Coffee and Conversation

Coffee and Conversation

Join us at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon, Metarie,  for Coffee and Conversation every fall for a season of humanities discussions. Presentations include author interviews, book signings, and Q&A sessions.

Coffee and Conversation is produced by the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival in collaboration with the Jefferson Parish Library and is sponsored by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Books by participating authors are made available by the Friends of Jefferson Public Library and are for sale during the programs.

7 p.m., Wednesday, October 7, 2015
George Washington Carver: A Life, by Christina Vella

Christina Vella, a 2016 Festival speaker, kicks off the reading series with a biography of one of America’s greatest inventors. Carver’s journey from a Georgia slave to one of the most recognizable figures of his time has been a source of inspiration for generations of Americans. Vella uses both official records and anecdotes from those who really knew him to provide the reader with a fuller sense of the real George Washington Carver. Read and discuss what Booklist  calls an “extraordinary look at the life of a brilliant man.”

7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015
Getting Off at Elysian Fields: Obituaries from the New Orleans Times Picayune, by John Pope

This collection of obituaries, written by New Orleans Time-Picayune journalist and 2016 Festival Speaker John Pope, illustrates the vibrant lives of New Orleanians’ past. Here are stories of Carnival monarchs, philanthropists, politicians, and many other eccentric individuals who did not worry about coloring outside the lines. Above all, these pieces serve as a reminder for what has sustained New Orleans’ reputation as a cultural touchstone—the unique blend of those who have lived and died here.

7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015
Run, Baby, Run by Michael Allen Zell 

Michael Allen Zell’s new novel follows Bobby Delery, a native son of New Orleans who returns to the city of his childhood to teach at Tulane and serve as a consultant to the police department. When Delery receives his first case, investigating a heist job at the Club Big Easy, he finds himself up against obstacles that do not seem connected to the original crime. Kirkus Reviews calls Run, Baby, Run “a sweetly wrought fable of criminal consequences.” Zell’s first novel, Errata, was named one of the Times-Picayune’s “Top 10 Books of 2012.”

7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015
New Orleans Mardi Gras Moments, by Peggy Scott Laborde and Judy Bottoni

This volume of photographs and essays by photographer Judy Bottoni and Mardi Gras expert Peggy Scott Laborde captures moments from contemporary Mardi Gras celebrations. Beginning with Twelfth Night Revelers ushering in the Carnival season to Zulu and Rex bringing the season to a close, Mardi Gras Moments highlights what makes the experience unforgettable. From Endymion’s Pontchartrain Beach Float, to the Mardi Gras Indians, the exuberance and thrill of Carnival are on full display here.

7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015
A Free State: A Novel, by Tom Piazza

In Tom Piazza’s eleventh book, Henry Sims, a fugitive slave, has escaped to Philadelphia but now must find a way to make a living. After befriending a leader of a struggling minstrel troupe, he soon finds himself not only a member, but the reason for its success. Trouble is not far away, however, with a psychopathic slave hunter sent to bring him back to the plantation using any means necessary. Book Page calls this novel “a crisply told tale of race relations” of a pre-Civil War America.

7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015
Tujague’s Cookbook: Creole Recipes and Lore in the New Orleans Grand Tradition, by Poppy Tooker

This cookbook, from Poppy Tooker, celebrates Tujague’s more than a century old tradition of serving Creole food in the heart of the French Quarter. Tooker places the history and lore of New Orleans’ second-oldest restaurant alongside famous recipes. Included are ghost tales, modern images from New Orleans’ photographers Sam Hanna and Louis Sahuc, and the story of the successful effort to save Tujague’s in the latter half of the twentieth century. Among her many awards, Tooker has been named a Hero of the New South by Southern Living.