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Hey, Stella!

An interview with the 2016 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Shouting Contest winner. 

by Cerith Mathias 

Crowds gathered underneath the balcony of the Pontalba buildings on Jackson Square for the closing event of the 30th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival last Sunday. Recreating the famous scene from Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the Stella Yelling Contest rounded up five days of panel discussions, a scholar’s conference and a feast of theater to celebrate the work of Williams and the literary South.

The contest also marked the passing on of the Stella baton from Janet Daley Duval, who is standing down from both her role as Stella and as festival board president this year. Duval was joined on the balcony by actress and comedian Cecile Monteyne, who will take on the role of Stella at next year’s festival.

This year’s winner was Joel Derby from New Orleans. Cerith Mathias spoke to him after his win. (See video of his winning yell here.)

CM: What made you enter today?

JD: I wasn’t going to enter. I was convinced to do it by all the people around me. I was one of the last two to sign up. So it was on the fly, I had no game plan at all. This is my first time at the contest.

CM: Are you a fan of Tennessee Williams?

JD: I am. I’m an actor , and I’ve done some Tennessee Williams plays, but I’ve never done “Streetcar,” so today was a chance to do that. And what a place to start!

CM: What are you going to do with your trophy?

JD: I’m going to clear out everything on my mantle and put in front and center.

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