Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2005 Issue

In Her Angry Path; Hurricane Katrina vs. Bookstores<br>Part One

Hurricane Katrina heads for New Orleans.


By Karen Wright

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, my question was, what, if anything, can we as booksellers - comrades in arms, or perhaps arts would be a better word - do to help our fellow booksellers who were in Katrina's angry path?

This from the American Booksellers Association CEO Avin Mark Domnitz: "There has been a Bookseller Relief Fund started to assist booksellers affected by Hurricane Katrina. Contributions to the fund will be accepted, and ABA is seeding the relief fund with an opening donation of $25,000. Checks should be made payable to Bookseller Relief Fund and sent to ABA's office at 200 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591. Please write "Bookseller Relief" on the outside of the envelope. "Our hearts go out to all those devastated by Katrina, and we want to do whatever we can to help. We know many in the book industry feel the same way, and are looking for ways to offer assistance."

"Several stores from around the county have also indicated their willingness to house and/or employ booksellers whose stores are unlikely to be able to reopen anytime soon. For a list of offers, go to www.bookweb.org/read/8067. Anyone willing to take in or to employ a displaced bookseller is asked to contact ABA's Director of Special Projects, David Walker, at (800) 637-0037, ext. 6612 or davidw@bookweb.org."

I checked in with David Walker of the American Booksellers Association and he put me in touch with two different booksellers affected by Katrina. One store was lucky and survived almost unscathed, the other was essentially disintegrated. Here is the story we gleaned from Tom Lowenburg whose store survived one of Mother Nature's nastiest temper tantrums.

We felt a ray of hope for southern booksellers when we got a press release that said "Octavia Books, co-owned by Tom Lowenburg, is back. Octavia Books is the first book store selling new books to reopen in the Greater New Orleans area since Hurricane Katrina. We are determined to help residents return to a normal life, and for most of them that means some form of relaxation, and entertainment after non-stop clean-up of homes and businesses."

We called Tom in New Orleans and queried him about some of his experiences and thoughts on this tragedy.

Q: Tom, how long have you lived in New Orleans?
A: All my life. I grew up here, though I have traveled elsewhere.

Q: Have you experienced any other hurricanes?
A: As a child, Hurricane Betsy was memorable. That was about 1964 or 65 when I was in third grade. We missed a bit of school, but it was nothing like this. I was not here when Camille struck, but we saw a lot of destruction for years afterwards between Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
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    London auction, 11 June
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    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
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    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.

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