NON-FICTION: Published in celebration of New Orleans Magazine’s 50th anniversary, Essential New Orleans is a delectable coffee table read for those lazy Sunday mornings before a boozy brunch. Written in a short essay style format, more than a dozen contributing writers, photographers and designers collaborated to create this over 100-page hardcover comprised of deeply moving stories set in our favorite city spots, including St. Roch Cemetery, Molly’s at the Market, the Fair Grounds, Tipitina’s and more. Featuring 15 spots total, each writer offers a glimpse into the life of these inimitable places – some romantic, others historical and all stories of recovery and resilience. Essential New Orleans captures the heart and soul of the Big Easy and does so with love and care. Order your copy online at EssentialNewOrleans.com. Attend the publisher’s book signing at Octavia Books in Uptown, Wed., Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.
FUNK: A band of multi-talented misfits, New Orleans Suspects have been playing in and around the Crescent City since 2009, and their highly anticipated mid-September release of Kaleidoscoped is everything we could’ve hoped for. Similar to the energy one would find in a classic Grateful Dead album, mixed with some R&B rhythms and jazzy rhumbas, Kaleidoscoped is a jam best set for an evening of dancing and merriment. Attend the album release parties at the Maple Leaf Bar, the band’s first local home, on Fri., Oct. 14 and Sat., Oct. 15.
CHILDREN’S: Award-winning and internationally recognized children’s musician Johnette Downing has authored a new colorful children’s book featuring the Louisiana state bird, the brown pelican. Petit Pierre is a sweet story of a baby pelican trying to find a fitting home in the wetland marshes. Downing’s book highlights the importance of coastal restoration for the various denizens, feathered, scaled and covered in mud, who call it home. Between the vivid illustrations and important educational message, this is great to read with the little ones.
BLUES: Robin Barnes’ soulful EP, Songbird Sessions, is sexy, soulful and warm to the aural touch. The only thing I wanted after listening to Barnes’ gorgeous compilation of jazz piano, upright bass and smooth guitar riffs, was more. (Pair this gem with a glass of red wine and Essential New Orleans for one classy, evening in true New Orleanian-style.) Barnes performs weekly at the Windsor Court Hotel and has performances throughout the month at the Maple Leaf Bar. You can also catch her at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where she’s singing during the New Orleans Saints contest against the Carolina Panthers on Sun., Oct. 16.