L.A. to LA: Home Sweet Home(s)

I’VE WRITTEN some here about my summer trips to Louisiana  and just how and why New Orleans became part of my yearly ritual as a child.


The old luggage tag from my mother’s old train case.

It wasn’t, however, until I was fully grown that I understood  just how significantly New Orleans had marked me —  both inside and out. Nor did I realize how much it mattered within my being.

Consequently, in the last few years,  after a very long time away, I have been trying to make up for lost time. An editor and friend of mine had a conversation a couple of years ago that finally (just a few weeks ago) worked its way into an essay.

The piece went live this week on Zòcalo Public Square. You can read the piece here.


One of the first streets my early forebears lived on in New Orleans


Mother Tongue


ANYONE WHO has known me since childhood remembers summers when my family would slip away, back to New Orleans — my mother’s birthplace and essentially my “other home.” It was family ritual.

This week, as part of a partnership between Zócalo Public Square and The Smithsonian, my essay “New Orleans Is My Second Language,” is part of the “What It Means to Be American“-series exploring identity, journeys and sense of place. I chose language and ritual which were both in many ways the bridge “back home,” not just for my mother, but now I’m realizing for me as well.

My grandfather, Frank Dixon Bowers, III in Jackson Square, New Orleans. Circa 1970s.

My grandfather, Frank Dixon Bowers, III in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana. Circa 1970s.

top image via Plurale Tantum