Photograph of Tennessee Williams, 1956, Courtesy of Estate of Yousuf Karsh. http://www.karsh.org   A Streetcar Named Desire Act 1 Scene 1 Curtain rises in darkness. Music of a small jazz band is heard off. Lights come up slowly, revealing the two rooms of the KOWALSKI apartment in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In the bedroom at L., STELLA KOWALSKI lounges in a rickety armchair, fanning herself with a palm-leaf fan, and eating chocolates from a paper bag. She is reading a movie magazine.   So begins the now-infamous 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams. As noted, the setting is the New Orleans French Quarter, and the city pays tribute to its deceased resident playwright each year with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. Starting on Wednesday, Tennessee's life and work will be felt all over the quarter, from a screening of the movie version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" atop the Chateau Bourbon Hotel to theater productions, writers' panels and even a Stanley and Stella shouting contest. No Tennessee Williams event would be complete without a little Stellaaaaaaaa! Participants in the 2009 Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest. Photo by Earl Perry   While the festival is bringing in a who's who of the literary scene for panel discussions and

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by Erin Z. Bass If there's one town that's worked its way onto my radar since I started Deep South, it's Selma, Alabama. Located in the Black Belt region on the banks of the Alabama River and west of Montgomery, Selma is mostly known for the part it played in the Civil Rights Movement. In the University of Alabama Press's recent book "Alabama's Civil Rights: An Illustrated Guide To The Cradle of Freedom" by Frye Gaillard there's a whole chapter on Selma and the right to vote. The chapter begins, "In the winter and spring of 1965, Selma emerged as the decisive battleground in the struggle for black voting rights in the South." Activists in Selma had been working to register black voters since the 1930s, so by the time Martin Luther King Jr. came to town in 1965 to lead voting rights protests, the community was ready. In March, demonstrators began marching to Edmund Pettus Bridge, where they were blocked and beaten by state troopers. This day became known as "Bloody Sunday" and the marchers' attempt as the precursor for the now-famous Selma to Montgomery March. Two weeks later, on March 21, more than 20,000 marchers set out for Montgomery again,

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Road Food Festival Celebrates "Folk Food" in New Orleans. by Erin Z. Bass Asked why New Orleans was chosen as the location for the annual Roadfood Festival, "Roadfood" creator Michael Stern didn't hesitate giving an answer. "New Orleans is a natural place to have a food festival," he says. "I think you can argue that it’s kind of America’s culinary capital, in the sense that it has more unique, interesting, diverse things to eat than almost anywhere in this country, plus when you’re in New Orleans you feel like having a party." While the Roadfood Festival, scheduled for March 26-28, was created to honor American food, the fact that eating can be a form of entertainment hasn't been lost on its founders. Assembling of the world's longest po-boy and celebrating foods like pecan pie and cracklins is far from stuffy. Just as the diners, delis and roadside stands featured in Stern and his wife, Jane's, "Roadfood" guide most likely don't have a dress code, the festival strives for that same informal way of eating. Admission is free, and any person standing around can walk up and taste a piece of the po-boy or walk down Royal Street and purchase a sample of

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by Erin Z. Bass Anyone who's set out on a road trip knows there are a couple of essentials that must be loaded into the car. A legible map, iPod or CDs for background music and a bag of beef jerky will come in handy. But seasoned road trippers know they can't leave home without Jane and Michael Stern's "Roadfood" guide. Before it got left in the side door of a UHaul, my copy had stars and notes by places my husband and I had stopped at over the years - Frontier for green chili in Albuquerque, NM, Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero, CA, for artichokes. I had even brought the book on our drive to Texas to visit his family, just in case we didn't make it in time for dinner and needed to stop along the way. So, when I read in the "Roadfood" e-newsletter that they were having a Roadfood Festival in New Orleans, I immediately marked my calendar for the last weekend in March and wondered if I was going to be able to wait out the months until then. Lots of boudin and a road trip to "Roadfood"-approved The Dinner Bell Restaurant in McComb, Miss., helped, but now

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If you've never read Harper Lee's iconic Southern novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird," there's no better time than now. As the book marks its 50th anniversary this year, cities and towns all over America are celebrating with readings, theater reproductions and events. Needless to say, the Deep South is on board (Harper Lee hails from Alabama) and no matter where you live, there's probably a "Mockingbird" event near you. See our list below, and tell us if we left out your town. And as a primer, check the book out at your local library or at least watch the 1962 Academy Award-winning movie, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. You'll then be able to join in the discussion on "To Kill a Mockingbird's" official Facebook page. Louisiana Notre Dame High School Drama Club performs the classic. March 12-14, Grand Opera House of the South, Crowley. Tennessee Williams Festival in New Orleans will focus on the novel in its Breakfast Book Club discussion, moderated by Barton Palmer, who wrote a book on the film. March 27, 8 a.m., Muriel's Jackson Square Restaurant, New Orleans. Alabama "A Day in Maycomb" will be held at the Old Courthouse Museum & Downtown Square in Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville. Guided

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