FAB Art & Books
FAB Art & Books

FAB Art & Books

600 Frenchmen St  New Orleans, 70116
(504) 947-3700
Operating Hours:
sunday - saturday 1:00 pm - 11:00 pm

A stroll down Frenchmen St. in the Marigny is a voyage into the epicenter of live music entertainment in New Orleans. The musical hot spot features bar after bar, nightclub after nightclub, along with a few notable eateries like Praline Connection and the Marigny Bistro. It’s a nightlife haven for locals and a must for visitors.

If you were to walk by the ever-popular live music venue, Blue Nile, and continue towards Praline Connection, an unassuming book store suddenly pops into view that may cause you to do a double take. Whether you’ve seen it before or not, I promise your inquisitive juices will compel you to sneak a peek.

What you’re seeing is the oldest gay and lesbian store in New Orleans. FAB, Faubourg Marigny Art & Books, a gay and lesbian bookstore, was once a “neighborhood store” in the 70s. Owner, Otis Fennell, has been around since then and loves the traffic of interested Frenchmen Street patrons that visit his store every day. “It’s a good crowd. They’re not expecting to find a bookstore. They kind of wobble walking by and then they come in to explore. Then they find out it’s a gay bookstore that actually has New Orleans books and a lot of other books. I’ve had fun with that. It’s been a lot of fun for me,” says Fennell.

Nestled on the corner of Frenchmen and Chartres Streets, FAB is home to an extensive collection of GBLT literature, and other local and national books. The walls are covered with paintings that symbolize GBLT and local New Orleans artistry. The store also hosts book signings and readings by local authors. “This site was the perfect place to do a GBLT bookstore. I brought the art in and that really made a big difference,” says Fennell.

Over the years, Fennell has dedicated his life to ensuring that the uniqueness of the store maintains a New Orleans theme and feel. The store holds a library of books dedicated to New Orleans by New Orleans authors. “My goal is to promote New Orleans literature, which after Katrina has become more significant. Before, we had a few New Orleans books, now the number is amazing,” says Fennell.

The FAB on Frenchmen is overwhelmed with an assortment of books, artwork, and other New Orleans-inspired keepsakes. Amongst the rows of books, one can’t help but to feel like they’re experiencing what many people call the spirit of New Orleans. This quaint bookstore embodies the essence of New Orleans- past, present and future, and herein lies the store’s intangible value. “We have people coming in here from all over the world,” says Fennel, “New York, LA, San Francisco. They have lost their original stores and they miss them. This is our little version of Oscar Wilde in New York,” paying homage to the famed GBLT bookstore that closed its doors in 2009.

Some of the best stories of our city’s history can be found in the plethora of books at FAB, but much of it can be learned by simply listening to the owner. Get him talking, and Fennell will tell stories about the city’s economic boom in the 70s when businesses and infrastructure were first being planned and developed. Fennel recants stories of the days when he was active and involved in seeing New Orleans grow into an economic hub, reflecting on the era when the Superdome and other economic fixtures were first being established and jobs were being created. “I like to bring people back to the history. I want to see New Orleans do that again. I feel confident about the city’s future,” Fennel says.

Fennel has great plans for the future of FAB and its continued impact in the community. He points to the next generation as being vehicles to ensure that GBLT literature flourishes, “It’s going to be the younger generation, so I want to create an environment where we can reach out to students, younger filmmakers, writers, and oral storytellers.”

With plans to increase the store’s online presence and to create more platforms to share and document GBLT history, Fennell will continue to steer FAB into the future. “You’re not going to find this anywhere else in the South,” says Fennell, and adds, “Frenchmen’s a great spot. I can sit here and watch the world come by the door.”

600 Frenchmen St  New Orleans, 70116