A New Orleans writer, his work focuses on cultural preservation and the contemporary gay experience in the south. He has consistently contributed to and participated in the cultural renaissance of Post-Katrina New Orleans, creating a disarmingly powerful and mystical body of work that speaks to the soul of the city. His first book, “A Better House for Ritchie” was published December 2013 by Stonewall/Brickhouse Books in Baltimore, Maryland. His second, the novella In Irons, was published May 2014 by Gallatin and Toulouse Press in New Orleans.
Louie Crowder: BIO
I was homeless for a year after losing my house in Hurricane Katrina. FEMA told me I didn’t qualify for government assistance because I had good credit and a graduate degree. Apparently the logic was I had a better chance at rebounding economically. It didn’t matter I was homeless, only had a few changes of clothes, and my job had also been destroyed; not to mention the laundry list of shock-related PTSDs. And to top it off I had just bought my house and every dime I had had been invested into the property.
At the time, both before and after the storm, I was pretty well embroiled in the theatre. But after the storm I was writing from people’s couches, from anywhere I was at, preparing and planning on going into the self-producing playwright business as soon as the city was back up and running. Before Katrina I wrote a one act play called “A Better House for Ritchie.” I re-wrote it from my friend’s couch in Seattle while homeless. I re-wrote it a couple of times; there were a couple of productions. Then it found it’s way to Brickhouse Books in Baltimore. Back in New Orleans I actually was given a mini-grant from the Tennessee Williams’ Literary Festival during the second year after the storm. It was only $150.00 but $150.00 covered the gas and food costs while I was producing my, then, new play “Cobalt Blue.”
Over the course of the four years following the storm I wrote and self-produced a series of six plays dealing with the mystical aspects of human survival and tragedy - nothing anyone was really interested in. It cost me a fortune when all was said and done, but theatre is intrinsically a money losing proposition; in hindsight, though, it was those plays that kept me sane.
I wasn’t really interested so much in prose, or the novel, until I left New Orleans for a sailboat on the East Coast. I left New Orleans and the theatre simultaneously. I didn’t write anything for about six months then this story came out of nowhere in the form of the first draft of “In Irons.” I wanted to tell this story that was developing but refused to do it as a play. To write a play would be a waste of time from the get go. I needed a format that would actually have a chance of getting an audience at the very front end of the publication process. The process was satisfying in a way the theatre had never been. By the time “In Irons” saw the light of day I had three years invested into it. It took a long time to trust it; I didn’t understand the rhythms.
My prose clearly comes from years in the theatre. It’s what I have to bring to the table: a playwright’s approach to the novel. However, I have not abandoned the theatre. Every story requires its own format and structure. The story tells the writer what it needs to be. “In Irons” was clearly a prose piece. “Henry Gereighty” and The Piss Map Series are clearly prose stories. I have a couple of plays unfold but haven’t had time to work on them. They’ll come at some point. All of my work, regardless of form, reflects the contemporary gay southern world because that’s who I am and that experience is what I have to give.