ERROL LABORDE’S COMMENTARY: KREWE- THE BOOK
My book and the city’s founders had one thing in common- they all arrived from Canada. But while the LeMoyne bothers, Iberville and Bienville, lifted anchor from the Canadian Atlantic shore, the book was shipped from a printer in the country’s center, Manitoba.
Entitled Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival- Comus to Zulu the book presents some new discoveries about the evolution of our Mardi Gras celebration. For a title that is so distinctively local the book’s evolutionary path is practically transcontinental, especially if the “trans” part is North-South. Written in New Orleans, the design work was done near Hammond and the typesetting was in Connecticut before being shopped north of the border for printing.
Of all media, books have a certain panache. Most books do not reach the size audience that the electronic media do. Magazines and newspapers also have a much wider readership than regional books.
But there is a durability to books, a staying quality which makes it possible that a century from now a copy will be dusted off in an antiquarian book shop and the words will live again. No one ever asks to have a TV script or a newspaper article signed by the author, but books enshrine the author’s name. Bookstores even smell differently from newsstands where the periodicals emit the essence of newsprint. Bookstores have the scent of coated paper mixed, in some locations, with the flavor of brewing cappuccino.
Unlike most media, books do not make money from advertising but simply from units sold. That’s why book authors have to assume a role that, quite often, is totally out of their character, and that is as salesmen and promoters.
There are some interesting vintage photographs and illustrations in the book, though it is really designed to be read more than to be looked at. If you are not interested in the early history of Carnival, or the city, it is probably not for you. At 125 pages the paperback is a short, though- I hope- interesting read.
Sometimes in life we have to be promoters, which by the way, was one of the goals of the men who founded Rex in 1872. Why? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.
KREWE BOOK SIGNINGS
•This Thursday evening, February 8, from 5:30- 7 at the Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania St. (The Rink.)
•Tuesday evening, Feb. 13, from 6- 7:30 at the Octavia bookstore, 513, Octavia St., near Laurel.
By the end of this week Krewe ($16.95) should be in most other area bookstores.
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