August 16, 2023

No Bad Season: How to Love a New Orleans Summer

I like to say New Orleans has three good seasons, and summer isn’t one. There are the hurricanes, of course, and then there’s the heat. No ordinary yellow clanging, it’s…

GARDEN AND GUN | June 21, 2023

August 16, 2023

Vigil Mass, or, A Friday Lunch at Galatoire’s

I was halfway through my pompano when a man in a gray wool suit stood up from his table along the mirrored wall and began to play the trumpet. In…

RESY | September 22, 2021

August 16, 2023

Forecast of an Aftermath : On Hurrican Ian

August 31, 2021, two days after Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 just outside New Orleans, where I live, I slept with the frozen bags of flour I’d…

GARDEN AND GUN | September 29, 2022

August 16, 2023

A Louisiana Artist’s Beautiful Beasts: On Brandon Ballengé

A hundred yards behind Brandon Ballengée’s art studio, in a former cane field near Lafayette, Louisiana, his dog lollops right over a snake. “Oooh, look at that! A black-masked racer!”…

GARDEN AND GUN | February/March 2022

March 3, 2021

The Wildly Creative Way New Orleans is Celebrating Mardi Gras

When the mayor of New Orleans cancelled Mardi Gras 2021 late last November, crews sheathed their half-built floats in plastic to await better times, and Caroline Thomas, a Mardi Gras…

GARDEN AND GUN | February 2021

October 9, 2020

The House of Myth: On the architecture of white supremacy

The house my grandparents built was one story, brick. It sat modestly on its suburban lot, a stone’s throw from New Orleans, its front door shaded by a small portico…

OXFORD AMERICAN | March 1, 2019 | Notable Essay, THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2019

April 2, 2020

What Happens on Bourbon St. Stays on Bourbon St.

One month before the first coronavirus tests arrived in Louisiana, I pushed through a raucous crowd of strangers in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Down the middle of Royal…


March 9, 2020

And the River Don’t Rise

The flash flood warning blared through the car’s speakers as we forded a side street rushing with high water. The rain crashed against the windshield. “Don’t worry, we’ll make it…


March 8, 2020


When our daughter was just a month old, Hurricane Sandy pummeled the eastern seaboard, flooding our neighbors’ houses, burning towns. While the peaks of a rollercoaster showed like volcanic islands…


March 7, 2020

Death is the Way to Be

In the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina, bodies floated in the streets and slumped in folding chairs in the sun. They lay on street corners for days, and cameramen took…

GUERNICA | Summer 2015 Notable Essay, THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2016

March 5, 2020

Confessions of a Recovering Debutante

We sat around on folding chairs, pinning ostrich plumes into one another’s hair, sharing college gossip. Near the door that led into the bowels of the Municipal Auditorium, our chaperone…

LENNY LETTER | February 13, 2018 

March 3, 2020

An Artist Drawn to the Beauty of the Bayou

Inside the Gentilly studio of the artist and designer Annie Moran, okra flowers twine up a clear blue sky. Nearby, lotus leaves unfurl, damp against dark water, while roseate spoonbills…

GARDEN AND GUN | June/July 2020

March 2, 2020

100 Years of Oysters

In the antique kitchen of his family’s restaurant, C.J. Gerdes slips a handful of corn-floured oysters into one of the six blackened pots on the stove. The fat froths like…

SAVEUR | March 29, 2019

March 2, 2020

Chasing the Blues

I met her on a Monday night, sometime after ten. Just off the plane from New Orleans, I could still smell the city in my clothes. I’d dropped by Casamento’s before…

GARDEN AND GUN | October/November 2017

February 3, 2020

Ode to the Isle of Orleans

They called us an island once, “we” being New Orleans. Certain old maps are marked “Isle of Orleans,” and it’s true we’re surrounded on all sides: the Mississippi River to…

GARDEN AND GUN | June/July 2020

November 4, 2016

Everything is Not Fine If It’s Not Fine for Everyone

On November 2, 2004, I stood among other American expats outside an Irish pub in Paris, watching the election results come in. A haze of cigarette smoke hung over the…

LITERARY HUB| November 22, 2016

March 3, 2000

The Mountains Every Time

The man and I drove all day through the Shenandoah Valley and entered the Blue Ridge by sunset, finding the turnoff only after dark. We serpentined into the mountains until…

GARDEN AND GUN | June/July 2019

March 3, 1999

Go Hubig’s or Go Home

In the Marigny of New Orleans, on my friend Miriam’s kitchen wall, hangs a picture frame containing one crinkled white wax-paper wrapper. The fat chef we call “Savory Simon” stands…

GARDEN AND GUN | July 2019