The TN Fest was in full swing today. The Tulane student force was present at the Bourbon Orleans hotel. There were mint juleps and books of tables upstairs, two crime-novelist grandmothers swanning and talking up everybody, looking for new characters. They talked to us about their swimming marathons. She thinks she’s the hottest thing in the pool, one of snorted, thumbing at the other. Local writer Jean Smith and I directed the bumrush at the panels. New Orleans natives, pilgrims from Turkey to Canada, nonprofits like the Just One Fund (filming a comedy segment), food writers, photographers and unspecified lovers of Tennessee Williams crowded Paillard’s and packed the halls . Not only did the lectures cover everything from “The American Novel” to “Everybody Expects Me to Write Another Streetcar,” but traditions like the Stanley and Stella shouting contest will undoubtedly bring out Streetcar fans from every quarter.
Tulane student and poet Lyndsey Rabon not only volunteered but also stopped by for the love of Williams. “I attended Sweet Word of Youth, which featured poetry and fiction by students from Tulane, Loyola and University of New Orleans. I really enjoyed Dave Parker Jr. ‘s fiction and Laura Miller’s poetry, who are both graduate students at UNO. ”
The festival continues tomorrow; tragedy is scarce on Bourbon, but the spirit of Tennessee Williams currently haunts all of Nola’s now-functioning streetcars.