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LGBT

Love Inspired By the Pages In Between

Check out these 3 gay romance novels set in New Orleans with itineraries to help you live out each one.

LGBT bookstore, gay bookstore
A quick stop at Blue Cypress Books on Oak Street for some romance novels. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

When I was younger, 18 or something, I read my first romance novel. Every bit of it left me breathless. Star-crossed lovers. Stolen kisses. Lost moments that made me feel as swept away as the heroine experiencing it. (Sigh.) Even now there is nothing like a well written romance to capture one’s imagination and one’s heart.

Finding that spark again when you’ve been in a relationship for a long time can be tough, but romance novels are a great way to stoke that fire. Best of all, you don’t need to buy a kilt to do it…unless you’re into that.

So, here goes: my favorite LGBT romance novels set with New Orleans as the backdrop. Plus, my top picks of where to go when you’re here to make the romance real.

Second Line Gay Romance Novel“Second Line: Two Short Stories of Love & Cooking in New Orleans”

Poppy Z. Brite’s book is made up of two short stories that follow the love affair of two friends from the Lower 9th ward. “The Value of X,” the first of the two, tells the tale of Ricky and G-man, and of the realization that only two things matter in life – food and each other. The second story, “Duc*k,” continues their romance as they deal with the stresses of owning a successful restaurant, bruised egos, running a kitchen, firing people, and meeting one’s childhood hero. Filled with food and an enduring love of childhood friends, this book is purely delicious. For a real taste of these two stories, check out these fun New Orleans spots below.

Where to go to experience it: 

Catahoula Hotel is the place where you’ll want to stay. It’s a 35-room hotel that feels like it’s been a part of New Orleans for generations. The rooms are modern, bright, and inviting.

Bacchanal Wine is considered by most in New Orleans as the backyard party where everyone’s invited. With live music and a twinkly light atmosphere, this place will feel like your place in no time. The food here is also divine, so come hungry.

Okay Bar is a neighborhood haunt that boasts fresh tacos, sandwiches, cheap beer and uncomplicated cocktails. But this place is more than that – it’s just cool.

Gay Romance Novel The Romance Vote“The Romance Vote”

“The Romance Vote” by Ali Vali is a story about Christian “Chili” Alexander, a New Orleans political campaign consultant at Pellegrin Morris Firm and Samantha Pellegrin, a recent graduate from Tulane, poised to inherit it all. Sam wants to prove herself worthy of the position she will one day hold, and Christian “Chili” Alexander is the person from whom she wants to learn it all. Unfortunately, working for Chili teaches Sam a lot more than she could have imagined. To experience the heart of this book in real life, check out some of downtown and the French Quarter’s loveliest places below.

Where to go to experience it:

Located within walking distance of everything you’d ever want to do in the French Quarter, Hotel Monteleone is luxury personified. If you stay here, be sure to check out the Carousel Bar and Lounge.

Antoine’s Restaurant has been the backdrop for propositions, handshakes and negotiations. Founded in 1840, Antoine’s is as rich in history as it is in flavor.

Sazerac Bar is located in the exquisite Roosevelt Hotel. And as you sip on your cocktail of choice, just envision Sam and Chili sitting a couple seats over at the bar working on a way to win the vote — and each other.

Gay Romance Books Veiled Loyalties“Bissonet & Cruz Investigations” series

If you’re into mysteries and investigations that leave you on the edge of your seat, heart pounding, anticipating every turn of the page and every dramatic moment yet to come, these books are it. The series starts with “The Royal Street Heist” and is followed by “Veiled Loyalties” and “A Lethal Mistake.” They follow the romance between two detectives, Beau Bissonet and Tollison Cruz, as they solve New Orleans’ toughest cases. And since this series has plot lines that go from here to Italy, I’ve recommended places with an international feel.

Where to go to experience it:

Stay at the International House located on Camp Street. The rooms are modern and opulent without feeling overdone. Then grab a tasty beverage in their bar/lounge, Loa which has plush velvet seating that begs you to stay a while to go over all the facts of your romance.

Make reservations at Court of Two Sisters located on Royal Street. With live music, gorgeous outdoor seating that is pure magic in the moonlight, this place will make your heart skip a beat like your partner does.

Visit Caliche and Pao to bring home a little piece of New Orleans. I have one of their paintings and absolutely love the bright colors and depiction of classic New Orleans architecture. And when my brother from Colorado came to visit, he loved it so much he bought his very own.

So there you have it, my take on the best LGBT-themed romance novels set in New Orleans. Now get to the bookstore, Amazon, iTunes, or wherever you go to get books and start reading your way to happily ever after. And if you’re still aching to learn more about how romantic New Orleans can be, check out the New Orleans inspired home and garden blog, Probably This.

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