John Biguenet will receive the Louisiana Writer Award in conjunction with the festival, the 13th writer recognized by the State Library’s Center for the Book since 2000. “You know, 13 is considered lucky in Italy,” he says, appropriate coming from a half-Italian New Orleanian and the editor of Foreign Fictions. In even a short conversation, Biguenet, a playwright and novelist, draws from a wealth of cultures and disciplines.
“I did my MFA in poetry,” he says, unspooling the history of his career: translation work, award-winning stories and novel, best-selling plays and groundbreaking New York Times columns about New Orleans “since the flood.”
Biguenet has grappled with the failure of the levees, of government and societal systems, across several years and many genres. He calls this rich material an American story because “New Orleans is where the future came first.” When he discusses that time now, seven years later, the horrific stories he tells are spoken matter-of-factly and without bitterness.
“We have a different relationship with things now,” he says.
He searched the mythologies of other cultures because he found that America has no narrative structure to explain the loss of an entire city, and most people still can’t understand what happened to New Orleans. The solution was iconic architecture, which Biguenet used to frame his trilogy of plays—a roof in Rising Water, the stylistic building in Shotgun, and a home destroyed by Mold. He is currently writing this last play, as well as a new novel that, like his first novel Oyster, is set in 1957.
He says he is honored to join the company of the previous Writer Award winners, most recently Jim Wilcox and Valerie Martin. Of the Louisiana Book Festival, he says, “There’s a staggering amount of talent in the green room, and it’s an occasion where one can recognize how many significant writers come from a relatively small state.”
Asked why he thinks that is the case, Biguenet says, “At the mouth of the country’s biggest river, everything eventually comes to Louisiana. We’re in the right place to hear and tell stories.”
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Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.
These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
On Saturday the two blocks between Bedford and Beverly drives on April 13, 2013, residents will get to see a model of what Government Street could look like if we push local and state officials to update the roadway to a safer, more "complete street" model.