POSTED Wed. Mar 19, 2014
The Tennessee Williams Festival has arrived!
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival (TWFest), the premier event of the city’s literary calendar, kicks off today. From now until Mar 23, New Orleans will be all a-glut with authors, poets and those who love their letters. Take a look through the enormous (26 pages) program and consider purchasing a ticket; TWFest is a once a year chance to rub shoulders with the nation’s leading literary lights.

With that said, New Orleans has always had a strong pull on writers. We’re a city that has always catered to those of a bohemian bent, and the town has a natural draw for storytellers. Locals tend to have gift of gab, and New Orleans herself produces, as David Simon, one of the preeminent American storytellers of this generation might say, the moments that make stories worth telling.

Although the festival technically begins today, it reaches full swing during the weekend, from Friday until Sunday. Some of the highlights of this year’s TWFest include:

Literary Walking Tours of the city, which depart from the Hotel Monteleone lobby at 10am and 2pm, Fri-Sun ($25).

A Literary Dance Party with author Victor LaValle, DJ Brice Nice and – wait for it – LIL DOOGIE straightouttheWestBankWhaaaaaat!!!! On Friday at 8pm at the Monteleone – $15 gets you in and gets you some drank.

Various theater performances at La Petit Theatre and the Southern Rep throughout the weekend – times vary, but shows will basically be going nonstop at one or both venues from 2-8pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Roll With It There are a lot of panels, lectures and discussions throughout TWFest, but this Roll With It, held on Sunday at 1pm at the Palm Court Jazz Café, sounds fascinating, as it will somehow integrate the art of local artist Willie Birch and the sounds of the Hot 8 Brass Band.

Literary Late night On Saturday, at 8pm in the Monteleone’s Queen Anne Ballroom, there will be a discussion of Elmore Leonard: author, screenwriter and master of the picaresque, dark humor, true crime and Lord knows how many other genres.

Even Later Literary Late Night An adults only performance of Through the Looking Glass by local burlesque troupes at One-Eyed Jack’s at 11:30pm. Yeah you right.

The Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest Last, but certainly not least: at 4:15pm on Sunday, on Jackson Square, competitors will don their best Stella and Stanley outfits and re-enact this classic scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. Get there early if you want to see the fun; this one gets crowded.

Image courtesy of TWFest


    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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