Book Reviews

The People’s Grocer by David Cappello

Like K&B, Maison Blanche, and many of the other “‘Aint Dere No More” New Orleans favorites, Schwegmann’s grocery stores hold a special place in many people’s hearts, minds and those brown paper shopping bags. In The People’s Grocer, writer David Cappello not only investigates the man behind the grocery cart, but also explores Schwegmann’s role in the development of the modern grocery shopping experience. Schwegmann pioneered the idea of the “supercenter,” where shoppers could experience departments ranging from: produce, meat, drugs, liquor, lunch counter and even a bar, a feat that would definitely challenge the Wal-Marts and Costcos of today. Even those brown paper bags were a revelation, which were specially printed to promote the stores, as well as provide local color, catchy slogans, holiday wishes and political sentiments. Cappello provides a well rounded, amusing and surprising biography of the man behind Makin’ Groceries in New Orleans.




Angels in the Wilderness by William Barnwell

The art of storytelling allows experiences to be remembered, honored and taught so that others may learn from a personal perspective. Angels in the Wilderness by William Barnwell is a collection of essays, conversations and stories told by mostly young black men and women in New Orleans and their powerful experiences of growing up on the edge. Barnwell, an Episcopal minister and community leader, deftly gathers the voices of those that are most marginalized to shed light on the enduring spirit of New Orleanians. A powerful message of love and social justice, readers will be inspired and moved.






New Orleans, the First 300 Years edited by Errol Laborde and Peggy Scott Laborde

 In honor of its 300th birthday, New Orleans journalists Errol Laborde and Peggy Scott Laborde have collected the perfect present in New Orleans, the First 300 Years. A fascinating compilation of essays by 21 authors, the book covers the rich history, rumors, scandals, stories, characters, politics, celebrations, literature and more of one of the most celebrated, haunted, elegant and downright quirky cities in America. A treasure trove of information, the book also includes a special collection of historic drawings, paintings and photographs that capture the spirit of the writing; and the writing chops here are real. (Errol Laborde is Editor-in-Chief for Renaissance Publishing, New Orleans Magazine’s parent company.) Noted authors include: Richard Campanella, Susan Larson, Angus Lind, Ian McNulty and Lolis Eric Elie, to name just a few.




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!