Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2006 Issue

de Ville Books vs Katrina



J: Yes, very common.

K: What preparations did you have time to make before you evacuated?

J: Well, I took about 200-300 books that I don't like; many of which were the books we booksellers all have that never sell; the boxed classics, the 50th printing of a Grisham -- you know -- and created a dam around the front door to block the water. It helped somewhat, but we still had about nine inches of water throughout the store.

K: Did you lose a lot of rare books?

J: No, I took my "babies" with me. We loaded all those up in the car and they went with us.

K: I understand your father was a victim of the hurricane. I'm so sorry.

J: Yes. He was in a rest home, so before we left, we went to the home to take him with us. They said, no, they were evacuating everyone and he would be fine. But as it turned out, he wasn't, he passed on during the evacuation and it took Mom and me three weeks to find him and make arrangements for his funeral. After attending the funeral, we finally returned to New Orleans in November.

K: How much stock did you lose?

J:Probably two thousand books, more or less. We won't know for sure until we get it all put back together. We lost the bottom rows of books; the "Ws to Zs, and all the foreign language books."

K: Was your inventory computerized?

J: No, we are a very small, one- or two-person store and have no computer and no inventory list. We have lots of history and general reading; more used than new. We are the only bookstore left in the Central Business District and we do a lot of book searches for the secretaries and lawyers and business people; basic reference books, lots of travel, "man" books, and fiction, poetry, classics; oil and electrical books. I never realized how good a book store it was until we evacuated and I had time to go out and check out other stores.

K: So what has been done and what is left to do to open up again?

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