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New Orleans Noir: The Classics

Edited by:

This sequel to the original best-selling New Orleans Noir takes a literary tour through some of the darkest writing in New Orleans history.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“One installment of noir stories from New Orleans wasn’t enough, so Akashic and editor Julie Smith came back with a follow-up focusing on the ‘classics.’ That means you’ll get a healthy portion of noir stories from across New Orleans written by the likes of Tennessee Williams and Eudora Welty, along with more modern offerings from Poppy Z. Brite, Ace Atkins, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin.”
CrimeReads, included in “New Orleans: The Crime Fiction of Carnival”

“[An] irresistible sequel to Smith’s New Orleans Noir. . . . Anyone who knows New Orleans even slightly will relish revisiting the city in story after story. For anyone who has never been to New Orleans, this is a great introduction to its neighborhoods and history.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred review

“Ten years after the publication of the original New Orleans Noir, Akashic’s ‘Noir’ series returns with a follow-up. . . . Each entry is strong, but the collection is worth reading alone for Poppy Z. Brite’s ‘Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz,’ a delirious and brutal ghost story. . . . Strongly recommended for fans of the Akashic anthologies and Hard Case Crime mysteries and lovers of New Orleans fiction. Devotees of Southern gothic fiction (e.g., the works of Flannery O’Connor and Tom Franklin.) will also find much to enjoy.”
Library Journal, Starred review

“Smith, who edited Akashic’s original New Orleans Noir (2007), goes back for a second trip to the Big Easy.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A riveting read.”
Back to Books

“Eighteen diverse stories . . . capture the feeling of this fascinating city. New Orleans Noir: The Classics embraces the city’s rich literature and spans two centuries, from the pre–Civil War era to post-Katrina.”
Underrated Reads

“This anthology really has the feel of New Orleans. . . . I enjoyed this batch of stories. Good ones all the way through. Give it a try.”
Journey of a Bookseller


Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each volume comprises stories set in a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city.

Classic reprints from: James Lee Burke, Armand Lanusse, Grace King, Kate Chopin, O. Henry, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Shirley Ann Grau, John William Corrington, Tom Dent, Ellen Gilchrist, Valerie Martin, O’Neil De Noux, John Biguenet, Poppy Z. Brite, Nevada Barr, Ace Atkins, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin.

From the introduction by Julie Smith:

“A glittering constellation of writers has passed through New Orleans—including Mark Twain, Sherwood Anderson, O. Henry, and even Walt Whitman, to name some of the not-so-usual suspects. Then there are the ones whose sojourns here are better known, the ones on whom we pride ourselves, such as Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Ellen Gilchrist, and James Lee Burke.

It was an anthologist’s feast—just about everybody who came to New Orleans wrote about it. But there were surprises as well . . .

If you’re from New Orleans, the neighborhood theme will resonate like Tibetan temple bells. And yet, surely every city has similar hoods, similar behavior patterns, similar travails—and has had them forever. ‘Indeed,’ wrote Voltaire, ‘history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.'”

Check out a music playlist compiled by Julie Smith and inspired by New Orleans Noir: The Classics at Largehearted Boy.

Listen to interviews with Julie Smith at The Reading Life and Book Talk with Kory French.

Listen to an interview with Julie Smith at The Writer’s Forum below:

Table of Contents


Part I: The Awakening
“A Marriage of Conscience” by Armand Lanusse (St. Louis Cathedral, 1843)
“The Little Convent Girl” by Grace King (The River, 1893)
“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (Bayou St. John, 1894)
“Whistling Dick’s Christmas Stocking” by O. Henry (French Quarter, 1899)

Part II: Sweet Bird of Youth
“The Purple Hat” by Eudora Welty (Upper Quarter, 1941)
“Desire and the Black Masseur” by Tennessee Williams (Tremé, 1948)
“Miss Yellow Eyes” by Shirley Ann Grau (Pigeon Town, 1955)
“Pleadings” by John William Corrington (Uptown, 1976)
“Ritual Murder” by Tom Dent (Courthouse, 1978)

Part III: The Thanatos Syndrome
“Rich” by Ellen Gilchrist (Garden District, 1978)
“Spats” by Valerie Martin (New Orleans East, 1988)
“The Man with Moon Hands” by O’Neil De Noux (Tchoupitoulas and Jackson, 1993)
“Rose” by John Biguenet (Gentilly, 1999)
“Mussolini and the Axeman’s Jazz” by Poppy Z. Brite (Basin Street, 1995)
“GDMFSOB” by Nevada Barr (Versailles Boulevard, 2006)
“Jesus Out to Sea” by James Lee Burke (Ninth Ward, 2006)
“Last Fair Deal Gone Down” by Ace Atkins (Warehouse District, 2010)
“Pie Man” by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (Central City, 2012)

Book Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Published: 3/1/16
  • IBSN: 9781617753848
  • e-IBSN: 9781617754197


JULIE SMITH is an Edgar Award winner for best novel, and the author of four mystery series set in New Orleans and San Francisco. A former journalist, she has worked for newspapers in both those cities and now lives in New Orleans. She is the owner of booksBnimble, which publishes mysteries and other quality works digitally. In 2007 Smith edited the best-selling anthology New Orleans Noir for Akashic Books. She is also the editor of New Orleans Noir: The Classics.

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