An L.A. Woman Embraces Her Ancestral New Orleans Home

How Family Reunions Revealed That My Grandparents’ Stories Are My Own

Zigzagging through the crush of rush-hour commuters at L.A.’s Union Station, I’m hoping to make up for lost time. Suddenly, out of the edges of my vision, a man crosses in front of me, planting himself directly in my path. In a broad-brimmed Panama hat, cream-colored slacks and shoes to match, he’s a vision of not just another place, but another era.

“Where you from?” he asks.

I hold him in my gaze just long enough to assess the question: Rap? Ploy? Curiosity?

I land on the latter: “Los …

More In: New Orleans

Dancing in New Orleans to Overcome Division

A Crescent City Transplant Creates a Diverse Non-Profit, and Finds a New Home

Five years ago, I moved from New York to New Orleans. The reasons included a need to escape from the New York grind, a lover’s terminal brain cancer, and a …

New Orleans Taught Me the Meaning of Home

Though Our Lives Have Picked Different Paths, the City Remains the Ground Zero of Our Family's Dramas

I’d just woken up in my mother’s home outside Bay St. Louis, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It was late February, Mardi Gras season. It was chilly, and as my …

New Orleans Is My Second Language

We Lived in Los Angeles, But My Mother’s Songs, Stories, Cooking—and Most of All the Way She Spoke—Made Louisiana Feel Like Home

For a time, most likely between the ages of 5 and 8, I floated around with a secret: a dogged yet utterly erroneous notion that my family spoke a second …

Social Studies for White Kids

Learning About Slavery in the Segregated South


I lived until I was nine in an approximately half-black town, without ever having any social contact with a black kid.

I don’t mean I didn’t have any as close friends. …