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.



  • The Yellow House by Sarah Broom


    Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at 7 p.m. Central Time

    The Yellow House by Sarah Broom
    Our first book will be The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom. Published in 2019, this New York Times best seller has been an audience favorite. Broom’s memoir centers on identity and place, referring to her family home in New Orleans East that was wiped off the map by Hurricane Katrina. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “The Yellow House is both personal and sharply political; it’s an attempt to redraw not just the map of New Orleans but also the city’s narrative―to reset it on its foundation. . . . Meticulously observed and expansively researched, Broom’s inquiry is an excavation.”  

    Broom utilized THNOC’s Williams Research Center for some of her research on The Yellow House. Join us as we explore the stories that define home, loss, survival, relationships, and systemic racism through urban inequality. 


    Here are a few questions to keep in mind as you read The Yellow House. We encourage you to take notes as you read, jot down anything that stands out or sparks your curiosity, and come to the Zoom meeting with your own ideas for discussion.

    • How does the concept of home shape our identity?
    • In what ways does this memoir tell the story of New Orleans?
    • How is the Yellow House itself a character in Broom’s memoir—perhaps Ivory Mae’s 13th child?
    • How can we center New Orleans East within the post-Industrialization of American cities?


    Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine


    Wednesday, November 18, 2020, at 7 p.m. Central Time

    Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine by Marcelle Bienvenu, Carl A. Brasseaux, and Ryan Brasseaux
    Stir the Pot authors join THNOC staff in discussing the history, evolution, and role of food in Cajun society and what it means in the larger context of our unique Louisiana social spaces.

    From debunking myths about Cajun cooking to exploring the fascinating place that food holds in Acadiana, Stir the Pot presents the complex history of a beloved yet often misunderstood ethnic cuisine. This reading pairs with our current exhibition, Cajun Document. It is one of several books that our staff members used to prepare for the opening of this exhibition.

Stir the Pot is available at the New Orleans Public Library and can be purchased at major online retailers and from these local book sellers:

Blue Cypress Books 
Garden District Book Shop
Octavia Books




Here are a few questions to keep in mind as you read Stir the Pot. We encourage you to take notes as you read, jot down anything that stands out or sparks your curiosity, and come to the Zoom meeting with your own ideas for discussion.

  • What are one or two questions you would ask about or discuss with the author(s)?
  • How did you experience this book? Did you read it front to back, or did you jump around based on your interests?
  • What led to seafood becoming an important component in the Cajun diet? See Chapter 1, "History on the Table: Evolution of Cajun Cuisine."
  • How does the Cajun culinary calendar intertwine with Catholicism? See Chapter 4, "Mileposts in the Cajun Culinary Calendar."


  • Slavery's Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans during the Age of Revolutions


  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021, at 7 p.m. Central Time

    Slavery’s Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans During the Age of Revolutions by Rashauna Johnson
    In the early 19th century, slaves made up one-third of the New Orleans population. In contrast to the typical conception of rural plantation slavery in the emergent Deep South, daily experiences of slavery in New Orleans were global, interconnected, and transient, a function of New Orleans’s location at the crossroads of Early America and the Atlantic World. Slavery’s Metropolis uses slave circulations between 1791 and 1825 to map the sociocultural history of enslaved people in New Orleans, using the concepts of space and place as a lens for discussion. Johnson is a previous winner of THNOC’s Williams Prize, and currently teaches at Dartmouth College.

  • Slavery's Metropolis is available at the New Orleans Public Library and can be purchased at major online retailers and these local book sellers: 
    Frenchmen Art & Books
    • Garden District Book Shop
    • Octavia Books 




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.