Located inside the historic Rink, at the corner of Washington Avenue and Prytania Street in the beautiful Garden District of New Orleans, is Garden District Book Shop. The quaint bookstore packs an impressive inventory of regional works, fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, art, gardening, and several other genres into a relatively small space lovingly adorned with literary posters and artwork.
Carrying mostly new books, with some used titles here and there, one of the most impressive things about Garden District Book Shop is its vast collection of signed novels by both regionally and nationally known authors. On the shelves, I spied signed copies of newer titles such as The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, and even Becoming by Michelle Obama, as well as plenty of older books by the likes of Anne Rice, Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy, and others.
Founded in 1980, the shop labels itself “New Orleans’ signature book shop,” and has become a popular spot with its large inventory, signed books, a book club, and active calendar of author events.
Being tucked inside the historic Rink adds an extra layer to the shop’s character. Built in 1884, the property was originally the Crescent City Skating Rink, built to lure in tourists during that year’s World’s Fair, held in the city as the World’s Cotton Centennial Exposition. Since its early days as a roller skating rink, the historic building has served as a livery stable, a mortuary, a grocery store, and a gas station. Today, in addition to the bookshop, the Rink is home to such businesses as boutiques, gift shops, a coffee shop, and a salon.
Garden District Book Shop is open daily and is located inside The Rink at 2727 Prytania Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.