Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer in New Orleans

In front of a banana tree on S. Cortez Street in New Orleans

            When I tell locals that I'm leaving for my home in California, aside from those who are terribly envious, most think I am escaping the heat and hurricane season. It's been a wondrously warm and I've made a point of getting out and sweating. The heaviness in the air means I don't sneeze or have any problems with allergies. I had assumed that allergies would follow me everywhere for the rest of my life. At UC Berkeley, I had a professor who called me weepy because my eyes and nose were always red and even when I was joyous, the corners of my eyes would cry. La llorona and I had nothing to cry about. I like to think I'm a lot tougher here in New Orleans where the only thing I have to weep about is the wimpy hot sauce (sorry Crystal and Tabasco). Mosquitoes love me and I try not to let them see me cry, sweat or bleed. My theory is that mosquitoes hide in my hair, enter the house, wait until I am fast asleep, and then bite me all night long. That was two weeks ago, before I discovered that I could sleep with citronella lotion on.
            Last week, I was a local celebrity with my picture in the Times-Picayune. Ana Gershanik wrote about the reading I had with Nancy Harris at Octavia Books in her Nuestro Pueblo Column. Gershanik's column features Latinos and Latino events in Nueva Orleans. We No Longer Carry Poetry Books," Octavia is one of the few bookstores that values poetry and always carries copies of my books.
Octavia Books
Octavia Books on Octavia Street is a great bookstore that supports poetry and local authors. I've had the pleasure of reading and signing books at Octavia Books three times. Even though I read my poem, "
            A few days later, I had the pleasure of seeing Sylvia Santamaria's sculpture, "El Buitre," in the Ogden Museum. Santamaria is an up and coming artist, watch for a future interview with her on La Bloga.
With El Buitre at the Ogden Museum
She and my nephew also had a couples' piece at the UNO gallery on St. Claude.
Last Thursday, Little Freddie King played at the Ogden Museum.

            However, the biggest news in New Orleans, from two days ago, comes from the New YorkTimes by Campbell Robertson. Robertson reports that Orleans Parish will no longer honor the Feds or any request by ICE to detain suspected undocumented workers. New Orleans is the first city in the deep South to defy requests by the Feds.

              Until next time, New Orleans. Hasta la vista. I'm sure when I return, the weather will still be warmer than Santa Barbara (and maybe those pesky mosquitoes will be all gone).

Upcoming events in California include:

August 23-25 California Poets in Schools' Poetry Writing & Teaching Symposium with honoree Juan Felipe Herrera at La Casa de Maria in Santa Barbara. To Register for the CPITS 2013 Symposium:


September 8, Bluebird Reading Series. I'm very excited to join this reading series, Sunday, September 8 at 2pm, I will join Cara Van Le and the Blue Bird readers at Avenue 50 Studios, Highland Park, CA. Open mike to follow.

September 14, over at Granada Books, the new bookstore in Santa Barbara, downtown, on State Street, I have the pleasure of being the featured reader at the Poetry Zone, 4pm. Open mike to follow.

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