Letters Read is a series of live events in which local performers interpret historically interesting letters written by culturally vital individuals from various times and New Orleans communities.

Letters Read provides unique glimpses into thoughts meant only for two people: author and recipient. Letters we read from a close friend or relative can be as mundane as who will bring Thanksgiving turkey and as complex as details or explanations of hardship. Personal letters can explode with emotion, express tenderness and love. Three times annually the readings are from archives, special collections, and personal property (think of grandma’s attic. Once a year is our open call for contemporary material submitted by local authors. Open call missives are as diverse as notes left on car windshields, stuck on trees, text, Facebook and dating app messages. These written missives are are wise, silly, endearing, incendiary with hate, filled with beauty and wonder. Sometimes, letters—and missives—can also be a source of unbridled inspiration. Which is a great reason for sharing this material

To further explain the power we perceive in reading letters, offered here is a quote from Donald Windham, long time friend and collaborator of Tennessee Williams as he describes reading one of Tennessee’s letters to him:

“They are as intimate as his presence was, and often more informative. To read them is to know why I liked him. Alone with his typewriter he talked to me almost as to an ideal listener, as though he knew that my faith in him was total. If he sometimes, to use his phrase, is “striking poses on paper”, they are poses for himself not for someone else.”

Co-hosted by stationer Nancy Sharon Collins, Stationer LLC and Antenna, this is an ongoing New Orleans initiative bringing general audiences into the intimate moments usually experienced while reading a personal letter from one whom we know. Following is the list of previous events:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
LETTERS READ: The Desegregation of New Orleans Public Libraries
Nora Navra Library
1902 St. Bernard Avenue

Listen to the performance here.

Thursday, June 28 at 6PM, 2018
LETTERS READ: The Janet Mary Riley letters
Loyola University Special Collections & Archives
J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, 3rd Floor
6363 St. Charles Avenue
Listen to the performance here.

Friday, March 23rd at 1:00PM, 2018
LETTERS READ: The Luck of Friendship
Le Petit Theatre Du Vieux Carre, French Quarter
Listen to the performance here.

Wednesday, February 14 at 7PM (that’s right, Valentines Day!), 2018
Antenna Gallery
3718 Saint Claude Avenue
New Orleans
Listen to the performance here,
and here

Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 6:30PM
Letters Read: Veterans Day
1901 Mirabeau Avenue, New Orleans
Listen to the performance here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 6:30PM
Letters Read: Letters of Regret
Antenna Gallery
3718 St Claude Avenue, New Orleans

Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 6:00PM
Letters Read: Hermann and Grima Family Letters
Hermann-Grima House
820 Saint Louis Street, New Orleans

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 6:00PM
Letters Read: Lafcadio Hern, Inaugural Event
Crescent City Books, 124 Baronne Street, New Orleans

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 6:30PM
Sneak-peak to Letters Read
A Studio In The Woods
13401 Patterson Road