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Book Reviews

A Topsy-Turvy History of New Orleans & Ten Tiny Turtles

by Simone Rathle

Published by Hoffman Media


Brennan’s Restaurant and children’s book author Simone Rathle celebrate New Orleans’ 300th birthday with a lively look at perhaps the only family of turtles to permanently reside at a restaurant – the famed lush courtyard to be exact. The family of 10 terrapin take readers on a tour through the history of New Orleans, both festive and fraught. Colorful watercolors by illustrator Tania Lee journey from the Battle of New Orleans to Mardi Gras, the birth of jazz and Hurricane Katrina. The 10 tired turtles were treated to a temporary respite at the home of Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group executive chef Haley Bitterman while restaurant renovations and courtyard preparations were completed. Their topsy, turvy journey would be complete in 2015 with the “slowest second line on earth” along Royal Street and their “green carpet” re-entrance to their beloved Brennan’s home on a custom wagon floats. This is at once a kids’ book and celebration of the city and the home of “Breakfast at Brennans.” On sale at Brennan’s Restaurant, 417 Royal Street, BrennansNewOrleans.com.





Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel

by Alon Shaya with Tina Antolini

Published by Alfred A. Knopf


It’s been a tumultuous year for James Beard Award winning chef Alon Shaya, a convoluted case of business and brotherhood among restaurant owners in New Orleans. While we won’t delve into legal particulars or rumors, almost everyone who has dined at a restaurant helmed by Chef Shaya cannot deny his culinary talent. His food journey, or “odyssey” as he calls it, recalls his evolution as a chef, from growing up as the “new kid” in Philadelphia, to his eye-opening experiences in New Orleans during and after Katrina, to his world travels and relationships with family and friends, all of which influenced not only his food but the person he has become today. Part journal, part cookbook, Shaya: An Odyssey of Food gives readers a fascinating glimpse behind his memorable menus, along with the chef’s own personal cooking tips, recipes and remembrances.





Bayou St. John: A Brief History

by Cassie Pruyn

Arcadia Publishing

New Orleanians today are familiar with Bayou St. John for the collection of historic homes along Moss Street, the Magnolia Bridge (aka the “Cabrini Bridge”) for handsome weddings and get-togethers, the Bayou Boogaloo music and art festival, and countless picnics, volleyball games and evening strolls along its banks. But what many may not know is the rich history of the waterway and the neighborhood that surrounds it. Author Cassie Pruyn explores Bayou St. John and unlocks its secrets as a trade route and economic in-road to today’s embrace of the area for recreation and amusement.





By Ashley McLellan, Please send submissions for consideration, attention: Ashley McLellan, 110 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005


★ = Did not finish     ★★ = Sort of ok, but kind of meh     ★★★ = Enjoyable    ★★★★ = Really, really liked it    ★★★★★ = Loved it; a new favorite!



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