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I was born and raised in New Orleans, living between my parents’ house and my grandmother’s mansion on the streetcar line. Because New Orleans is somewhat isolated and European, her people are very exotic like rare birds and different; they love to party, to put on airs, and to act unique. Everyone has a story. Everyone is related, and everyone could be and wants to be a character in a Tennessee Williams’ play. The exotic, bizarre, sensual flavor of that Mississippi River city made me want to write.
My playwriting did not take off until I had worked as an actress and director in California and New York, become a university professor, written two books on theater, The Actors Checklist, and The Director as Artist: Play Direction Today, and founded a theatre, Southern Repertory Theatre. We initiated a new play festival to develop new voices and a friend challenged me to write. My play, "Wishing Aces" won me a Senior Fulbright Research Specialist grant to Paris. From then on, I stopped writing textbooks and wrote plays primarily about New Orleans.
When I first wrote plays, I was fascinated by how bizarre my family and friends seemed, after having lived away for fifteen years in California and New York. All my work focuses on Louisiana and interconnections of complex personalities in New York, Paris and New Orleans.
I also write novels about Louisiana and the South, and my work "Tropical Depression" was twice a finalist in the William Faulkner – William Wisdom Novel Competition. In addition I also won five fellowships with Ernest Gaines (author of The Lesson Before Dying) in Lafayette, LA.