My Years in the French Quarter, New Orleans! Nostalgia (part 8)

New.Orl.Mist.Hand to the heavens these are all true stories of my life in New Orleans. 1977-79 was a wonderful time to live in the French Quarter.  I was working full-time as an actor (stage, radio, TV) and since that never pays anything regular, I had a part-time job as personal assistant to the publisher of a tourist magazine.  So now to the storytelling:

My apartment was a two room attic above a restored (1860’s) town house. I couldn’t afford the downstairs. (starving artist, remember)  The slave quarters on the other side of the garden was also a luxury apartment.  But I loved my little place where when you opened the windows you could look out over the French roof tops and see just the upper structure of freighters moving slowly up the river.  Late at night I would lie there with the windows open and listen to the clip-clop of the horse-drawn carriages wearily making their way back to the stables.  The tenants changed out below me and  my new neighbors, it turned out, was the mob boss’s nephew coming up through the ranks and his (high-end call girl) girl friend who worked at Lucky Pierre’s (a lounge and escort service).  I’ll tell you more about the ‘connected guy’ later.  Continue reading “My Years in the French Quarter, New Orleans! Nostalgia (part 8)”

Prologue to a Saturday Post

Saturday I will post a nostalgic piece about my years living in the Vieux Carré of New Orleans.  Full time actress, part time day job (gotta pay the rent) radio and TV talent.  Hookers, mob bosses, millionaires all supporting our live theatre productions. Rehearsing in the cellar of the Performing Arts Building, where little beady red eyes watched from the shadows.   So we will start with a little poetry to wet your curiosity:

New.Orl.Mist.Adieux My Beauty  ©

Standing outside the gate,
eager to say goodbye, remembering
all the reasons to say hello

New Orleans, that witchy woman, whose song is
loved and never forgotten, whose taste
lingers on the tongue forever.
Where love bloomed on a rain slick night

Now, as I bend to kiss the powdered, rouged
cheek, my nostrils are assailed by
the sweet odor of rotting flesh eaten
away in the darkest recesses by a decadent,
self indulgent cancer Continue reading “Prologue to a Saturday Post”

‘Hair Cut…Two Bits’…. Nostalgia – (part 6)

Just because……….the few people that have purchased or read my first book of poetry seemed to love this story the most, I thought I would share it with my readers.

cathedral, New Orleans, history, music This story originated from old papers, receipts and journals owned by Marcel Guerman that I found in a trunk in the attic of a building on Camp Street in New Orleans.  The building was being renovated into apartments and I was to be the first tenant.  My third floor walk-up looked out on St. Patrick’s cathedral. (seen here)  One day we crept up to the attic to take a look. Among the many things in the attic was a single, cherrywood door of an armoire that I have to this day. Off in a corner was a leather and metal ribbed trunk forgotten for decades. As I read pawn tickets, journals, papers of this stranger’s life, from decades earlier,  I could envision this European man as clearly as if he stood next me.    I wrote the first draft in 1979. Continue reading “‘Hair Cut…Two Bits’…. Nostalgia – (part 6)”

“Must Read” rating for “Butterflies & Bullets”

Eric Jones, a reviewer on, just wrote a lovely piece on “Butterflies and Bullets”, my book of Poetry, Essays and Musings. Click here to read it on their site, or scroll down for a reprint.

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Title: Butterflies & Bullets
Author: Trisha Sugarek
Rating:  Must Read!
Publisher: Trisha Sugarek
Reviewed by: Eric Jones

I knew Sugarek’s work in the past from her collection of short children’s plays, “Ten Minutes to Curtain”, which involve the complicated dynamics of growing up. Flannery O’Conner said that if you live through childhood then you have enough material to write forever, and Sugarek has been there and then some. Her short work for the stage has put her in the perfect position to transition from play to poetry with her new book, “Butterflies and Bullets”.

Even the title denotes the strange duality between innocence and loss, and that theme is prevalent throughout the work. Mostly in free form, Sugarek keeps everything in a minimalist range, lending focus to intimate moments like a man playing his Mandolin beside a fire, or the quiet landscape of the Serengeti just before rainfall. These truncated pieces of life feel like literary snapshots. These are Sugarek’s butterfly collection. Then, of course, there are the bullets.

The bullets are also set in free form, however they deal with much more happenings and are more narratively set. My favorite poem is one of these. “Hair Cut… Two Bits” chronicles the return of a barber from war-torn Europe in 1934 via a freighter into the Mississippi from the Gulf. The story, though scarcely a few pages, manages to convey the loss, struggle, and triumph of war given a single, near microscopic, experience. Not to mention that it’s all the more topical today, given the current mess in off the shore of New Orleans.

There are many that are like these, managing to say a lot with only a little. And given their accompanying illustrations by Lori Smaltz, which are printed small in keeping with the book’s minimalist structure, “Butterflies and Bullets” comes off splendidly. The collection feels complete and utterly whole, no piece of the pie excluded. Such close ups reveal that every place is connected. The ocean, if you look closely enough, looks just like rain on the blistering asphalt of your driveway. Shanty Irish curtains, at a certain scale, are indistinguishable from the sculpted wood of a Native American totem pole. This is the nature of Sugarek’s poetry, that when you pull back you see how different everything is, but when you put it under the microscope, a butterfly is really just a bullet with wings.