Tonight, anyone who wants to skip the red beans and rice?and instead put on some horn-rimmed reading glasses?might want to swing by Octavia Books, where author, Rolling Stone contributing editor, and prodigal Tulanian Rich Cohen will present and sign his new book The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King.
Who was America's banana king? None other than Samuel Zemurray (the guy staring disapprovingly at you in this picture), a Jewish Russian immigrant to New Orleans who made a small fortune selling the speckled bananas nobody else thought would make it to market. Zemurray used that money to seed a remarkable business career, one which would eventually find him as the head of the United Fruit Company, the banana emperor of Latin America and one of the more nefarious reasons Tulane has such a large endowment. It starts at 6 p.m., so be there tonight, or be a speckled banana.
· Octavia Books [Official Site]