March 30, 2016

Watching a movie or television show with my husband can be vexing. He’s a scenic painter, on the hard labor side of the movie-making equation in Hollywood South, as Louisiana is often called these days, now that tax credits have made our state the number-one filmmaking destination in the country.

March 23, 2016

Not very long ago I was packing my daughter’s Hello Kitty lunchbox when I heard a squeal of brakes and a metallic crunk from the road out front. In the morning commute, a young antlered buck had been walloped in the street by a small car. The deer was still alive but lay on its side against the curb behind the parked car my wife would soon use to drive our daughter to school.

March 29, 2016

The greeting on the face of the valentine, You Dumb Bell, says more about my mother than about the recipient—my father, the putative “dumb bell.” The valentine is in the shape of a dumbbell, the weight used for exercise and made popular during the time my mother gave the valentine to my father, the early 1930s.

May 24, 2016

Because there wasn’t enough income to pay a full-time hand, all animals requiring daily care had to go. Mountain lions would eat the Boer goats if they went unsold. An emu, whom the old foreman Cruz had jailed in a derelict tennis court, I freed to earn a living in pasture. So long as they had water and grass, the cattle more or less took care of themselves until roundup.

That left the llama.

May 03, 2016

A story from the Spring 2016 issue, excerpted from The Sport of Kings.

Up city, up boomers, up commerce, uphill the city is built. All the hands of Bucktown come to build it.

January 06, 2016

When Tav Falco announced his entrance on Memphis’s music scene, his caterwaul hardly seemed like the overture to a multi-decade career. More than thirty years after his musical debut, he’s still tilting, far from center and ever forward.

November 23, 2015

A boy stood along the highway, his desperation made plain by the way he leaned into the oncoming traffic, flapping his arms while gripping a plastic water jug covered in dust. After the cars rushed past him, ignoring his calls for help, the boy spun around in defeat, his legs nearly buckling beneath him. The drivers knew who he was—or rather, what he was.

October 29, 2015

“They all seemed together by ear,” according to Nancy Blake. “It was the first time I’d ever seen hillbilly string musicians hit that Charles Mingus headspace. I knew there was music coming into the world that had never been in it before.”

September 30, 2015

One hot day in June 2002, a young man named Chris Gladden was fishing with his father when he discovered the complete fossilized remains of an ancient marine reptile called Clidastes. The fossil has the potential to be the most important of its kind known to science. More than a decade later, hardly anyone outside the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa knows that it exists.

September 18, 2015

We’ve now entered the abstract phase of this culinary rebirth, in which the idea of Southern food is as fungible and bankable as the food itself.