For lovers of New Orleans history and culture, here are 2 first edition collections of short stories that will make a great gift or addition to your own NOLA library:
Ruth McEnery Stuart, In Simpkinsville
Stuart was educated, taught school, and began her writing career in New Orleans. Her stories reflect the society and dialects of rural Arkansas (where she lived during her brief married life) and Louisiana. As she became successful in the 1890s, she moved to New York City. In 1915 Tulane University granted her an honorary Litt.D.; the same year a literary club was founded in New Orleans, the Ruth McEnery Stuart Clan, which is still active today. She is buried in Metairie Cemetery.
Roark Bradford, Let the Band Play Dixie
(1934). Bradford moved to New Orleans in the early 1920s, where he worked as an editor at the Times-Picayune
. Within a few years, he resigned to write full-time. He and his wife, Mary Rose, hosted a popular and raucous literary salon as their home at 719 Toulouse Street. Bradford wrote in heavy dialect about “the careless, happy colored people of the South” (publisher’s blurb). This collection includes the O. Henry-award-winning story, “Child of God.” His ashes were spread over the waters of the Mississippi River. Despite his belief in the truth of his depictions, the stereotypical themes and language have since caused the eclipse of his literary reputation.