Time for Tennessee

As I wait for the heat and humidity to return (yes I do like them), I also wait for the return at least one fair and two festivals: The New Orleans Bookfair, the French Quarter Festival (sorry JazzFest, you’ve lost my complete loyalty when you went past 50 bucks a day and invited Bon Jovi) and The Tennessee Williams Festival. Interestingly, the festivals fall within a few weeks of each other (TWLF at the end of March, and FQF in mid April) and both are held in the Quarter. (Well whaddya know?)
TWLF is a glorious few days of panels, plays and tours (and mint juleps, don’t forget the mint juleps) all held within the French Quarter of course. The date coincides with the birth date of TW, and the entire event ends on Sunday with a round of happy birthday to Tom. The schedule is usually packed with Southern authors, playwrights, editors and publishers, Tennessee Williams scholars and yes, even a few pompous, idle seersucker-wearin’ Southerners who truly believe they make the event when they arrive and pointedly stand in the lobby or at the front of the room in full sight and earshot of everyone. They do throw some historical perspective on class in New Orleans, so even they are a welcome sight. Sure.
It’s not all about TW, but it remains rooted in the context of his New Orleans and the Southern literary sensibility, which, in my mind, makes it very special and dynamic.
The TWLF event that most people know is the Stella contest, held on Jackson Square on Sunday afternoon with that year’s chosen Stella on the balcony auditioning her Stanleys shouting for her below. So make a point to listen in to Stanley and Stella especially cuz its free, but as literary festivals go this one is world-class and deserves more of your attention. Check out the schedule and I’ll save you a seat:


About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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