The Truth In This Art Podcast - Insights for Artists, Creatives, and Cultural Leaders

Cultivating Culture: DJ Johnson's Artful Bookstore & Community Enrichment

Cultivating Culture: DJ Johnson's Artful Bookstore & Community Enrichment

Join host Rob Lee in a captivating conversation with DJ Johnson, the visionary behind Baldwin & Co., a distinct community-centric bookstore and coffeehouse nestled in Faubourg Marigny. Delve into DJ's journey as a New Orleans native with a tech background, fueled by a fervor for books and coffee. Discover how he fused his passions into Baldwin & Co., a haven for ideas, connection, and community. From his transition from information technology to curating cultural connections to his vibrant vision for the Art Deco haven, tune in to unearth the essence of this indie haven, where books and brews intertwine, fostering intellectual exploration and human bonds. Explore the allure of indie bookstores, the power of community-driven ventures, and the vivacious cultural pulse of New Orleans.

About Baldwin and Co.

Baldwin & Co. works to expand literacy and promote discourse among all members of the community. There’s no better way to foster intellectual growth than through books and literature. Baldwin & Co. believes the success of every individual begins with a book in hand. Inspired by James Baldwin, we work to eradicate the root causes of poverty, eliminate discrimination, increase access to opportunity, and combat the racism that underlies inequity. Through the power of books, we are increasing individuals' ability to improve their lives and achieve economic independence.

In this episode, we explore:

  • How "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" ignited DJ Johnson's passion for reading, shaping his literary journey.
  • DJ's childhood, discovering how his journey with a speech impediment led him to books as a source of solace and inspiration.
  • DJ's transformative decision to leave his IT career behind, driven by a desire to care for his mother and create a positive impact in New Orleans.
  • The inception of Baldwin & Co., revealing its mission to foster intellectual growth, community bonds, and the celebration of black culture.
  • The profound impact of literature, as he discusses his firm belief in books as vehicles for education, inspiration, and life-changing transformation.

DJ Johnson shares his journey of creating a unique independent bookstore and coffee shop in New Orleans. He discusses his early creative interests, the importance of reading, and the impact of books on his life. DJ also talks about his career path, the challenges of balancing creativity and practicality, and his commitment to giving back to the community. He highlights the cultural richness of New Orleans and the importance of preserving and promoting black culture.


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This program is supported in part by a grant from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

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Original music by Daniel Alexis Music with additional music from Chipzard.

Episode illustration by Alley Kid Art.

About "The Truth In This Art"

Hosted by Rob Lee, "The Truth In This Art" podcast dives into the heart of creativity and its influence on the community. This arts and culture podcast from Baltimore highlights artists discussing their ideas, sharing insights, and telling impactful stories. Through these artist interviews, listeners gain a deeper understanding of the creative economy and artistic life in Baltimore. 

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Creators and Guests

Rob Lee
Rob Lee
The Truth In This Art is an interview series featuring artists, entrepreneurs and tastemakers in & around Baltimore.
Baldwin & Co. Books & Coffee
Baldwin & Co. Books & Coffee
DJ Johnson is the owner of Baldwin & Co. Baldwin & Co. is an independent bookstore located in New Orleans, LA. Inside, books on mystery, business, history, art, travel, children’s literature and more.