A year after Katrina, I'm wondering what happened to Abram Himelstein, the New Orleans writer, schoolteacher, and activist who, last I had heard, was "In Exile" in Houston. His blog hasn't been updated since January. By then he was back in New Orleans with his wife, trying to put their home and their lives back together. He was happy that his student-authors from the Neighborhood Story Project were also finding their way back. Two days before the hurricane, plans were being set for a big party to celebrate one of the five books in the series, Ebony Bolding's Before and After North Dorgenois. The party, alas, was not to be: the food, the drinks, the cars, the houses themselves were swept away. Even the books were swept away, several thousand of them; but the computer they were printed from was not. After the hurricane, the project turned to looking for a new publisher, one that could work with their lack of cash.
Soft Skull Press took them on. (Soft Skull being known in these parts for its part in the documentary Horns and Halos, by Chapel Hill native Michael Galinsky and his wife Suki Hawley.)
This summer, Himelstein and his co-director in the story project, Rachel Breunlin, apparently were artists in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, California. (Along with Durham sculptor/installation artist Bryant Holsenbeck.) We'll look forward to seeing what they do next.