POSTED Mon. Oct 20, 2014


Particles of Storytelling
Kat Stromquist

You can’t walk through the Bywater these days without tripping over an aspiring writer, but New Orleans has long lacked publications full of strong work. At Neutrons/Protons, an online and print publication celebrating its first anniversary, editor-in-chief Sophie Johnson culls the best creative nonfiction and humor to form a magazine that is half highbrow satire, half essay, to seek out her most important thing: the truth.

“[We publish] satire [because it’s] specifically about a social issue or political issue in a humorous way — it’s funny because it’s true. Then with creative nonfiction…the truth is at the center of all of it,” she says.

Johnson is a slender, fast-talking former journalist whose disarming patter about storytelling betrays her seriousness about writing as a form of activism. Her experience with the Orleans Parish education system informs her own work, and she thinks the use of voice in story is both a political as well as a stylistic choice.

“[This] form just continues to blossom, both creative nonfiction, New Yorker-style journalism and new journalism,” she says. “[It’s] this meticulous way people tell their own truth. They don’t leave the word ‘I’ out of it.”

In each issue of Neutrons/Protons, one finds Johnson’s mixture of meaningful satire and narrative. In one piece, a writer describes her first haircut after her mother dies. In a humorous list, local writer Alex Woodward describes the top ten breads he’s encountered in the past year. (Winner: Bellegarde Bakery’s baguette, described in the magazine as “dank.”) [Editor’s Note We agree]

Each story is illustrated with an original watercolor, and most issues include a short series of comics. Johnson wants the magazine to be part of a movement that preserves longform journalism, memoir and comics as media.

“There are a lot of people who don’t want [those forms] to go anywhere. I think longform has gotten a lot better in the last ten years…people are working really hard to preserve this factual storytelling,” she says.

In the upcoming weeks, Neutrons/Protons will host a series of themed writing workshops in collaboration with Press Street’s Room 220. With these workshops, the magazine’s staff hopes to give the writing community time and space to work and workshop. The events will emphasize craft and the importance of collaboration.

Those who are interested in submitting to the magazine can work closely with peers and magazine staff to develop their ideas, chasing the elusive “so what?” well-known to veterans of writing programs.

“The point is more like, tell your story because you have a reason that you want to tell it. Don’t just tell it because it’s there,” Johnson says. “Just workshopping with one other person…really improves your work, period. It can make a really big difference.”

Image courtesy of Neutron Protons on Facebook.

POSTED Nov 4, 2019


A New Orleans & Me Guide to Beer in the Crescent City

A New Orleans & Me Guide to Beer in the Crescent City

The beer scene in New Orleans has exponentially expanded since 2010, ballooning from a few beer-specializing bars and one homegrown brewery to a series of brewpubs, microbreweries and…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED May 16, 2019


Bayou Boogaloo & You!

Bayou Boogaloo & You!

In the seemingly never-ending string of festivals New Orleans hosts all year round Bayou Boogaloo (Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19) is one of the standouts. Since…....

Written by NEW ORLEANS & ME
POSTED Dec 14, 2018


Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Hey, the weather outside is kind of frightful! About as frightful as it gets down here anyways (also, note that next week temperatures will be back in the…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 27, 2018


Ready for Reveillon

Ready for Reveillon

Just like caroling on Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral concerts, or bonfires on the levee, Reveillon dinners are a beloved Crescent City holiday tradition. This year a…....


    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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