Friday, March 31, 2006

 Posted by Picasa

The Southern Belle Sounds Off

The Southern Belle Sounds Off

NEW ORLEANS – City of My Heart

I just returned from New Orleans. No matter where I live, it will always be the home of my heart. And it’s never looked so beautiful or so sad. It’s a city on the edge, both fragile and graceful, eating, drinking, making music, and worried about the next storm.

I stayed with friends in the suburbs where life goes on as usual... more or less. When my hosts ran into people he hadn’t seen in some time the greeting was not how are you doing? Or what’s up? But how’s your house? What have you lost?

My husband and I drove out to Lakeview. Unlike the now famous 9th Ward, Lakeview was home to middle-class and upper-middle-class families mostly white. These were people who’d made it, who’d bought a home between City Park with its sculpture garden, museum, oak trees, the shores of Lake Pontchartrain and tragically near the 17th Street Canal, where the Army Corps of Engineers underestimated the weakness of the soil.

For the most part these houses survived Katrina, the earthen levees along the lake held, but not those around the 17th Street Canal. Now you drive through block after block after block of ghosts. The houses stand. They look OK until you realize they’re empty shells.

In each of these neat, modern homes were families who before the storm worried about what we all worry about-- how to pay the mortgage, why weren’t their children applying themselves in school, how to build their business, or the stupidity of their bosses. Regular things. Now their lives have been changed forever. It’s as if the raised cemeteries spread out to cover over half the city. The freeway underpasses are still burial grounds for hundreds maybe thousands of abandoned cars.

Ed Reams, tv news reporter at WDSU was kind enough to give me a tour of the station and let me shadow him to research my next novel. Seven months after the hurricane, local news is still all about aftermath Katrina. The flood maps, new homes projected, and FEMA’s refusal to renegotiate no-bid contracts. Their coverage of local crime is no longer, “if it bleeds it leads,” but about contractor fraud.

And still the music, the cultural life of the city goes on. More next time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Here's the meeting from outside Denise's fabulous home with the golf course reflected on all windows. Posted by Picasa

Here's the meeting from outside Denise's fabulous home with the golf course reflected on all the windows. Posted by Picasa

That's me with some of the women of Women In Film.  Posted by Picasa

Here's the meeting of Women In Film in Denise's fabulous home with the golf course reflected from all windows. Posted by Picasa

Here I am with Craig Lawver Posted by Picasa



A lot of authors complain about book tours.  Not me.  So when Leanna Bonamici of Casablanca Studios in Desert Hotsprings, asked me to speak to the Palm Springs Chapter of Women In Film at their monthly breakfast on February 11th, I jumped at the chance.  While the East Coast was covered with snow, I got to spend the weekend in the sun surrounded by one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses.  Unfortunately I don’t play golf, somehow I’ve never been able to connect with little balls, but after the breakfast I spent an hour swimming in the pool.  

I’m only sorry I didn’t get any pictures of Leanna, or my hostess, president of the Palm Springs Chapter of Women In Film, the beautiful Denise DuBerry Hay and her beautiful sisters.  However, here are some pictures of the house and the meeting as well as one with Craig Lawver from Borders of Rancho Mirage who was gracious enough to come out and sell books.  OK, here’s the truth, I’m hoping I can get Picassa to send the pictures.  

The Palm Springs Women in Film Breakfast have come to hear me speak at the home of the beautiful Denise DuBerry Hay. She lives right on the golf course.  Posted by Picasa