There’s no plainer way to say it: this is a great week for books. Libraries, festivals, and speakers, oh my — what more could a bibliophile ask for?
First and foremost, congratulations to the recently-reopened Rosa Keller branch in Broadmoor. I passed by for a minute earlier today and could not be more impressed — airy, light, easy to get around, and just so welcoming. What a relief both for the NOPL and the neighborhood to have it open again after so long. It’s like coming home, complete with freshly made coffee to accompany your favorite book — how exciting it will be, to see the what the branch has in store!
Congratulations as well to the other two branches opening this week, the Norman Mayer branch in Gentilly and the Robert E Smith branch in Lakeview — followed next month by the branch in New Orleans East. Rumor has it the branch in the East is going to set the stage for another major push to revitalize the neighborhood post-Katrina; with a number of different organizations involved in the effort, it’s going to be a landmark event, for sure. More information about all these openings is available on the NOPL’s website.
In other news, the Tennessee Williams Festival is mere days away — while I’m honored to sit on a panel with an all-star lineup of Louisiana poets, I’m equally excited to take in all the other events on offer, such as one of the coveted French Quarter walking tours with noted Williams scholar Kenneth Holditch, panels on fiction and memoir, a rare screening of The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (a 1957 film script, only produced for the first time in 2010), and, of course, the Stella! shouting contest. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend, so hope to see you down there.
Just prior to the Festival, the New Orleans media and publishing community is privileged to receive yet another distinguished visitor, Bob Woodward, who requires absolutely zero introduction, offering a lecture Wednesday evening at Tulane. That said, I did learn recently from a friend that the phrase “This isn’t All the President’s Men” to denote importance is still widely in use in film circles; what better chance to listen to one of the principal inspirations for the film and find out why?
And finally, happy Super Sunday! One of the finest days on the local calendar without a doubt, there’s no better way to spend the day than by paying tribute to the work, craft, and invention that the Mardi Gras Indians put in all year long on their suits. Whether it’s Uptown, Downtown, Backatown, or anywhere in between, make sure you step out and show your respect. Who’s the prettiest this year? There’s only one way to find out. See you on the route.
Benjamin Morris is the author of Coronary, a poetry collection, and The Bella, a novella. Around town, he can be found catching music on Frenchmen, crawling the galleries on St Claude, playing soccer in City Park, or tending bar at the Sovereign Pub Uptown. His column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.