Four years ago we had a personal family crisis that took us to the far northwest of our country. But while we were there dealing with our own problems, we had one ear on the radio and television, watching the path of a hurricane called Katrina, as she made her way into the Gulf of Mexico. It can’t hit New Orleans, we thought. It must not hit New Orleans. Continue reading Dreaming of New Orleans
Destination: New Orleans
Did you know that the United States organization Friends of Libraries U. S. A., designates Literary Landmarks? So when you travel in the U. S., you can check their site, visit the haunts of writers past and present, and in a few cases, stay at the same hotels. Checking state by state on the Friends of Libraries Site, you can also get some ideas of literature that came from the state you are visiting.
I just returned from New Orleans, where I stayed at my favorite hotel, Hotel Monteleone, conveniently on the edge of the French Quarter, and walking distance to everything (just ask my aching feet). But best of all, when I walked through that glorious lobby with the towering Grandfather Clock, I was walking in the footsteps of Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty and other outstanding authors.
You can even stay in a suite named for one of those three authors–although that does not mean they stayed there–it just means that the suite is decorated in a style that presumably would suit the writer. A few books by Truman or Eudora or Tennessee lie on tables for your reading pleasure.
Truman Capote loved the hotel and returned frequently. Once when he was being interviewed on the late night talk show of Johnny Carson, Capote claimed that he was born in the Monteleone. In fact, his mother and father were staying there when she went into labor and was transferred to a nearby hospital. But it made a good story to say he was born in his favorite hotel. And Capote was made of stories. Continue reading New Orleans Literary Landmark Hotel Monteleone
Destination: New Orleans
Book: New Orleans Sketches by William Faulkner
As I indicated in an earlier post, William Faulkner did not spend a great deal of time in New Orleans. He was a young writer switching from poetry to fiction writing when he took an apartment in what is now Faulkner House Books. He wrote short pieces that the New Orleans Times-Picayune published, back in the day when newspapers printed literature as well as news. Those pieces have been gathered in the book called New Orleans Sketches.
Faulkner made $4 a piece for the sketches he sold to the Times-Picayune, but earned much more in the practice of development of description and characters.
Any aficionado of Faulkner’s work will enjoy seeing his beginnings. On the other hand, if his complexity has flummoxed you as a reader, you may find enjoyment in these simpler pieces.
At any rate, you will see an interesting picture of New Orleans circa 1925.
Are you a Faulkner fan or does he mystify you? Let us know.
Don’t miss our other articles about New Orleans: