PASSINGS: Carla Cohen, Reggie Leon Battise

Carla Cohen

Co-owner of iconic D.C. bookstore


Carla Cohen, 74, a community activist who co-owned a

Washington, D.C.

, bookstore that became a city institution and a key stop for writers ranging from

Bill Clinton


J.K. Rowling

, died Monday of


, the Politics and Prose bookstore announced on its

A former city planner, congressional aide and federal housing official, Cohen founded the store in 1984 and ran it with co-owner Barbara Meade.

During an era when thousands of independent stores closed, Politics and Prose expanded from a crowded storefront to a two-story location with more than 10,000 square feet.

Born in Baltimore on April 11, 1936, Cohen graduated from Antioch College. In the late 1970s, she was an aide to Robert Embry Jr., assistant secretary during the Carter administration for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Ronald Reagan

defeated Carter in 1980, Cohen was out of a job and decided to start a bookstore. The money side was handled by Meade, who had answered a classified ad for a store manager.

Reggie Leon Battise

, a member of the nostalgia rock group Sha Na Na for more than 20 years, died Friday in

Los Angeles


prostate cancer

, the

announced. Battise, who also was a dancer, choreographer and actor, was 55.

-- Times staff and wire reports