Casino Deutschland

Sugar Daddy

One of the biggest surprises I unearthed while researching my book Creole Son was the black branch of artist Edgar Degas’s Creole family tree. The revelation had nothing to do with racial intermingling, commonplace enough in nineteenth-century Louisiana, but everything to do with someone almost as famous as the Impressionist himself. In a state where miscegenation was was illegal, Degas’s great uncle Vincent Rillieux and his love, a femme de coleur libre, or  free woman of color, named Constance Vivant, had no choice but to live together outside of marriage. Their union was long, happy and produced six children. Their third, Norbert, would achieve international acclaim with an invention as innovative as the cotton gin. Born in New Orleans, Norbert Rillieux was...

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Swept Away!

  I was recently asked if there was a single book that most impacted me as a writer. I didn’t hesitate in answering, “Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides.” I so admired Conroy’s The Boo when it debuted in 1970 that I devoured all his subsequent works, but none prepared me for The Prince of Tides. Like millions of other readers, I was enthralled and why not? The very first line was irresistible: “My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.”  Conroy was crying “All aboard!” and I couldn’t wait for the ride. The story involves a picaresque, sublimely dysfunctional Carolina clan and more than once veers with infinite grace from prose to poetry that left me breathless.  Consider his white dolphin. “Rising, she...

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Apocalypse Now? Maybe not.

HBO’s darkly amazing new series, True Detective, co-stars Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and south Louisiana. I use that particular billing because the surreal landscape is such a strong character it’s difficult to imagine its denizens being anywhere else. The third episode had the guys driving through an embattled terrain more wet than dry, and talking about how the land there is fast disappearing.  Having lived in New Orleans, I knew this was no plot gimmick. Thanks to logging, drilling, oil spills, dredging and other man-made nightmares, the Gulf of Mexico gobbles up a football field of Louisiana wetland every hour. Every hour! No, that’s not a typo. When the French arrived in 1699, appropriately enough on Mardi Gras day, they christened the new colony...

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