Blue Cypress Books
I first discovered Blue Cypress Books on Oak Street when my mother last came to visit me in New Orleans. She was looking for a book on New Orleans houses to give my grandmother for her birthday. That was when I first met Elizabeth, the store’s owner. She found us exactly what we were looking for in record time, as well as some fiction that she had just finished that she loved.
Blue Cypress Books with its bright blues and yellows reminds me of a school library, down to the oatmeal-colored carpet. The shelves are no higher than eye-level and all of the book’s spines are visible. Elizabeth’s goal in maintaining the shop is to find the balance between having enough books that there is something for everyone, but not so many that customers can’t find what they want.
Relatively new to the city, Blue Cypress Books has been open for three years. At the time of its opening, it was the only used bookstore in the neighborhood, though it appears to have started an uptown trend. Elizabeth opened the bookstore with the conviction that books should be affordable for everyone. On the back of the Blue Cypress bookmarks is a frequent reader card. After spending $50, the customer gets a free book.
With an inventory reaching 11,000 books, I believe even the most reluctant reader can find something they want, especially with the help of Elizabeth, whose knowledge of literature is both impressive and refreshing.
Blue Cypress has the largest selection of second-hand children’s books in New Orleans, as well as an impressive New Orleans section. Though not a native New Orleanian, Elizabeth has a clear passion for the city, from the infamous Chris Rose quotation painted on the wall to her favorite book that has passed through the shop, a second-edition of Confederacy of Dunces signed by John Kennedy Toole’s mother with a picture of the author inside.
Though, when I first asked her what her favorite book was in the shop, she said, “I can’t! That’s like choosing my favorite child!”
Blue Cypress fosters accessibility of books. Through its clear organization, affordability, and breadth of selection, Blue Cypress Books embodies the sort of inclusivity that bookstores should promote--that there is no such thing as not liking books, only finding what you like.
Blue Cypress Books will take the time and effort to make sure the next book you buy will be your new favorite.