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In 2004, Ned Sublette—author, musician, photographer—visited Tulane University to research his book on the history of the Big Easy before 1819, The World That Made New Orleans. In his latest work, The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans, Sublette mixes additional Crescent City research with his experiences in that pre-Katrina year and memories of his childhood in Texas and Louisiana, and the result is a passionate memoir and history. In straightforward but evocative prose, Sublette relates tales of southern segregation, urban violence, Mardi Gras traditions, and African-American survival techniques. He refers to the city’s venerable contributions to the American songbook—it’s the birthplace of jazz, as well as Louis Armstrong, Ernie K-Doe, Master P, and Lil Wayne. Though Sublette occasionally inserts his own leftish politics into the book, he does so without hurting his case: You don’t need to be a Democrat to favor the preservation of New Orleans.
SUBLETTE APPEARS WITH BATT HUMPHREYS ON THE PANEL “READING/TALK: SOUTHERN STORIES” AT 10:10 A.M. AT BORDERS LARGO, 931-A CAPITAL CENTRE BLVD., LARGO. FREE. (301) 499-2173.