Hurricane Season Storm Stories

 

Andrew
Photo Credit: NOAA

It’s that time again! Time for my monthly post on my awesome publisher’s blog! This month, with all the news about Hurricane Frances and worrying about those in her path, it got me thinking about my own storm stories. As a kid in Louisiana, I remember the eerie green sky, the stillness of the eye of the storms, and the time my dad and brother went up on the roof in the eye of one to replace shingles that were blown off before the next wall hit.

But the one that still gives me chills was the night we rode out Hurricane Andrew. Read all about it now on the Pandamoon Publishing blog here.

Book Review: The Hunted Heirloom, A Charlotte Reade Mystery, by Laura Cayouette

Haunted Heirloom

Have you ever read something that took you back to a place that was comfortable, but showed it to you in a different light? Reading The Haunted Heirloom, a cozy mystery by Laura Cayouette, did that for me in a fabulously fun way!

Charlotte Reade is an actress who has given up the glitz and stress of Los Angeles for the casual comfort of New Orleans, a place her family called home for generations, even though it took her some time to find her way there. With a big movie about to launch and a hurricane threatening the city, Charlotte finds herself, and the guy of her dreams, in the middle of a mystery that hits close to home. Very close. In fact, it’s hanging in her bedroom. The chandelier has something to tell her as it moves on its own when her family history is discussed. Will she figure out what it is, or will it continue to be fodder for tour guides leading haunted tours of the city? Or is there a deeper connection to another Garden District family, whose surviving member finds himself in the middle of a haunting of his own?

Laura Cayouette weaves her deep love of the city of New Orleans through her writing on every page. As someone who has spent time in the same places, I can picture everything from the colorful people of the French Quarter, to the sidewalks turned into ramps by live oak roots. For me, it was a chance to settle into the city I adore while getting a glimpse into the behind the scenes world of a Hollywood actress. So much of Laura Cayouette runs through the book in the form of her main character, Charlotte Reade, from her acting career to the pink corseted flamboyance of The Pussyfooters, a local dance group who uses the fun of their performances and parade appearances to raise money for local causes.

The Charlotte Reade mysteries are Laura Cayouette’s love letters to the city that has become home in the way only New Orleans can. The Haunted Heirloom is book 4 in the series, but each book can stand alone. However, I suggest you get them all. They are quick, fun reads! Settle in, pour yourself a drink in your go-cup, and enjoy!

There are several ways to get your copy. I got mine digitally on Amazon, but signed copies are often available through the Garden District Book Shop.  Don’t forget to check out her blog here: L.A. to N.O.L.A.

 

 

Monthly Publisher Blog Post

It’s the beginning of the school year, and this one got away from me. Totally forgot to post the link here. Talk about the need to Roll With It.

It was a faulty sensor that caused the fire department to show up during our professional development before the first day of school, but it now appears to have been a sign of other fires needing to be put out- the metaphorical kind.

Teachers, here’s to you! Check out the monthly blog post, Roll With It.

Much love!

End of Summer Blues

I started this post as a mini rant about how teachers don’t really have the summer off and we aren’t paid for it and we struggle to come back to increasing demands and decreasing reward. But I deleted that. It’s all true, but it’s not what today and tomorrow are about.

There are two days left of my summer and I am going to make them actual summer days. Doing what I want outside in my garden as long as I can stand it. Working on my novel because I love it and I am an author, after all. Maybe even a trip to the neighborhood pool with my little one. Absolutely no school work. None. Enough of my summer “break” has been spent doing that. Today and tomorrow are all mine.

Will it cure the End of Summer Blues? Nope. Not a chance. But that’s ok.

Teachers, you’re incredible. Teacher spouses, so are you. Don’t let anyone make you feel differently. Take time for yourself so that you can shine.

Here’s a little bee-hind to make you smile today.

New Orleans Architecture – Novel Inspiration

Walking around the French Quarter in New Orleans it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into another world, which is one of the many reasons it inspires my novels.  It’s a city unlike any other.  There are so many things that make the place unique, like the food and the people.  But one of the most striking things in the city is the architecture.

Here is where the history of the city really unfolds.  French and Spanish influences collide here.  Buildings surrounding you as you walk can be hundreds of years old, depending on whether or not they survived the couple of fires that swept the city early on.  Construction techniques have a lot to do with the longevity of the buildings: cypress wood, brick, and stucco sealing the brick.  Some buildings are more “cabin” looking, while others are multi-story ironwork laced mansions.  Entresols, a shorter hidden story between the bottom floor and the second floor, were often used as an attic.  But wait, aren’t attics on top?  Not in old New Orleans.  The temps would climb too high in a traditional attic and things would get ruined.  So, the entresol was a bit more insulated by the rest of the structure making it great for storage (or nefarious activities of a particular pharmacist way back).  Another feature you may notice are the porte cocheres, the larger or double doors that lead from the inner courtyard to the street.  Here’s where the carriages would go in and out, like a driveway.  Hey, they had to park them somewhere, right?  On the backside of the courtyards were often a garcionnere, a building that males over the age of 15 lived in because who really wants to be around a stinky teenage boy all the time?  (Ok, not really the reason.)  And of course, there are the galleries, the ironwork balconies that give shade to the banquettes (sidewalks) below.  We even have one funky cornstalk fence that has a sibling in the Garden District.

Below is a gallery of some of the places I loved for different reasons as I wandered.  Some were beauties, some had personality, and some needed someone to love them.  Come take a walk with me…. (I should probably state that all photos on my site are my own.)

Jackson Square
Jackson Square: Cabildo, St. Louis Cathedral, and the Presbytere
St. Louis Cathedral angle
St. Louis Cathedral
Jackson Square at night
At night from the window of Cafe Pontalba
Pontalba building Jackson Square French Quarter
One of the twin Pontalba Buildings that flank Jackson Square. built by the indomitable Baroness de Pontalba, Micaela Almonester, who had a lot to do with the Cabildo, cathedral, and Presbytere, too.
House that replaced Marie Leveau's on St. Ann
This house on St. Ann sits in the spot that was once occupied by Marie Laveau’s house before it burned down following her death. I guess even the house couldn’t stand to be without her.
French quarter 1
Starling Magical
Deep in the French Quarter by Voodoo Museum
Near the Voodoo Museum deep in the French Quarter
LaLaurie Mansion
The LaLaurie mansion
Next to LaLaurie House
The Mad Madame LaLaurie’s neighbors
Le Carpentier Beauregard House
Le -Carpentier Beauregard House
house on Chartres in French Quarter
Spent a lot of time up and down Chartres
courtyard through porte cocher
Courtyard as seen through the porte cochere
main house and garcionnere
Garcionnere on the left that belongs to the main house on the right
Labranche mansion French Quarter
Once known as the Labranche mansion
Cornstalk Hotel fence French Quarter
Cornstalk Hotel fence
Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street isn’t all bars. There’s some gorgeousness if you walk far enough. Fun Fact! Bourbon Street wasn’t named for the alcohol. It was named for the House of Bourbon, a French royal dynasty.
French Quarter3
French Quarter or European castle? French Quarter!
Royal Street French Quarter
Royal Street may be my favorite street. And since it was the path I took to catch the streetcar back to the Garden District, I got to spend a lot of time on Royal.

There are so many more photos I could post here, but these are some of my favorites.  I can’t wait to be back down to spend some more time with this eclectic and beautiful city!

Much love!

~Nola

Crescent City Moon Launch News!

LaLaurie Mansion at nightI’m so excited to be able to share a little bit of news with y’all about the launch of Crescent City Moon!  Be on the look out for it in Spring 2019.  What else happens in the spring?  Allergies.  Right.  But more importantly, that’s Mardi Gras season!  I mean, if we’re going to celebrate something, let’s do it all at once like only NOLA can!

In the meantime, look for updates and other fun things along the way!