I first visited New Orleans 32 years ago, falling in love with the place on sight. I was entranced by the (Mississippi) river, the music, the art, the people, and the city’s look and spirit. I’ve eagerly returned thirty-plus times in the years since. I hit these streets — every time — just as fiercely happy as the first time.
However, this time is particularly special.That’s because I have the honor of being part of a great New Orleans tradition, one that combines the city’s music, art, people and history in a singular way.That tradition is “Jazz Fest,” the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Steve and I have attended 26 years of its 45. Our plan is to keep coming back as long as we can. We feel a part of it. But, this year, I will get to be part of it in a different way: tomorrow, I will be signing Every Day Is Election Day in the Jazz Fest Book Tent.
Great authors telling great stories have been in the Book Tent for many years. Every Day Is Election Day and I now get to share in that history because the book features three amazing Louisiana women: U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, now running for re-election; Catherine Kimball, first woman chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court; and Sharon Broome, State Senator and President Pro Tempore of the state senate.
Happy to have written this book? Yes, absolutely thrilled to share in the lives of women who care, stand and deliver; happy to tell their inspirational stories and impart their advice to other women who would lead; happy to be part of a community that respects committed women leaders everywhere.
Thanks to Jazz Fest, Garden Street Book Shop, Gambit, and dear friend Ben Sandmel for making this New Orleans-time so special.
Right now, there is an exhibit at the Woodson Regional Library in Chicago about Addie Wyatt, a dear friend, mentor and true American hero.
I was fortunate to meet Addie in the 1970’s, during the celebrations of International Women’s Year and the fight for ERA ratification. I worked with her closely for years, most memorably to elect Harold Washington mayor of Chicago.
Today, as we remember Dr. King, let us remember Addie, too. After all, every month is women’s history month, and every day is women’s history day.
Sunday, Beyonce joined Diana Ross, Madonna and Janet Jackson as a Super Bowl halftime star. Would she lip-sync, some joked. Not a chance: just as she did at President Obama’s inauguration, once she hit the stage she did her thing live and in living color.
While I listened and watched as Beyonce sang inauguration day, I got to thinking, and then I got to writing: She sings two anthems, but President Obama only listens to one.
Her personal anthem is: “Who Run the World (Girls).” Yes, I’ve written about this song before: I love the song and its message. Alas, we’re not running the world, at least judging by who sits in President Obama’s most important Cabinet seats (State, Defense and Treasury).
Women’s History Month will be on us in a blink-of-an-eye, and it’s already Black History Month: Let’s make some history and raise a little sand.
Earlier this week I learned just how important moms really are to this election: landing on my desk early one morning was notice from Politico’s Mike Allen about a new report on the election and American moms, issued by Walmart. Later, I got to read about the Michelle Obama/Ann Romney cookie-baking contest. (Does anyone believe either one of them baked cookies any time lately? Or thought about it or even wished-to? If you do, text me.)
According to Walmart, “The candidate’s family lives are very important to ‘(Walmart) moms.'”
Not much of a surprise there. I daresay candidates’ family lives are very important to the rest of us too, including the opportunity for women candidates to run on an equal playing field because their right to have a family and run for office isn’t questioned by perpetrators of the “cult of mom.”
For this reason, I wrote this piece for Huffington Post, in which I suggest that the “cult of mom” is about denying women public power, not about respecting the family choices women public officials make. So are cookie-baking contests for the First Lady and would-be First Lady.
(A note to my Chicago-based readers: I was prompted to write this piece because of an experience Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan had at the Democratic National Convention.)
P.S. Meanwhile, Check out Hello Ladies for a vivid summary of how American women are actually spending their time.