Tennessee Williams passed away today in 1983. The story goes that he choked to death on a plastic bottle cap, an unfortunate way for perhaps the South’s greatest playwright to go. There are many more ways to remember Tennessee, whether it’s for “A Streetcar Named Desire,” his friendship with Carson McCullers, who he once called in a letter “curiously and beautifully unworldly as that night itself,” or his love affair with cities like New Orleans and Key West. As New Orleans became Tennessee’s adopted home, with him hopping from apartment to apartment in the French Quarter doing some of his best writing, it’s only fitting that he’s honored by a literary festival there each March. (This year’s event is scheduled for March 20-24.) His birthplace of Columbus, Mississippi, also pays tribute to him each September, as does Clarksdale, which holds the Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival in October.
Remember Tennessee Williams today with these stories from our archives:
The Voices of Key West – Writer Judy Garrison goes inside Tennessee Williams’ former home in Key West, which is, in part, still a tribute to his sister, Rose.
Inside Tennessee Williams’ Hometown Tribute – Carol Marks attends Columbus’s annual Tennessee Williams Tribute & Victorian Tour of Homes.
Bohemian Rhapsody – A BBC journalist’s love affair with New Orleans’ literary history.
Literary Beaches -Tennessee Williams had his favorite in Key West, where he used to swim every day.
The Greatest Bromances in Southern Literature – Tom Wingfield and Jim O’Connor from “The Glass Menagerie” come in at No. 9.
Highlights from the 2010 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival – We had a great time at the festival three years ago and look forward to attending again this year.
Photo Credit: Tennessee Williams at his home on Duncan Street from the Ida Woodward Barron Collection.
Find out more about Tennessee Williams’ haunts and hangouts, including all of his New Orleans apartments, by downloading the Deep South Literary Trail App.