Much like converts are often more zealous for their newfound religions, transplants tend to see their adopted cities with fresh eyes. Reading The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans. Part 1 had this native experiencing a renewed love for her city.
The narrator, B. Sammy Singleton, has relocated to New Orleans with much eagerness. He is opinionated, sober, and sensitive while offering his descriptions of the city and her denizens with critical, comical detail. Amongst constant distraction, he attempts to write a local coffee shop guide, while wondering the whereabouts of his close friend, who has a penchant for disappearing.
Most of the book had me laughing, a thanks to Lummis’ great wit, or amazed at his local historical, architectural, and pop cultural references. However, the final chapter’s poignancy left me in tears. Home is a relative concept, but he reminds us we are never too far away from home to accept the responsibility of our past as a human collective, no matter how uncomfortable.
While there are numerous local inside jokes, this novel is universal in appeal. Although I dwell uptown and Mr. Lummis is downtown, I am proud to call him a neighbor. I am happy to report this is but the first book in a three part series and I have two more in my future. Get your slice of New Orleans here: www.coffeeshopchronicles.com