Spirited New Orleans: A Reading List
At this year’s Tales of the Cocktail we spotted a few spirited New Orleans titles in the Bourbon and Bitters bookshop, sponsored by Octavia Books:
Equal parts drink recipes, cheeky poetry and bold sketches, Shaking Up Prohibition in New Orleans: Authentic Vintage Cocktails from A to Z (LSU Press) offers a brief, charming insight into America’s “wettest city” under the 18th Amendment. Based on the long-undiscovered manuscript and partnership of debutante and journalist Hilda Phelps Hammond and visual artist Olive Leonhardt, the book is edited by the artist’s granddaughter, Gay Leonhardt, who also wrote the introduction.
Phillip Collier’s Making New Orleans: Products Past and Present (Philbeau Publishing) explores 200 years of locally made products via advertisements, photographs and archives, including beers and spirit labels (like the L.E. Jung and Wulff’s Absinthe), as well as historical insights from 14 authors into New Orleans’ unique manufacturing traditions.
There was a reprint of Blue Book (Applewood Books), originally published between 1909 and 1915. These pocket-sized directories were designed to be gentlemen’s guides to the “Sporting District” (i.e., brothels and saloons) of Storyville—or, as noted in the preface, “the only district of its kind in the States set aside for fast women by law.” Intended as disposable, few copies survive. This version is based on a directory passed on to Octavia Books co-founder Judith Lafitte.
Preview: Ella Brennan - Commanding the Table (Iwerks & Co.) - film and accompanying book - will be released this fall. Learn more about the very special documentary here.