New Orleans Report 2

More from New Orleans and the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. Picking up from Friday's post...

On Friday afternoon I sat in on talk by Michael Thomas Ford called "Reality Check" about the difficulties of making a living as novelist or published author. I didn't really learn anything new, but Ford had some funny stories and was bitchy about publishers who try to put authors in genre boxes. 

On Friday evening, me, Megan, Mindy, Theresa and Cleo went to the old Prytania Theatre to see the new Star Trek movie. Wow! It's an amazing reboot of the franchise and I was thrilled to see Leonard Nimoy had such a large and important part as Spock, rather than just an obligatory cameo. You definitely want to see this on a big screen. After the movie we went to eat at the Camellia Grill, a landmark restaurant on South Carrollton Avenue. It's been open since 1946 and serves up delicious diner-style food. 

Saturday was packed. I went to a reading featuring Megan, Theresa, Amy King (so great to finally meet her in person!), David-Matthew Barnes, G. Winston James and Brane Mozetic. Then Cleo and I went to a special panel discussing the work of the late Reginald Shepherd featuring his partner Robert Philen, Laura Mullen, Jeff Mann, Brad Richard and Christopher Hennessy (yay, another face-to-face with a fellow poet and blogger). A number of Reginald's poems were read and his legacy discussed. It was a great hour. 

At 2:30 p.m., I read with Cleo, Christopher, Peter Dube, Lewis DeSimone and Michael Montlack at the My Diva reading. So amazing to hear these guys read their essays. I read my Jeanne Moreau piece and afterwards poet and artist Steven Reigns bounded up to me, thrilled to find another Moreau fan. We shared a moment of adoration of our diva before I moved on to the social networking panel that I sat on with Megan, Amy and Theresa. It was one of the most well-attended panels and everyone had plenty of questions about using blogs, Facebook and Twitter to share and promote their work.

After a quick dinner at Clover Grill, we went to a poetry reading hosted by Trebor Healey at the Faubourg Marigny Art and Books shop. It's a tiny store packed with everything from vintage porn magazines to the latest books and poetry collections by gay and lesbian authors. Otis Fennell has operated the store since 1977 and was a very congenial host. Everyone crowded in an stood in the aisles or sat on the floor for the reading. Steven took some photos, which I hope to post soon. After the reading, we went to see the festival's playwriting competition winner, Hand Over Fist, by Michelle Embree at the Marigny Theatre. It was a dramedy about a group of scam artists conning wealthy Uptown residents after Hurricane Katrina. We waited around for the Rough Trade Review burlesque show, but it started late and was borderline offensive. 

The rebuilding of New Orleans post-Katrina seems to have advanced a good bit, although there were still plenty of empty and abandoned buildings. The spirit of the city is still there in that shimmering, humid air. It was so great to meet everyone! Looking forward to next year already.

Comments

KATE EVANS said…
Maybe I'll come next year!
Collin Kelley said…
You should, Kate! You would love it!
nolapoet said…
Camellia Grill is in Carrollton, specifically Riverbend (just so you know). The old Carrollton courthouse across the street was my old high school.

Faubourg Marigny Books, which I think is what is now FM Art & Book Shop, was run for many, many years by Alan Robinson, who supposedly just...disappeared a few years ago.

Both are old haunts I know well.
Lisa Allender said…
Envy (in a good way!)your jaunt, Collin--and the great company you shared!
Collin Kelley said…
Robin, you are right about Camellia Grill! In my head I always extend the Garden District all the way until the end of the St Charles streetcare line, but I'm sure the Uptown, Carrollton and Riverbend folks wouldn't appreciate that. :)
christine said…
I saw the photos of you on FB. The place where you read was chock full of coolness. I hope I get to hear you read your essay in Atlanta.

I've never been to New Orleans. I think I'm really missing out.
Pris said…
What a fantastic trip, Collin!
Anonymous said…
Sounds like you had a good time. We had an earthquake on Sunday and another one tonight. Minor 4.0'ers. I feel like the big one is coming. Might be time to get out of LA.

GAV
The Peach Tart said…
Hi Collin,

Been following your and Cleo's account of the NO excursion. I'm envious and hope to have The Peach Tart published, reading from it, and hanging with all you "cool" guys and gals next year.

Love,

Deborah

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