I love New Orleans. The French Quarter is rich with live jazz and deep, sordid history, the out-of-towner debauchery on Bourbon Street and during mardi-gras, the sun dancing over Lake Pontchartrain and setting over the Mississippi; open bottle laws and above ground graveyards; but New Orleans East? I don’t think about it much. 70% larger than the downtown area, New Orleans East is where Sarah M. Broom grew up, in a yellow house, and it is the setting of her sweeping memoir about family, belonging, and place. Spanning 100 years, Broom expertly tells the story of her family history and their complicated, yet normal, life in America’s most mythologized city. With nostalgic prose and the sinking yellow house as the central metaphor, Broom uses her life experiences to tell the truths of her underserved and forgotten neighborhood, highlighting the ways in which predominantly African-American communities have been continually failed by America.


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