Carolyn Hembree

recorded in New Orleans, LA


Carolyn Hembree

My name is Carolyn Hembree and I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. I’m in the Carrollton area of New Orleans, I moved here in 2001 from Tucson, Arizona where I had finished the MFA program there. I moved to Tucson, Arizona from New York, where I lived for three year attempting to get acting jobs. That went really badly. And before that, I lived in Greenville, South Carolina where I was part of The Warehouse Theatre, and before that, I lived in Birmingham, Alabama for 14 years, and before that, I was born in Bristol, Tennessee and lived there for the first eight years of my life, and that’s the part of the world where my people on my dad’s side have been since before the Revolutionary War. So, I moved to New Orleans, ultimately, because my husband and I said, Well, where do we want to live? and we moved here. He loved it because he grew up in Mobile and he used to come out here when he was a teenager, when he was 15 or 16 and he’d skip school with his friends and they’d come out here and go down on Bourbon and drink and hang out because nobody carded back then, you know. And I wanted to come here because some of the happiest times of my childhood—my parents loved the city, they honeymooned here at the Roosevelt and there’s great pictures of them doing their thing, and I’d come here as a kid. When I was six, five I remember going up and down Bourbon with my parents and seeing strippers. I remember seeing a stripper, I guess it was the late 70s, and I saw this stripper with this crazy 70s hair, you know, they would have the frizzy, large hair and all the stellar 70s lights, and I saw her, naked as a jaybird. And I saw her under the lights and I thought, Fuck, I love New Orleans. I didn’t know the word fuck, but you know. So we came out here. John got a job, and I got a job later, and I love it. It’s home now.

The Knox Writers’ House

Do you feel like you’re part of a writing community? Or how do you think the writing community is in New Orleans?


Yes, I’m definitely part of a writing community. I have a workshop that I meet with every other week and we’re very committed to supporting each other, whether it’s suggesting, Read this person, or Submit to this journal or contest or whatever. So yeah, I definitely do, I definitely do through that little group, as well as through the Press Street Collective and NOCCA, all of that, yeah, definitely, through those things, I feel I’m part of a community.


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