Subjects covered in Letters From New Orleans include: Celebratory gunfire, rich people, mardi gras, religion, the riddle of race relations in our time, robots, fine dining, drunkenness, urban decay, debutantes, the nature of identity, Gennifer Flowers, the song "St. James Infirmary," and mortality. The 2nd Edition has a new afterword ("Away From New Orleans") and new introduction.
"...Walker's refusal to pronounce is generally as endearing, honest, funny and moving as the stories themselves - a clearer lens, perhaps, than any earnest literary compilation by eminent New Orleanians (proceeds to Katrina victims) that's surely about to appear. (Walker has pledged all his proceeds to relief efforts, too.)...Anyway, you won't need a memorial volume, because these stories now function as 21 silent little jazz funerals: exuberant, celebratory and tragic."
--Kate Sekules, The New York Times Book Review
"In Letters from New Orleans, Walker contemplates, almost wistfully, various notions of denial and self-invention and loss -- those masks that symbolize the city aren't lost on him. And his pointed, witty insights about the city won't be lost on readers."
--Susan Larson, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune
"What a treat this was! To re-visit New Orleans through Rob Walker's eyes was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed every part of this book. It had me wishing I had explored more and gotten to know more of the local people during my short stay there. Not to worry, tho, as I'm already planning a trip back.... I loved the city, and loved this book!"
--Never Without A Book
"Letters From New Orleans is a wonderful example of a unique talent."
--Colleen Mondor, Voices of New Orleans
"It's Walker's humor that makes Letters From New Orleans truly unique."
"One of the 10 Best Travel Books of 2005."
"Rob Walker has captured so much truth about New Orleans, and so beautifully...."
Thomas Uskali, Mobile Register
"It's easy to find foreshadowing of the Katrina devastation: The second page of the book mentions hurricane danger, and later, Walker takes a walk on one of the cities' levees. He also doesn't shy away from discussing the city's omnipresent poverty..."
--Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, MSNBC.com
"Letters from New Orleans tells the stories that you've never heard before and that you just can't hear while jaunting through the muggy city during Jazz Fest...."
--Michael Maiello, Forbes.com
"This is not a travel book per se, but rather an outsider's account of America's strangest town. But since it is about New Orleans, it can't help but be a captivating tale. "
--June Sawyers, The Chicago Tribune
"The quality that makes Walker's 'modest series of stories about a place that means a lot to [him]' rewarding reading is his immersion in the local."
"The respect that Walker holds for his subjects coupled with his quirky and likeable tastes make Letters From New Orleans a fantastic read. It is more than just a good book. Its insider-outsider perspective and street-level historical explorations make it essential for anyone interested in New Orleans."
--Andy Shoup, Maximum Rock'n'Roll
"It's these sly, offhand details ... combined with an unsentimental love of New Orleans that sets Walker apart."
"...I recommend it to anyone who feels life is going by too fast."
--Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do with My Life?
"Rob Walker is a wonderful writer with a gentle yet comprehensive
inquisitiveness, the rigorous, observant eye of a journalist, and the
light, poetic touch of an artist...."
--David Rakoff, author of Fraud
"His meditation on a three-year sojourn in New Orleans is as wistful as absinthe, as funky as a muffuletta at a joint off Tchoupitoulas."
--Jed Horne, author of Breach of Faith
"...[Walker] has provided an informal, entertaining, and insightful guide to New Orleans for both the traveler and those considering relocating there."
"Letters From New Orleans ... is a love letter to Crescent City, and it stands within the most robust tradition of geography-centered writing....[I]t recalls writers such as V.S. Naipaul, who approach cities and countries with a hungry interest in demolishing false expectations."
--James Norton, Flak Magazine
"Letters succeeds as a collage of eloquent impressions of New Orleans and reads like thoughtful dispatches from a learned friend."
"It's wonderfully written, graceful and simple yet full of insight, presenting the city in a way that's rich and textured."
--Cynthia Closkey, My Brilliant Mistakes
"It's clear that Walker's love for New Orleans is the real deal. I've only been there during Jazz Fast -- yes five of them -- but I know enough to know how important the culture of this most un-American of American cities is to the nation, to my friends and to me personally. Letters deepens the mystery whist revealing it (no easy task)."
To listen to Rob reading two stories from the book, click here.
To read an interview (partly) about the book from Gothamist, click
To listen to a podcast (mostly) about the book from the Philadelphia Daily
News's PhillyFeed, click
To read an interview about the book from the Savannah Morning News, click
To read an interview about the book from Jessica Lee Jernigan's blog,