The Progressive’s Lifestyle: An Hour (and more) of Story Power


Barbada de Barbades
Image source: Wikimedia

All sorts of things can be unlocked with a public library card. The free Kanopy app gives free access to movies and other media. Computer and internet services are well within reach. And, of course, books. Plenty of books. Hardcover. Paperback. Old smelling and freshly new. You may not always find available what you want, but you’re almost guaranteed to find something. I’m not sure of the science behind physical vs virtual, but actual libraries still beat amazon every time.

The New Orleans Public Library Branches, from Latter to Hubbell and everywhere in between, work hand in hand with our community to produce and deliver more than just a place to house books, but places to open minds and imagination.

You probably wouldn’t normally think that drag performance could mix with story readings, but this is New Orleans, and yes, indeed, they can. Seale Paterson of the Hubbell Branch brought The Drag Queen Story Hour to town in 2017, getting local performers to read for kids and adults of all ages to read from books ranging from “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” to “The Book with No Pictures”. If you’re thinking there’s something ironic or comical going on, you’d be missing out on the sincerity of it all. Combining theatrics with relaxing and calming storytime is not only attention-grabbing but sustaining and infectious, for other branches across the area code have begun their own shows, too.

Sewing classes, one on one computer tutoring, crafts, discussions on women-led businesses, and more make up the kind of programs and events that the New Orleans Public Library hold at each of their locations. Come for the divine drag story show, stay to learn computer literacy and brush up on Roman history.

This very Saturday, 11/3, will be two Drag Queen Story Hours, one at the Hubbell Branch at 10:30 AM and the other in Mid-City at 11 AM.  Visit nolalibrary.org for more information, and be sure to sign up for a card if you haven’t already!


Bill Arceneaux has been an independent writer and film critic in the New Orleans area since 2011, working with outlets like Film Threat, DIG Baton Rouge, Crosstown Conversations and Occupy. Be sure to check out his piece on inclusivity in the film industry, and his other work here.

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