The Garden District Book Shop presents Diane C. McPhail in conversation with Sue Strachan

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – New event announced at The Garden District Book Shop: A Launch Celebration for The Seamstress of New Orleans by Diane C. McPhail

When: Tuesday May 31, 2022 @ 5:30-7:00 pm

Where:  Spyre Center

1772 Prytania St

New Orleans, LA 70130

Who: Diane C. McPhail, acclaimed author of The Seamstress of New Orleans

What:  In conversation with journalist and author Sue Strachan, acclaimed author Diane C.

McPhail will discuss her new novel, The Seamstress in New Orleans. Inspired by the author’s experiences riding in the Krewe of Iris, this work of historical fiction is set in the year 1900, as two very different women are fated to meet amidst furtive preparations for New Orleans’ first all-female Mardi Gras krewe

The presentation will be followed by a book signing and refreshments, with book sales catered by The Garden District Book Shop. 

Hosted by Tom and Dian Winingder and John and Kathy Eastman, this event is free and open to the public.


Diane C. McPhail is an artist, minister, and acclaimed author of The Abolitionist’s Daughter and The Seamstress of New Orleans. A graduate of Ole Miss, Duke Writers, University of Iowa Distance, and the Yale Writers’ Conference, she is a previous resident of New Orleans whose experiences while riding in the Krewe of Iris inspired her to research the history of women’s krewes and, eventually, to write The Seamstress of New Orleans. She now lives in Highlands, North Carolina with her husband and dog.

Sue Strachan is a veteran journalist who has written about New Orleans culture, history, and current events for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans Advocate, and New Orleans Magazine, among other publications. She contributed an essay about New Orleans women and philanthropy for Cherchez la Femme by Cheryl Gerber and recently had her own book, The Café Brûlot, published by LSU Press. Sue is a graduate of Newcomb College at Tulane University. Learn more on her website:


It’s 1900 and the dawn of a new century carries a sense of change, possibility, and female empowerment, as two women from very different circumstances are fated to meet in the jasmine scented humidity of New Orleans, a city of decadence and danger. Behind parlor doors, high society women of New Orleans prepare to seize the reins as the only all-female krewe, Les Mysterieuses, at this year’s Mardi Gras. For Constance Halstead—a young, wealthy widow whose husband’s suspicious death has left her indebted to a vicious 

Storyville gang—Les Mysterieuses feels like a rare opportunity to take control of her life and upend social convention. While for Alice Butterworth, pregnant, abandoned by her husband, broke, and newly arrived from Chicago, sewing Constance’s Krewe gown means survival. Piece by piece, the breathtaking gown takes shape, becoming a symbol of strength, their growing bond, their resilience in the face of grief, and a path towards greater independence. But a secret could unravel their progress…

Inspired by her time living in New Orleans, acclaimed Southern author Diane C. McPhail’s atmospheric historical fiction novel weaves New Orleans and Mardi Gras history with the unlikely kinship between two women riding on the cusp of societal change, the secrets they must hide, and the glittering gown that binds them together.

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