Follow my sister, Nina, and me as we make a book together: my writing and her gorgeous inks on paper.

Posts from the “Non Fiction” Category

We were like widows with living husbands, available, but taken.

Posted on September 15, 2015

For four months after Katrina, my family split into uneven halves. My husband lived in Baton Rouge, and I took our son, Andrew, to Houston for his fall semester. He went to Jesuit High School and four hundred of the students migrated to Strake Jesuit in Houston. At the emergency meeting held at a Mexican restaurant, the priest we all trusted with our sons, Father Hermes, opened with the Aeneid: “Perhaps someday we will rejoice to remember this day.” We weren’t ready for hope, and wasn’t Hermes the god of mischief? Read more from “The Moms Of Hermann Park”. (Thanks to Mark Yakich and The New Orleans Review)


Posted on September 10, 2015

We’d been back in New Orleans for just two months when our house was burglarized, and my husband, Malcolm’s, car was stolen. It was February, 2006, Mardi Gras season and freezing. Our son Andrew had gotten home at 11:30 p.m. and he’d not locked the back door. Someone jumped our eight-foot fence, walked through the kitchen and into the front hall, took money out of Malcolm’s wallet and picked up the keys to his SUV. What he didn’t take: a cold beer from the fridge, the Bose radio, the cigar box on the counter stuffed with pocket change. The thief’s stealing was focused: cash and wheels. And he left the back door wide open, which is how Malcolm knew something was wrong the next…

A ruined city, my ruined city, couldn’t compete with what was more important.

Posted on September 5, 2015

On a cold morning in January, my father showed up on our front porch. He said he was in town for a haircut; there was a salon he and his second wife went to in Bucktown, a neighborhood that hadn’t flooded. My husband and son and I had just returned to New Orleans to live together again under one roof. My father didn’t ask for a disaster tour, but I put him in the car and drove him around to see the continuous rusty water line that sliced through homes and businesses, and ran above the front door of my stepson’s house in Lakeview. I explained how they’d lost everything. “Their daughter was born two weeks after Katrina,” I told my father. “I’m sort…

Pictures Of You: The Merry Miler.

Posted on September 3, 2015

When I was in Grade Ten, we moved suddenly from Alberta, Canada to Mississippi, driving the Merry Miler across wide, empty provinces, and traffic-filled states. There were six of us: my younger sister Nance and me, our parents, and two tiny new sisters. My mother scouted out the next RV Park in a giant guidebook, while she and my father listened to serious music on the radio. They were both musicians. At night Nance and I sauntered around the grounds, thinking we were brand new. When we found boys our age we skipped the shyness because even if you never saw him again, hitting it off was better than standing there, tongue-tied and wishing. The next morning Nance and I would beg for a…


Posted on September 3, 2015

In August of 2007, our co-worker, Sherri’s, daughter was killed by an ex-boyfriend. He followed her car home, slipped under the arm of the security gate, and then shot her multiple times in her apartment. He went back to the parking lot and killed himself. The complex has them on videotape: Daneel standing her ground, telling him “It’s over, Manny. Go home,” and then walking back up the stairs to her place, Manny in his car, getting his gun from the glove compartment, loading it with bullets kept in the trunk, walking back up to Daneel’s, then back down to his car before putting the gun under his chin. It took him thirteen minutes to die. Read more. Re-published on THE NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. Many thanks to Brad…

Inpatient, Outpatient.

Posted on April 21, 2015

Not much bad health-wise had ever happened to me until my appendix burst at the end of 2011. For two and a half weeks my internist had misdiagnosed my stomach pain. She was a mild mannered thirty-something woman who took careful notes but never really looked me in the eye. Impaction? An x-ray had ruled out blockage. Diverticulitis? Ovarian cysts? There was a weird ridge on my right side that she pressed, mystified. Over those seventeen days she prescribed: Fleet enemas, laxatives, white foods, no nuts or seeds, liquids only, and a torrent of antibiotics – aimless warriors, shadow boxers – which slowed the infection but tore up my stomach. I couldn’t keep any food down. I’d lost 15 pounds. When my lab work showed…

The Owls Of Solomon Place.

Posted on September 1, 2013

In May of 2013 a great horned owl fell into our backyard while I unloaded grocery bags from my car. I froze and kept a distance. We’d been watching the family; this looked like the female. She and her mate had made a nest in the live oak behind our house, or, rather, they’d been squatting in a nest built by black crows who daily mobbed them with swoops and scolds. Babies—we counted two—had hatched. At night, one parent guarded the clutch while the other hunted in the park across the street. A red clay finial on the roof of our house served as a lookout perch, or the crooked telephone pole. The owl sighted prey, its thick head on a swivel. My husband…