By Marielle Songy, Mid-City Messenger
Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Bookshop is reopening to the public on Saturday (April 30), in time for Independent Bookstore Day. The store that deems itself a community center for nerds, geeks and anyone who doesn’t feel supported elsewhere has been operating primarily online for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The store is opening in a new location, 432 N Anthony St., inside an old train supply station near Delgado Community College.
Candice Huber, a sixth-generation New Orleanian, opened Tubby & Coo’s on North Carrollton Avenue in 2014, naming it after grandparents who grew up in Mid-City. The store specializes in genre fiction such as sci-fi, fantasy, romance, queer fiction and horror as well as children’s books, board games and local books.
“We are the only queer-owned bookstore in the city, and we fill the niches that no one else does,” Huber said. “We focus on diverse fiction and newer work, rather than classic works.”
Tubby & Coo’s also boasts a game room packed with board games for rent and purchase. “I used to do board game rental before Covid,” Huber said, “and now I have a whole wall of rental games. It’s perfect if someone is having a party or family night and they don’t want to have to buy a certain game.”
The shop has maintained an active online presence since its pandemic closure in 2020. Huber cites concerns about the lack of a vaccine for children and the multiple Covid variants as reasons for keeping the brick-and-mortar shop shuttered for two years.
“Once the kids vaccine came out, I was more willing to open the store, though there still isn’t a vaccine for very small kids,” Huber said. “I was trying to find the best time to reopen for all of our customers to make sure that everybody is safe.”
Now that vaccines are more widespread and other businesses are back to in-person operations, Huber thinks that it’s time to reopen and get back to business as usual. Independent Bookstore Day was the perfect time to welcome shoppers back into Tubby & Coo’s full time.
Huber’s shop is an integral part of New Orleans’ book scene, and independent booksellers add a personal touch when selecting a book.
“It’s important to have curated selections and be able to talk to a real person who can recommend books to you,” Huber said. “Independent bookstores are important and do a lot for the community.”
For Independent Bookstore Day, Tubby & Coo’s will participate in a bookstore crawl with the city’s other independent bookstores: Baldwin & Co., Blue Cypress Books, Community Book Center, Frenchmen Art & Books, Garden District Book Shop and Octavia Books.
Participants will obtain a “passport” at any of the participating stores and get it stamped at each shop visited. Four passport stamps will enter participants to win prizes, and participants with all seven stamps will have a chance to win a grand prize of $175 in gift cards. Tubby & Coo’s will also offer special giveaways, exclusive items and a broad selection of signed books to celebrate the day.
Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop
432 N. St. Anthony St., suite 305c
Reporter Marielle Songy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.