Ava Leavell-Haymon

recorded in Baton Rouge, LA

with Chancelier Xero Skidmore


Ava Leavell Haymon

I’m Ava Leavell Haymon and I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Chancelier Xero Skidmore

I’m Chancelier Xero Skidmore and I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also.

The Knox Writers’ House

So how’d you guys get down here?


I was born in Plaquemine, Louisiana. I moved here probably about 17 years ago, shortly after my daughter was born. She was living with her mother in Baton Rouge, so I wanted to be closer to her, spend more time with her. Also, there weren’t many employment opportunities in my hometown that didn’t involve working in a chemical plant or commuting to Baton Rouge every day, so I just moved to Baton Rouge. I’ve been here ever since.


I got here a more complicated route. I was born in the Mississippi Delta. I didn’t live there, however. My mother was from the Mississippi Delta and she went there every time she had a baby [laughs]. Which I have found is a custom. So she and my father lived in a little town in southern Missouri, she schleps back to the delta, has the baby, drags the baby back to southern Missouri and that’s the way with me and both my sisters. We could’ve been born in places with real hospitals and things [laughs], but no.


But now you can say you were born in the delta.


I think that’s it. So I can say I was born in the Mississippi Delta and then lived in several places after that, Texas, primarily. And I came here after college, to go to grad school and to get married and have been here a long time since.

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins


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