When I tell people I’m a high school teacher in New Orleans, they look at me like I’m a few inches taller than I was before. They look at me like I’m a saint, but if they heard how hard I laughed at things I shouldn’t, they wouldn’t assume I was so pious. This past week one of students in AP Language and Composition said Drake was the type of rapper who wears a pad when his girlfriend gets her period so he can feel her pain. Inappropriate? Definitely, but it’s lighthearted compared to the vitriol I used to spit at my teachers.
Richard Goodman, a University of New Orleans professor of creative nonfiction writing, sits down with Jack Hope to discuss the new Storyville series — a collaboration between WWNO and the university’s Creative Writing Department.
Goodman has been at UNO for three years as an assistant professor to both graduate and undergraduate level students. Describing himself as a lifelong writer, Goodman also touched on some of his work, including his first book, French Dirt.
The guy next to me is wearing an orange fur coat and a red feather boa; his wife is dressed as a giant grape. Someone playing the trumpet looks like a cross between a post office employee and a Mad Max road warrior. I'm wearing an inflatable alligator on my head.
Storyville. What strikes me most when I hear the word or see it emblazoned across the chest of a baby romper is how weird New Orleans is. We have embraced the memory of a red light district that closed its green shutters almost a century ago as a source of pride. We’re nostalgic over prostitution. Maybe that shouldn’t surprise me, considering this city’s often-exuberant relationship with its own debauchery. But the way our city gleefully remembers Storyville has always sat strangely with me.