Listening for Tony Kushner

No place is any one thing. Lake Charles, Louisiana, had to be more than fried catfish, King Cake and spicy gumbo.

Playwright Tony Kushner grew up in Lake Charles and may be its most famous literary resident. He describes a “happyish” boyhood exploring the shady, melancholy woods, waiting for his life to happen.

Our time in Lake Charles was rigorously boistrous, joyous and noisy. Mardi Gras is a party – we get that.  But at times, it takes on the air of a Fellini movie with a touch of Sunset Boulevard – vivid moments when beauty and grandeur entwine with mortality to stunning effect.

In Lake Charles I tasted my first Boudin, first beignet, and first crawfish – all sublime. I saw my first Confederate flag on a dilapidated house and a second done up in spangles – equal parts repellent and disturbing. I saw my first alligator plus graceful herons and egrets under a blue Louisiana sky at the Creole nature preserve.

The trip was an indelible experience, one I would not have missed for the world. It was compelling, intriguing, and at times, deeply moving – and, to borrow a phrase from Tony Kushner, “strange, a little scary, and in some sense, ineluctable and sad.”

No place is any one thing. •

About Epicurious Travelers

Ms. Margolis-Pineo created to showcase her published work and ongoing food-travel adventures. Based in Portland, Maine, she travels frequently both in her home state and north to Montreal, her favorite North American city. Although she refuses to use the word "foodie," she has an abiding interest in food and wine. Ms. Margolis-Pineo's background as a designer gives her site an edge in the oversaturated blogosphere. New contacts, "likes," subscribers and content are always welcome!
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