Marie-Madeleine Hachard – Ursuline nun and writer of 1700’s colony

Women have played important roles across the history of fabled city of New Orleans.  One of the earliest women I love to tell of was young Marie-Madeleine Hachard who turned out to be a storyteller in her own right.  Born in 1704 in France she joined the Ursuline nuns for the journey to the wilderness of Louisiana in what amounted to as  Peace Corps mission to serve in a needy world. She wrote letters to her father about her travels, adventures, and scenes in New Orleans in 1727.  Her father, inspire by her wisdom and insight, saved them all to print what would become the first book published about Louisiana.

More of Marie-Madeleine’s story is recounted in chapter one French Louisiana 1682-1763 of DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS by Bill Norris


Bill Norris Book Signing

First Book Signing A Grand Success

Last Saturday, January 9, 2016, I held my first official book signing with Down in New Orleans: True Stories of a Fabled City at the French Market gift shop A Tisket A Tasket located at 910 Decatur St. in New Orleans.  Lisa Jones, Business Manager, was a great help in meeting the public.  This was my first experience promoting my book directly to the public.  Lisa’s advice was to simply explain why the book is special.  Pique their interest, pull them in, get them excited about reading the book.

The simple summary I shared is that the book reveals significant personalities who  helped create the character of the city over the past three hundred years. Many are widely known, but there are a lot of new faces in this book: Madeline Hachard who wrote the first book about New Orleans om 1727; Jean Louis, boat builder, who endowed a hospital that grew into the benchmark healthcare system for the population, Charity Hospital; Juan St. Malo, an African seeking freedom; Nicholas Roosevelt and his wife Lydia Latrobe Roosevelt who brought the first steamboat to the city and numerous others.

Hearing my summary led some folks to ask insightful questions about the book or New Orleans or myself.  One young lady asked if the French Market looked like this 100 years ago.  Telling her that from where we stood aromas from famous Madam Begue’s kitchen would be swirling by.  We would hear people speaking German, Creole French, Spanish and languages from around the world.  Then passing us would be mules pulling carts of vegetables, flowers, fish and game from the farms, fields and waters that surround New Orleans.  All from the place we were standing.  That young lady bought the first  book of the day.

It was a great afternoon and I owe great thanks to Lisa and A Tisket A Tasket.  She’s planning another event for February.

New Book “Down In New Orleans” by Bill Norris

DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS: True Stories of a Fabled City

Inspired by years of storytelling, meeting people and enjoying their questions, I decided to write a book of the stories. That came to life on Kindle and Amazon in December of 2015.  DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS: True Stories of a Fabled City gives a visitor, resident or tour guide down to earth stories that represent the history, character and flavor of an enchanted city. I approach the history from the viewpoint of a raconteur, a storyteller. History is theories of what happened, detailed accounts, conclusions, footnotes and bibliographies. DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS tells the stories.

It’s available on Kindle and Amazon.

Down In New Orleans - True Stories of a Fabled City