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Great Books Set in New Orleans
New Orleans is a city steeped in history, culture, and literary heritage. From the voodoo-inspired works of Anne Rice to the gritty realism of John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces,” the city has been a source of inspiration for many writers over the years.
But what are the best books based in New Orleans that truly capture the essence of this vibrant, eclectic city?
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at some of my favorite fiction books that have been set in the Big Easy, exploring the characters, themes, and storylines that make these books so unique and memorable.
Whether you’re a lover of southern literature, a fan of mysteries and thrillers, or simply someone who appreciates a good story, you won’t want to miss this literary tour of one of America’s most fascinating cities.
Each book recommendation is split into its genre category so you can easily find your next favorite read!
Books You Need To Read Before You Visit New Orleans
If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, reading a few books set in the city is a great way to get a feel for its rich history, diverse culture, and unique atmosphere. Whether you’re interested in the city’s history, its food, and music, or its vibrant and eclectic people, these books are a great way to start your journey to New Orleans.
Vampire Books set in New Orleans
Interview with the Vampire
Louis, a vampire, recounts his journey through life and his discovery of Claudia, a young child who turns into a vampire. Together, they travel Europe in search of a place to belong, eventually finding the Theatre des Vampires in Paris.
There, they meet Armand and are introduced to a whole society of vampires, but find that this does not provide them with the answers they seek. Interview with the Vampire follows Louis and Claudia’s struggles and captures the political and social changes of two continents, as well as themes of immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power.
🤩 What I loved about it: Anne rice is one of the modern-day founders of vampire books. Her books are incredibly detailed and amazing to read. Personally, I loved listening to this book on audio.
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Dead Until Dark
In Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse is a small-town Louisiana cocktail waitress whose life is changed when a vampire walks into her life, leading her to question the wisdom of having a vampire for a boyfriend.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is one of my favorite vampire series! It’s funny with a great plot and amazing characters.
Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon follows the story of an immortal being who stalks evil in the night and has unlimited wealth and power until he meets Amanda Devereaux and is forced to confront his own feelings of love and loyalty, and whether a woman can love a man whose heart has been damaged by a betrayal.
🤩 What I loved about it: If you are looking for romantic suspense with a twist of paranormal then this is for you! This has all the best tropes like alpha males, strong heroines, and vampires. The books are all standalone’s but you will end up wanting to read the whole series. Plus all the books are based in New Orleans!
Born in Fire
A supernatural bounty hunter is forced to work with a powerful, old vampire to solve a top-secret case, uncovering a web of lies and treachery that threatens to reveal the truth of their identity and put them in a gilded cage.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is a slow-burn romance with ALL the banter and a yummy vampire. I was laughing out loud at multiple scenes and loved Reagan’s inner dialogue.
Mina and the Undead
Mina, a 17-year-old from England, visits her estranged sister in New Orleans and discovers a supernatural mystery when she finds a body with puncture marks on her neck and a lock of hair resembling her sister’s. She must uncover the truth before she becomes the next victim.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is a seriously cool 90s vampire adventure! It’s very nostalgic for me (the 90s part, not the vampires 😂) and was such a fun read. It was the perfect balance of gothic horror with a teeny smidge of romance. You will be so shocked by who the killer is!
A Hunger Like No Other
In this book set in New Orleans, a werewolf and a half-vampire become unlikely soulmates, whose passion is tested by an ancient evil from her past. Together, they must find a way to overcome their differences and fight for their love.
🤩 What I loved about it: I love the soulmate trope. Add enemies to lovers to the mix and I am sold!
Historical fiction books based in New Orleans
Set in New Orleans, Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel “The Awakening” shocked readers with its frank portrayal of a woman in a stifling marriage who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside of her marriage. It is widely admired today for its literary qualities and its honest and artful exploration of the psychology of a woman involved in an illicit relationship.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book was written before feminism was a thing. It is a powerful story of identity, passion, and reaching for something that was an impossibility at the time.
Through the Storm
Sable, a slave on the run, is reunited with Raimond LeVeq, the Union officer she had betrayed, through an arranged marriage. She must try to win back his trust and love.
🤩 What I loved about it: The whole Le Veq family is amazing and the HEA is to swoon for. Beverly Jenkins is known for writing inclusive historical romances with very well-researched descriptions but still heavy on romance!
The Undertaker’s Assistant
Effie Jones, a former slave, and freedwoman returns to New Orleans during the Reconstruction era and earns her living as an embalmer. Through two encounters, she is introduced to new worlds of protests, activism, and social ambition, and decides to seek out her past and trace her kin. Despite facing loss and heartache, she has a chance to find her place in the midst of violence and racial turmoil.
🤩 What I loved about it: This novel is rich in history and you can tell it was very well-researched. Effie will stay with you for months after you read her story. It is one of my favorite books based in New Orleans.
The Second Life of Mirielle West
Set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles, The Second Life of Mirielle West tells the story of a glamorous silent film star’s wife who is forcibly quarantined at the Carville Lepers Home, where she must find community and purpose while struggling to redefine her self-worth and fight an unchosen fate.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book has very complex characters and is amazing to listen to on audio!
The Seamstress of New Orleans
Set in 1900 New Orleans, two strangers, Alice Butterworth and Constance Halstead, form an unexpected bond while creating a gown for the first all-female Mardi Gras krewe. As they progress towards greater independence, a secret emerges that could threaten their lives and cement their bond.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book captures the essence of New Orleans atmosphere with strong characters and a mystery plot line. It is a great beginner historical fiction if you are just dipping your toe into this genre for the first time.
Fiction books set in New Orleans
A Streetcar Named Desire
Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire is a 20th-century American play that continues to have a powerful impact 57 years after its Broadway premiere. It follows the story of Blanche DuBois, a faded and promiscuous character, and her brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski. It solidified Tennessee Williams’ position as one of his generation’s most influential young playwrights and Elia Kazan as the greatest American stage director of the ’40s and ’50s.
🤩 Why you should read this: If you’ve never read a screenplay then I suggest you start here! This screenplay was still as amazing as a novel. You could feel the tension from the characters plus you can watch the movie adaptation after.
The Vanishing Half
In The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett tells the story of twin sisters from a small, southern black community who run away at age sixteen and lead very different lives as adults. The novel explores the lasting influence of the past on a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and the multiple reasons why people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book is heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. The characters will live with you for months to come. If you are looking for a change and want to look at a different perspective I highly suggest you read this book!
A Kind of Freedom
A Kind of Freedom is a novel that follows the story of a Creole woman, her daughter, and her grandson, as they come of age in New Orleans during World War Two, the 1980s, and post-Hurricane Katrina, respectively. It explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through poignant and redemptive family history.
🤩 What I loved about it: Wow! This book dives deep into the generational effects of poverty and was a devasting read. If you want to cry, then pick this book up.
YA books set in New Orleans
17-year-old Celine Rousseau is forced to flee Paris and finds refuge in New Orleans, ruled by the dead. She becomes involved with the city’s glitzy underworld, La Cour des Lions, and its leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.
When a murder takes place, Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien while investigating the crime and discovers a serial killer on the loose who may have set his sights on her. As she delves deeper, she uncovers a dark feud and shocking truth about herself. The book is a mix of romance and murder mystery set in a supernatural New Orleans.
🤩 What I loved about it: This novel is a very prose heavy writing style but still has amazing banter between the characters!
The Casquette Girls
Adele Le Moyne, a sixteen-year-old living in post-storm New Orleans, discovers a web of magic and monsters connected to her ancestors and must decide who to trust in order to survive the mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book has witches, complex characters, and a mystery plot that is so fun to read!
Lia’s family has been living away from their old plantation house, Graymoss, since the Civil War due to a malicious spirit possessing it. Lia must either convince her parents not to move in or find a way to chase away the horror lurking inside the house using clues from her great-great-grandmother’s diary and an old copy of Favorite Tales of Edgar Allan Poe.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book is creepy with dark academic vibes, and a really great mystery.
Locked in Time
Nore Roberts moves to Shadow Grove with her newly married father and stepfamily, only to discover that her stepmother is hiding a sinister secret. With the help of her stepbrother and sister, Nore must uncover the truth before old and evil magic consumes her.
🤩 What I loved about it: The foreshadowing and suspense are amazing in this book! I loved the mystery aspect and it was one of my favorite books as a teenager.
House of Furies
Louisa Ditton, a 17-year-old, escapes a harsh school and finds work as a maid at Coldthistle House, a boarding house run by Mr. Morningside. She soon realizes that the house is not a place of rest, but a place where Mr. Morningside and his staff execute their own form of justice on those who are considered beyond saving.
Louisa fears for a young man named Lee who is different from the other guests and tries to save him from the judgment, but she must navigate through the house’s distortions and lies to determine whom she can trust.
🤩 What I loved about it: If you love horror this book is perfect for you! Between gory scenes and creepy illustrations, you will be looking over your shoulder for a while after you finish reading it.
Darkness Becomes Her
Ari, a young woman with teal eyes and silver hair, searches for answers about her identity and discovers a message from her deceased mother to “Run”. She returns to her birthplace of New 2, the rebuilt city of New Orleans, and discovers that she is feared by all creatures she encounters. She is determined to uncover the truth, no matter how haunting or terrifying it may be.
🤩 What I loved about it: I loved the blend of New Orleans and mythology in this book. It has everything I could want out of a YA fantasy novel. Each character is so unique and can stand on their own. Plus the descriptions of Mardi Gras parties and the setting were amazing to read.
Fantasy books set in New Orleans
Drusilla Jaco, a junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, is tasked with protecting the city from supernatural threats, but when Hurricane Katrina hits, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumble, unleashing undead and restless creatures.
To make matters worse, her mentor Gerry has gone missing and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover. DJ must find Gerry and the killer while learning that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from unlikely places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book has an amazing cast of characters and detailed world-building!
Ivy Morgan is a 22-year-old college student in New Orleans who is part of an Order dedicated to hunting supernatural creatures. When Ren Owens enters her life, she finds herself torn between her duty and her growing feelings for him, but soon discovers that he is hiding secrets that could threaten their relationship.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is a steamy new adult romance with an amazing plot line. Jennifer Armentrout can write any genre and it will be amazing. If you loved From Blood and Ash then you need to read this book!
Kia LaStrauss discovers she is a Soulwalker in the city of New Orleans, where magic and mysticism are real. With the help of her mentor Ian, she learns of her powers and the consequences of using them, as she is thrown into a world of danger and discovery.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is a truly underrated YA fantasy! It has great world building and characters that you will be invested in.
How to Date Your Dragon
Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay is sent to Louisiana on a mission for the League for Interspecies Cooperation to investigate the hidden town of Mystic Bayou, where humans and supernatural creatures live in harmony. She struggles to gain the trust of the locals and finds herself drawn to the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, who may not even be human.
🤩 What I loved about it: The audiobook is amazing for this one! There is so much steam but without sacrificing the plot or world building.
Mystery books set in New Orleans
Let the Dead Sleep
Danni Cafferty and Michael Quinn team up to search for a centuries-old bust of an evil man that was stolen from a New Orleans grave, as its current owner is found dead. They follow a trail of death and evil through the French Quarter and abandoned plantations, in the hopes of finding and destroying the object.
🤩 What I loved about it: Heather Graham is one of my go-to authors for mystery novels with a little bit of romance. The descriptions and history of New Orleans that she added really made this an atmospheric read.
Out Of The Easy
Seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is determined to escape the Big Easy of 1950s New Orleans, but when a mysterious death in the French Quarter leaves her tangled in an investigation, she must choose between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book will pull out a variety of emotions from you. It was so heartwarming at times but also sad and frustrating (in a good way). It is a really great twist on typical mystery novels.
The Butcher and the Wren
A methodical serial killer with a penchant for medical experimentation is on the loose in the Louisiana bayou, and forensic pathologist Dr. Wren Muller is the only one who can stop them. With an encyclopedic knowledge of historical crimes and years of experience in the Medical Examiner’s office, Wren must use her expertise to solve the case and catch the killer before it’s too late.
🤩 Why you should read it: If you love serial killer novels then this one is for you. The author used very descriptive language that made this book very creepy to read.
A Flicker in the Dark
This is a debut novel about a psychologist named Chloe Davis who lived through a traumatic experience as a child when her father was arrested for being a serial killer. 20 years later, as she is about to get married, a local teenage girl goes missing, bringing back memories of the traumatic summer from her past and making her question if she is paranoid or if she is about to unmask another killer.
🤩 What I loved about it: The characters are so complex in this novel and the flow between past and present is seamless. There were so many points where I had to stop reading because I was freaked out. The whole book is beautifully written.
Romance novels based in New Orleans
Declan Fitzgerald impulsively buys a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, determined to restore it to its former splendor. He begins to experience visions of days from a century past and terror and grief, leading him to discover a secret that has been buried for a hundred years with the help of Angelina Simone, who has her own connection to the house.
🤩 What I loved about it: Nora Roberts introduced me to my love for romantic suspense novels and this is one of my favorites by her! I loved the spooky mansion setting and the mystery in this book.
A Rush of Wings
Dante is a mysterious musician with a dark past who is linked to a sadistic serial murderer known as the Cross Country Killer. F.B.I. Special Agent Heather Wallace must unravel the truth about Dante to bring the killer to justice, but his past holds a dangerous secret that could put him in danger.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is a dark, gritty urban paranormal book with an amazing plot! This is more of a slow burn so hang in there for the rest of the series.
Moonlight & Whiskey
Avery, a successful businesswoman, goes on a girls’ trip to New Orleans where she meets Declan, lead singer of BlackSmith, who prefers curvy women. They have a steamy affair but Avery struggles with trust and rejection issues while Declan has his own demons. Avery must decide whether to play it safe or trust Declan.
🤩 What I loved about it: The characters are so fun in this book! There is almost a found family aspect and the tension between the main characters is everything you could want in a romance. I love that they both have their own issues that they bring into the relationship. It made the book have more depth and feel a little bit more realistic.
New Orleans Rush
Beatrice Baker vandalizes the wrong car and is unable to pay for the damages, but Huxley Marlow sees it as a sign and offers her a job to help him fix his family’s crumbling theater. As they work together, Beatrice falls for her grumpy boss, unaware of the secret activities he does at night that could change her opinion of him.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book has one of my favorite tropes which is the grumpy x sunshine! I was laughing out loud the whole time and everything about this book made me happy.
Emmy, the daughter of archaeologists, is determined to explore off-limits historical sites in the US, but is thwarted by Dean Savageman, host of The Adventure Channel’s No Trespassing. When Emmy sneaks into the NOLA Catacombs, she finds herself trapped with Dean twenty-five feet underground, leading to a history-making encounter.
🤩 What I loved about it: The cutest, insta love story out there. Normally I can’t stand this trope but the plot made up for it! This is the perfect book to read if you are in a reading slump.
Lana and Naz are two people from different worlds who find themselves in New Orleans. Lana is trying to escape an arranged marriage while Naz is haunted by his past sins. Despite their differences, they are drawn to each other and must decide what to do next.
🤩 What I loved about it: A very dark mafia romance that has a lot of tension and steam.
Paranormal books set in New Orleans
In Jewell Parker Rhodes’ novel Voodoo Season, Marie Levant, the great-great granddaughter of the famous Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, is compelled to leave her medical career in Chicago and return to her roots in New Orleans.
There, she is both seduced and horrified by the mysterious landscape of the city, where the past and present merge and women of color are still being abused. Marie senses that she has lived in New Orleans before, leading her to uncover more of the city’s history and her own.
🤩 What I loved about it: This was a really quick read for me! Great characters and I loved the mystery behind it.
Wolf Gone Wild
Mateo Cruz is a werewolf who has been unable to shift for three months and is desperate for help from a powerful witch. Evie Savoie, a witch, is initially hesitant to help Mateo due to the volatile nature of werewolves, but eventually agrees. However, Mateo’s wolf has a mind of its own and sets its sights on Evie.
🤩 What I loved about it: This is one of my favorite paranormal romance reads from last year! The whole series is phenomenal and you will fall in love with every character.
Love & Ghosts
Sean LeBlanc runs a haunted tour company in the French Quarter and falls for Emily Rollins, a skeptic who has been sent a mysterious wooden box containing a sinister force that threatens her sanity and life. Sean must convince Emily to believe in his psychic abilities and exorcise the demons from her apartment and mind in order to save them both.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book is a slow-burn, romance that makes me so happy! I loved Sean and Emily because they are literally perfect for each other. You will want to read the whole series in a week.
The Witching Hour
In this novel, Rowan Mayfair and Michael Curry, both unaware of their special powers, fall in love and set out to solve the mystery of her past and his unwelcome gift. The story moves through time from today’s New Orleans and San Francisco to long-ago Amsterdam and a château in France, revealing an intricate tale of evil unleashed in seventeenth-century Scotland. Through peril and escape, tension and release, the novel culminates in a startling climax on Christmas Eve in New Orleans.
🤩 What I loved about it: I had to include another Anne Rice novel because she is the queen of the paranormal. This is an epic tale that is full of history and adventure.
A young woman in New Orleans is faced with an unspeakable evil that is taking young women and leaving a bloodbath in its wake. She must decide whether to open herself up to the mysterious Cassian Winslow, who may be her only chance at stopping the evil or risk her own life.
🤩 What I loved about it: This book features insta-love that honestly worked well for the main couple and was seriously creepy when reading from the killer’s perspective.
What do you think about these New Orleans books?
In conclusion, New Orleans is a city that has inspired countless writers and continues to captivate readers with its rich history, diverse culture, and unique atmosphere.
From the hilarious novels like “Wolf Gone Wild” to the haunting and beautifully written “A Flicker in the Dark,” these books are a must-read for anyone who loves southern literature, mysteries, romance, or simply a good story.
Whether you’re planning a trip to New Orleans or simply want to escape into the world of this fascinating city, these books offer a window into its soul and will leave you longing for more. So be sure to pin this post for later and add these books to your reading list today.