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July 15, 2020

These are anxiety-ridden times, to say the least. Every day, we hear the COVID numbers go up higher and higher, and we wonder when the pandemic will end. It seems the whole world has finally joined BLM to decry racism and demand its removal from a just and socially aware America. And we lost yet another iconic New Orleans figure: Blaine Kern, the man who almost single-handedly imprinted Mardi Gras on our hearts. But we are all trying to figure it out, trying to adjust to all the news that blankets our world.

My dog Beau has been source of relief for me, even if it'...

June 8, 2020

My mother's birthday was a few days ago. That, and all the unrest in America lately, reminds me of so many things she taught me and my siblings. Often I write about myself as a backseat rider, in whatever vehicle we owned at the time, watching my mother drive - usually pretty fast but very easily, throwing her hands in the air, clapping, singing as she drove. We learned a lot in the backseats of those cars. She was one parent who seemed to know her children were always watching. For example, if she were driving too fast, or the police found it necessary to pull us over for any reason, we'd watch as...

January 26, 2020

Well, it appears I am starting the new year by looking back (and looking at this photo, far, far back). I was clearly in my twenties then, completely in love with all things musical, and sporting a giant afro. Yes, me and some most excellent Bose speakers - what more can I say. And we still believed in owning encyclopedias back then!

Anyway, this year opens very excitingly, with the publication of a memoir (also, a look back, to my growing years and our not-always perfect family). This book (Table Scraps, named after the title essay) will be different from the short stories. It's still about Louisian...

August 6, 2019

How heartbroken the world must be to hear of Toni Morrison's death. She will not write another acclaimed work, nor will she teach or offer any more literary theories. Sadly, her family and friends will suffer most. To all of us, though, she was a hero, and quite frankly an inspiration to those in and outside the literary arena. I am definitely shocked and saddened - another pillar is gone, but graciously, she leaves her work, which will help us carry on.

Back in 2007, when Morrison visited Tulane University, I happened to be in attendance at a reception given in her honor. I remember almost every mom...

June 9, 2019

Just a little lagniappe about Leah Chase's passing. The news programs have relentlessly reported on how much she meant to New Orleans and the rest of the world. Only a few days later, we also lost Dr. John, a musician so iconic to our music scene that few could surpass his impact. "Iko, Iko" is playing at the back of my mind right now. I will truly miss his presence, especially around Mardi Gras season. Mrs. Leah's impact, though, to the city, and as a possible monument, reminds me that she was a faithful woman who was incredibly special and monumentally loved. New Orleans is grieving over this loss...

June 8, 2019

I was about to blog about another great lady who has "gone up yonder" when I found these comments I had written about Aretha's funeral. I got busy and obviously forgot about finishing the post. Here it is close to a year later, but I think we are all still saddened that the Queen is no longer here. So many times during these past months, I've listened to her songs, or heard someone personally lament her passing, or even read great articles and stories, and a great poem by my workshop buddy Nordette. I think it's true that once you have them in your heart, they never leave. So please allow me to shar...

August 16, 2018

I need to slow down and take a moment to acknowledge the Queen of Soul's passing from this world to her eternal resting place. Come on, you gotta believe Aretha is now singing the wheels off heaven. To me, there were/are no singers/musicians/icons greater than Aretha Franklin. Her music simply reached me in a perfect way. I cannot count the many hours spent just listening to her music, appreciating the nuances of greatness in her voice, in her rendition of every song she gave us. I am tearing up thinking/realizing that she will never present us with another album, another moment of her presence on s...

February 3, 2018

I wished my nephew Happy Birthday this morning and realized that we (the world) are already into the second month of 2018, and I haven't even said goodbye to 2017. Bad manners, to say the least. It was a good year - one in which I travelled and worked on my craft. Last summer, I spent time at the Library of Congress, researching my project on Louisiana's past. Back at home, I worked on new stories for my second collection of stories, and I revised my memoir (a collection of essays about the small town where I grew up). In October, I was at the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium, at The W's (MUW) campus...

February 4, 2017

Yes, it has been a long time since I last blogged. Was I at least busy? Yes, mostly. I travelled with the book: to Dallas (Wild Detectives Books), Nashville (Southern Festival of Books), Berea College (Black Women Writers Symposium), Baton Rouge (Louisiana Book Festival). All of these events were magnificent in their own right, but the experience overall of spending so much time talking about my work and meeting so many kindhearted, purely delightful people is worth noting. I could not have asked for better experiences.

         I also spent time mourning the loss of a good friend. Gretchen Tremoulet...

July 12, 2016

As I was on my way home, I listened to NPR News and their production of the Dallas Memorial to the five slain police officers.  I listened and chuckled a bit as Chief Brown talked about his shyness around the young ladies of his youth, and his use of rhythm and blues tunes to calm his fears.  How appropriate was his recitation of Stevie Wonder's song "As"?  How prophetic, how timeless, how resonant for our own times.  I agree with Chief Brown that Stevie has always had a way of saying just the right thing.  The chief closed by telling the family members, the entire police department, Dallas citizens...

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