Philanthropic Fun: Playwright’s Party

The “Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival” celebrated the genius of Tennessee Williams and contemporary artists in a multi-day festival.
(Front) Janet Duval and Dr. Kenneth Holditch with (standing) Lawrence Henry Gobble and Jeremy Lawrence

The “Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival” returned to the historic French Quarter for its 33rd annual celebration of contemporary literature, culture, theater and the works of Williams on March 27-31.

The five-day event offered a range of diverse speakers and performers, including Dorothy Allison, Jami Attenberg, Bryan Batt, Jason Berry, Roy Blount Jr., Douglas Brinkley, Greg Brownderville, Alafair Burke, Robert Olen Butler, Patricia Clarkson, Maureen Corrigan, Michael Cunningham, Eve Ensler, Garth Greenwell, Silas House, Bernice L. McFadden, Daniel José Older, Hannah Pittard, Julia Reed, Justin Phillip Reed, Nathaniel Rich, Poppy Tooker, Kent Wascom and many more.

Amongst the events, the dynamic staged reading of John Kennnedy Toole’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces was sold out for all three performances at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. The theme for the annual Tennessee Williams Tribute Reading was “Before He Was Tennessee.” Dorothy Allison, Michael Cunningham and Bernice McFadden, amongst others, read literary gems by a young, unknown writer named Thomas Lanier Williams.

The off-shoot festival, the Saints + Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival that occurs concurrently with the TW/NO Literary Festival, inducted Judy Grahn, Frank Perez, Cheryl Head and Michael Cunningham into their Literary Hall of Fame with the help of special presenter Ani DiFranco.

Drummer and Smoke, returned with iconic New Orleans musicians Banu Gibson, The Tin Men and The New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra led by Lars Edegran. Plus, singer Anais St. John presented her show Lulu White, based on the famous Storyville madam.

The festival came to a close with the annual “Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest.” The winner was Nathan Rayger of Minneapolis, Minnnesota. From the balcony, Eric Charleston and Cecile Monteyne entertained the crowd.


Event at a Glance

What: The 33rd annual “Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival “

When: Wednesday-Sunday, March 27-31,

Where: Multiple locations throughout the French Quarter


Dr. Kenneth Combs. Antoinette de Alteriis, Kathleen Calhoun Nettleton and Dr. Brobson Lutz

Paul Wilcox, Starr Hagenbring, Starr Chapman and Maria Arroyo