In History Lessons: A Memoir of Madness, Memory and the Brain, Emory University professor and historian Clifton Crais delves into his own traumatic childhood in New Orleans to uncover his past and make sense of his childhood amnesia. With an historian’s eye, Crais follows his family history via photo albums, medical records and other documents, as well as through interviews with family members – including his alcoholic mother, who tried to drown him in a bathtub at age 3. The journey leads him into the complex science of memory as he deftly weaves family history and lore into the fascinating history and lore of New Orleans.


This month, look for the Concord Records debut of six-time Grammy winning, Crescent City son Dr. John. The new release, Ske-Dat-De-Dat … The Spirit Of Satch, pays tribute to legendary New Orleans vocalist and trumpeter, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Dr. John met Armstrong only once in his lifetime, but the impression clearly stayed with him. With a lineup of all-star singers including Bonnie Raitt, Ledisi and the McCrary Sisters and the Blind Boys of Alabama, and trumpeters such as Arturo Sandoval and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, lending their talents to the effort, the jazzy tome also serves as a veritable who’s who of blues, gospel, jazz and R&B.


In his “Cast of Characters,” column for this magazine, George Gurtner has shared the stories of the countless individuals who contribute to the zesty flavor of New Orleans. From artists and mechanics to athletes and collectors Gurtner’s book, Cast of Characters: Colorful True Stories of Life In and Around the Big Easy, compiles the best of his essays in one lively collection.


Busy professionals and parents who don’t want to give up enjoying tasty regional favorites will rejoice at the solution to their culinary woes: In A While, Crocodile: New Orleans Slow Cooker Recipes. Penned by two busy working moms and sisters-in-law Patrice Keller Kononcheck and Lauren Malone Keller the book features 100 delicious color photos and a whole lotta tasty recipes for gumbo, etouffée, red beans and rice and other cherished New Orleans favorites.

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Melanie Spencer, 110 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005.