Selected Works

Library Journal: “The heroine’s determination to improve her life and never to give up define this novel… Lagasse recalls the socially realistic novels of John Steinbeck and Edward Dahlberg with this stark, unadorned prose portrait.”
“I sat right down and read the book and I love it. In her new novel, Navel of the Moon, Mary Helen Lagasse has created a wonderfully engaging and complex young woman who tells a compelling story of the promise and pain and shared courage of growing up, not just for herself but for her city of New Orleans. This splendid work gives further evidence of Lagasse’s permanent place in our literary culture."
–Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author
It recalls the classic novels while offering “a different kind of New Orleans – not magnolias, moonlight, or vampires... but a place where dreams are big and reality is disillusionment."
–Shirley Ann Grau, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author
Essay - “The Channel”
Ms. Lagasse is one of the My New Orleans contributors singled out for praise... in a review by The Los Angeles Times: "The true strength of 'My New Orleans' lies in its contributors acute observations of a culture that has remained defiantly different... The city may be most famous for its French colonial roots, but novelist Mary Helen Lagasse deftly sketches the more familiar multiculturalism of its 20th century neighborhoods... "

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Navel of the Moon Book cover

Navel of the Moon

As a longtime reader of New Orleans fiction (for more than 20 years I was the book editor for The New Orleans Times-Picayune)… Navel of the Moon is a timeless book in the sense of offering that great coming-of-age moment wrapped in a compelling and memorable story, I find the setting especially delightful and well done. Lagasse draws on the rich ethnic makeup of our city, the loving way inhabitants deal with one another, the pitfalls that beset us on every side, without ever falling into the clichés that all too often are front and center in novels set in the Crescent City. One of the things I love most about this book is that it gets New Orleans just right... Lagasse manages point of view admirably. Vicky Lumiere [protagonist] is faced with difficult moral choices and she struggles to come down on the side of right and conscience. She manages to be both street smart and just naïve enough to have the reader completely on her side from the beginning.
–Susan Larson, Peer Reviewer

Irish Channel Cottage, New Orleans

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