In New Orleans in 2023, there are public charter school students who must wait on the dark city streets for school buses to pick them up at 5:30 in the morning. Some travel 90 minutes or more in order to arrive in time for the opening bell, passing three or four other schools along the route. Meanwhile, their parents may report to work at one of the city’s chronically understaffed dollar stores, only to find themselves alone at the register and vulnerable to whatever trouble walks in the door.
Can theater serve their interests?
Curtis Williams believes it can. He organizes with Step Up Louisiana, a member-directed organization that’s working on the school transportation problem and also leading a campaign for safety and better wages in Louisiana’s 1,000 or so dollar stores. It’s not exactly a union drive, because that term can be a conversation stopper in Louisiana. But in theater he sees a possibility to change the parameters of that conversation, to open it up to memory of an obscured history that sparks an imagining of a less brutal future.
Read the article on FACING SOUTH