I haven’t known the creative spirit in New Orleans to be any more vibrant than at this moment in time. There are so many folks around town doing the damn thing and hustling out there, and the community is growing and shaping the city. That brings us to our latest feature writer/editor Gwendolyn Knapp.
Gwendolyn has recently released her latest book, titled “After a While You Just Get Used to It, A Family Tale of Family Clutter”. It’s one of the funniest and vividly descriptive books I’ve read in quite some time. Here’s a brief description of the book —
“A dive bar palm reader who calls herself the Disco Queen Taiwan; a slumlord with a penis-of-the-day LISTSERV; and Betty, the middle-aged Tales of the Cocktail volunteer who soils her pants on a party bus and is dealt with in the worst possible way. These are just a few of the unforgettable characters who populate Gwendolyn Knapp’s hilarious and heartbreaking—yet ultimately uplifting—memoir debut, After a While You Just Get Used to It.”
Gwendolyn is also the editor at the local outpost for EATER , and does an unbelievable job in covering the ever evolving world of food around town. Gwendolyn and I recently met up and chatted about her work, shot around mid-city, and discussed some of my favorite passages in her book which is available in town as well as through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Grab a copy and take it with you on your summer vacation, or better yet, enjoy it over a nice bourbon on the rocks at your favorite dive bar. Dig in and let the time slip away. Check out the rest of the photos as well as her ridiculously good profile below.
1. What do you love most about New Orleans?
Freakazoids, foliage, and fatty foods.
2. How has New Orleans inspired your latest book, “After a While You Just Get Used to It”?
New Orleans plays a huge part in the book, as does my home state of Florida— Pasco County, in particular. The story basically focuses on how my sister and I escaped the dregs of Pasco, and then how my mother, who is a hoarder, ended up moving to the Bywater with all her ten thousand things in 2010. Plus, of course, there are various nightmarish stories that take place all over New Orleans, dealing with IBS in the Saturn Bar bathroom, unfortunate Party Bus situations, things like that.
3. When did you know New Orleans was a special place?
Immediately upon moving here in summer 2007. I’d been visiting my sister here since 2002, and understood that the city was special as most tourists do. But until you move in with a male gogo dancer and a mannequin named Cheyenne to a scary apartment on Annunciation, and a car full of teen girls pulls up and begins twerking on the hood while two dudes film it right outside your living room window, you will never truly understand. 2007 was also the year I saw Waiting For Godot in the Lower Nine, trespassed to the top of the building that would become the Rice Mill Lofts, and was asked by a girl dressed as a sexy LSU-themed construction worker on Halloween—ew, what are you, male or female? Gross! I was a zombie that night. I still am.
4. What’s your favorite New Orleans dish?
This question is sacrilege. There can never be just one favorite, but I could go for a large lunch platter with all of these things on it right now: Drago’s charbroiled oysters, a regular sized Parkway shrimp po’ boy dressed, Dooky Chase’s gumbo with a side of potato salad from Rocky & Carlo’s, a slice of Brocato’s tiramisu and a satsuma sno’ ball from Hansen’s, all washed down by a Dark and Stormy from Pal’s.
5. Your new book is one of our favorite reads, what was the hardest chapter to write?
When you write a book, every chapter is the hardest chapter. Sometimes there are little (or big) areas where you know things aren’t working and you have to go in and figure out how to make it better, or if it’s even worth salvaging. Essentially that’s always the hardest part of writing, cutting passages and entire chapters that you feel very attached to.