2020 Festival Schedule

LITERARY AND SPECIAL EVENTS

SEE SECTIONS BELOW FOR THEATER EVENTS, SCHOLARS CONFERENCE, WALKING TOURS, AND MUSIC EVENTS

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25

Opening Night:  VIEUX CARRÉ BAROQUE CIRCUS

7:15 PM Cash Bar and Mingling with Performers; 8 – 9:15 PM Performance

Our opening night spectacular is a dazzling theatrical performance that transports us into Carnivals’ past through the eyes of Tennessee Williams, featuring an eclectic entourage of the finest performing artists in the Crescent City. Our emcee, the legendary drag icon Vinsantos, will guide us through a journey of circus arts, stunts, vaudeville, and sideshow performances. Stories from the life of Tennessee Williams and a monologue from his rarely staged autobiographical play Vieux Carré will be woven into the performance to capture the hauntingly beautiful atmospherics of the French Quarter. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $45 or VIP Pass

THURSDAY, MARCH 26

9 AM—Special Event, THE NEW ORLEANS WRITING MARATHON

Jumpstart your writing with the New Orleans Writing Marathon! Hosted by Marathon founder Richard Louth, participants write their way across the French Quarter in cafes, pubs, bookstores, and anywhere a small group of writers can sit, write, and share their work. It’s all about writing in the moment, writing for the joy of it, and finding inspiration in one’s place. We start at the Hotel Monteleone before going out to explore the French Quarter as writers. For more information, visit www.writingmarathon.com and for questions, contact Richard Louth at rlouth@selu.edu. Writing Marathons begin at 9 AM on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Hotel Monteleone, Orleans A, Free and open to the public

9 – 10:15 AM—Writer’s Craft Session, LAYERING IN THE PAST: USING DIALOGUE TO REVEAL BACKSTORY

Conventional wisdom dictates that we shouldn’t use dialogue to spoon-feed readers, but we can learn from Tennessee Williams’ plays to write strong, believable dialogue that reveals character and backstory. In a medium consisting almost entirely of dialogue, Williams created flesh and blood characters who are burdened, if not haunted, by their pasts. In fiction, however, a character can slip into a reverie for only so long before the momentum is broken. We explore how to reveal the past through conversation, where it can be hinted at, fought over, and revealed in bits and pieces, and we discuss strategies for introducing backstory without breaking a scene’s rhythm. Bring pen and paper to work through a short scene-building exercise. Led by authors Allison Alsup, Tom Andes, and Jessica Kinnison from the New Orleans Writer’s Workshop. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

10:30 – 11:45 AM—Writer’s Craft Session, HOMECOMING/HOMEGOING: CONNECTING CHARACTER AND SETTING

Tennessee Williams’ vivid settings are inextricable from his characters—Southerners, through and through—and often defined by their relationships to “home” and all this tricky word entails. A clear sense of place is central to character-driven writing, yet setting is often treated as mere window dressing. This workshop asks writers to imagine their characters as inextricable from time and place as we examine strategies for revealing character by tunneling into that fraught word, “home.” Bring pen and paper as we’ll finish with a short writing exercise. Led by authors Allison Alsup, Tom Andes, and Jessica Kinnison from the New Orleans Writer’s Workshop. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Writer’s Craft Session, Erica Spindler: MASTERING THE ART OF ADDICTIVE SUSPENSE

Would you like to write a novel that readers just can’t put down? Do you wonder what elements elevate a ho-hum read to an edge-of-your-seat, roller coaster ride? New York Times-bestselling author Erica Spindler, dubbed the Master of Addictive Suspense and Queen of the Romantic Thriller, will share her secrets for writing addictive page turners. Tips will cover character (hero and villain), plot, pacing, story structure, and more. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

2:30 – 3:45 PM—Writer’s Craft Session, FACT AND FICTION WITH COLM TÓIBÍN

This session delves into how history, biography, journalism, an overheard remark, a story half told, or an experience can make their way into fiction, and how life can be completed using fictional methods. We’ll pay special attention to Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, as we have evidence (from James’ Notebooks and Katia Mann’s memoirs) about the origin of these stories. We’ll learn how the authors made use of facts to create their fiction, and how their imagination was nourished by fact, by anecdote, and by experiences that were then transformed as the work progressed. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

 6:30 – 9 PM—Special Event, TRIBUTE READING:  THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

This year we feature a delightful and often moving selection of excerpts from Williams’ poems, plays, one-acts, essays, stories, and screenplays that are interconnected. Williams never let go of a good idea, and this, combined with his strong and resilient work ethic, led to a constellation of fascinating connections that can be found in his shorter works and later in longer works. Images and characters in a poem he drafted in 1939 during his first visit to New Orleans titled “Vieux Carré,” later appear in short stories, essays, one-acts, and finally his full-length play Vieux Carré from 1977, nearly forty years later. A couple of cartoonish “floozies” written for an early curtain raiser later appear as comical characters in The Rose Tattoo. The image of a mother saying a blessing with her children before a meal at the beginning of The Glass Menagerie in 1945 is the final image of his last full-length play, A House Not Meant to Stand, in 1982. These literary gems, some well-known and others downright rare, will be read by some of the 2020 Festival’s brightest literary and theatrical lights, including Maureen Corrigan, Adeline Dieudonné, Jewelle Gomez, Saeed Jones, Jacob Storms, Colm Tóibín and Kathleen Turner. The reading is hosted by editor and scholar Thomas Keith and curated by Keith and Festival Director Paul J. Willis. Pre-party with light fare and a cash bar at 6:30. Performance at 7:30. Sponsored by a generous grant from the New Orleans Theatre Association. New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, $35 or VIP Pass

 

8 – 10 PM—Special Event, POETRY SLAM

Resident word maestro Chuck Perkins is back to host New Orleans’ finest performance poets in a fierce spoken word battle. You could be among the audience members called upon to judge the poetic proceedings and crown the 2020 Slam winner. No experience is necessary to be a judge, but a good ear and a willingness to be thrilled is essential. And, if you have some good rhymes to share and an appetite to compete, come early and sign up from 7:30-7:45. The evening will also feature live music by Lolly Mariah and Yisrael, and pianist Dave Geare. Sponsored by Paige Royer and Kerry Clayton. Café Istanbul, $5 in advance, $10 at the door, or VIP Pass.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 27

9 – 10:15 AM—Writer’s Craft Session, Andrei Codrescu—THE PERSONAL VOICE

Andrei Codrescu is one of America’s most versatile writers of poetry and prose, both fictional and nonfictional. In addition to his writing, he is also known to the millions who’ve listened to his commentary on NPR. In this session, Codrescu discusses how he developed his own personal voice that gave him an edge in both of these mediums and the importance of having such a unique and recognizable style. He’ll also discuss his most recent volume of poems, No Time Like Now, and his edited collection of 19th Century writer Lafcadio Hearn’s Japanese fairy tales. Susan Larson of WWNO’s The Reading Life will facilitate the discussion. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

10 – 11:15 AM—Literary Discussion, THE CAPTIVATING WOMEN OF THE CRESCENT CITY

New Orleans’ mystique is due in large part to its population of talented, innovative, creative women.  Photographer Cheryl Gerber’s beautiful new book, Cherchez La Femme:  New Orleans Women, is a vibrant portrait of women’s lives here, whether they are activists, Baby Dolls, musicians, businesswomen, Mardi Gras krewe members, Indian Queens, or spiritual leaders. Distinguished local writers on this panel join Gerber to provide their insights into the ways women make our city great, including Constance Adler, Cherice Harrison-Nelson, and Katy Reckdahl. Moderated by author Anne Gisleson. Sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Xavier University of Louisiana. Special thanks to Dr. Yu Jiang, Director. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

10:30 – 11:45 AM—Writer’s Craft Session, Edmund White: AUTOFICTION OR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Prize-winning novelist and memoirist Edmund White discusses the advantages and drawbacks of writing about your life as a novel or autobiography. The contract with the reader is different in each case. The autobiographer is committed to writing the whole truth and nothing but the truth and can be severely criticized if she or he departs from the facts, whereas the novelist is free to rearrange chronology to make it more dramatic or easier to follow and describe in depth beyond the powers of recall. Autobiography possesses authority; autobiographical fiction, by contrast, is free and flexible. This event is supported in part by Poets & Writers, thanks to a grant from the Hearst Foundations. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM—Special Event, TENNESSEE 101

Tennessee 101 is a fast-paced, fun, and informative introduction to Tennessee Williams! It’s focused on Williams’ unique relationship to New Orleans, as well as various bits of trivia and lore relating to the theatre offerings at the Festival this year. Whether you’re new to the world of Williams or a long-time fan, come prepared to learn something. Bring your questions; there’s a Q&A session at the end. Presented by Augustin J Correro, Co-Artistic Director of the Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans. Sponsored by Pelican Publishing. Hotel Monteleone, Iberville D, $15 or VIP Pass

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM—Literary Discussion, BUILDING ON THE PAST: SAVING HISTORIC NEW ORLEANS

This panel takes its title from a book by the Preservation Resource Center and brings together preservation experts Danielle del Sol, Ann Masson, and architect Peter Trapolin, plus writer John Pope (who contributed fascinating obituaries for lost buildings to the book) to discuss New Orleans’ unique architecture and challenges to its preservation. Moderated by Preservation in Print editor Susan Langenhennig. Sponsored by the Selley Foundation. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Writer’s Craft Session, Beth Ann Fennelly: THE POWER OF BREVITY

Beth Ann Fennelly creates in many literary forms—novels, poetry, plays, and memoirs. In her recent book, Heating and Cooling, Fennelly presented her story in a series of micro-memoirs. In this master class, she will explore the power of short pieces, and the challenges of compressing experience into brief, unforgettable prose. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion, CREATING A NOVEL OF ACTION

One of the most exciting reading experiences is discovering a novel that takes us somewhere we’ve never been before. Whether an exotic land that most readers will only travel to in fiction, or a time in the past when the world was so different from the one we know today, these stories carry readers along on an adventure unlike any they could experience in their day-to-day lives. Panelists include novelists Taylor Brown, Adeline Dieudonné, Alex Myers, and Rita Woods, who discuss how they create stories with such intriguing settings and storylines. Moderated by author George Bishop, Jr. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

2:30 – 3:45 PM—Writer’s Craft Session, ON THE TRAIL OF A SERIAL KILLER:  FROM ARTICLE TO BOOK TO SCREENPLAY

Ethan Brown discusses the nearly decade-long process of writing and reporting on the Jeff Davis 8 case that culminated in the 2019 Showtime documentary series Murder in The Bayou. Eight women from Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, were murdered between 2005 and 2009 and disposed of in canals, dirt roads, and rural areas in the parish and neighboring Acadia Parish. Nearly 15 years after the first body was discovered in a canal, all of the homicides remain unsolved. Ethan’s work on the case comprises a long-form investigative piece for Medium/ Matter in 2014, a book for Scribner/Simon and Schuster in 2016, and the Showtime series. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

2:30 – 3:45 PM—Literary Discussion, THE CRAFT OF THE SHORT STORY

While lengthy novels and sprawling epics are enjoyable reading experiences, there is something uniquely different about short stories—and not just their length. Often, short stories can be weirder, stranger, or just more stylized than their longer counterparts. Many talented authors have used the concise nature of short fiction as an opportunity to showcase their true prowess as writers, with their personal styles emerging in this brief format. Short fiction writers Michael Carroll, Jac Jemc, Leigh Camacho Rourks, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin discuss the creation of their short stories and the development of their personal styles. Moderated by Jewelle Gomez, author of the ground-breaking Gilda Stories. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

3:30 – 4:30 PM—Special Event, 100 YEARS OF BROUSSARD’S

Join author Alexandra Kennon for a lively discussion about the rich history of Broussard’s Restaurant, which celebrates its centennial in 2020. Enjoy happy hour drinks and hors d’oeuvres while learning about the French Quarter’s most contemporary “Grande Dame”—from tales of former owners to current ghosts, and how Chef Jimi Setchim puts contemporary twists on traditional menu items to keep this classic updated and fresh. Kennon will be signing copies of her book Classic Restaurants of New Orleans, which features thirteen of the Crescent City’s most historic restaurants, po-boy shops, and neighborhood staples, along with interviews and recipes following the event. Broussard’s Restaurant, $15 or VIP Pass

4 – 5:15 PM—Literary Discussion, COLM TÓIBÍN IN CONVERSATION WITH Maureen Corrigan

Colm Tóibín is a master of many literary forms: the grand novel (The Master, Nora Webster, Brooklyn); essays (Nine Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and Their Families and Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce); and stories (Mothers and Sons). As a chronicler of Irish immigration to America, he is without parallel. Who better to talk with him about that than NPR’s Fresh Air book critic, Maureen Corrigan, author of Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books, and So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures. Don’t miss this thrilling meeting of the minds. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

SATURDAY, MARCH 28

8 – 9:15 AM—Special Event, BOOKS AND BEIGNETS

With the death of Toni Morrison in 2019, American literature lost one of its most gifted and influential writers. Our annual breakfast book club pays tribute to her by taking up her 1987 novel, Beloved, which many scholars hold to be her most impressive work. Reimagining true events, the book focuses on a woman who escapes slavery but wrestles with its legacies and her own decisions as she seeks healing and self-acceptance. Attendees are invited to read—or reread—this seminal work, with the suggested edition being the standard paperback (ISBN 978-1400033416). Muriel’s Restaurant will serve coffee and beignets to accompany the discussion. Southern literary scholar Gary Richards again facilitates. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant, $25 or VIP Pass

10 – 11:15 AM—Literary Discussion, MISSISSIPPI RIVER JOURNEYS

Photographers and authors Melody Golding (Life Between the Levees) and Randy Roussel (Alluvial) discuss photographing the river and the people who make their lives and livelihoods along its length, along with Captain (retired) Clarke “Doc” Hawley and river pilot Captain Joy Manthey of New Orleans. Moderated by NOMA Publications Editor David Johnson. Sponsored by the Confucius Institute at Xavier University of Louisiana. Special thanks to Dr. Yu Jiang, Director. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

10 – 11:15 AM—Literary Discussion, EXPERIMENTING WITH TENNESSEE

What does it mean to experiment when staging the plays of Tennessee Williams? And why would you do it? With a canonized playwright whose work is still under copyright, you cannot change, cut, or rewrite the text, nor can you “alter the spirit of the play as written.” Yet, Williams remains so popular that—as with Shakespeare—directors and producers often want to try to tell his stories in new ways. This panel will investigate how and why directors experiment with Williams’ plays, and when this kind of experimentation illuminates the stories and when it fails them. As part of this discussion, panelists will also consider questions of nontraditional race and gender casting. Panelists include Augustin J Correro, Aimée Hayes, David Kaplan, with moderator Thomas Keith. Williams Research Center, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

10 – 11:15 AM—Literary Discussion, SPECULATIVE FICTION: WELCOME TO AN ALTERNATE REALITY

How does a writer create an alternate yet recognizable world? All of these writers have created brilliant alternate versions of their imaginative adaptations of New Orleans. Alys Arden began a bestselling supernatural saga with The Casquette Girls. Bryan Camp imagines underworld denizens who move between worlds in such novels as Gather the Fortunes, part of his Crescent City Novel series. Daniel José Older brings dinosaurs to the Crescent City in his Dactyl Hill Squad series for young readers and employs magical realism in his depiction of life after the Cuban revolution and in the New York City of the future. Maurice Carlos Ruffin delineates a racialized city of the future in We Cast a Shadow. Moderated by Candice Huber. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM—Literary Discussion, LIVES AND LETTERS

What is it about certain people that fills others with a passion to follow their lives, to research them, and, eventually, carefully document them? The biographers on this panel discuss their research, their obsessions, and the resources they use to create the end result: an intriguing, fully fleshed-out version of someone else’s life story.  Panelists include Andrew Feldman, Nigel Hamilton, Robert Mann, Miki Pfeffer, and moderated Anne Boyd Rioux. Sponsored by Kathleen and Edmund Schrenk. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM—Literary Discussion, WILLIAMS ON THE WORLD STAGE

Have you ever wondered how Tennessee Williams’ plays are produced, reviewed, understood, and appreciated in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa? Distinguished Williams scholars and directors share their experiences of seeing and directing international productions of Williams’ plays and discuss how local cultural and political contexts change or enhance audiences’ understanding of the plays, presenting interpretations we will likely never see in America. What is gained and what is lost in translation? This panel will explore how these very American, and sometimes very Southern, stories translate linguistically and artistically around the world. Panelists include Anthoullis Demosthenos, Dirk Gindt, Annette Saddik, with David Kaplan moderator. Sponsored by Dramatists Play Service. Williams Research Center, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM—Literary Discussion, POETICS OF SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT

In the recently released American Poets in the 21st Century: Poetics of Social Engagement, edited by Claudia Rankine and Michael Dowdy, Michael Dowdy writes that the editors assembled the volume at “a critical juncture in the history of United States.” Dowdy goes on to say that “the range of aesthetic practices and cultural commitments in this volume demonstrates some of the ways that contemporary poets have anticipated the ‘new’ era that was consolidated in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” This panel of four contemporary poets examines, through readings and commentary, what constitutes a “poetics of social engagement” and, more broadly, the role of the poet in our “new” era of polarization and extremely divisive politics. Poets include Darrell Bourque, Beth Ann Fennelly, Jerika Marchan, and John Warner Smith with moderator, poet and publisher Bill Lavender. Sponsored by Scovern Law Firm. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM—Literary Discussion, WRITING FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN: NEW WORK FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS PRESS

Abram Himelstein, editor-in-chief of the University of New Orleans Press, moderates a panel of writers whose works demonstrate the range and diversity of the publisher’s new offerings. The panel features the soul-searching poetry of Marian Moore in Louisiana Midrash, the timely meditative consideration of Mackie Blanton’s poetry collected in The Casual Presence of Borders, longtime creative writing program director Rick Barton discussing a definitive new edition of his novel, With Extreme Prejudice, and a new novel from Mahyar A. Amouzegar, Dinner at 10:32. Hotel Monteleone, Riverview Room, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion, THE EVOLUTION OF SELF-PUBLISHING:

TIPS TO PREPARE, PUBLISH, AND PROMOTE YOUR BOOK

Part of our Saints and Sinners Literary Event. Sponsored by Kindle Direct Publishing. Hotel Monteleone, Lobby Level, Royal Salon D, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion, GETTING TO THE TRUTH OF THINGS

Four very different writers discuss writing about politics in these times when truth seems stranger than fiction. Ethan Brown talks about the consequences of writing Who Killed the Jeff Davis 8?, his work on a Louisiana serial killer. Andrei Codrescu, prolific writer whose latest book is a poetry collection, No Time Like Now, shares his views of current events, Josh Levin chronicles the origin story of the term “welfare queen” in The Queen:  The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth and Nathan J. Robinson makes his case in Why You Should Be a Socialist. Moderated by journalist and political historian Robert Mann. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion, NEW ORLEANS MELODY: CAPTURING THE MUSICALITY OF NOLA IN PLAYS

Living in New Orleans means living amidst people who seem to sing their conversations.  Stories that loop through time, circling back through scrumptious details. Greetings that drip with melody and percussion—Where Y’at, Daaawlin? Sometimes spoken against background music of the steamboat calliope. How do writers capture the unique rhythm and melody of New Orleans life in their plays, essays, and poetry? Join local legend Ricky Graham, a playwright who often performs in his own work; John Biguenet, an essayist and playwright; Lisa D’Amour; a playwright and interdisciplinary artist; and Sunni Patterson, a poet and performer, as they discuss how the musicality of New Orleans’ life shapes and inspires their work. The discussion will include brief readings by each writer. Moderated by Dramatists Play Service president, Peter Hagan. Sponsored by Dramatists Play Service. Williams Research Center, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion, MORE REAL THAN THE HOUSEWIVES

The mystery genre has been blowing up the stereotype of the “good girl,” creating a new (and welcome) demand for books featuring women characters that are often described as “unlikable.” But what makes a woman unlikable? Is this simply code for “complex?” Join us for a lively discussion of complicated women characters, as well as some deconstruction of the good girl concept. Panelists include Elizabeth Little, Laura Lippman, and Lori Rader-Day, with author Greg Herren moderating. Sponsored by The Diana Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion, LSU PRESS AND THE SOUTHERN REVIEW: 85 YEARS AND GOING STRONG

For 85 years, LSU Press and The Southern Review have served as cultural champions of Louisiana, bringing award-winning literature from the Pelican State to the rest of the world. LSU Press books have garnered four Pulitzer Prizes, among other awards. The Southern Review was lauded by Time Magazine as “superior to any other journal in the English language.” This discussion of the past, present, and future of the state’s flagship scholarly press and the Deep South’s most acclaimed literary journal is moderated by longtime LSU Press staffer Margaret Lovecraft and includes panelists Alisa Plant, director of LSU Press and publisher of The Southern Review; James Long, an LSU Press acquisitions editor; and The Southern Review co-editors Jessica Faust and Sacha Idell. Hotel Monteleone, Riverview Room, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

2:30 – 3:45 PM—Literary Discussion, THE INTRICATE DANCE OF MEMOIR

Three memoirists talk about turning their life experiences into art. Award-winning author Saeed Jones (How We Fight for Our Lives), tells his story of growing up a young, black, gay man from the South. Sheryl St. Germain’s 50 Miles is a memoir reckoning with her son’s addiction, and Jason Hardy (The Second Chance Club), shares an account of his time as a parole officer in New Orleans. Moderated by writer David Swatling. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

2:30 – 3:45 PM—Literary Discussion, COVERING LOUISIANA WITH 64 PARISHES MAGAZINE

In fall 2018, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) rebranded its nearly 30-year-old quarterly magazine, Louisiana Cultural Vistas, as 64 Parishes. Join 64 Parishes staff and contributors for a wide-ranging conversation about what it means to be a statewide publication whose mission is to showcase the history and culture of a place with deep, complicated, and sometimes contradictory roots. Panelists include 64 Parishes managing editor/writer Chris Turner-Neal; Acadiana-based photographer Paul Kieu, whose coverage of the Abbeville Giant Omelette Festival graced the fall 2019 cover; LSU researcher Hayley Johnson, co-author of a summer 2019 feature on Japanese internment in Louisiana; and historian Elizabeth Neidenbach, whose work for 64 Parishes includes book and digital media reviews. Moderated by 64 Parishes editor-in-chief/historian, Erin Greenwald. Sponsored by 64 Parishes, the quarterly magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Williams Research Center, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

 2:30 – 3:45 PM—Literary Discussion/Reading, CRIES FROM THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS: AGITPROP THEATRE

This discussion and performance centers on two issue-oriented short plays targeting the school-to-prison pipeline and HIV/AIDS in New Orleans. Ritual Murder by Tom Dent follows the shattered dreams of a young African American man who murders his best friend in a moment of rage. Tic Toc by Carolyn Nur Wistrand intersects three stories of young people in New Orleans living with HIV. Students from Dillard University’s Theatre and English Programs present the two plays in concert. Nancy Dixon, Coordinator of the English Program at Dillard University will lead this exciting panel. Hotel Monteleone, Riverview Room, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

4 – 5:15 PM—Special Event, A CONVERSATION WITH Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean is known around the world for her tireless work against the death penalty, and she has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on capital punishment. Her book, Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, ignited a national debate on capital punishment and inspired an Academy Award-winning movie, a play, and an opera. Tulane University professor and author Zachary Lazar (Vengeance, the 2019 One Book One New Orleans selection) talks with Sister Helen about her experiences working in Louisiana’s state penitentiary, Angola Prison, and discusses her writing, particularly her new book, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

4:30 – 6 PM—Special Event,  COCKTAILS WITH CORRIGAN:  A BOOZY BOOK CONVERSATION

Join Maureen Corrigan, book reviewer for NPR’s Fresh Air, for an intoxicating conversation with Susan Larson, host of The Reading Life. They’ll share their favorite books in three rounds along with cocktail samples from Belle Époque. From the sweet to the bitter to the one that packs a punch, experience cocktails (and books) to match your literary desires. The last round is on you, as you share your favorite books with us at the mic. Bring your favorite book for an optional book swap at the end. Seating is limited for this intimate experience and advanced tickets are required. Belle Époque Absinthe Lounge, $20 or VIP Pass

7:30 – 8:45 PM—Special Event

TAKING THE LEAD: STAGE AND SCREEN LEGEND Kathleen Turner IN CONVERSATION

By any measure, Kathleen Turner has had an amazing life, and her passion, drive, and intelligence have guided her all the way. Known for leading roles in classic films such as Body Heat, Peggy Sue Got Married (Oscar©️ nomination), Prizzi’s Honor, Romancing the Stone, and The Accidental Tourist, Turner is originally a stage actress and will discuss her Tony-nominated performances as Maggie the Cat in Cat on Hot Tin Roof and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, as well as working with Festival favorite John Waters on the film Serial Mom. Turner’s most recent book is Kathleen Turner on Acting, which also covers her life as an actress, role by role, her recent work as a director, her health challenges, her activism, and what she’s learned about the entertainment industry. Thomas Keith speaks with Kathleen Turner about her insights into life as an actor, her relationship with Hollywood, and just a few of her remarkable co-stars, such as Michael Douglas, William Hurt, Jack Nicholson, Steve Martin, and Anthony Perkins.

Sponsored by Joy and Boysie Bollinger.

Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $35 or VIP Pass

SUNDAY, MARCH 29

10 – 11:15 AM—Master Class, WRITING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS

Novelist and UNO creative writing professor Fredrick (Rick) Barton talks about the strategy of narrative topicality. Professor Barton discusses the way in which the narratives of stories, novels, plays, and screenplays that address contemporary or even historical issues of war, the environment, politics, and discrimination over race, ethnicity, gender, religion, class, and sexual orientation attract readers and viewers and can drive a wider public discussion without becoming merely polemical or sacrificing the pleasures of adroit storytelling. Barton will discuss pertinent examples in his own work and that of other writers. Hotel Monteleone, Riverview, $10, Literary Discussion Pass, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

10 – 11:15 AM—Literary Discussion, HOW THE QUALITY OF OBSESSION SUSTAINS A NOVEL

Four novelists discuss their unforgettable new work:  Jami Attenberg (All This Could Be Yours) describes how a family’s obsession with the truth about a dying patriarch shapes their lives; Minrose Gwin (The Accidentals) shows us the attraction for obsession with ornithology, as well as a broken family; Katy Simpson Smith (The Everlasting) spans two Roman millennia and movingly demonstrates the struggle for faith; and Michael Zapata (The Lost Book of Adana Moreau), conjures a tale of a lost manuscript. Moderated by novelist C. Morgan Babst., Hotel Monteleone, Royal Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

11 AM – 1 PM—Special Event, POPPY’S POP-UP DRAG BRUNCH

Join New Orleans food celebrity and author Poppy Tooker for a wild, rollicking, drag brunch.  With three delicious courses, bottomless mimosas, and four beautiful drag queens, it’s guaranteed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Poppy’s latest book, Drag Queen Brunch profiles 16 fascinating drag queens, the history of drag in New Orleans, and over 60 recipes, including some delectable dishes from Dickie Brennan’s restaurants. Poppy will serve as ringmaster as four of the queens featured in the book perform. Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House, $65 plus tax and tip. Not included in VIP Pass. For tickets, www.bourbonhouse.com/events

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM—Literary Discussion, NEW ORLEANS’ LITERARY HISTORY

New Orleans’ long and varied literary history has given rise to impressive recent scholarship. Hear what these scholars have to say about the best, the worst, the most unfairly overlooked works. Robert Azzarello looks at our literary heritage through the lens of decadence; Nancy Dixon has collected important works in her anthology, N.O. Lit. Rien Fertel is an expert on Creole literature, and T. R. Johnson is the editor of the wide-ranging essay collection, New Orleans: A Literary History. Moderated by author John Biguenet. Sponsored by Tulane University. Hotel Monteleone, Royal Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM—Literary Discussion, REMEMBER YOUR FIRST TIME: DEBUT NOVELISTS

The Festival is proud to present debut novelists who are heading toward their second books. How do you make that first step to publication, find peer support, keep your writing momentum going? We’ll hear from three extraordinarily successful writers—Samantha Downing, author of My Lovely Wife, to be followed by He Started It in April; Michael Zapata, author of The Lost Book of Adana Moreau; and Iris Cohen, author of The Little Clan, and Last Call on Decatur Street, out in August; and Rita Woods, whose first novel is Remembrance. Moderated by The Reading Life’s Susan Larson. Hotel Monteleone, Riverview Room, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion, NEW ORLEANS IN THE 60s

In New Orleans, as elsewhere, the ‘60s were a time of social change and upheaval, as well as a time of memorable cultural contributions. Panelists include Steven Y. Landry, who looks back to Beatles Day in New Orleans; Laura Lane McNeal remembers the time period that inspired her novel, Dollbaby. Culture mavens Peggy Scott Laborde and Priscilla Lawrence share their memories with publisher Errol Laborde, who will moderate this panel. Wear your tie-dye and flash your peace sign. Sponsored by Pelican Publishing. Hotel Monteleone, Royal Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

1 – 2:15 PM—Literary Discussion, GARIFUNA WOMEN’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE ARTS

The Garifuna, a diaspora population originating from Central America, bring a vibrant and deeply traditional culture to New Orleans. Reina David, author Patti’s Compromising Positions, discusses the importance of having a voice and the use of literature to project the inner voices that represent women’s rights.  Sakinah Davis, Carmen Luz Cosme Puntiel, Shearon Robertsand Susan Spillman join this conversation that unites black women in the arts and social sciences to recognize the powerful women of the Garifuna Community in New Orleans. Sponsored by Xavier University of Louisiana. Hotel Monteleone, Riverview Room, $10, Literary Discussion Pass, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

1:30 – 2:45—Literary Discussion, Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life

Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez deep-dive into queer history and culture with hit reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race as a touchstone of influence on modern LGBTQ culture. The book and this discussion focus on the idea that not only is RuPaul’s Drag Race the queerest show in the history of television, but that RuPaul and company devised a show that serves as an actual museum of queer cultural and social history, drawing on queer traditions and the work of legendary figures going back nearly a century. Hotel Monteleone, Vieux Carré Room, $10, Literary Discussion Pass, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

2:30 – 3:45 PM—Literary Discussion, LITERARY LUMINARIES OF THE VIOLET QUILL

Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and Edmund White discuss their roles as the surviving members of the influential Violet Quill literary group, which also included Christopher Cox, Robert Ferro, Michael Grumley, and George Whitmore. This group, which met in 1980 and 1981, is responsible for some of the most important post-Stonewall writing in America and for chronicling the AIDS pandemic, as well as celebrating, critiquing, and advancing gay culture and liberation. Moderated by The Reading Life host, Susan Larson. Hotel Monteleone, Royal Ballroom, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

 2:30 – 3:45 PM—Literary Discussion, TABOO BUSTING

How do we talk about things that were once taboo? How do we reconcile with language that has become politically derisive? With Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) as its center point, this panel will examine the canons of 20th-century narrative and how institutional bias is viewed today. Professionally, Hearn was an internationally recognized journalist credited with putting New Orleans on the map as a tourist destination and introducing Japan to readers in the West. As a man, he pursued a transgressive, outsider existence, embracing and writing literature that crossed Reconstruction-era cultural taboos. Moderated by Nancy Sharon Collins, panelists include Dr. Thomas Bonner, Jr., Marion Hill, and John Whittier Treat. Hotel Monteleone, Riverview Room, $10, Literary Discussion Pass, Combo Pass, or VIP Pass

 2:30 – 4 PM—Special Event, READINGS FROM THE NEW ORLEANS WRITING MARATHON

Writers from any of the three writing marathons held during the Festival are invited to share portions of the writing they produced on the marathon, and audience members are welcome. Included is a celebration of the New Orleans Writing Marathon’s most recent publication of its work in Louisiana Literature, as well as a radio show produced by KSLU of Southeastern Louisiana University. Hosted by Richard Louth. Hotel Monteleone, Orleans A, Free admission

4:15 – 5:30 PM—Special Event, STELLA AND STANLEY SHOUTING CONTEST

Contestants vie to rival Stanley Kowalski’s shout for “STELLAAAAA!!!” in the unforgettable scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. On the balcony this year as Stella and Stanley are Beth Bartley and Todd d’Amour, who met on stage in a Tennessee Williams production during the 2016 Festival and are now married. Sign up for the Shout begins at 3:15 and is open to the first 25 contestants. Sponsored by The Times Picayune | New Orleans Advocate. Jackson Square, Free and open to the public.

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THEATER EVENTS

 The Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans presents

IN THE BAR OF A TOKYO HOTEL BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

Miriam finds herself trapped in a crowded, futuristic Tokyo as her husband, Mark, works diligently in a separate hotel room on what he believes is the next breakthrough in modern art. She attempts to find solace in the chic bar of the hotel as she aggressively puts her Western views and her entire self upon those around her. Her fragility blooms as she fights to rid herself of the burden of her husband. The production will highlight the way in which love of self, love of another, and love of passion drives each of us across boundaries within the human experience. Directed by Torey Hayward.

The Lower Depths Theatre at Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Avenue

Included in TWFest VIP Pass—must book in advance through TWFest. Otherwise, tickets on sale online at https://www.twtheatrenola.com/

March 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. All shows are from 8 – 10:30 PM with one intermission

Other dates include April 2, 3, 4, 5

 

Unfortunately, REYKJAVIK by Southern Rep Theatre has been cancelled.

 

The Beaubourg Theatre presents THE END OF THE BEGINNING

In his late career, Tennessee Williams wrote two one-acts that explore the human response to living in a future stripped of contemporary convenience and comfort. Eerily evocative of our current climate, “The Demolition Downtown” is a dark comedy centered on two upper-middle class couples grappling with the loss of privilege in an explosive world. It is paired with the brief play of survival, “The Chalky White Substance,” which sees two men relying on each other in the aftermath of nuclear war. Directed by David Williams and Riot Mueller.

Beaubourg Theatre, 614 Gravier Street, $20 or VIP Pass

Thursday, March 26, 8 – 9 PM

Friday, March 27, 9 – 10 PM

Saturday, March 28, 8 – 9 PM

Sunday, March 29, 2:30 – 3:30 PM

 

ALSO AT BEAUBOURG THEATRE DURING THE FESTIVAL

Free Theater Workshops Sponsored by The Helis Foundation

EM DASH, ELLIPSIS, FULL STOP:  TENNESSEE WILLIAMS AND HIS STYLOMETRIC ARSENAL

Stylometry is an actor’s greatest tool in uncovering a writer’s intent, rhythm, and meaning. In this interactive workshop, we’ll explore what punctuation means in Williams’ work, experiment with monologues from A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie, and discover how to enhance our experience with Williams’ texts. Theater makers, readers, and anyone who loves to immerse themselves into the stories of Tennessee Williams will find this workshop a valuable experience.  Led by Producing Artistic Director of Southern Rep Theatre, Aimee Hayes.

Free workshop series sponsored by The Helis Foundation

Beaubourg Theatre, free admission but need to reserve a seat

Thursday, March 26, 11 – 12:15 PM

 

AUDITION MONOLOGUES: HOW TO GET THE JOB DONE

This workshop by Thomas Keith will explore the practical aspects of an actor’s job performing monologues for auditions, including choosing a piece, analysis, rehearsal, focus, character, and the audition experience. Everyone is welcome to attend, and we will need several actors who arrive prepared to perform a memorized 60-to-90-second monologue of any kind and work with the instructor. If you’re interested in performing a monologue and taking adjustments, be sure to bring a printed copy of the text of your monologue.

Free workshop series sponsored by The Helis Foundation

Beaubourg Theatre, free admission but need to reserve a seat

Friday, March 27, 10 – 11:30 AM

 

THE HAUNTED: WRITING CHARACTERS CONSUMED BY THEIR PAST

Blanche DuBois. Serafina Delle Rose. Maggie the Cat. Tennessee Williams created legendary characters haunted by their past choices and ancestral ghosts. In this workshop, we will examine some of Tennessee’s “haunted” characters and discuss the strategies that make them dynamic, unforgettable characters. Then we will embark on a writing exercise to create haunted characters of our own. Led by Pulitzer Prize finalist, playwright Lisa D’Amour

Free workshop series sponsored by The Helis Foundation

Beaubourg Theatre, free admission but need to reserve a seat

Saturday, March 28, 10 – 11:30 AM

 

Other Theater Events at Beaubourg:

TENNESSEE RISING: THE DAWN OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

Written & Performed by Jacob Storms

What events led Tennessee Williams to become the most groundbreaking and misunderstood American playwright of the 20th Century? Tennessee Rising: The Dawn of Tennessee Williams—A New Solo Play, explores the formative six-year period from 1939 to 1945 that shaped a young unknown writer named Tom into the acclaimed playwright known as Tennessee. Recipient of the United Solo Award, Tennessee Rising brings these unexplored years center stage, and the audience becomes friend and confidant to young Williams as he experiences the unexpected highs and devastating lows of his early life, wherein his most enigmatic character develops, himself. Directed by Alan Cumming.

Beaubourg Theatre, $20 or VIP Pass

Thursday, March 26, 1 – 2:15 PM

Friday, March 27, 7 – 8:15 PM

Saturday, March 28, 2 – 3:15 PM

 

BECOMING BLANCHE

Experiments in Performing Tennessee’s Legendary Tragic Heroine

The experiment:  three actresses of three different generations performing Blanche DuBois at the same time, revealing the many layers of the character and the way Blanche performs her past, her present, and premonitions of her future. In this conversation and open rehearsal, Beth Bartley, Janet Shea, and Aimée Hayes will perform and converse about the experience and the gift of playing Blanche. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions after the performance and discussion. Directed by playwright Lisa D’Amour.

Beaubourg Theatre, $20 or VIP Pass

Thursday, March 26, 3 – 4:15 PM

 

TWO FOR TENNESSEE

Presented by Second Star New Orleans 

Original One Act Plays Inspired by the Life and Legacy of Tennessee Williams

Brick by Jon Broder features two old friends meeting for that most New Orleans of traditions:  a long and booze-filled Friday lunch in the 200 block of Bourbon Street. Experiences and emotions are exposed, one cocktail at a time, and everyone you know is watching. Wrists and Flowers by James Bartelle is set in August of 2012, and Hurricane Isaac is bearing down on New Orleans. Two women have offered shelter from the storm to a couch-surfer on the run from her own memories. There is thunder in the air and in the memories of the three women stuck together for one fateful night.

Beaubourg Theatre, $15 or VIP Pass

Friday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:15 PM

 

BARLE AND BARBARA: TWO CAUTIONARY TALES BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

Brenda Currin, an actress associated with writers Capote, Toole, Welty, and Williams, tells Williams’ short story “Mother Yaws,” first published in Esquire magazine in 1977. David Kaplan, curator and co-founder of the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown, reads Williams’ “Das Wasser Ist Kalt,” first published in Antaeus magazine in 1982. It has been reported that when Blanche was led away at the end of A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams could be heard in the audience laughing. That same sense of humor lights up these two comic gothic tales Williams wrote in the ‘70s, finding the fun in thwarted desire, sour marriage, public humiliation, betrayal, aging, rejection, disease and death. Currin and Kaplan have been amusing each other (and audiences) in New Orleans since Dr. Kenneth Holditch invited their acclaimed fantasia and adaptation of the works of Eudora Welty, Sister and Miss Lexie, to play at the Festival in 1989.

Sponsored by Helen and George Ingram.

Beaubourg Theatre, $15 or VIP Pass

Friday, March 27, 1 – 2 PM

Saturday, March 28, 4 – 5 PM

 

STAGED READING OF THE WINNING ONE-ACT PLAY

Twenty-Two by Erin Considine

The Festival is proud to showcase the winning play of this year’s One-Act Play Contest in a dynamic staged reading of the script. The contest winner, Erin Considine received a $1,500 cash prize. This reading is presented by the University of New Orleans Department of Film and Theatre under the direction of David W. Hoover. The Creative Writing Workshop (MFA Program) at the University of New Orleans administers and coordinates the competition and judging. This year’s judge is Peter Hagan, president of the Dramatists Play Service.

Our one-act contest was sponsored by The Favrot-Van Horn Fund.

Beaubourg Theatre, $10 or Literary Discussion, Combo, or VIP Pass

Sunday, March 29, 11 – 12:15 PM

 

TENNESSEE X THREE

A STAGED READING PRESENTED BY THE NOLA PROJECT

Co-written with Dorothy Shapiro, “Cairo, Shanghai, Bombay!” is an early Williams work which was his first to receive a full production in 1936. It concerns an unknown author who plans to leave America for Paris, where he believes he will find kindred spirits. In “The Case of the Crushed Petunias,” Miss Dorothy Simple, proprietor of the Simple Notions Shop in Primanproper, Massachusetts, has barricaded her house and heart behind a double row of petunias. Today, however, she has awakened to find every petunia crushed. When a Young Man arrives to confess his crime, he comes on a mission to alert Miss Dorothy to the “miraculous accident of being alive.” The third offering is “Why Do You Smoke So Much, Lily?” where we find Mrs. Yorke and her daughter in disagreement about how Lily spends her time (smoking and reading too much), while Lily believes her mother only wants her to marry and become part of high society. Once her mother leaves, we see it’s more than smoking that Lily has a problem controlling.

Beaubourg Theatre, $20 or VIP Pass

Sunday, March 29, 1 – 2:15 PM

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25th Annual Tennessee Williams Scholars Conference

Friday, March 27, Robert Bray, Director

Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres Street, $10 each or $20 full series, or VIP, Combo, or Literary Discussion Pass.

9 – 9:15 AM

WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Robert Bray, Middle Tennessee State University (emeritus)

9:15 – 10:30 AM

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS IN LONDON:  RECENT PRODUCTIONS OF SUMMER AND SMOKE, ORPHEUS DESCENDING, AND NIGHT OF THE IGUANA

Williams scholars discuss revivals of three Williams plays and examine how recent British productions bring new life to old classics.

Michael Hooper, Independent Scholar; Anthoullis Demosthenes, Independent Scholar;Jef Hall-Flavin, Director, Tennessee Williams Provincetown Theater Festival; Stuart Noel (Moderator), Georgia State University

10:45 AM – 12 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GLASS MENAGERIE!

Join us for a conversation about the play’s origins, film adaptations, and famous productions on its 75th anniversary.

Henry Schvey, Washington University; Eric Colleary, The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center; Robert Bray, Middle Tennessee State University (emeritus);Will Brantley (Moderator), Middle Tennessee State University

1:30 – 2:45 PM

NEW STAGING FROM THE OLD WORLD: GERMAN PERSPECTIVES ON TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

It’s no secret that Tennessee Williams has been perennially popular in Europe. Scholars from home and abroad examine the playwright’s status on the Continent, with a particular focus on Germany.

Kerstin Schmidt, Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt; Basil Wiesse, Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt; Dirk Gindt, Stockholm University; Annette Saddik (Moderator), New York City College of Technology

3:00 – 4:15 PM

AMOR PERDIDO/LOST LOVE presents four magical stories by Tennessee Williams: a sailor’s brief encounter in port (The Lost Girl), a writer and his soulmate in the French Quarter (Dear Irene), a vagabond artist reaches the end of his rope in a Mexican plaza (Amor Perdido), and a solitary young woman who finds a lover aboard a mysterious ship (Blue Roses and the Polar Star). A company of actors under the direction of Tom Mitchell are accompanied by the songs of a street troubadour in this production from the University of Illinois and the Celebration Company of Urbana, Illinois.

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WALKING TOURS

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS LITERARY WALKING TOUR CREATED BY DR. Kenneth Holditch

March 26, 27, 28, and 29

10 AM – 12 Noon and 2 – 4 PM

New Orleans, and especially the French Quarter, played a vital role in shaping Tennessee Williams. When he came here for the first time, he was Tom Williams. When he left here a couple of months later, he was known as Tennessee, having undergone a tremendous change in his personal life and his creativity. A man perpetually on the move, Tennessee considered this city his “spiritual home” and had at least eight residences in its famous neighborhoods. Visit the homes and hangouts where he lived and worked and returned to throughout his adult life, beloved spots that helped to make Tennessee America’s greatest playwright. Led by Heritage Tours and created by Dr. Kenneth Holditch, this was the first literary tour of the French Quarter.

Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Parlor, $25 or VIP Pass.

 

CEMETERY TOUR

March 25 and 26

11 AM – 12:30 PM

This walking tour, led by historian Frank Perez, explores New Orleans’ oldest “City of the Dead.”  Founded in 1789, St. Louis Cemetery #1, is a fascinating study in the city’s death and burial customs. Notable residents include Voodoo Queen Marie LaVeau, civil rights activist Homer Plessy, World Chess Champion Paul Morphy, famed architect Benjamin Latrobe, and statesman Bernard de Marigny. Essentially a walk through New Orleans history, this tour covers topics ranging from Voodoo, Free People of Color and race relations, immigration in New Orleans, civil rights, LGBTQ+ history, yellow fever, and slave revolts. 90 minutes.

Hotel Monteleone, Mezzanine outside Orleans B, $25 or VIP Pass

 

LGBT+ FRENCH QUARTER TOUR

March 27, 3:30 – 5 PM

March 28, 1 – 2:30 PM

This leisurely stroll through the French Quarter focuses on New Orleans’ enchanting past with an emphasis on the neighborhood’s queer history and its rich literary heritage. See where writers lived and wrote, and learn about the incredible contributions lesbians and gay men have made to the city over its 300-year-old history. Other highlights include Jackson Square, Free People of Color, the French Market, the birth of jazz, Voodoo, and a wide diversity of architecture. The tour is guided by long-time French Quarter resident Frank Perez, a local historian and professional tour guide who has written two books about French Quarter history. The Friday tour will include a private tour of “Grand Illusions: The History and Artistry of Gay Carnival,” a temporary exhibit by the Louisiana State Museum at the Presbytere on Jackson Square.

Hotel Monteleone, Mezzanine outside Orleans B, $25 or VIP Pass

 

HISTORIC STORYVILLE WALKING TOUR

March 26 and 27, 3 – 5 PM

March 28, 10 AM – 12 noon and 3 – 5 PM

Join Dianne “Gumbo Marie” Honoré on this unique, intriguing walk through parts of what was once the most notorious red-light district in the country, Storyville. Hear stories of cribs, chippies, the Tango Belt, and the last madam, along with the mayhem each night brought forth. Louis Armstrong referred to his childhood neighborhood of Black Storyville as the “worst” area in the city during Jim Crow-era New Orleans. It was also home to the beginnings of Jazz, popular music joints, second lines, the birth of the baby dolls Mardi Gras tradition, and Jelly Roll Morton’s other profession. We stop along the way for a refreshing cocktail! Cocktail cost not included.

Hotel Monteleone, Mezzanine outside Orleans B, $25 or VIP Pass

 

NOLA DRAG TOUR

March 26, 27, 28, and 29

1 – 3 PM

From drag queens to Storyville madams to the Ursuline nuns, Quinn Laroux teaches the fascinating history of the rebellious and dangerous women who built New Orleans! Nola Drag Tours are hilarious, entertaining, and deeply committed to historical accuracy and social responsibility. Tours emphasize the contributions and stories of women, queer people, and people of color, and attendees can expect to learn much about the history of trans people, the sex industry, and famous LGBTQ figures. Total tour walking distance is just under 2 miles.

Bar Tonique, 820 N. Rampart Street, $30 or VIP Pass

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Drummer & Smoke:  Music Events at the Palm Court Jazz Café

 Sunday, March 29, 1204 Decatur Street, $10 per session or VIP Pass

11:30 AM – 12:45 PM                         

SPRING CAN REALLY HANG YOU UP THE MOST: 

THE POETRY AND LYRICS OF FRAN LANDESMAN

Jazz lyricist and poet Fran Landesman published five volumes of poetry and wrote lyrics for hundreds of songs throughout a career which began in the 50’s. She rubbed shoulders with artists and poets from the Beat Generation: Jack Kerouac, Lenny Bruce, and Allen Ginsberg; dropped acid with Timothy Leary; collaborated with composers Steve Allen, Tommy Wolf, Dudley Moore, and Simon Wallace. Come enjoy the humorous, bittersweet, and sometimes irreverent songs and spoken poetry of this “Queen of the Bohemian Dream,” Fran Landesman, revived by the incomparable vocalist, Raynel Shepard, accompanied by Harry Mayronne, Ben Fox, and Michael Skinkus.

Sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

 

1 – 2:15 PM

The Clive Wilson/Tom Sancton Legacy Serenaders

Music makes memories and these musicians turned those memories into memoirs. Join the Clive Wilson/Tom Sancton Legacy Serenaders as Clive and Tom discuss their memoirs Time Of My Life and Song For My Fathers (respectively) and present traditional New Orleans jazz as they learned it back in the 1960s.

Sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Community Partnership Grant

 

2:30 – 3:45 PM

Alexis and the Samurai

With an Americana sound that put them on the New Orleans music scene map, the duo of Alexis Marceaux and Sam Craft has been consistently evolving into a genre-defying style that shows how eclectic New Orleans music can be. On any given song, you may find Sam playing a violin with one hand, a piano with the other, and drums with his feet, all the while Alexis plays guitar and drums–and both of them sing. Alexis & the Samurai have been featured on HBO’s Tremé, NBC’s The Voice, and CSI New Orleans.

Sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Community Partnership Grant