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New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  573 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
For two decades NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu has been living in and writing about his adopted city, where, as he puts it, the official language is dreams. How apt that a refugee born in Transylvania found his home in a place where vampires roam the streets and voodoo queens live around the corner; where cemeteries are the most popular picnic spots, the ghosts of poets, ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by Algonquin Books (first published January 31st 2001)
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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy TooleA Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee WilliamsThe Awakening by Kate ChopinL'Immortalite by T.R. HeinanThe Witching Hour by Anne Rice
Best New Orleans Books
16th out of 256 books — 225 voters
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Radiolab Suggested Readings
137th out of 180 books — 208 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,234)
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Jun 11, 2011 Stewart rated it really liked it
My fondness for New Orleans is great. I lived in southeast Louisiana for six years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and I visited the Crescent City, ate at its great restaurants, and listened to its music many times. Despite moving away from the state in 1981, I almost yearly visit my mother, brother, and sister in Baton Rouge with side trips to New Orleans, an hour away.
Thus I looked forward to reading the impressions of the city by the Romanian-born writer and NPR commentator Andrei Codres
Jared Millet
Jun 19, 2010 Jared Millet rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Even though I grew up in Louisiana and lived most of my life there, I never really had any love for or desire to visit New Orleans. For the first time, I've read a book that makes me think I might have been missing out. However, it should be noted that Andrei Codrescu (LA's Transylvanian poet-in-residence & NPR commentator) has the luxury of living the Bohemian life, at least according to his writing. If I had ever moved to New Orleans, I have no doubt that I would have spent most of my time ...more
Mar 15, 2012 Alex rated it it was ok
Since I was heading to Nola for Mardi Gras I wanted to read something topical about the city. New Orleans, Mon Amour, was written by fellow Romanian and poet Andrei Codrescu, and is a compilation of all the writing he has done over the years about his adopted home. The longer essays were excellent. Through entertaining anecdotes and poetic prose Codrescu provides a surrealist picture of a surreal city. The stories seem too wild to be true, but after being there, I realized that nothing is too wi ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Andrew added it
Shelves: essays
I'm an eternal enthusiast for both belles-lettres and sultry tropical ports, so this was a natural shoe-in for me. Granted, there are a lot of repeated ideas and themes (as one expects from a collection of several decades of material), and more than a few lazy New Orleans cliches (good god, I never want to here the words "voodoo" or "gumbo" again), but there is enough great prose for Codrescu to more or less break even in my book.
Aug 27, 2015 pennyg rated it it was amazing
I first heard Andrei Codrescu on NPR reciting his poetry and essays in his lovely thick eastern European accent. If you love New Orleans or think you will love it, you will love viewing the city through the eyes of this self described bohemian poet from Transylvania, Romania.

The city can drive a sober minded person insane, but it feeds the dreamer.

A poet's love story to his adopted home, at times it is laugh out loud funny, at times moving, and at times brutally honest all delivered with his cu
May 04, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pimps, because pimps don't commit suicide
This book is a charming collection of vignettes about New Orleans. The author clearly loves his adopted city, though he does not attempt to gloss over the poverty and corruption ... to do so would be unfair as they have lived there much longer than he.

New Orleans is dead. Like most dead things it decomposes, or in other words is eaten by things much smaller than itself. These tiny feasts are a parade, the decadent formula by which the burden of pain and loss become something we can bear. All of
Lucinda Mcintyre
Mar 18, 2011 Lucinda Mcintyre rated it it was amazing
This book is the best description of New Orleans that I have ever found. If you know New Orleans, every word of this will ring true. If you do not know New Orleans - this might help - but you may think Codrescu is making things up or exagerating - which he is not. It is perfect that a poet should write about New Orleans - becuase mere prose cannot do justice to this amazing, mess of a city. (This is not s book of poetry - but his turn of phrase is so beuatiful and spot on time and again.) It wil ...more
Aug 14, 2015 Raven rated it really liked it
A playful, occasionally toothy series of vignettes about life in New Orleans. There are parts that reflect my experiences, which are usually moments of fondness and reminiscence, but occasionally moments of exasperation. (Slow time! Heh.) I'm both glad and sorry that the majority of the writing here is pre-Katrina... there's despair at the end, and some moderately accurate commentary on what it means to have New Orleanians move to your city. But ten years on, there's more hope than there was at ...more
Maggie McCormack
Sep 06, 2010 Maggie McCormack rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, nonfiction
Beautiful writing, but towards the end Codrescu bordered on elitism. I get that New Orleans has a rich culture all its own, but Codrescu treated New Orleans as the greatest place on earth and anyone who doesn't live there is seen as a boring, uncultured zombie.
Jakey Gee
Jun 23, 2015 Jakey Gee rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
3.5. Jaunty, insightful and plenty of surprises (I had no idea NOLA had such a 'bad cop' and crime spree in the nineties, for example). Good on literature and Toole. This almost certainly ought to be on the list for the visitor.

It inevitably displays that exceptionalism and sentimental 'projection' that comes with most city writing (Herb Caen does it with San Francisco too) i.e. seeing the behaviour of an interesting set of characters you're mates with and ascribing it to a population (I could
Jan 30, 2016 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
Fodor's New Orleans 2015 lists this as suggested reading when planning a trip to New Orleans (which I am) but I can't help but think Codrescu wouldn't approve of that suggestion. He seems to have a pretty unfavorable opinion of tourists, though he does come around in an essay toward the end. He also doesn't think too highly of anyone who has made the boring choice to live anywhere other than New Orleans.

I appreciated that these short essays were presented chronologically, and gave some interesti
Feb 10, 2015 Bobby rated it liked it
Contains lots of humor and vivid sensuality of what it's like to live in modern bohemian New Orleans.

If Codrescu wanted to include writing about Katrina and it's aftermath, why leave that for the final few pages? It leaves an otherwise pleasant book on a note of despair and political bitterness. Better to have left this out entirely as it didn't fit the tone of the rest of the book. But that shouldn't dissuade anyone interested in New Orleans and its people and history from reading the first 95
Jan 31, 2015 Paulina rated it liked it
This was a charming set of vignettes that capture the spirit and heart of New Orleans from the perspective of someone who has spent twenty plus years in the city and loves it with a true and abiding passion. There were some stories I liked better than others but the vignette form works well for Codrescu with his brevity of wit and ability to capture a moment in time in a vividly beautiful turn of phrase. Evocative and fleeting, this book makes me very excited to visit New Orleans for the first t ...more
Jan 06, 2009 Kristine rated it it was amazing
After reading this collection of essays, it has officially made my "to-buy" list. If you're not familiar with Codrescu from his work on NPR, this is a fantastic introduction. He is originally from Romania but has called New Orleans his home since 1981. And it's his stalwart love of this city with all its flaws that fills this book with beautifully descriptive pieces of N.O.L.A. life.

It's an easy read with most of the essays two pages long, with the last few written after Katrina. I'd recommend i
Feb 05, 2008 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Finished New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings From The City by Andrei Codrescu. Each story engages me to some new idea; ideas of description, ideas of place, ideas of people and living. What a city! To take coffee with Codrescu in the cemetary, to share a story in bar or cafe, to smell the trees and food and history that makes New Orleans a place of mythology, a place were Dylan can call home, a place I hear on the radio’s morning news.

I read the majority of it when down in México. I
Aug 03, 2011 Dona rated it really liked it
Short essays by Codrescu, a Romanian born in Transylvania who has lived and written in New Orleans for the last twenty plus years. Codrescu is a good writer, so his romanticizing of the city, although sentimental, is poetic. A few good quotes:

"This is a city of night, fog, and mud, the three elements agains which all the might of America is mobilized."

"A summer afternoon in New Orleans can stretch to infinity over a few beers."

"New Orleans is Blanche Dubois, and that mix of knowledge, denial, hu
David Ranney
Apr 20, 2015 David Ranney rated it liked it
When writers come here they walk about smelling everything because New Orleans is, above all, a town where the heady scent of jasmine or sweet olive mingles with the cloying stink of sugar refineries and the musky smell of the Mississippi. It's an intoxicating brew of rotting and generating, a feeling of death and life simultaneously occurring and inextricably linked. It's a feeling only the rich music seeping all night out of the cracks of homes and rickety clubs can give you, a feeling that t
Jan 15, 2008 Tara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of NPR, good essays, people who love New Orleans
Recommended to Tara by: NPR
For the record, Andrei Codrescu is a genius. In the deluge of New Orleans odes that sprang up after Katrina (if only there had been more before!), this was far and away the best. If you pick one book to read about that city (other than A Confederacy of Dunces, this should be the one. Some of these essays may seem familiar to you if you listen to All Things Considered with any frequency. Codrescu, a New Orleanian by way of Romania, presents a collection of twenty-five years of tales and musings f ...more
Sophia Case-Gabbard
Jul 13, 2014 Sophia Case-Gabbard rated it it was ok
Previous to this book, I thought I could get through any drivel so long as it was related to New Orleans. This book, however, was not so much about New Orleans but the author's own ego. The city didn't speak for itself in this collection of short stories and, for that, I could barely muster my way through. I hate giving bad reviews but I really can't help myself with this one.
Mar 21, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lauren by: Gifford
If you are familiar with Andrei Codrescu's work, then you will recognize much of this book. You read it before. But it's always nice to revisit essays and vignettes in one collection. There's something to reading selections from twenty years of writing that gives you a new perspective on things you've already read.

I could go on and on about New Orleans, etc. I really enjoyed this book and zipped through it quickly. One person's NOLA is never another person's NOLA and I immediately noticed that c
Rich Stein
Feb 18, 2016 Rich Stein rated it it was amazing
As my yearly trip (too infrequent and too short) to my favorite city approaches, I am reminded of some of of the literature I turn to before my yearly adventure. Of course there are the James Lee Burke canon and his "Dave Robicheaux " books - especially The Tin Roof Blowdown which gives a great feel for life in Bayou country and the funky streets of the Quarter
Jan 07, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
All at once charming, sensual, fabled, and fantastic - Codrescu has clearly become one of those very same New Orleanians who take story telling to an art form that he writes about. There's no shying away from the mud in this compilation of writings, but rather a firm (and enthusiastic) embracing of all things New Orleans - a melange found nowhere else in the world and worthy of appreciation.
Nov 04, 2014 Bill rated it it was amazing
I love New Orleans. I very much like Codrescu's outsider views of the city in which he has immersed himself for two decades at the time of publication. He has a feel for the spirit of pre-Katrina New Orleans, and expresses it well.
Michael VanZandt
May 12, 2011 Michael VanZandt rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
Perhaps my affection of this book was affected by the fact that I read it -- in its entirety -- on a flight bound for New Orleans. A collection of short vignettes on NOLA's unique character, I tore through the stories in anticipation of Jazz Fest, the characters, the smells and flavors of my spiritual home. It's an interesting chronicle of the city through the two decades preceding Hurricane Katrina and its immediate aftermath. Though there is some redundancy, and Codescru plays on a lot of the ...more
Matt Amott
short essays about the city that i love called new orleans. some dating back to the mid 80's when andrei moved there. funny stories about the people and places that make up this incredible town. and the author is a contributor to npr, so some of these chapters have been read on the radio. if you are familar with the city then you know of most of the places that he talks about. and if not, then you want to go visit them. it also helps that his favorite places in the city are also mine, like lafay ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it
I was in New Orleans for most of the stories in this book. My memories are better than he writes. Of course they are. I can't imagine what someone not from New Orleans would think.
Feb 23, 2015 Alejandro rated it really liked it
Sigh. Thank you Codrescu for extending my vacation. The first of many New Orleans books I intend to read this year because my heart has been stolen by this gorgeous city.

The final sentence was a masterstroke!
Shelley Graves
Jul 20, 2007 Shelley Graves rated it it was amazing
This is book is ideal for anyone who loves New Orleans, loves the idea of loving New Orleans, or thinks they might love New Orleans. It is a truly loving depiction of the city, its triumphs, and its flaws by Andrei Codrescu, a regular guest on NPRs All Things Considered. As his collected writings, it is also a good fit for anyone who like the memoir or travel writing style.

An interesting sidenote, the book was ready to be published right before Katrina, but the author added 3 passages to it in
Di Santana
Feb 14, 2014 Di Santana rated it really liked it
Wonderful collection of short essays. Codrescu captures what it is to live in and love New Orleans.
Jun 01, 2007 Juli rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to understand pre levee failure life in the quarter
Shelves: haveread
Andrei lives here not only because he loves it here, but because he belongs here. He once told me that the great tragedy of his life was that he could not hire a "scribe" to follow him around and record his life for him, so that one part of him always had to remain separate from his actions so that he could record it later.
Reading this book is a lot like having the privilege of Andrei Codrescu as your personal scribe whilst you shamble through life in the quarter; it's messy, dirty, literate an
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Andrei Codrescu is a Romanian-born American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio. He was Mac Curdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University from 1984 until his retirement in 2009.
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“Nostalgia is masochism and masochism is something masochists love to share.” 39 likes
“There is a velvety sensuality here at the mouth of the Mississippi that you won't find anywhere else. Tell me what the air feels like at 3 A.M. on a Thursday night in August in Shaker Heights and I bet you won't be able to say because nobody stays up that late. But in New Orleans, I tell you, it's ink and honey passed through silver moonlight.” 7 likes
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