Writers for New Orleans Workshop
December 13 - 15, 2013
Writers for New Orleans was an effort begun after the devastating storms that ripped apart the Gulf region of the South.
There were members of Congress who actually suggested at the time that this area--incredibly historical and important in the expansion that gave America the land from coast to coast--be bulldozed.
Luckily, they were not the majority!
The "summer of storms" left death and devastation. Many who survived moved on, never to return. But for many, this was their home, and if they were to survive in that home, they needed
to get back to survival. In New Orleans, that meant tourism.
Who--while not always being citizens of the area--have often profitted from the city? Well, writers, of course. So many books and stories have been set amidst the history and beauty of the city. Some have described what NOLA offers as decaying elegance of a bygone time--in which a touch of magic still whispers in the air. For some it has been about struggle, for others, mystery and mayhem. But few has seen the majesty of Jackson Square, the haunting "Cities of the Dead," or the incredible array of architecture that is New Orleans and walked away without realizing that the city is a hand painted scene of culture and art that is truly unique. Restaurants are legendary, the power of the Mississippi here is mesmerizing, and the heart of America began to throb in earnest with an event that took place here in 1803--theLouisiana Purchase.
A street musician in the French Quarter may entertain for the drop of a dollar in a hat--and be a finer entertainer than many in a stadium show. Artists create paintings, drawings, sculptures, or you name it--and sit with their art in the square.
Writers for New Orleans came about because a friend--who had never left the city and made her living as a carriage driver--told us how grateful the citizens were for the donations that poured in from our people--not governments on any level--but the American people. However, what they wanted more than anything was to get back to work. To work--they needed tourists. Artists needed to sell their work, musicians needed their venues or streets filled with listeners, hotels needed people in rooms, and restaurants needed hungry diners to feed.
At that time, the cruise ships had yet to return to port. They were due to come back in October. Workers needed people in the city before that . . . .and so, we began in September of 2006.
What type writers for the workshop? That was a question at first. We tend to put everything into a "genre." But we knew we were working against time--not to mention the fact that we love every kind of writing. So, it was just writers! Romance, mystery, suspense, horror--non-fiction! (Surely, often, the very most horrifying!) But, as we pondered getting people into the city, we decided that it didn't matter if our guests were writers at all--they could just read. And then, heck, if you're not a reader, we can try to make you one, and if we fail, you'll still
love the city--we'll have parties and social events so that everyone can be involved.
It's been a labor of love since we began. While we are moving the dates out of storm season this year--exploring new ground for many! The city during the holiday season!--as long as we continue the conference, we'll never forget those basic ideals on which we began. We strive to give that magic moment when something about writing clicks, a venue in which editors, readers, writers, and friends and family along for the ride enjoy a great learning experience--and a great time.
We're delighted to say that NOLA is doing pretty darned good at this moment. Since we began, however, she's suffered a diasterious oil spill and--like the rest of the nation, of course--the not so natural disaster of budget cuts. We are completely non-profit; I pay the same for myself and my family as we ask others to pay for the registration fee. We ask that you come and spend what money you can, donate to our raffles (each year we benefit the library, children's Aids societies, and writers in distress,) and hopefully, have an experience unlike any other, and walk away inspired by the beauty of NOLA and the great heart beating here--one not to be defeated.
Many who have joined us during Labor Day can't sneak away in December and we completely understand. For others, it's not so bad, hm, last minute Christmas shopping, and wow--you mean Louisiana when it's not steam-broiling?
Hopefully, you can come. And hopefully, we'll give you an amazing kick-off towards the new year ahead!
Please click here for the Writers for New Orleans Registration Form
Heather's first Ghost Walk Trailer "The Lalaurie"