Nola Face: A Latina’s Life in the Big Easy with Brooke Champagne

Second Thursday Lecture Series
Nola Face: A Latina’s Life in the Big Easy with Brooke Champagne

Thu, Aug 08, 2024
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Virtual Events

Join us for a virtual evening with Brooke Champagne as she discusses her new book Nola Face: A Latina’s Life in the Big Easy (University of Georgia Press, 2024). This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Cabildo as part of the Second Thursday Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The program will take place on Zoom. Please register here and a link will be emailed to you on the day of the lecture: https://forms.gle/3iNzMaXto3NMRgTy6

About the Book

A memoir-in-essays of a New Orleanian author’s search for identity in an upbringing complicated by competing languages, ethnicities, classes, and educations.

“Nola Face is unsparing, funny, and empathic all at once. There is so much vitality, humor, empathy, misery, and passion here! Brooke Champagne is the Mary Karr of her time. What’s more (and what could be more?) this is going to be a rich new addition to the New Orleans canon. This is a marvelous and timely book.” —Andrei Codrescu, author of New Orleans, Mon Amour 

Early in Brooke Champagne’s childhood, her Ecuadorian grandmother Lala (half bruja, half santa) strictly circumscribed the girl’s present and future: become beautiful but know precisely when to use it; rationalize in English but love in God’s first language, the superior Spanish; and if you must write, Dios help you, at least make a subject of me. Champagne’s betrayal of these confounding dictates began before they were even spoken, and she soon started both writing and hiding the truth about whom she was becoming. 

The hilarious, heartbreaking essays in this collection trace the evolutions of this girlhood of competing languages, ethnicities, aesthetics, politics, and class constraints against the backdrop of a boozy New Orleans upbringing. In these essays, Champagne and members of her family love poorly and hate well, whip and get whipped, pray and curse in two languages, steal from The Man and give to themselves, kiss where it hurts, poke where it hurts worse, and keep and spill each other’s secrets—first face-to-face, then on the page. They believe and doubt and reckon with the stories they tell about themselves and where they come from, finally becoming most human, most alive, in their connections to one another.

About the Author

Brooke Champagne is the award-winning author of Nola Face: A Latina’s Life in the Big Easy, published with the Crux Series in Literary Nonfiction at the University of Georgia Press.  Her work has been selected as Notable in several editions of the Best American Essays anthology series, and she is the recipient of the 2023-2024 Alabama State Council on the Arts Literary Fellowship in Prose.  She lives with her husband and children in Tuscaloosa, where she is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the MFA Program at the University of Alabama.

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