New Orleans’ independent Octavia Books opened on Laurel Street in 2000, a tough time in the bookselling industry. “The conventional wisdom was that you couldn’t do it,” co-owner Tom Lowenburg later told Publishers Weekly (Oct. 22, 2010). “With big box stores and Amazon emerging into the field, it was certainly a scary time.”
But he and his wife, co-owner Judith Lafitte, developed a loyal and growing clientele in this booklovers’ city.
And how glad I am — They introduced “Courtship” to New Orleans with an author event and signing on Nov. 12. I had the pleasure of meeting Tom and Judith in Naples, Florida, in September at the Southern Independent Boksellers show.
Octavia was the first bookstore to reopen after Katrina, according to one of several news articles I found about the store and its owners. Anderson Cooper came for the first book signing after Katrina. “There was a line from the store about a mile long. People were on line for hours. Ice cream trucks drove around and people sold lemonade.” (http://www.rossprojects.org/neworleans/peopleinterviewed/tom.html)
Octavia also provides support for WWNO’s “The Reading Life,” a book show by former Times-Picayune book editor Susan Larson (Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m., Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at noon).
Thanks for the support, Tom and Judith!