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New York writer Dan Baum penned a post-Hurricane Katrina narrative in 2009 called Nine Lives, a novel that chronicled nine individuals recovering from the hurricane. Composer Paul Sanchez and screenwriter Colman deKay saw potential in the musical themes of the book and were inspired to set the story to music, with Nine Lives: A Musical Adaptation, Volume 1 as the result. The songs, bursting with local flavor and featuring such legends as Irma Thomas and John Boutté, were actually written for the stage; deKay and Sanchez hope to one day see their story on Broadway. Le Petit Théâtre is holding a live concert performance of the album’s songs on May 4. 

Nonfiction l Possibly one of the most misunderstood genres, southern rap has nonetheless been inarguably influential in the 21st century, challenging traditional East/West Coast rap rivalry and dominance. Dirty South: Outkast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop by Ben Westhoff explores the cultural significance of the polarizing genre and its heavy hitters. Westhoff visits the neighborhoods of T.I. and Lil Wayne; “kicks it” with Big Boi; and profiles Nelly, Lil Jon, T-Pain and more in this gritty look at the Dirty South.

Biographical Novel l Singer/songwriter Charles “Butch” Hornsby’s life was one of extremes, from his struggles and successes to his values and his vices. Dirtdobber Blues is Hornsby’s life set to novel – a fictionalized account of the artist’s rise to fame and subsequent falls, told by his friend Cyril Vetter. The book also includes Hornsby’s sheet music, a CD featuring 14 of his songs and photographs of his impressive found-object art. 

History l New Orleans bears no shortage of mystery, scandal and intrigue, these qualities abound in Mad Madame Lalaurie: New Orleans’ Most Famous Murderess Revealed by historian Victoria Cosner Love and author Lorelei Shannon. Love and Shannon attempt to uncover the truth of Delphine “Mad Madame” Lalaurie, the legendary 19th-century society woman accused of abusing, torturing and murdering slaves, and her infamous mansion (once owned by Nicolas Cage), now thought to be haunted.

 

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