Saturday, February 13, 2016

Octavia Books - New Orleans, LA

Octavia Books - New Orleans, LA
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This indie was an exciting visit for me because one of my favorite book characters came alive in this store.  When you read, My Bookstore, by Ron Rice, make sure you read the chapter about Octavia Books.  One of my favorite characters, Pippin, appears on those pages and on this visit I met the real-life Pippin. Pippin is on staff at Octavia Books and meeting him exceeded my expectations.  And visiting Octavia Books and seeing this award-winning indie equally surpassed my expectations.

I knew this place would be good though.  After all, it's featured in, My Bookstore, the inspiration for my journey.  Octavia has received numerous awards for excellence in the New Orleans area.  Not only is this place good, but it's tough.  It survived Hurricane Katrina with barely a scratch and was able to continue moving forward.  Heck, they even had an author event the night before.  Then, Tom L. and Judith L., the owners, packed up and left town the next morning at 4AM.  Tough, resilient, and now going strong for over 15 years.

Octavia Books is located in a residential area with very few businesses positioned nearby.  Narrow streets, with cars parked on both sides make driving here a challenge.  But you'll love the journey and enjoy seeing many large, grand old houses along the way.  The location reminds me of a place the 10-year old version of myself would ride a bike to.  The interior is a medium-sized "L" shape featuring all new books and a few of the usual sidelines.  The greeting cards are especially popular.  I think they have a strong collection of books of local interest.  Think jazz, French Quarter, Mardi Gras, history, and cooking.  The store has a very active events schedule and is able to host them right on-site.

I was so lucky to meet Tom and Judith, who came into the store just to talk to me.  They were fantastic to spend so much time talking to me and telling me about the store.  Their secret to success is similar to what I hear at other successful bookstores.  They have good people on their staff and have a strong core of local and regular customers.  And now that many of you are hearing about how great this place is, I'll expect them to see a spike in tourists!

The challenge here though is different from all the other indies.  None of the others have to deal with Mardi Gras like Octavia does.  What does that mean?  Tom told me it means 2-weeks of people's minds not on buying books.  Maybe I can change some minds?  No matter the season, ANY time of year is a great time to visit this renowned bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Boundary Waters, William Kent Krueger.  If you haven't checked out this author yet, I encourage you to do so.  This is the second one of his books I've read (Ordinary Grace is the other) and I've liked them both.  This one involves a search and rescue in the boundary waters on the the US/Canadian border, lots of unsavory characters, and one righteous former sheriff who tries to make things right.  Lots of Indian folklore as well.  I loved this book.

CURRENTLY READING:  Medical Medium, Anthony William.

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Nine Lives, Dan Baum.  Song For My Fathers, Tom Sancton.

Another exterior view.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  When you get to the back, the "L" shape of the store will continue to the right.  Devoted readers will notice the celebrity in the foreground.  Yes, that's my mom.  

A very active events schedule.  

Looking toward the left from the front entrance.  

Local interests and local authors is one of the strengths at Octavia.  Here's a display of those offerings.  

Most events are held right in the store.  

You can find these greeting cards at the check-out counter.  

A display of some of the indie picks and also some adult coloring books in the foreground.  

If you need readers, find this display.  

A nice place to sit and take a book for a spin.  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front entrance.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Notice that book front and center?  That's why you're reading this article.  

Octavia has been recognized MANY more times as the Best of New Orleans.  I didn't need to see these for confirmation of that!

With Judith in the center and Tom on the right holding Pippin.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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