Read what THNOC reads! Join us as we read and discuss books related to the history of New Orleans. Participate in virtual book discussions with staff, authors, and fellow readers! 

Our founders, Kemper and Leila Williams, demonstrated a keen sense of civic responsibility to preserve the history and culture of New Orleans. Sometimes that means that it is our mission to provoke discussion as well. In that spirit, we present the Fine Print Book Club (FPBC) and we invite you to read alongside THNOC staff as we aim to fulfill our founders’ mission. 

The FPBC is an informal learning program intended to promote dialogue and connections within our community through shared reading. We will meet approximately six times per year, but you can come, go, and participate as you please. Books and topics will vary from popular to academic, but each reading will center upon building and reevaluating our knowledge of New Orleans history and culture. The schedule will be announced well in advance so that everyone has plenty of time to find and read the book. We will send discussion prompts to facilitate dialogue along the way. 

Participation in the Fine Print Book Club is free, but participants are expected to obtain their own copy of each title, and registration is required. Sessions will be conducted on Zoom, so keep an eye on your inbox the day before for an access link. 

Please email for more information on the Fine Print Book Club.

St. James Cheese Company New Orleans
St. James Cheese Company has curated a signature THNOC cheese and wine box option for all registrants for The Fine Print Book Club. Details available in your registration confirmation email.



Cover of They Called Us River Rats: The Last Batture Settlement of New OrleansOCTOBER

Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at 7 p.m. Central Time

They Called Us River Rats: The Last Batture Settlement of New Orleans by Macon Fry

The Fine Print Book Club returns for the Fall 2021 season with They Called Us River Rats: The Last Batture Settlement of New Orleans (University Press of Mississippi, 2021), the true story of an outsider settlement whose residents ebb and flow along the water line of the Mississippi River. Join us on October 20 at 7 p.m. for a lively discussion with author Macon Fry.

The batture community exists on the shores of the Mississippi between the low water line and the levee. For the better part of two centuries, batture dwellers—such as Fry—have raised shantyboats on stilts, built water-adapted homes, foraged, fished, and survived using the skills a river teaches. Beginning in 2000, Fry set about recording the stories of batture dwellers. In addition to documenting their fascinating lives, the book also explores their troubled relationship with city authorities, commercial interests that have laid claim to the river, and some of Louisiana’s most powerful politicians.

Today, Fry is among the senior generation of “river rats” living in a vestigial colony of 12 camps along New Orleans’s batture, a fragment of a settlement that once stretched nearly six miles and numbered in the hundreds of homes. Watch Fry discuss his experiences and book in this video from the publisher.

They Called Us River Rats is available for purchase from The Shop at The Collection and at local independent bookstores. It can also be found at your local library and as an e-book. Registration is now open, and discussion prompts will be posted at a later date.






We are deeply grateful to have you as a part of the THNOC community. If you are able, we hope you will consider becoming a member or making a donation to help sustain the Fine Print Book Club and programs like it.