Message from Chapter President Marie Breaux

Hello members,

Some chapters of the Women’s National Book Association send out monthly newsletters, but that’s never been our style in New Orleans.

Instead, I want to send you a more personal message and invite you to join us as often as you can in this coming year of chapter activities. I want to invite you to become more involved too. So, this message is also about soliciting volunteers…especially for the cocktail party event in May.

Books? Cocktails? Parties? Some of the most interesting women in New Orleans? There is no excuse for holding back!

  • We start with our Getting to Know You/Networking/Kick-Off eventfor this year at Pearl Wine Co. @ 6 pm this Saturday, (September 16). RSVP to if you have not done so already. Pearl has created a special Bluestocking cocktail in our honor. It will be fun. Potential new members welcome.
  • We’re getting creative with the WNBA National Reading Group Month event in New Orleans this year: we’re highlighting poets outside of the national poetry month of April. This event will take place from 11:30 – 2:00, Saturday, October 7th at the Mid-City Branch of the New Orleans Public Library. In the past, we’ve not had good attendance at our NRGM events. Please show our poets some love. We have a fantastic line-up: chapter member Carolyn Hembree is moderating; members Stacey Balkun, Gina Ferrara, Andrea Panzeca, Melinda Palacio, plus Julie Kane (former Louisiana Poet Laureate), are the panelists. We’re going to adjourn to a nearby place for libations (Hey! poets get thirsty, just like everyone else) and further discussion. Public.
  • The New Orleans chapter celebrates the WNBA Centennial at NOMA on Friday, November 10th. Bluestockings preferred, but not required. Check for details on the website. We’re going to discuss the benefits of your membership in the national organization at this meeting. Announced to public.
  • holiday party will take place on a weekend night in early December. Potluck, per tradition. We’ll send out email invitations closer to the event. Members only.
  • We’ll have a pop-up get-together of some type for the Krewe of Joan of Arc Parade on Twelfth Night, January 6th. We’ll email details closer to the event. Members only.
  • We have a skills program at the Louisiana Research Collection on the campus of Tulane University on January 23rd. Check for details on the website. Public.
  • February 20th we learn about Literacy Advocacy. We’ll have details on the time and place posted on Public.
  • On March 20th, chapter Vice-President Nina Calvo has invited us to the Latin American Library event for the Renaissance Society meeting being held in New Orleans this year. Details will be emailed to members in the new year. We’ll also be getting together to attend events at the Tennessee Williams Festival. Members only.
  • April 7th is Books with Bubbles – our own Susan Larson will lead a read-in at Effervescence champagne bar. Potential new members welcome.
  • May 9th is the Annual meeting and our second story circle – featuring our members who have been writing on the New Orleans Tricentennial: Nancy Dixon, Freddi Evans, and Dawn Wilson. This will be at one of the library branches TBD (it’s too early to book a room now). Public.
  • May 19th we’re Putting the Banned Back Together. This is a fundraising cocktail party celebrating women authors of banned/censored books. We’re planning to have celebrity readers of banned works and some silent auction items. We need volunteers for this: researchers to compile lists of women writers whose works have been banned; organizers of auction items; people to work on invitations, decorations, and party food – and “night of” helpers. This sounds like too much fun to use the verb “work,” so I’ll just say: email us if you want to help. Bring friends – lots and lots of friends. We have a modest fundraising goal for this event!
  • By tradition, we’ll hold a pot luck get-together in June to celebrate our chapter’s founding. Details will be emailed closer to the event. Members only.

As we learn about other book and literary/literacy events, we will send out emails for other pop-up events. Send in suggestions for these. Last year’s Emily Dickinson movie pop-up was particularly successful. Also, our board meetings are open to all members. Come when you can. If you cannot make a board meeting, email or call any of our board members. We want to hear from you. You are New Orleans women, so I know you can’t be shy. If you were shy, you would have to move to someplace else.

We also have generous offers from members to organize workshops on meditation and writing and manuscript review. We’ll be sending out further details later this fall. We want to call for other volunteers on a project that will take our chapter some time to organize: A NOLA version of the New York City Chapter’s Pitch-a-Palooza. The idea would be to organize an event where authors pitch their works to agents. NYC already has a solid group of agents, including chapter members, who make this easier to organize. In New Orleans, agents are scarcer. I don’t want to call them unicorns, but ……… Some of the fundraising that we’re doing is to go towards the expense of putting this type of event together. To make this happen we need a committee to work on organizing this. Email us if you can help. All assistance on this is deeply appreciated! Last, we always appreciate people who volunteer to spread the word about WNBA events via social media. Yes, liking, sharing, and re-tweeting are ways to contribute to the success of WNBA-NOLA.

It is the culture of our city for people to participate. We don’t sit down for music. We dance. We wave handkerchiefs. We shake assorted body parts. We parade. We make costumes out of anything, everything — even loud, flowered tablecloths (I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and they survived to tell the story!). We throw parties, and, as someone once observed, we are the only place where people barbeque in the front yard. Our careless city knows only one sin: not sharing a good time. There is something for every member this year. I hope to see you at a lot of our WNBA-NOLA events.

Celebrating books with the best women I know, I am

Very truly yours,


Marie Breaux, WNBA-New Orleans Chapter President 2017-18


The Bluestocking Cocktail is traveling to NYC

Our chapter has submitted the recipe for The Bluestocking, the cocktail we enjoyed last month at our kick-off meeting, for National’s Centennial Celebration in NYC (coming up in a few weeks). The Bluestocking, a creation of Dréa and Stephen, rock-star bartenders at Pearl Wine Co.,  features  Stoli® Blueberi, simple syrup, Campari® and Besk , a bitter Swedish liquor. The Virgin Bluestocking stars cinnamon syrup and rosemary syrup. Both versions include lemon juice, are shaken with soda and use fresh blueberries as a garnish. How appropriate that the New Orleans chapter will be helping to slake the thirst of other WNBA members! Thank you to our Treasurer Karen Kersting and President Marie Breaux for all their efforts in getting our cocktail created and highlighted for the Centennial. Way to represent!

September 16 Chapter Meeting Kicks Off Our New Season

Did you miss this meeting!  Current and new members had a great time at the Pearl Wine Co. !  We celebrated our national organization’s 100th birthday (!) and enjoyed a special literary-themed drink called the Bluestocking!  Check the photos to see who wore blue stockings!  Many thanks to Pearl Wine Co. and St. James Cheese Co. for the refreshments.  Be sure to check our calendar for more exciting events coming up in 2017 and 2018.


Pinckley Prizes to Louise Penny and Trudy Nan Boyce  

Several hundred avid fans of Louise Penny and Trudy Nan Boyce were on hand to see the authors receive the 2017 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction  September 8 at The Academy of the Sacred Heart/Nims Fine Arts Center, 4301 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans.   The Prizes were launched in 2012 by the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans to honor Diana Pinckley, who was a founding member, as well as a civic activist who gave her time and energy to local and national causes.  Note: see Blog page for more info.

WNBA-NOLA at Culture Collision!

We had a table at Culture Collision August 30 and shared info on our upcoming events and meetings with several hundred attendees!  Check out info below and on our calendar to see what’s coming up for the rest of 2017 and 2018!



September 16: Season Kick-off Meeting/ Celebration of National’s Centennial

Kick off our new season and celebrate National’s 100 year anniversary with fellow members and potential new members at Pearl Wine Company at the American Can Company, 3700 Orleans Ave., on Saturday, September 16, from 6 PM to 8 PM.

We will congregate in the bistro/bar area, and we hope that you will bring an interested friend. We have 35 tickets to give away to members on a first-come, first-serve basis, which will give you a sample of a special drink the bartender will concoct especially for us on the theme of ‘bluestocking’ (a term from the 18th century describing a woman of an intellectual or literary bent). Enjoy refreshments from St. James Cheese Company. Blue stockings are optional!  And here’s a novel idea for our chapter meetings going forward: ‘bring a book, take a book’.

Hope to see you there!

Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 13, to

Pinckley Prizes Pop-Up Book Discussion

Members enjoyed a great Pinckley Prizes Pop-Up Book Discussion on August 26 at the home of Nina Calvo. We discussed these works of the 2017 prizewinners: A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny and Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce.  The Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction will be awarded on September 8, 6 PM, at The Academy of the Sacred Heart/Nims Fine Arts Center, 4301 St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. This will be a ticketed event: see Octavia Books for more info.

In Memoriam: Dianne de las Casas

The Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans mourns the passing of Dianne de las Casas, one of our earliest members, August 21, 2017. Dianne was a prolific author of children’s picture books, known for such works as Cinderellaphant, The Little ‘Read’ Hen, There’s a Dragon in the Library, The Cajun Cornbread Boy, The House that Santa Built, and most recently, Captain Deadeye and the Bully Shark. She was a talented storyteller, gifted with the ability to make her audience join in the fun of her performances. And she was tireless in her efforts to promote children’s books with her work as the founder of Picture Book Month in November. She was not just a New Orleans treasure – she traveled the world. And she always brought that New Orleans spirit with her in her colorful and flamboyant style!

During the chapter’s first year, she gave a fabulous workshop on social media at the Tulane University Bookstore, and we had the pleasure of treats created by her daughter, Kid Chef Eliana Marisol. Our hearts go out to Eliana Marisol, Soleil Lisette, and John Couret.