Au Revoir New Orleans


I have to admit that I’m not altogether pleased to be leaving The Big Easy tomorrow and so, therefore, and I hope you won’t beat yourself up too much about this– I am a little disappointed in you. I would have thought you all would band together and make it possible for me to simply stay here for a few months and write!

I do my very best for you, my readers. I’ve gone to lots of places and met lots of people. I’ve eaten a lot of beignets and lots of other fare too. I’ve kissed a lot of boys and prayed with a lot of homeless people and street preachers. I’ve sweated out on the dance floor and sat with a Tarot card reader. I’m out there sometimes ’til five or six in the morning doing the Lord’s work and, well, I feel like the least you all could have done would be to make sure that I didn’t have to leave before I wanted to. Yet tomorrow I’m leaving– and I don’t want to!


New Orleans is the setting of my new musical RUTH and it helps me to be here to work on it. I guess I’ll just have to go back home and– oh! Home! Yeah, I’m excited to be there too. Jared has been working hard to get the pool ready for me so I can go back to morning swims. I’m about to get in the best shape of my life– again, for you– for the selfies! Miles, I hope you’re ready to get your ass kicked in the gym because you and me are gonna sling around some heavy stuff. son!

I had a meeting with two theatre professionals in New York today. (a phoner obviously) It was very productive and there are good things happening on several fronts. In short, in another week, I’ll have four scripts ready to go into pre-production. That’s not bad for someone who’s been having to deal with as much bullshit as I have. That’s what God said. He was all like, “Look Jeff, I know you have been having to deal with a bunch of bullshit lately so how’s about I step in and give you a little break.” And I was all like, “Hellz to the yeah, God! I’m all about it!”

Tomorrow I leave New Orleans but I’ll be back soon. I want to workshop and open out of town here with RUTH. I want to get NOLA vets involved in the production process. This is a great place to do it and in fact, the state and the city provide some pretty sweet financial incentives for such a venture to happen here. My dream is still to get the play to Broadway but it will be born in New Orleans– actually, it already was. Did I ever tell you the story?

I was in Crawford, Texas protesting outside the Bush ranch in 2004. There were several other Iraq and Afghanistan veterans there with me and we were having some pretty profound conversations based on the collective spiritual awakening we were all having around war and the way we wanted to move in the world from that point forward. Then Katrina hit. And we were all like, “Well shit, do we mean what we’ve been saying with all this ‘be the change’ shit or are we just full of shit?” And we were all like, “Fuck it, let’s do something good.” So we then were all like, “These people in New Orleans need help!” So we left Crawford and we went to New Orleans and helped to hand out food.

I’m not going to go into what I saw here on that trip because I want to sleep good tonight but I well tell you that Pat Boone went on the radio the next day and said we were down here handing out food from a mosque (which was true but I can’t really see why that’s relevant) and that that, Pat Boone reminded the listeners, was the same sort of people who “flew airplanes into our buildings.” Are you joking me? I think that when I was a little kid I might have even liked Pat Boone. People can be such assholes. Anyway…

So I was down here in New Orleans right after Katrina and I thought to myself (having just written The Eyes of Babylon) that I would have to write about Katrina and New Orleans too. And that’s when I had the idea to write RUTH. It wasn’t until I had a meeting with Barbara Darwell in New York City that I finally got off my ass and did it but now it’s done– well, not quite done if I’m actually going to write all the lyrics too– and there’s really no reason why I can’t or shouldn’t because, after all, lyrics are just poems and I am a poet– I have the tattoo to prove it. But even with those few songs left to be worded, I’m very nearly finished with that one.

I’ll get back down here to New Orleans to workshop RUTH. I’m headed to New York in a month and I’ll talk to more people up there about the New York production but–

How did I get off the subject of how pissed I am at you for not making arrangements for me to just stay here in New Orleans? Oh. It’s because I thought about how excited I am to be going home to America Junction tomorrow. I’ll be home for a solid month before traveling again and I’ve got some pretty cool things planed for that month.

So to my friends– have planned all this travel for me– and handed me off from one friend to the next during this time of mourning my mother– please don’t think that I don’t know what y’all are up to– and I think it’s very sweet– and I do appreciate it– but I’ve got to spend a month at home now and don’t worry, I won’t pull the shades and stay in bed– I’m working again and the work is one way I can honor Mother’s life. You are welcome to come visit– but no travel for a month, okay? And again, I appreciate the love.

See y’all tomorrow.

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