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The Reading Life: Curtis Wilkie


Susan Larson talks with Curtis Wilkie about his new book, ‘When Evil Lived in Laurel: The "White Knights" and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer.’

Here’s what’s on tap in the literary life this week

Here in New Orleans:

Curtis Wilkie discusses his new book, “When Evil Lived in Laurel: The ‘White Knights’ and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer,” with writer Jason Berry, Tuesday, July 13, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.

The Stooges Brass Band and Kyle DeCoste celecbrate their new book, “Can’t Be Faded: Twenty Years in the New Orleans Brass Band Game, with an appearance Thursday, July 15 at 6 p.m at Garden District Book Shop. This is a ticketed event that includes a performance.

The event will begin at 6:00 PM with a welcome reception featuring snacks and beverages provided by The Garden District Book Shop. DeCoste and bandleader Walter Ramsey will then share insights from the book where they will take guests through the barrooms, practice rooms, studios, tour vans and streets where the music was made. The discussion will be followed by a brief Q&A and an exclusive performance from the Stooges Brass Band. After the performance, co-authors DeCoste and members of Stooges Brass Band (Andrew Baham, Walter Ramsey and Virgil Tiller) will be available to sign and personalize books.

Gene Fields, discusses his new book “Cops and Characters in The Big Easy: True Stories Involving Celebrities, Criminals and Everyday People,” Monday, July 19, at 6 p.m. via video conference online sponsored by the Jefferson Parish Library. See it on the library’s Facebook page or visit for more details.

One Book One New Orleans has narrowed down the short list for 2022, and readers are invited to vote for their selections by July 25. The choices are "I Am New Orleans" edited by Kalamu ya Salaam; "The Big Door Prize" by M.O. Walsh; and "I Feel to Believe" by Jarvis DeBerry. Check out the One Book One New Orleans Facebook page.

And coming up this fall: The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University will take place October 21-23. The event, chaired by historian Walter Isaacson and former New Orleans first lady Cheryl Landrieu, includes a host of terrific authors, including Tarriona "Tank" Ball, John Barry, Jason Berry, Roy Blount, Jr., Douglas Brinkley, David Brooks, Richard Campanella, James Carville, Jennifer Doudna, Malcolm Gladwell, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Annette Gordon-Reed, John Grisham, Mitch Landrieu, Kiese Laymon, Nancy Lemann, Nick Lemann, Michael Lewis, Mary Matalin, General Stanley McChrystal, David Rubenstein, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Tom Sancton, Joe Scarborough, Katy Simpson Smith, Michael Tisserand, Kim Vaz-Deville, and Curtis Wilkie

The Reading Life in 2010, Susan Larson was the book editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayune from 1988-2009. She has served on the boards of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the New Orleans Public Library. She is the founder of the New Orleans chapter of the Women's National Book Association, which presents the annual Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction.. In 2007, she received the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the literary community. She is also the author of The Booklover's Guide to New Orleans. If you run into her in a local bookstore or library, she'll be happy to suggest something you should read. She thinks New Orleans is the best literary town in the world, and she reads about a book a day.