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New Orleans: A book lover’s travel plans

By Marissa Gillett | Dec 04, 2020

New Orleans: A book lover’s travel plans

With its rich history, decadent food scene, and title as the most haunted city in the United States, the city I was most excited to travel to this year was without a doubt New Orleans. The second I found out that the Digital Bookmobile was heading to The Crescent City, I started forming an itinerary. The initial research took a few hours. I then spent several days begrudgingly crossing activities off of my list until I could squeeze my must-dos into the four days we would spend in New Orleans. I would be lying if I said that I did not resort to flipping coins and asking my Magic 8 Ball.

You can imagine my disappointment when just nine days before my plane was to land in Louisiana, word came that we would be postponing our 2020 tour, and with it the possibility of eating gumbo for breakfast, lunch, and dinner would have to wait as well. If and when I get my chance to explore The Big Easy, here are three things I can’t wait to do:
Have a drink at The Carousel Bar
Designated an official literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association, Hotel Monteleone is at the very top of my list of places to visit in New Orleans. Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Anne Rice, and William Faulkner are just some of the literary icons that frequented the hotel. While the fact that the hotel is haunted is one of the reasons I’d like to visit, I’m also very aware that I’m too much of a wimp to ever stay overnight, so I’m settling for a drink at the Carousel Bar inside the hotel.

I know that it sounds a little lame that I am only planning on getting a drink at the bar of an iconic haunted hotel, but the Carousel Bar is famous in its own right. As guests enjoy Pimm’s Cups and are lulled by the enticing sounds of live jazz, they are slowly rotated around the bartenders as if they were on a carousel. I truly hope that the experience lives up to the extra hype this year has allowed me to collect while I wait.

Stop by Faulkner House Books
There is something so comforting about being surrounded by books that I just can’t resist, so you can often find me scouting out bookstores on most of the stops we make on the tour. My time in New Orleans will be no different, especially when the city is home to a bookstore located in the very building William Faulkner lived while writing his very first (published) novel Soldier’s Pay.

Despite my addiction to exploring books stores, I typically avoid purchasing much of anything while out on the road for lack of space in my suitcase, but I am definitely going to make an exception during my visit to Faulkner House Books. I would live to regret it if I passed on the opportunity to purchase a copy of his work sold out of his very own former home.

Explore Beauregard-Keyes Historic House & Garden
I’m not even a little ashamed to admit that I frequently spend my free time looking at houses for sale without the slightest intention to ever purchase one. I love to search for the perfect house in cities I will likely never live in. It’s my version of online window shopping, except I am unable to put things into a cart while pretending I can afford it all.

For the same reasons I love window shopping for spacious 1 bedrooms in places like Vancouver, British Columbia, I love visiting old historic houses across the United States. Once home to many of New Orleans’ well-known residents like world famous chess player Paul Morphy, and then years later The Old Gray Homestead author Frances Parkinson Keyes, Beauregard-Keyes Historic House & Garden is steeped in New Orleans history that I can’t wait to discover.

While there are many other literary sights the city has to offer and even more opportunities outside the world of books that make New Orleans such an exciting city to visit, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can at least check these three off of my list twelve-page Google Doc in 2021.