The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) and the LHA have chosen Lawrence N. Powell’s The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans (Harvard University Press, 2012) winner of the 2012 Kemper and Leila Williams Prize in Louisiana History. The award was announced in Alexandria March 22 at the annual meeting of the Louisiana Historical Association.

Powell is emeritus faculty in Tulane University’s history department and former director of the University’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South. In The Accidental City, Powell examines the full sweep of New Orleans history, from its founding in 1718 through Louisiana statehood in 1812. He takes the reader through the Crescent City’s evolution from a French village, to an African market town, to a Spanish fortress and finally to an Anglo-American center of trade and commerce. The Accidental City is the story of land-jobbing schemes, stock market crashes and nonstop squabbles over status, power and position, with enough rogues, smugglers and self-fashioners to fill a picaresque novel.

The prize panel commended the work, saying it “offers unprecedented insight into the emergence of the most curious city in America. The impressive research supporting the author’s arguments is matched by his masterful prose. It is a book certain to educate as much as it entertains!” The book is available for purchase at The Shop at The Collection, 533 Royal St. in New Orleans, or (504) 598-7147.

The Kemper and Leila Williams Prize, named for the founders of The Historic New Orleans Collection, is offered annually by THNOC and the LHA. Since its inception in 1974, the prize has recognized excellence in research and writing on Louisiana history. Recipients receive a cash award of $1,500 and a plaque.

A list of past Williams Prize recipients and the application information for next year’s prize are available at Eligible works must explore an aspect of Louisiana history and culture or place Louisiana subjects in a regional, national or international context. Deadline for 2013 Williams Prize submissions is Jan. 15, 2014.

EBR Parish Library

The East Baton Rouge Parish Library now offers another resource for patrons to download e-books easily and for free with their library cards. The 3M Cloud Library offers a starting collection of 2,000 e-books and the number is growing. E-books via 3M are available to be read on iPhone and Android smartphones, the Nook e-reader, Sony e-reader, Kobo, and through PCs and Mac computers.

3M serves as a complement to OverDrive, the Library’s other downloadable books service. 3M offers e-books that are not available through Overdrive, such as titles from Penguin, Hachette, and Macmillan publishers.

Emilie Smart, coordinator of reference and computer services for the Library, announced the service, saying, “We are delighted to offer our readers a new source for downloadable fiction, biography, humor, self-help, and non-fiction from popular authors like M.C. Beaton, Walter Mosley, Maya Angelou, Laurie King, Elizabeth Berg, Jennifer Hudson, Bill Maher, and hundreds more. We’ll continue to add to the 3M Cloud and our existing OverDrive resource on a regular basis, and all titles will appear in the Library’s online catalog. So whether you’re searching for a particular book in the catalog, or want to browse through both OverDrive as well as the new 3M Cloud, you’ll be able to enjoy this growing collection.”

African-American Genealogy presents some difficulty for family history researchers. A class in African-American genealogy for adults will be offered 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, at the Delmont Gardens branch, 3351 Lorraine St. This course will help guide researchers toward more fruitful ends with tips on tools and sources available through the library. Learn about websites, books, and microfilm that pertain to this specialized search with Cassandra Fedrick, genealogy librarian. Come explore your family roots.Contact Angela Akinniyi at (225) 354-7055.

Louisiana author/novelist Martha Gabour Manuel will present excerpts from her novel Murder on False River at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Greenwell Springs Regional branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road.

Book clubs:

  • ?DGB Book Club will meet 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Delmont Gardens branch, 3351 Lorraine St. Members will explore the natural hair phenomenon within the African-American community through books, programs and demonstrations and will discuss the book Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana D. Byrd & Lori L. Tharps.
  • ?Science Fiction Book Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Greenwell Springs Regional branch, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road. Members will discuss Neuromancer by William Gibson.

Ascension Parish Library

Children are invited to bring their mothers, aunts and grandmothers to the Ascension Parish Library in Gonzales for the Dora the Explorer Mother’s Day Tea at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Main branch, 708 S. Irma Blvd. in Gonzales. Visitors will enjoy stories, games, and make a present for mom. There will be cake, tea and punch. This program is designed for children of all ages. Space is limited, so pre-register by calling the library at (225) 647-3955.

Library links

East Baton Rouge Parish Library:

Livingston Parish Library:

Ascension Parish Library:

West Baton Rouge Parish Library:

Iberville Parish Library:

West Feliciana Parish Library:

Audubon Regional Library:

Lafayette Public Library:

St. James Parish Library:

St. John the Baptist Parish Library:

St. Charles Parish Library:

Jefferson Parish Library:

New Orleans Public Library:

St. Bernard Parish Library:

St. Tammany Parish Library:

St. Martin Parish Library:

Writers’ group

Barnes & Noble Westbank, 1601B West Bank Expressway in Harvey, is hosting a Writers’ Group 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Tuesdays. This is a networking and critiquing forum for writers of all skill levels. Be prepared to read what you are working on, to take constructive criticism and to give it.

WGA Meeting

Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Barnes & Noble, 5705 Johnston St. in Lafayette. WGA is an organization made up of local writers, published and unpublished, who meet on the last Tuesday of the month to share and gain knowledge in the craft of writing. Beginners and veterans of the writing industry are all welcome.


Diane Ladd, author of A Bad Afternoon for a Piece of Cake: A Collection of Ten Short Stories, will sign copies of her book at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at Barnes & Noble, 3721 Veterans Blvd. in Metairie.

Bill Loehfelm, author of The Devil in Her Way, will sign copies of his book 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Garden District Books Shop, 27272 Prytania St. in New Orleans.

Emily Clark, author of The Strange History Of The American Quadroon, will sign copies of her book at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. in New Orleans.

Ellen Kanner, author of Feeding The Hungry Ghost, will sign copies of her book at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. in New Orleans.

Tad Hills, author of Goose Needs A Hug, will sign copies of his book at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. in New Orleans.

Augusten Burroughs, author of This Is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t, will sign copies of his book at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia St. in New Orleans.

Johnette Downing, author of How To Dress A Po’Boy, will sign copies of her book at noon Friday, May 3, at A Tisket A Tasket Book Shop, 910 Decatur St. in New Orleans.

Hilda Krousel, author of Landmarks and Monuments of Baton Rouge, will sign copies of her book at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Barnes & Noble Perkins Rowe, 7707 Bluebonnet Blvd.

Items for Book Events were provided by The Historic New Orleans Collection, East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Ascension Parish Library and Writers’ Guild of Acadiana.