleans is turned on its ear.

People of color are in charge. White people are expected to keep their eyes averted, refer to people of color as "sir" or "ma'am" ... and mixed ethnicity couples like Emma and Eddie are eyed askance. White people are also expected to carry a little tin badge with them if they're "working out" -- which is what slaves who were allowed to "sleep out" in New Orleans during the 19th C. were required to do. In short: Sikes has turned the typical examination of racism on its ear with this book. 

I…


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by New Orleans ever since hearing Bobby Bare’s novelty record “Marie Laveau” when I was a child. I had wanted to visit for ages, and Hurricane Katrina made me despair of ever getting there. Now that I’ve been there, New Orleans owns a piece of my heart. When I set out to write Bayou Fire, I was determined to do it right. I read everything I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction, about 1830s New Orleans. I wanted not only the facts but the atmosphere. Furthermore, I made several research trips, not only to Crescent City but to the plantations. I immersed myself in the period and the culture to the greatest degree possible to bring an authentic tale to light.


I wrote...

Bayou Fire

By Sharon E. Cathcart,

Book cover of Bayou Fire

What is my book about?

Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of Bayou Fire? Bayou Fire is the recipient of the in D’Tale Crowned Heart Award, the Chill with a Book Reader Award, and the AuthorsDB Silver Medal for Cover Design.

Rescued by a Kiss

By Colleen Mooney,

Book cover of Rescued by a Kiss: The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles Series

Schnauzer rescuer Brandy Alexander is tired of living with her parents, not sure what's going on in her relationship with her boyfriend, Dante, and is looking for a little fun. She gets way more than she bargained for when she kisses a handsome stranger during a Mardi Gras parade ... as he's shot in front of her and pretty soon it seems like the New Orleans gangsters are after her, too. This is a super-cute cozy mystery featuring dogs, intrigue, fun characters, and the Big Easy. What more could you ask for?


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by New Orleans ever since hearing Bobby Bare’s novelty record “Marie Laveau” when I was a child. I had wanted to visit for ages, and Hurricane Katrina made me despair of ever getting there. Now that I’ve been there, New Orleans owns a piece of my heart. When I set out to write Bayou Fire, I was determined to do it right. I read everything I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction, about 1830s New Orleans. I wanted not only the facts but the atmosphere. Furthermore, I made several research trips, not only to Crescent City but to the plantations. I immersed myself in the period and the culture to the greatest degree possible to bring an authentic tale to light.


I wrote...

Bayou Fire

By Sharon E. Cathcart,

Book cover of Bayou Fire

What is my book about?

Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of Bayou Fire? Bayou Fire is the recipient of the in D’Tale Crowned Heart Award, the Chill with a Book Reader Award, and the AuthorsDB Silver Medal for Cover Design.

Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper

By Ana Brazil,

Book cover of Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper

Fanny Newcomb is the daughter of a New Orleans lawyer. Having shunned a marriage proposal from her late father's partner, she comes to work at the Settlement House. There, she teaches reading, accounting, and other skills to young immigrant women in Crescent City. When her most promising student is murdered, Fanny starts looking into matters herself. Why?

One of the other women at Wisdom House, Olive Giddings, is a physician -- she was first on the scene and knows that Nora was strangled. Soon, though, the papers are claiming that Nora is the victim of the Irish Channel Ripper. And then, the House's German carpenter is arrested for the crime. So, Fanny has a vested interest in finding the real assailant and proving Karl innocent.

What I love about this book is the rich historical detail. We not only get a look at women’s roles but also at New Orleans’…


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by New Orleans ever since hearing Bobby Bare’s novelty record “Marie Laveau” when I was a child. I had wanted to visit for ages, and Hurricane Katrina made me despair of ever getting there. Now that I’ve been there, New Orleans owns a piece of my heart. When I set out to write Bayou Fire, I was determined to do it right. I read everything I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction, about 1830s New Orleans. I wanted not only the facts but the atmosphere. Furthermore, I made several research trips, not only to Crescent City but to the plantations. I immersed myself in the period and the culture to the greatest degree possible to bring an authentic tale to light.


I wrote...

Bayou Fire

By Sharon E. Cathcart,

Book cover of Bayou Fire

What is my book about?

Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of Bayou Fire? Bayou Fire is the recipient of the in D’Tale Crowned Heart Award, the Chill with a Book Reader Award, and the AuthorsDB Silver Medal for Cover Design.

Crescent Carnival

By Frances Parkinson Keyes,

Book cover of Crescent Carnival

The ultimate in historical Southern Gothic family saga is Crescent Carnival. Keyes was a bestselling author in the mid-twentieth century because of her in-depth sagas. This epic tome covers three generations of high-society New Orleans characters through their scandals and secrets from the 1890-1940s. I had to remember not to get bogged down by the historical information which showed how grounded it is in facts that enriched my knowledge about the city, state, and Mardi Gras. Instead, I focused on the characters I was rooting for—no matter if I agreed with them or not. The last quarter of the book was binge read worthy, and I used a lot of tissues.


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by the feelings stories can evoke in readers since I cried over Bridge to Terabithia in middle school. From the time I was twelve, I’ve sought snapshots in time that ooze with a strong sense of place and flawed characters to capture my heart when reading. I’ve found well-researched historic Gothic family sagas to be the most consistent in delivering that raw emotional bond between the setting/characters and reader. As a writer, I strive to recreate what I crave when reading. The historic Gothic family sagas I’ve chosen represent an array of characters you will love—or love to hate—and cry over.


I wrote...

Perilous Confessions (The Possession Chronicles)

By Carrie Dalby,

Book cover of Perilous Confessions (The Possession Chronicles)

What is my book about?

Lucy Easton, an aspiring novelist, will do anything to boost her chances at publication—including betraying her family. But when she crosses paths with the charismatic Alexander Melling, her aspiration for success pales in comparison to the attraction she feels towards him.

Alexander is a young lawyer from a powerful family, striving to free himself from his father’s shadow. The more time he spends with Lucy, the more desperate he becomes to shed the secrets of his past—a past that can destroy both himself and the woman he’s falling in love with. From gossip magazines to gleaming Mardi Gras balls, Lucy and Alex navigate the Edwardian era in the Deep South with both passion and guilt.

The Beautiful

By Renée Ahdieh,

Book cover of The Beautiful

When I was in middle school, middle-grade fiction didn’t really exist in the way it does now. There weren’t a ton of options for a young person who loved horror. So once I outgrew Goosebumps and Fear Street, I started reading adult horror. Stephen King. Dean Koontz. Anne Rice. I’ll never forget reading Interview with a Vampire for the first time. I had never been to New Orleans, but I was instantly transported. It was magical – electric. I could feel each word in my bones. Thus, you can only imagine my excitement discovering The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh. To that point, I hadn’t read anything that reminded me more of Anne Rice’s writing style. Just like the title, this book was beautiful. And haunting. With a New Orleans setting, a forbidden love trope, and lots of animated characters that I immediately fell in love with. If you…

Who am I?

Vampires are the coolest monsters. Change my mind. Actually, forget it – you can’t change my mind. Because I’m right. I have always – I mean always – loved vampires. Reading about them, watching them – all the things. The first time I read Interview with a Vampire changed me forever as a human. There’s something so universally appealing about these immortal bloodsuckers. Maybe it’s because they stay forever young. Or maybe it’s because they look like humans, therefore, they can often hide (or lurk) in plain sight. As an author of my own monster stories, I find them inspiring. So, here’s a list of my recent favs that you can sink your own teeth into. 


I wrote...

The Stitchers (Fright Watch #1)

By Lorien Lawrence,

Book cover of The Stitchers (Fright Watch #1)

What is my book about?

Thirteen-year-old Quinn Parker knows that there’s something off about her neighbors. She calls them “the Oldies” because they’ve lived on Goodie Lane for as long as anyone can remember, but they never seem to age. Are they vampires? Or aliens? Or is Quinn’s imagination just running wild again?

If her dad were still around, he’d believe her. When he was alive, they’d come up with all sorts of theories about the Oldies. Now, Quinn’s determined to keep the investigation going with the help of Mike, her neighbor and maybe crush. They’ll have to search for clues and follow the mystery wherever it leads. But the Oldies are on to them. And the closer Quinn and Mike get to uncovering the answers, the more they realize just how terrifying the truth may be.

The Mark of the King

By Jocelyn Green,

Book cover of The Mark of the King

Travel back in time to 18th century France, then Louisiana in this sweeping historical romance Christy Award-winning novel. This epic story will not only fill your travel void, but also touch your heart with its uplifting story of faith, survival, and redemption. This is a multi-re-read for me because of Green’s masterful writing, making me feel as though I was right there with the characters.


Who am I?

After living in Europe for nearly 10 years, I’ve spent more time in planes, trains, and cars than I could ever count. I was able to travel more in that time than I ever dreamed possible, making trips ranging from Gibraltar to Romania to the Isle of Skye. Most of my time was spent all around Ireland where I took tour groups around to help them get beyond Blarney and experience the real Ireland.

I wrote...

The Lady of Galway Manor

By Jennifer Deibel,

Book cover of The Lady of Galway Manor

What is my book about?

In 1920, Annabeth De Lacy's father is appointed landlord of Galway Parish in Ireland. Annabeth convinces her father to arrange an apprenticeship for her with the Jennings family--descendants of the creator of the famed Claddagh Ring. Stephen Jennings longs to do anything other than run his family's jewelry shop. Having had his heart broken, he no longer believes in love and is weary of peddling the "lies" the Claddagh Ring promises.

Meanwhile, as the war for Irish independence gains strength, many locals resent the De Lacys and decide to take things into their own hands to display their displeasure. As events take a dangerous turn for Annabeth and her family, she and Stephen begin to see that perhaps the "other side" isn't quite as barbaric and uncultured as they'd been led to believe.

Midnight Bayou

By Nora Roberts,

Book cover of Midnight Bayou

Midnight Bayou begins with a historical timeline and centres on the reincarnation theme which has always fascinated me. In the story the leading character, Declan Fitzgerald, feels an unexplainable but strong pull towards a dilapidated bayou mansion in New Orleans so much so that he ends up buying the old house. He quits a career he found unfulfilling and leaves his posh life in Boston to restore the old manor to its former glory with sheer devotion. Life at the manor gets creepy though with Declan getting weird dreams, sleepwalking, seeing visions, and hearing voices to name a few. An enthralling paranormal romance by prolific author, Nora Roberts, told in a dual timeline while steeped in an exciting mix of mystery, murder, romance, family secrets, and paranormal visitations.


Who am I?

I am the author of paranormal, fantasy, and middle-grade novels. The inspiration to write in these genres is because of my attraction towards anything supernatural be it paranormal science, mythology, Wicca, witchcraft, occult, fairy folklore, NDE, OBE, psychometry, clairvoyance, angels, necromancy, etc. I love to read and research about them. Child of Paradise (Listen to your Dreams),” is my sixth fiction book and is a paranormal crime thriller. This book touches upon subjects such as after-life, spirit guides, dream visitations, mediums, ghost hunters, homicide, police investigations, and family ties and are for readers who’d love a thriller or a mystery with a supernatural edge.


I wrote...

Child of Paradise: Listen to your Dreams

By Pratibha R DH,

Book cover of Child of Paradise: Listen to your Dreams

What is my book about?

It looked like the universe finally heard her wishes when Tia meets Ron, her secret crush all throughout school. Ron is equally besotted now and everything seems just so perfect…if not for Rianna, her sister, who doesn’t want her to be with Ron.  The bizarre part of it all was that Rianna was no longer alive! Tia was haunted by dreams of her sister who kept warning her of Ron. 

The police closing off her sister’s case as suicide had left Tia deeply perturbed and broken that never seemed to heal. Will she be able to fulfill her sister’s last wish? Will she make the right choice between love and justice? Find out more in this story of corporate ambition, greed, lust, and betrayal. 

The British at the Gates

By Robin Reilly,

Book cover of The British at the Gates: The New Orleans Campaign in the War of 1812

This account by a British scholar draw upon British sources to present their side of the story. Reilly shows how the Gulf Coast campaign originated and evolved and does a fine job of delineating the British characters who played a central role in the battle.


Who am I?

I’m an award-winning author and professor of history at Wayne State College in Nebraska. Called “the dean of 1812 scholarship” by the New Yorker, I’ve written eleven books and more than a hundred articles, mostly on the War of 1812 and its causes. I didn’t become interested in this battle until well into my academic career, when I decided to turn the series of articles on the War of 1812 that I had written into my first book. I quickly became fascinated by the cast of characters, headed by tough-as-nails Andrew Jackson; Baratarian pirate Jean Laffite; and the British commander, Sir Edward Pakenham, who was the Duke of Wellington’s brother-in-law. No less intriguing was the magnitude of the U.S. victory and the British defeat, the profound and lasting legacy of the battle, and the many popular misconceptions about what actually happened in the battle or what might have happened had the British won.


I wrote...

Glorious Victory: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans

By Donald R. Hickey,

Book cover of Glorious Victory: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans

What is my book about?

In this lively and eminently readable book, Don Hickey draws on a lifetime of research to succinctly summarize the battles and campaigns of the War of 1812—America’s “forgotten conflict”—before launching into the story of the battle that saved New Orleans, made Andrew Jackson a hero for the ages, and shaped the American memory of the war.

Aimed at students and the general public, Glorious Victory will reward readers with a clear understanding of Andrew Jackson’s role in the War of 1812 and his iconic place in the postwar era. In the process, it shatters many widely held myths about the most famous battle of the war and the extraordinary impact it had on the new nation.

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