Suggested Reading List
Author: John Mc Cusker
Description: John Mc Cusker is a noted journalist,musician, and photographer from New Orleans.
Edward "Kid" Ory (1886-1973) was a trombonist, composer, recording artist, and early New Orleans jazz band leader. Creole Trombone tells his story from birth on a rural sugar cane plantation in a French-speaking, ethnically mixed family, to his emergence in New Orleans as the city's hottest band leader. The Ory band featured such future jazz stars as Louis Armstrong and King Oliver, and was widely considered New Orleans's top "hot" band. Ory's career took him from New Orleans to California, where he and his band created the first African American New Orleans jazz recordings ever made. In 1925 he moved to Chicago where he made records with Oliver, Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton and captured the spirit of the jazz age. His most famous composition from that period, "Muskrat Ramble," is a jazz standard. Retired from music during the Depression, he returned in the 1940s and enjoyed a reignited career.
Jelly's Blues: The Life, Music, and Redemption of Jelly Roll Morton
Author: Williams M. Gaines
Description: Jelly's Blues recounts the tumultuous life of Jelly Roll Morton (ca., 18851941). A virtuoso pianist with a larger-than-life personality, he composed such influential early jazz pieces as "King Porter Stomp" and "New Orleans Blues." However, by the late 1930s, he was nearly forgotten. In 1992, the death of an eccentric memorabilia collector led to the unearthing of a startling archive, revealing Morton to be a much more complex and passionate man than many realized. An especially immediate and visceral look into the jazz worlds of New Orleans and Chicago, Jelly's Blues is a definitive biography, a long overdue look at one of the twentieth century's most important composers.
Louis Armstrong: An American Genius
Author: James Lincoln Collier
Description: Louis Armstrong. "Satchmo." To millions of fans, he was just a great entertainer. But to jazz aficionados, he was one of the most important musicians of our times--not only a key figure in the history of jazz but a formative influence on all of 20th-century popular music. Set against the backdrop of New Orleans, Chicago, and New York during the "jazz age", Collier re-creates the saga of an old-fashioned black man making it in a white world. He chronicles Armstrong's rise as a musician, his scrapes with the law, his relationships with four wives, and his frequent feuds with fellow musicians Earl Hines and Zutty Singleton. He also sheds new light on Armstrong's endless need for approval, his streak of jealousy, and perhaps most important, what some consider his betrayal of his gift as he opted for commercial success and stardom. A unique biography, knowledgeable, insightful, and packed with information, it ends with Armstrong's death in 1971 as one of the best-known figures in American entertainment.
Jazz Masters of New Orleans
Author: Martin Williams
Description: Presents a portrait of New Orleans and the history of jazz as revealed in the careers of such jazz musicians as Louis Armstrong and Sydney Bechet. Williams was director of the Jazz Program in the Smithsonian Institution, and "brings a refreshing wholeness of perspective to the music." 287 pages, covers very slightly scuffed.
New Orleans Jazz: A Family Album
Author: Al Rose and Edmond Souchon
Description: If you are a lover and historian of Jazz, especially Dixieland, this is a must have. Many famous artists are listed, but also many obscure and unknown ones as well that helped form and develop the Jazz scene in New Orleans. Additionally, rare photos of numerous individuals, bands and locations in New Orleans are featured.
A Streetcar Named Desire
Author: Tennessee Williams
Description: Widely considered a landmark play, A Streetcar Named Desire deals with a culture clash between two characters, Blanche DuBois, a relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, urban working class. American playwright Tennessee Williams received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.
All the Kings Men
Author: Robert Penn Warren
Description: All the King's Men traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark, a fictional character loosely based on Governor Huey ""Kingfish"" Long of Louisiana. Stark begins his political career as an idealistic man of the people but soon becomes corrupted by success and caught between dreams of service and an insatiable lust for power.
Confederacy of Dunces
Author: John Kennedy Toole
Description: A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by American novelist John Kennedy Toole, published by Louisiana State University Press in 1980, eleven years after the author's suicide. The book, published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a revealing foreword) and Toole's mother Thelma Toole, quickly became a cult classic, and later a mainstream success. Toole posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981. It is now considered a canonical work of modern Southern literature, in the USA. The title derives from the epigraph by Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." The story is set in New Orleans in the early 1960s. The central character is Ignatius J. Reilly, an educated but slothful 30-year-old man still living with his mother in the city's Uptown neighborhood, who, due to an incident early in the book, must set out to get a job. In his quest for employment he has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters.
Creole New Orleans Race and Americanization
Author: Arthur Hirsch and John Logsdon
Description: This collection of six original essays explores the peculiar ethnic composition and history of New Orleans, which the authors persuasively argue is unique among American cities. The focus of Creole New Orleans is on the development of a colonial Franco-African culture in the city, the ways that culture was influenced by the arrival of later immigrants, and the processes that led to the eventual dominance of the Anglo-American community.
Life On The Mississippi
Author: Mark Twain
Description: An invaluable companion to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi is Mark Twain's inimitable portrait of 'the great Father of Waters'. Part memoir, part travelogue, it expresses the full range of Twain's literary personality, and remains the most vivid, boisterous and provocative account of the cultural and societal history of the Mississippi Valley, from 'the golden age' of steamboating to the violence wrought by the Civil War.
Author: John Barry
Description: An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever.
Why New Orleans Matters
Author: Tom Piazza
Description: In the aftermath of Katrina and the disaster that followed, promises were made, forgotten, and renewed. Now what will become of New Orleans in the years ahead? What do this proud, battered city and its people mean to America and the world?
Award-winning author and longtime New Orleans resident Tom Piazza illuminates the storied culture and uncertain future of this great and neglected American metropolis by evoking the sensuous rapture of the city that gave us jazz music and Creole cooking; examining its deep undercurrents of corruption, racism, and injustice; and explaining how its people endure and transcend those conditions. And, perhaps most important, he asks us all to consider the spirit of this place and all the things it has shared with the world: its grace and beauty, resilience and soul.