By Susan Clements
So, I moved here in July—I’m happy to be living in the amazing “New Freret” neighborhood—and almost immediately upon arrival I wanted to buy some magazines.
Wait, let me try that again: I needed to buy some magazines.
You see, I am a committed magazine junkie. No favorite flavors—I enjoy them all, from my weekly New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Believer, Mother Jones, Oxford American, even Granta and n+1, to—yes indeedy—Garden & Gun, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Fast Company, Wired, Travel and Leisure, Dwell. I’ve even been known to drag home a copy of Martha Stewart Living on occasion (which, of course, I buy for the recipes).
The first three people I “met” in New Orleans (via email) offered somewhat helpful suggestions: Try local bookshops, the grocery stores, Wal-Mart. I’d been to Rouses and they carried the usual suspects, but I was craving a juicier selection that no one seemed to have. Most booksellers have cut back dramatically or stopped carrying periodicals altogether.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, where I’ve lived forever, all indie bookshops carry magazines. By and large, it often seems almost like a contest: Who can carry the most eclectic and awesome selection. The little newsstand in my neighborhood in Oakland, ISSUES, was founded four years ago by a local couple named Noella and Joe and has become wildly successful. It stocks every periodical you could want and/or imagine, from zines and lit. journals to international, arts, and music publications, plus all of the “usual” stuff. It has become a sort of community gathering place, too, hosting monthly vegan bake sales and sponsoring the annual Christmas tree lighting event.
However much I loved New Orleans and was ecstatic to have arrived, I longed for my magazines. Where could they be?!
When I presented my periodical conundrum to my landlord he had an answer right away. “Go to Lakeside News,” he told me, “across from the mall in Metairie. And it’s next to The Morning Call, a venerable coffee-and-beignet institution.”
I got directions from MapQuest and immediately went out on the hunt. Lakeside News did not disappoint. It’s a narrow space in a strip mall, with an open floor plan divided and lined by rows of shelves crammed with bound printed matter—your classic (and fast disappearing) newsstand. It opens early and closes late (5 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily) and has pretty much everything, of all genres. I came home $40 poorer but magazine-rich and satisfied. Oh, and did I mention the beignets next door were made fresh while I waited?
Since my first trip I’ve already been back once, in August. Yes, it’s a pain to have to drive that far for the reward, but until New Orleans gets itself a good—nah, a fabulous—newsstand, I’ll keep making that monthly run to Metairie.
Susan Clements is a freelance indexer and copyeditor. She runs the Readers Report section of The Rumpus.