About   Selected Work   

you just keep thinking, butch. that's what you're good at.

"Transplants who protest that the street panders to tourists miss the point. Bourbon Street has to appeal to tourists in order for the city to survive. Tourism is today New Orleans’s leading industry, responsible for supporting the local economy in a city that, despite the recent boom, remains severely underpopulated. One out of every twenty jobs in New Orleans is located on Bourbon Street. Campanella estimates that it produces billions of dollars a year for the city. If most tourists mistake each other for locals, and see Bourbon Street as a true representation of New Orleans, it’s not the city’s loss. It’s the city’s gain."
Nathaniel Rich on a defense of Bourbon Street and the general invasion of New Yorkers.
— 3 weeks ago
#Place  #Nola  #South  #Authenticity 
"The desperation in coal country is hard to square with the beauty of the place — the densely flocked hills peppered with tiny towns."
The New York Times on the “hardest places to live” in the country, which seem to map pretty closely with some of the places I love most.
— 3 weeks ago
#Place  #Poverty  #South 
"Instead of coaxing [Anthony Bourdain] across the state line to Taste of India for a platter of goat curry and a conversation about how new immigrants are transforming the region’s foodways, I joined him at a Cleveland, Mississippi, soul food restaurant, where we ate fried okra and talked of old wounds that have yet to scab… I didn’t complicate anyone’s idea of anything. Instead, when the cameras turned my way, I reflexively dug into our troubled past and served Bourdain warmed-over neckbones and rice, instead of focusing some of the attention on a bright and curried future."
John T. Edge on Indian food in Mississippi, and (again) the challenge of writing about this place.
— 1 month ago
#Place  #Mississippi  #Food 
"I find a lot of reporting, storytelling, and documenting of the South in general and Mississippi in particular to be diagnostic and mostly hostile or contemptuous."
— 1 month ago
#Place  #Mississippi  #South 
"They live on the land rent-free, either in tents or, if they’ve accumulated seniority, mini yurts. The food, drink, and smoke (all the marijuana they want, and a fair amount of tobacco) are covered. Trimmers set their own hours."
The perks (and challenges) of working America’s pot farms.
— 1 month ago with 1 note
#Place  #California  #agriculture 
"Then a sort of wordless, inner viola fugue that accompanies the sight of a magnificent organism that has been treading the savanna since the Kennedy administration, now scattered in pieces on the ground."
Wells Tower, listing one of many emotional reactions to the sight of an elephant being shot.
— 1 month ago
#Animals  #environment  #ethics 
A Pageant in Catfish Country


In the Mississippi Delta, farmed catfish swims in a deep pond of politics, history, and big business. Boyce Upholt reports from the 39th World Catfish Festival, and the crowning of Miss Catfish 2014:


— 1 month ago with 10 notes
"I have a front-row seat to what is really happening in Mississippi, and we’ve helped nurture smart, loving progress through this newspaper for more than a decade. From my desk, I look down on City Hall, where – while people chose between Kang and Kodos at the ballot box – the Jackson City Council passed the state’s eighth municipal equality resolution, which pointedly including the rights of LGBT citizens."
— 1 month ago
#Mississippi  #South  #Politics 
"In early April I found myself standing in a buffet line in Belzoni, Miss., alongside tourists from across the country, waiting for my own Styrofoam platter of fried fish, trying to figure out just what it means to celebrate the catfish. Almost 40 years ago, this tiny town declared itself the World Capital of Farm-Raised Catfish. That makes it the humble ground zero of one of America’s biggest agricultural disputes."
A Pageant in Catfish Country, my latest piece for Roads & Kingdoms, on the deep pool of politics and history in which farmed catfish swim.
— 1 month ago
#Agriculture  #South  #Place  #Culture  #MyWriting