There are few places were history, food, and culture can collide in a way that becomes something more than the sum of its parts. New Orleans, I believe, is one of those places.
NOLA remains one of my favorite places to visit. Subsequently I’ve found myself drawn to works about the Big Easy.
So last summer when NPR and ever other national book reviewing entities started singing the praises of Yellow House I took note.
A memoir that was also an untold history of part of New Orleans: New Orleans East. A part of the city that is forgotten by tourists and locals alike. I bought it immediately. I read about 30 pages.
Then I set it down for a few months.
This process is repeated for about six months. Sometimes I would stick with the book for a week, sometimes a few days. I caved and bought the audiobook when it became available because while I found Broom’s story infinitely fascinating I also found it so fam packed with history – family and city, that my eyes could only take so much of it at a time.
Broom’s history is intricately tied up with the house she was raised in, and with her families overarching stories. Sometimes her 11 siblings, various cousins, aunts, and a slew of other relatives make parts of Yellow House difficult to follow. However the emotional impact that the scope of her large family imprints on the entirety of Yellow House is clear to see. Broom’s life would never have been the same if she wasn’t the youngest of so many siblings, and the eventual effects of Katrina would feel different if her once close family didn’t end up scattered to the wind.
Yellow House is the type of story that feels timeless. Even reading it the year of its release I could tell this would be an important work, one that will help expand the mythos of New Orleans.