“A most remarkable book built upon extraordinary research, beautiful writing, and devotion to telling the truth about the outstanding elite free colored community in New Orleans and its multi-generational battles for equal rights and against deeply entrenched, growing violent racism in their beloved home.”
--GWENDOLYN MIDLOW HALL,PhD
Author, Africans in Colonial Louisiana,
Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, National Assembly of France.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR ECONOMY HALL
“Fatima Shaik brings the 19th century members of the Economie society to life with compelling details and sensitive, heart-felt writing ....She interlaces quotes from the Economie’s never-before-seen journals with snippets from newspapers, property and census records, travelers’ memoirs, and even séances to create a rich non-fiction narrative that reads like a novel.”
"Afro-Creole writer and activist Rodolphe Lucien Desdunes first offered a glimpse into the Société d’Economie’s early history in Nos Hommes et Notre Histoire....Now, Shaik, a twenty-first century heir to the Desdunes’s legacy, proposes to open an exciting new window onto the city’s rich multiethnic, multiracial history. As her eloquent 'Prologue' indicates, she is ideally suited for the task."
In Economy Hall, Fatima Shaik has taken mere stick figures of American history and brought them to life as wise, vulnerable, determined men. For more than a century, the Creoles of New Orleans sought to introduce democracy to America, which was hardly democratic...This is a much needed and long-awaited work."
author, Zelda and
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna
St. Vincent Millay
CARYN COSSE BELL,
Pulitzer nominated author of Revolution, Romanticism and the
Afro-Creole Protest Tradition,
LOLIS ERIC ELIE,
Producer of "Faubourg Tremé" and writer for the HBO series "Tremé"
Fatima Shaik is the author of Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free, Black Brotherhood (The Historic New Orleans Collection, February 2021). She was born in the historic Seventh Ward of New Orleans and bred on the oral histories of Black Creoles told by her family and neighbors. Only after she read the records of the Economie—3,000 pages of handwritten French stored in her family’s home—did she realize this community’s impact. She spent two decades reading the journals and documenting events with real estate records, legal cases, old monographs, and articles. A former Assistant Professor at Saint Peter’s University and daily journalist, Shaik is a trustee of PEN America and member of The Writers Room in NYC. Economy Hall is her first work of nonfiction and her seventh book.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY FRW Scholar in residence
LOUISIANA ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, Publishing Initiative Grant
AFRICANA STUDIES PROGRAM NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Literature residency
THE KITTREDGE FUND, Research and writing grant
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE HUMANITIES, Fellowship
Award-winning filmmaker Kavery Kaul’s upcoming documentary THE BENGALI takes Fatima Shaik on a remarkable journey from New Orleans, the city of her birth, to India where her grandfather came from --- the untold story of ties that link African-Americans and South Asians in the U.S.
Previous Books by Fatima Shaik and Work in Anthologies
For any media inquiries, please contact
Scott Manning, 603-491-0995,
Abigail Welhouse, 646-517-2826,