Last night I was invited to photograph the Summer Reading Kickoff Party for the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library hosted by Royal Street gallery Vintage 329. The fine folks from Hotel Monteleone provided refreshments and were on hand to showcase their own original literary works. Writer Lolis Eric Elie was on hand to welcome everyone to the event. Several of New Orleans’s finest actors read aloud from signed first editions of iconic American classics by Dr. Seuss, Harper Lee, and Robert Frost. Big Choo and the Game Ova Boyz closed out the evening with a music and dance performance designed to get the message out to children that “reading is cool!” As I drank my delicious raspberry spritzer and listened to selections from To Kill A Mockingbird, surrounded by historical iconography and one-of-a-kind pop culture memorabilia, I was distinctly aware of being present for a uniquely New Orleans event. Our city has a wonderful way of combining the arts with a good party for a great cause, and it was a special evening for all who attended. 20 % of proceeds from rare book sales at last night’s event went to the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library, and Vintage 329 is donating 10% of rare book sales through July 31st to the FNOPL, so you still have time to visit the gallery and check out some incredible books. While you are at it, bring a few books from your own collection at home, because Vintage 329 is serving as a depository for the book donation arm of the FNOPL. Click here to learn more about the program.