Please join SOLA for our March meeting on Saturday, the 20th at 10AM in the Eastbank branch of the Jefferson Parish Library at 4747 Napoleon Avenue in Metairie.
Author Mary Lou Widmer will present “Researching the Historical Romance”.
Widmer is a native of New Orleans, a former teacher, historian, and twelve-times published author. She taught in the high schools of New Orleans for 16 years and worked in the business world before retiring to devote herself to writing.
Her first romantic historical novel, Night Jasmine, published by Dell in 1980, is still popular today. It has been on summer reading lists of several girls’ high schools for years. Her screenplay of this novel has twice been optioned for movie rights and is presently under consideration by a local producer.
Taking a course at UNO in the history of New Orleans, she met and formed a partnership with the teacher Joan Garvey, with whom she co-authored Beautiful Crescent, A History of New Orleans, an ongoing best-seller in bookstores for 25 years, a textbook in local Metro Colleges and the Cabildo tour guide classes. The two teacher/historians also co-authored Louisiana, the First 300 Years.
In 1985, Berkley published her second romantic historical novel, Lace Curtain, about the Irish coming to New Orleans to dig a six-mile canal, 20, 000 of whom perished with Yellow Fever.
In 1989, Widmer wrote a hard-cover illustrated coffee-table book entitled New Orleans in the Thirties. Pelican released it and asked her to write a second nostalgia book about the Forties, then the Fifties, and thus a retrospective series was born. In the six-book series, the reader finds a panoramic view of life in New Orleans in the 20th century.
Widmer’s latest release is a hard-cover historical romance called The View from Rampart Street set in New Orleans in the 1840s, dealing with a system called placage, in which beautiful young quadroons were trained all their lives to be mistresses to white Creole gentlemen. It is presently available at bookstores, on Amazon.com, and on her website.
Widmer, an avid genealogist, has traced her ancestry back to a soldier who fought in the Battle of New Orleans. She is a member of The Daughters of 1812 and the Louisiana Colonials. She is also a former president of SOLA.
Mary Lou lives in the Lakeview section of New Orleans with her husband Al. She is the mother of two and the grandmother of four.