Anna Leblanc has felt drawn to libraries for years, and she never tires of seeing children delight in the discovery of reading. While at Smith College, Anna was an assistant in the Children's and Young Adult Department of the local library where she remained until graduation. “We became a family at the library,” says Anna. “And the children enjoying the book stacks and the inviting ambience always put a smile on my face!”
A double major in French and History, Anna, a New Orleans native, was always intrigued by her family’s background. She was motivated not only by a desire to enhance her knowledge of French history, but by the opportunity to become acquainted with the language of her ancestors.
Anna, who studied in Paris for a semester, has returned to her native New Orleans. She feels at home at The French Library, and enjoys bearing witness to a new generation of budding Francophiles. She is particularly pleased to be a part of the renaissance of this language in southern Louisiana.
In her free time Anna revels in the theater. She is an avid fan of all varieties of music, and particularly enjoys musical theater. If you should hear a quiet humming as you peruse our stacks, it is most likely Anna.
Anna’s favorite children’s book in French or English? | 'L’Arbre Genereux', 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein
Cristina Aviani Lamia
Born in Paris, Cristina moved to Brazil at the age of two. She started attending French school in Brazil, and remained on the French tract while moving between Spain, Brazil and Israel. Cristina studied at Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier and then moved to Lyon and completed her Masters in International Communication with a minor in English and Spanish.
Fluent in French, Portuguese, English and Spanish (with conversational Italian), Cristina is very accomplished and a great conversationalist. It’s hard not to pass time over coffee and interesting topics with our talented shop manager.
After working as a translator and interpreter, she fell in love with a New Orleans native, and as many of us know all too well, she got drawn in.
What does she love about New Orleans? "Always up for a good time, New Orleans reminds me of home. The lively and eclectic aesthetic, busy cultural life (despite being a small city, there's always a lot going on), and of course the music and food!”
Cristina’s favorite children’s book in French or English? | 'Les Malheurs de Sophie' by Comtesse de Ségur
Katrina is the founder and propriétaire of The French Library.
She and her husband, former Saints Cornerback, Jabari Greer, relocated to New Orleans in 2009. With three children, born and raised in New Orleans, their appreciation for the charming, eccentric city has made it home.
The concept of The French Library evolved when Katrina, who had placed her three children in French immersion programs, realized that finding current French literature in shops or online was a formidable challenge. After exhausting multiple avenues in her attempts to locate French books, she also witnessed vacationing friends ferrying books back from French-speaking countries for their children in immersion programs. After much research and brainstorming (with dash of happenstance and magic), voilà, the idea for The French Library was born.
Given her degree in Commerce with a specialization in Retail and Marketing, and a devotion to books, language, art, design, and a love for nurturing the “merveilleux” in each child, it’s not surprising that Katrina has launched an enterprise that helps children peer through portals into new worlds via the written word.
On any given day, Katrina can be found strolling through her Uptown neighborhood near Audubon Park. “I also feel a sense of pride walking down Magazine Street. Such a progressive city, I am inspired by many New Orleans shop owners and artists. Every now and then, I also wander through the French Quarter with my husband and children. There is something so ancient, yet cozy, about the Quarter; I feel like I’ve gone back in time. It's nostalgic”.
“Travelling between Canada, Europe and New Orleans, I know that other cities have charm, beauty and soul. Yet New Orleans encompasses all of these, as well as an incomparable magic. In this city, it is permissible to be a grown-up and believe in fairy dust.”
Katrina’s favorite children’s book in French or English? | 'Strega Nona' by Tomie de Paolo and 'Stone Soup' by Marcia Brown
Instagram | @mme.greer