To write history or historical fiction/fantasy, one must do research. That said, researching to write history and researching to write historical fiction differ in significant ways. This is not an original observation. I’m not researching the point, but I’m absolutely, positively sure many others have made it before.
As a writer of historical fantasy, then, it’s worth celebrating when I find a resource which contains useful details. Today’s subject for celebration is Phillip Collier’s Missing New Orleans. I’m currently writing a short story set in an alternate New Orleans circa 1840s-1850s (Chasing Shadows, in the Twisting world–likely available late in 2019). This book has a number of relevant photos, names, stories, maps, and places. For instance, photographs of early hotels (St. Louis, St. Charles). It’s organized thematically, not chronologically, so I had to hunt through to find images and anecdotes–nevertheless, it was of incredible assistance as in fleshing out my alternate version of the city.
So if you’re of a mind to set a story in an earlier New Orleans–or just interested in the subject, I recommend this. Perfect? No, certainly not, but chockful of anecdotes and materials to send one down a dozen or more research rabbit holes. Enjoy!
Phillip Collier’s Missing New Orleans. Text by Jim Rapier & Mary Beth Romig, Introduction by J. Richard Gruber, Foreword by Pete Fountain. New Orleans: Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans, with support from The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2005.