Tag Archives: New Orleans

Flight Risk: Memoirs of a New Orleans Bad Boy by James Nolan

Book Talk, Reading and Book Signing with author James Nolan

Where? Alvar Library, 913 Alvar St. New Orleans, LA 70117

504-596-2667

When? Thursday, July 27th, 6:60-8:00 pm

 

From the press release: Flight Risk: Memoirs of a New Orleans Bad Boy takes off as a page-turning narrative with deep roots and a wide wingspan. James Nolan, a fifth-generation New Orleans native, offers up an intimate portrait both of his insular hometown and his generation’s counterculture. He is a widely published fiction writer, poet, essayist, and translator. He has taught at universities in San Francisco, Florida, Barcelona, Madrid, and Beijing, as well as in his native New Orleans.

Books will be available for purchase through the Garden District Book Shop.

Light refreshments will be served.

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Barcation! at BJ’s in the Bywater!

What is Barcation? A Story Time for Adults. Join local writers who will read a story or a poem, or just tell a story. The topic is open: You can tell a story about a bar, a vacation, a vacation in a bar, or whatever you come up with. Or you can share the written work of a favorite author. Participants can sign up for five minutes. Or you can just listen. Light refreshments will be served.

Where: BJ’s in the Bywater, 4301 Burgundy Street, New Orleans

When: Thursday, June 8th, 7-9 pm.

See you there!

Sara Jacobelli

 

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Photo Credit: “Chilled Martini Glass.” Pixabay Free Images: 1660179.

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Little Silver Jukeboxes

silver-jukebox

    Fiction    Copyright © 2016  by Sara Jacobelli  

  

“Seems to me that a man, don’t know how to treat a woman, he deserves to lose that woman. Seems to me that a woman, being treated shitty by a man, she should leave that man.” Hanover tapped his spoon against the side of his coffee cup.

“Will you stop that tapping?” Casey drank her orange juice and flipped through the paper. “Lookit the prices of these rents? A thousand a month? Who could pay that?”

“Seems to me that, a woman, if her man’s beating on her, she should leave. You know. Even if it means living in her car. Or the library. Lotsa homeless folks live at the public library. Seems to me it’s better to be homeless than dead. Just saying.”

“Seems to me some people talk too fucking much.”

The waitress held her coffee pot in mid-air above their cups. “Refills?”

“Yeah. Sure. Lemme see the sports section.” Hanover grabbed the paper. “Saints are bums again.”

“No more coffee for me.” Casey stood up. “My car broke down, can’t even make it out of the driveway. And if you think I’m sleeping under the overpass and taking a bath at the library, you really are senile. Like your wife says.”

“You don’t know my wife. My wife.”

Casey went outside to smoke a cigarette. The waitress leaned over the counter. “That one don’t know Gwen died?”

“She never knew Gwen. Just heard me chat about her right here, sitting at the counter. Every Sunday.”

“Thought you two was good friends.” Marie stacked plates and wiped down the counter.

“Nah, never seen her outside the diner. We just talk, joke around. I always tease her, tell her her old man don’t know how lucky he is. Hate to see a pretty girl cover up black eyes and bruises with make-up and sunglasses. Hate to see it.”

“Hanover, you’re a pretty observant fellow.”

“When I was a kid, my mama useta get beat like that. She took us all down to the Greyhound station in the middle of the night. Would you believe? Would you believe he marched right down and dragged us all home? He beat her so bad, she never tried to leave again. Never. And it was my fault. I told her we should leave. Take the bus to Disneyland, that was my Big Idea.” Hanover tapped his spoon against his coffee cop in a steady beat. “You know, Marie?”

“Hmmm. Yeah, Hanover.” Marie pulled out a small mirror from her apron pocket and attempted to tweeze a wayward eyebrow.

“I always said, I always said, ‘Life woulda been different.'”

“What?”

“If mama and us kids left him, life. My whole life, woulda been different.”

“Well, you turned out alright. You met Gwen, got married. You know. What more do ya want, Hanover?”

Casey came back in and sat at the counter. “Those little silver jukeboxes? What happened to them?”

“Oh honey,” Marie said. “Nobody played em no more so Moe took em out.”

“Oh. I played em. Used to play all kinds a songs. Willie Nelson. I love his songs.”

“Yeah. Sure. You played love songs for me.” Hanover pulled a twenty out of his wallet to pay the bill.

“You wish, old timer.”

“Seems to me, that a man who don’t treat his woman right, seems to me he don’t got no complaints if she walks right out that door.”

“Moe hiring here, Marie? I could wait tables. Never done it, but I could learn. Only had two jobs in my whole life. Worked at McDonald’s in high school, and I did telemarketing for a while after I got married. One a them places they call boiler rooms.” Casey made a face. “He made me quit. Said my boss was hitting on me.”

“Moe don’t need no waitresses, but he could use a dishwasher. Jesse quit just yesterday.”

“I washed plenty dishes in my time.” Casey grabbed a napkin. “Hanover, you gotta pen?”

“You gonna wash dishes? Now, that’s a good start. I washed dishes when I got outta the army. Sure did. Now it seems to me, if a young lady can’t afford an apartment, she could rent a room somewheres. Miss Betsy down the road rents rooms. Rents rooms to single ladies, she does.”

Casey wrote her name and number on the napkin and gave it to Marie. “Maybe you could put a word in for me with Moe.”

“Sure honey. I can do that.” She went to wait on a family of redheads who sat at the corner table by the window.

“My wife Gwen, she always gave good advice. One time she told me, she said, ‘Hanover, you sleep too much. Don’t just sleep in on your day off, get up and accomplish something.’ So I did. I built me a garden shed, a garage, all kinds a things. Built a canoe for the kids and they bout wore it out. Built em with my own bare hands, I did. Built something every weekend, til the damn heart attack slowed me down.”

“Your wife calls you Hanover? Don’t you even have a first name?”

“First name’s Dick. She hated that. Said she wasn’t gonna stand at the back door and yell, ‘Dick! Dick! Time for dinner, Dick!’ So it’s always been Hanover.”

“You should have me over to meet her sometime. Play some cards, order a pizza.”

“Yeah. Sure. Seems to me, seems to me you gonna be mighty busy, with this here new life you’re planning.”

“See ya later alligator.” Casey touched Hanover on the arm.

“In a while, crocodile.” Hanover watched her walk out the door and cross the street to the bus stop.

Marie rang up Hanover’s bill and brought him his change. “So, whatcha got planned for the rest of the day?”

“I don’t know. Funny, isn’t it Marie? Life coulda been different.”

“You gotta be careful you don’t spend too much time alone, thinking about stuff like that. Ain’t healthy. Sitting there in that house with nothing but Judge Judy on the TV for company. Go join a bowling team, go over by St. Cecilia’s and play Bingo, why dontcha?” Marie pulled out a file and began filing her nails. “Go date one of them old ladies at church.”

Hanover stood up. “Just saying, life woulda been different. If she coulda left him.”

“Yeah. Well. And I coulda been a beauty queen, honey. And I’m slinging eggs and grits at Moe’s.”

************

Photo Credit: “Jukebox.” Pixabay Copyright-free images.

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No Dying in the Machines

laundromat-708176_960_720

“I don’t like washing my personal undergarments here. They’s people have a thing for panties. They steal em. Then they bring em home and do Lord knows what with em. If I’m lying I’m dying. “

“Men’s or women’s?”

“Men don’t wear panties. They wear plain old underwears.”

“Drag queens wear panties.”

“Drag queens? Lord have mercy, this Laundromat’s getting too strange for me. Well–the way I was raised. I was raised that girls wore panties and boys wore underwears. That’s how I was raised. In a decent home. Catholic school, for all eight of us kids. Think that was easy for Mama and Papa? Tuition for eight children, not easy, let me tell you. I sure wish I had me a washer and a dryer. Harold, my husband Harold, we had a lovely home that he built for us–with his bare hands he did. Had a washer and a clothesline for when the weather was nice, you know, and a dryer for when it rained. And we had a car, a Buick, mind you, a real car, not one a these cheap plastic things they drive now. From my own Sears Kenmore washer and dryer and a Buick, to the Lots-a-Suds Laundromat and the RTA bus.”

“They spelled dyeing wrong.”

“What darling?”

“On the sign. It says, ‘No Dying in the Machines.’ They mean dyeing, D-Y-E-I-N-G. For dyeing clothes.”

“Oh they did, didn’t they? They must not of been taught by nuns, because let me tell you, the sisters at St. Cecilia’s made sure you could spell, yes indeed. Got hit with a ruler if you spelled like that. I never could spell, got smacked with the ruler for it all the time. Now my Harold, he could spell. He won a ten dollar savings bond in a spelling bee when he was twelve years old.  He sure did. If I’m lying I’m dying. Yes indeed.”

“What happened to Harold? If you don’t mind me asking?”

“Oh honey, he died. He sure did.”

“Not in the machine?”

“Oh, Lord no. That’s funny. Even Harold would’ve laughed at that one. You should be a comedian. “

“Yeah, people say I’m too sarcastic sometimes. Look, you think he’s one of them? A panty thief?”

“Oh, for sure. He looks like one. Way you can tell is—they hangs out all day in the Laundromat. All day. Ain’t washing nothing. Just looking for panties.”

“That guy should wear a T-shirt that says, ‘I’m a panty thief and proud of it.’”

“Oh Lord, you make me laugh. You are too much. So–you make your husband and kids laugh too?”

“No husband, no kids. I bartend in the Quarter.”

“Oh you live The Exciting Life then. I always said there was two kinds of lives. The Plain Old Life, like me and Harold. Married at eighteen. Four kids. A house. Nothing too fancy. And then there’s The Exciting Life. Movie Stars. Ballerinas. Football and Baseball Players. Boxers. Race Car Drivers. Singers like Frank Sinatra and Elvis. And bartending in the French Quarters. Ain’t been in thirty years, if I’m lying I’m dying. Used to go for coffee and donuts when we was kids, Papa would drive us over for a treat, all us kids in the car in our pajamas. Then me and Harold when we was courting. Don’t go now. Can’t see me getting on the 88 St. Claude bus and high-tailing it to the French Quarters.”

“You think bartending’s exciting?”

“Honey, believe you me–it sure sounds more exciting than being married to Harold for fifty years. He worked the hardware store and I scrubbed floors and raised kids. It sounds exciting to me.”

“Don’t forget about Harold winning the spelling bee.”

“Oh, you’re right. We had our moments. Look—he stuck something in his pocket. I think he got one of your purple gouchies.”

“Gouchies?”

“Maw-Maw called em gouchies. In polite company. “

“Hey you! Excuse me, sir. I do believe those are mine. The undergarments. The purple undergarments in your pocket. “

“That’s just my hanky, Miss.”

“Let me see it.”

“Here, you can have them.”

“I can’t believe he tried to kidnap my panties.”

“It’s a crazy world. Takes all kinds. Some days–without Harold–I just want to die. Give up. I could crawl into that machine and die. You’re young, it hasn’t happened to you yet. But when your family and your friends–they just start dying off. And you find yourself alone and too old to go the French Quarters and have a beer. They don’t even make Dixie no more, do they darling?”

“You can come see me at the bar where I’m working. The Bastille on Toulouse Street. “

“Oh Lord. I’d look like a drunken old floozy. I sure would. What happened to that cute young chick Harold was courting back in the day?”

“Don’t think like that. You’re not old. And you got kids, grandkids, I’ll never have that.”

“You’re right, darling. Thank the Lord. I am lucky, luckier than most. Sometimes that’s easy to forget. Don’t want to move in with my daughters, though. Just wish I hadn’t lost the house, we had so many of them doctor’s bills and hospital bills with Harold. We just couldn’t pay it all. Ain’t it a shame? You’ll see. You’ll see, hon. There’s a lotta loss in this Life.”

“I’ve had loss.”

“At your age? Honey, you look like you just lost your baby teeth. If I’m lying I’m dying. “

“I’ve had loss already, believe me. My boyfriend JT–he shot this guy–in Johnny’s Bar. Went to Angola State Prison. I was gonna have an abortion, didn’t know what to do. “

“Oh Lord. Abortions. I never knew no one who had one of those. I just went and had the babies. Four of em. Plop. Plop. Plop. Plop. Harold Jr. Harriet. Henry. Henrietta. Harold used to tease me, said I was like a baby-making machine. And they’d all follow me around like little ducklings and I didn’t have a moment of peace. But I was happy, busy every second. All those questions. Lord, they never stopped asking questions. Why is the sky blue? Why does the sun shine? But I was happy. Now it’s too quiet.”

“I had the baby. Named her Angela Marie. I was going to keep her. But I was so scared. No one to help me. So I gave her up, I put her up for adoption. I didn’t have no one to watch her when I went to work. I didn’t want to raise her up on welfare and food stamps. So-“

“But honey, what about your Mama? “

“She died. She OD’d on booze and pills when I was fourteen”

“That’s a crying shame.”

“She wouldn’t have helped anyway. I lived with my dad and stepmom for a while, then split when I was fifteen and a half. So you better not crawl in that machine there and die. Your kids and your grandkids, they need you.”

“Oh Lord, you’re right about that. You think they don’t need you once they’re grown, but sometimes, they need you even more. Hey, look. He’s back. The Purple Panty Thief. “

“I should do a stand-up comedy bit about this. You know, an open mike.”

“Honey, I knew you was a comedian. “

“No–I’ve never had the nerve.”

“Go ahead. Try it. You do your comedy act–I’ll come see it and I’ll sit in the front row. Now go get your panties from that man.”

“I think he’s got YOUR panties this time. Your green striped personal undergarments.”

“Oh, Lord, Harold would’ve loved this. He laughed louder than anyone at the Vagaries of Life. He loved Life. He sure did.”

**********************

Photo Credit: “Laundromat,” Pixabay Copyright-free images.

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Leaps Tall Buildings

superman

 

I wrote this play for the Superhero-themed Faster Than a Speeding Bullet One-Minute Play Festival held at The Theatre at St. Claude. This play is actually five minutes long, but a shorter version was performed at the theatre.  http://www.thetheatreatstclaude.com/

This is the play in its entirety:

 

TITLE: Leaps Tall Buildings

AUTHOR: Sara Jacobelli

A Play in One Act

Five Minute Play

© Copyright 2016 by Sara Jacobelli

 

SETTING:

A small library branch in a New Orleans neighborhood, which is beset by gentrification and changing demographics, yet still dealing with rampant street crime.

 

CHARACTERS:

Molly:  mid to late twenties, a young library staff member with hair dyed (bright, multi-colored), tattoos, dressed young and hip.

Bernadine:  An older librarian lady of the old school, glasses on a chain around her neck, dressed more conservatively.

Superman: A middle aged man who appears to be homeless. He comes into the library daily in regular clothes carrying a backpack. He goes into the restroom and changes into a home-made Superman costume, complete with cape.

 

ACT ONE

The scene takes place at the library circulation desk. Molly and Bernadine are seated at high stools at the desk. Molly is chattering about her nails and thrift shop excursions. Bernadine is absent mindedly stamping books.

 

MOLLY: How long’s he been in there this time?

BERNADINE:  I don’t know. Ten, Fifteen minutes.

MOLLY: Do’ya think he’s violating any rules?

BERNADINE:  Holds up a card about the size of a postcard.  Says here, it says, “No shaving in the restroom, No bathing in the restroom, No washing clothes in the restroom, No smoking in the restroom, No sleeping in the restroom.” Doesn’t say a damn thing about changing into a Superman suit.

MOLLY: Admires her nails. Laughs.  Dude. Never heard you swear before, Bernadine. Had you for a church-lady type.  Looks at her nails again. These are mood nails. They change colors with your mood.

BERNADINE:  Reminds me of mood rings!  Shakes her head. There’s a lot you don’t know about me. You’d be surprised. Places I’ve been. Things I’ve done.

MOLLY: Eyes open wide. Wow. Really. You getting wild now that you’re gonna retire? Next week’s your last week right? Then what’re ya gonna do?

BERNADINE: Pulls out a notebook, puts her glasses on. Writes in the notebook. Stops writing, looks off into the distance.  Think I might go take a trip. Visit my granddaughter. That’d be nice. Maybe take her on a trip. Get to know her.

MOLLY: How in the WORLD can you have a grandkid when you’ve never even had ANY kids?

BERNADINE: Oh, none of you at the library know this. But I had a son. My ex-husband kidnapped him, so I didn’t get to raise him. All those years. Missed all those years. Found him, finally, just last year. Good thing for the Internet.

MOLLY: Stands up and looks Bernadine up and down like she never saw her before. And you NEVER told us? You NEVER told us? I can’t believe it!

BERNADINE: I just don’t, I’ve never. I don’t tell people my private personal business. Now you kids, nowadays, you tell everyone everything.  I don’t know.  Looks off into the distance.  Maybe it’s healthier. People didn’t used to talk about private things. My own mother never even told me that I had a sibling that died. A sister. I didn’t find out until after my mother passed. Looked through her papers, found photographs of my sister Angela.  I just didn’t see the point of telling people I had a son. Michael. Then they’d want to ask about school and birthdays and holidays and then I’d have to say I didn’t raise him. Then they’d want to feel sorry for me. Or else they’d judge me. Nope. Nobody’s business.

MOLLY: Jumps up. That’s it! He’s been in there too long. I’m gonna go bang on the door.

BERNADINE: Don’t bother. He’s out.

SUPERMAN: Walks over to the circulation desk. Walks slowly as if he has a lot of aches and pains. Well, how are you lovely young ladies doing today?

MOLLY: We’re doing OK. Dude. But, like, you really can’t spend too much time in the bathroom. We have other patrons, ya’know?

SUPERMAN: Yes, young lady. I know. Don’t mean no harm. It’s just that, there ain’t no more phone booths around this town. Looks at Bernadine.  You remembers phone booths, Miss? Used to be all over, on every corner, and I could change into my suit in one of those. Now everyone has cell phones and iPhones and all a that, and nobody thinks about where Poor Ole Superman is sposed to change into his SUIT.  Shakes his head. It’s a changing world, Miss. No phone booths, no newspapers, no mailboxes.  Nobody even talks to each other anymore. They pass you right by without sayin anythin. All these here new Rich People changing everythin.  If I’m lyin I’m dyin. An rents going through the roof. Now me, I’ve been homeless so long, I ain’t PAID rent in years, but I’m thinkin of you workin folks. How you gonna pay TWO THOUSAND A MONTH rent? There didn’t used to be so many of us homeless. Now there’s so many people any time you line up for a free meal. It’s a crowd. It’s a crying shame.

MOLLY:  Gets up off her stool. Lunch time. Gonna ride my bike to Satsuma. Wanna go, Bernadine?

BERNADINE: Shakes her head. Nah, you go.  Looks at Superman. But as high as the rents are, the street crime’s getting worse and worse. Maybe you can help with that. Get rid of the armed robbers and get rid of the high rents too, while you’re at it.

SUPERMAN:  Laughs.  Darlin, I would. I would if I could. All I have is my fantasies. That’s what keeps me going. Yes, indeed. It’s a changing world. Yes, indeed yes.

BERNADINE: You’re right about that, Superman. It’s a changing world. And we never know what’s coming next. We never know what’s right around the corner.

SUPERMAN: I hope it’s a phone booth. I hope they brings back phone booths. Superman needs a place to change. He sure does.

They both laugh. The curtain closes.

 

THE END

 

Picture Credit: Superman is copyrighted by DC Comics, originally created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m reading at LadyFest 2015!

I’m reading at LadyFest 2015!   Here’s the venue and line-up:

Thursday, November 5th, 6-9 pm

2442 N Villere Street, NOLA

Readers:

Phyllis Parun, Gina Ferrara, Nancy Dixon, Roxy Seay, Sara Jacobelli, Emily Ewings, Izzy Oneiric, Lisa Pasold, Andrea Young, Larua McKnight, Nancy Harris, Stacey Balkun, Jessica Rudy Radcliffe

Saturday, November 7th, 4-7 pm

1432 Magazine Street, NOLA

Readers:

Valentine Pierce, Madeleine Levy, Michelle Embee, Nordett Adams, Kesha Star Young, Contance Adler, Fiyah Like Ayanna, Sandra Johnson, FreeQuency, Whitney Mackman,  (The Witness), Alice Urchin, Roselyn Lionhart, Margaret A Marley, Melanie  Leavitt, Amanda Emily Smith

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The New Laurel Review

My nonfiction piece, “Coco Robicheaux and Solomon the Rooster” has been published in The New Laurel Review Issue XXVI, 2015.

 

There’s some amazing work featured here by Gina Ferrara, Valentine Pierce, Dave Brinks,  Andre Codrescu, JEWEL BUSH, Ralph Adamo,  Dennis Formento, Mark Folse, Delia Tomino Nakayama, Scott S. Ellis, Benjamin Morris, Thomas Bonner,  Raymond “Moose” Jackson, John Gery, Henri Andre’ Fourroux III,  and more!

Also great photos by Phyllis Parun

Issues are $20 per copy and can be ordered from:

 

The New Laurel Review

828 Lesseps Street

New Orleans, LA 70117

 

 

(PS: Another piece was attributed to me by mistake, “When the music is dying” so if you wrote it, let me know! Not sure how that happened, it’s a short prose poem.)

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