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"Rutledge (English, Univ. of New Orleans) shows himself, in an introduction both touching and sincere, to understand fully the ...
"Rutledge (English, Univ. of New Orleans) shows himself, in an introduction both touching and sincere, to understand fully the city and its struggles, to love New Orleans for what it is and what it can be, what it means both to those who decided to stay and those who left." —Library Journal
"Where We Know is a must for anyone who wants a more excellent understanding of the tenacity of the people of New Orleans." —The Midwest Book Review
Five years after Katrina, New Orleans is still limping. This second book of a planned trilogy looks at both those who stayed on and rebuilt their lives in New Orleans and those who had to say goodbye. It also weaves in historical references and quotes from Louis Armstrong, Lafcadio Hearn, and many others. What emerges is a book that shows how lovers of New Orleans have always battled with its darker side, and how the people's knack for celebrating an impromptu second line goes hand in hand with their acknowledgment of the ghosts in their midst.
"From 'Tattooing Katrina' to a marvelous essay on trumpeter Terence Blanchard to a meditation on food as prayer at the New Orleans table, the pieces are both elegiac and hopeful." —Shelf Awareness
"Keeping with the precedent set by it's predecessor, Where We Know has been not only compiled and edited with care but admirably designed to reflect the character and spirit of New Orleans. It's great, not least because it reminds us of the plight of a devastated city still struggling to get back on its feet." —Ace Jet 170
Posted May 16, 2011
The Book Report: An anthology of writings, commissioned as well as previously published, on the topic of New Orleans as one's homeplace, whether corporeal or spiritual.
My Review: Produced by Chin Music Press's Broken Levee imprint, you know from just that much information that this is a **gorgeous** book to look at, a deeply gruntling book to hold, and a pleasure to read. Hmmm...that pleasure to read bit? If you're not tied emotionally to New Orleans, this book will quite likely bore the socks right off your feet, shoes or no shoes.
I am tied to New Orleans, though, however unwillingly and with whatever angry, grumpy, "my car needs alignment AGAIN?!?!" caveats, tied I am. Once upon a time, I possessed a carriage house on Carondelet Street. It was tiny, but perfect for one person on vacation, which was me a few times here and there. It's still there, but I can't be...can't make the climate work for me for more than a day or two. Still, there is *no*place* like New Orleans. That's either the thing that makes you go back, or makes you late for the airport.
And reading this book? It's a lot like being there. It's gonna work, you just know it is, up until the moment it doesn't anymore, and for no obvious reason (Barbara Bodichon's 1867 selection felt like a glass-cutting tool gone wrong to me, Jennifer Kuchta's piece "Jennie's Grocery: R.I.P" was...well...oddly shaped). But there are more successes than failures (Lolis Elie's piece "Still Live, With Voices", good as always, hey Lolis! Long time no hear, the extraordinarily underknown Tracey Tangerine's loud "In My Face", which alone is worth your $16 purchase), and of course the sheer physical beauty of the thing makes it a must-covet-and-retain for any serious lover of bibliophilic curiosa. The maps...the belly-band...the strange, impractical, not-for-the-marts-of-commerce unlaminated WHITE cover (!!)...all are just, well, wondrous. I adore this press's books. I wish I would win the MegaMillions or whatever so I could give them a big, fat grant to stay in business and even grow some.
But enough. Be warned: Not bit by the Nawlins Vodoun Viper? Don't buy unless you simply can't resist the look of the thing. Already bit? Your soul is gone anyway. Buy it, no regrets.