Book Review: Madam

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Madam: A Novel of New Orleans by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin. Reviewed by Louise Hilton. 

Madam is set in 1897 New Orleans and centered around Mary Deubler, a prostitute in Venus Alley, a seedy area of the city that would soon be formally incorporated as the official red-light district known as Storyville. Mary is a well-developed character, perhaps due in part to the fact that she is based on the real-life Josie Arlington, one of the future Storyville’s most infamous madams.

We follow her trajectory from her time as Mary, the impoverished streetwalker with dreams for a better life for herself and her family to her reemergence as Josie, the refined and glamorous doyenne of one of the city’s so-called “sporting establishments”. The authors certainly capture the raucous environment of the Big Easy, replete with salacious details of the seedy underworld scene, licentious politicians, and cameos from colorful notables including Louis Armstrong and “Jelly Roll” Morton.

Having grown up in Louisiana, I had a few quibbles with some of the setting details: jambalaya does not have beans in it as the authors mention in one scene; it’s a café au lait that they serve at Café du Monde, not a “coffee au laits”; and we call them crawfish down here, never crayfish. Shudder. Overall though, Madam is an entertaining read.

NB: This review first appeared in The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) on 10/19/14.

Read an eBook Day

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Tomorrow is Read an eBook Day! Get ready for a celebration of eBooks on an international scale. On Thursday, September 18, library patrons and students will take part in the largest digital reading event to show appreciation and raise awareness for eBooks. Throughout the day, OverDrive will participate by giving away tablets and devices every hour through social media to readers who tell their eBook story on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #eBookDay. Readers can also comment directly on www.readanebookday.com. Did you know that since EBRPL first added eBooks to our catalog back in 2005, our patrons have downloaded over 725,000 ebooks? Check out an eBook and join the fun tomorrow! Don’t forget to tag us #ebrpl and #eBookDay to show us what you’re reading.

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Library Closed for Independence Day

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Happy Independence Day! All branches of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library will be closed on Friday, July 4, in observance of the national holiday. We will resume normal hours of operation on Saturday, July 5. Have a safe holiday weekend!

Here are a few titles on the American Revolution to get you in the spirit of 1776 (click on the book covers for more info):

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Learning Lab

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Come to the new Main Library to learn about some of our most popular databases. All summer long, we’ll be meeting on different days of the week in the Computer Lab on the 2nd floor to show you OverDrive (ebooks, audiobooks, and videos galore), Treehouse (web design, coding, and app creation), and Gale Courses (free online classes).

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the summer:

Open OverDrive Mondays: June 16, 23, 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28 from 2-4

Treehouse Tuesdays: June 24, July 1, 15, 22, 29 from 2-4

Open Gale Courses Thursdays: June 19, 26, July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Call 231-3750 for details. No registration required; just show up and we’ll demo these databases for you!