Faulkner House Books on Pirate’s Alley: Only in New Orleans

Musicians in New Orleans' Jackson Square treat passersby to Dixieland jazz.Nojacksonsquare2
Musicians in New Orleans' Jackson Square treat passersby to Dixieland jazz.Nojacksonsquare2 /

New Orleans is filled with unique slices of Americana that can only be found in that one special place.

But even in NOLA, there are a few experiences that stand out as unique, that you can’t quite find anywhere else. Faulkner House Books on Pirate’s Alley is one of those experiences. But what it shares with the rest of New Orleans is the store’s deep history.

Namesake of a literary legend

William Faulkner was born in 1867, and was the author of 19 novels, 125 short stories, and multiple screenplays. He won several awards for his work, including two Pulitzer Prizes and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In the 1920s, Faulkner was a resident of New Orleans where he made a living writing for publications like the Times-Picayune. This city played a role inspiring him to try his hand at fiction. He actually wrote his first novel, Soldiers’ Pay, while living there.

During his time on NOLA, Faulkner’s home was an exceedingly small house located on a small strip of road quite literally called Pirate’s Alley. It still stands there, just around the corner from some of New Orleans’ key spots. These days, it’s home to an amazing memorial to his career and legacy.

William Faulkner
US novelist William Faulkner (1897 – 1962). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) /

Faulkner House Books

Founded in 1988, Faulkner House Books is a quaint bookstore that is based out of the legendary author’s former house. The building is also the headquarters of Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, an organization devoted to promoting NOLA’s literary heritage.

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This store holds an impressive collection rare editions of classics as well as an array of brilliant literary options. Naturally, it’s also a great place to pick up one of many of Faulkner’s novels and other published works.

But this isn’t the first independent bookstore that’s worth a look on a vacation. What sets this store apart and makes it a place that anyone going to New Orleans needs to seek out is where it rests, and how it fits into everything around it.

Location, Location, Location

Just going to a bookstore set up in the former residence of William Faulkner is already pretty interesting. The fact that it’s located on a street named Pirate’s Alley only doubles down on that. But it’s location in the historic French Quarter takes it over the top.

Anyone going to visit New Orleans is almost guaranteed to end up in the French Quarter. The history combined with the music and food has created one of the most unique locations in the United States. When someone thinks of New Orleans, they think of the French Quarter.

At the center of it all is Jackson Square, a National Historic Landmark. On one side of the park is St. Louis Cathedral and on the other are the banks of the Mississippi River. It’s surrounded by stores and restaurants that scream NOLA. And within footsteps of all of that is Faulkner House Books on Pirate’s Alley.

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Imagine having a marvelous meal in one of innumerable superb restaurants. Then, you sit down on the steps of St. Louis with a beignet in one hand and a copy of Absalom, Absalom! in the other. Then, you spend a leisurely 20 minutes reading while listening to an incredible musician play. That scene might not be for everyone, but it’s absolute paradise for some.