Perhaps it’s a Lenten penance—retreat from fictional flights--or perhaps it’s simply that you’ll all have been immersed in the magnificently over-indulgent chaos of Mardi Gras AND Superbowl fantasies all in a three week span, but you’ve elected to ground yourself in the complex realities of New Orleans’s earliest history for our February reading selection.
The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square by Ned Sublette, 2008 (10)
From Chicago Review Press: “New Orleans is the most elusive of American cities. The product of the centuries-long struggle among three mighty empires--France, Spain, and England--and among their respective American colonies and enslaved African peoples, it has always seemed like a foreign port to most Americans, baffled as they are by its complex cultural inheritance. … The World That Made New Orleans offers a new perspective on this insufficiently understood city by telling the remarkable story of New Orleans’s first century--a tale of imperial war, religious conflict, the search for treasure, the spread of slavery, the Cuban connection, the cruel aristocracy of sugar, and the very different revolutions that created the United States and Haiti. It demonstrates that New Orleans already had its own distinct personality at the time of Louisiana’s statehood in 1812. By then, important roots of American music were firmly planted in its urban swamp--especially in the dances at Congo Square, where enslaved Africans and African Americans appeared en masse on Sundays to, as an 1819 visitor to the city put it, “rock the city.”
The book is available in the New Orleans and Jefferson public libraries and as an ebook.
NOTE: Please be courteous to your fellow Meetup members and remember to cancel your RSVP if you find you cannot attend. We always have people on our wait list. And remember that your membership will be canceled after three no-shows with a YES RSVP. Thank you for being considerate.