Profile Response: Elyse and Roger Hackett, New Orleans, LA

HWWLT Logo on yellow“We are quintessential audience members. Elyse is the first to dance and break the ice.” From this Yankee’s point of view, Elyse and Roger Hackett are textbook New Orleanais. Elyse greeted me in a breezy shift printed with a map of the Crescent City. Roger wore a brim hat. Born and raised here; Elyse’s father was a musicologist who arrived in the early 1950s, Roger’s father was an Alabama jazzman who came in the 1940s and helped start Preservation Hall. Elyse and Roger have lived in a century-old frame house in the Carrollton District, five blocks from the Mississippi, for the past 24years. We began a leisurely afternoon visit on the back porch, but when the sun shifted, we moved to the shadier front side, beside a fragrant, overgrown Angel’s Trumpet.

IMG_6398Elyse is an artist who works in acrylic and glitter. She applies paint to objects, often shoes and clothing, and adds glitter while it’s wet. Elyse sells her artwork at festivals and events. Roger boasts, “My job is to be her canvas.” When not sporting his wife’s art, “I am a computer guy. I spent many years providing Unix support for oil companies. We are in a period of oil company layoffs, so I am going to Oshner Healthcare to do disaster planning.”


Elyse and Roger share two things common to all locals: Mardi Gras and Katrina.

IMG_6401They are strategic revelers. “These days, all Mardi Gras parades follow the same route. There can be three parades in a row, from 5 PM until 11 or so. The routes are five or six miles long. You develop a relationship with the people around you; you become friends with the folks nearby.”

This year, their son Robin’s girlfriend came from Portland Oregon for her first Mardi Gras. “The first night of parade is Muses’ Night. Participants create beautiful glittering shoes and to bestow amIMG_6407ong watchers along the route.” Unlike the tradition of tossing beads, which are plentiful, most marchers have only one or two pair to give away. It is an extraordinary honor to receive one. “Robin’s girlfriend approached a muse, explained that it was her first Mardi Gras parade and how much she would like to have a pair of shoes. She got one.”


After Katrina, Elyse and Roger stayed with a variety of family and friends. “I call it our Katrina Tour. We started in Memphis and wound up in New Jersey.”

How will we live tomorrow?

IMG_6405“I am going out to Tipitina’s tonight but I am going to behave well since I have a walking tour tomorrow.

“I am not going to get into the whole climate change thing because I can’t do anything about that. I think we need to get more compact. We are planning to turn our upstairs space into a studio apartment to rent to someone who can become part of our community, our immediate community of running this household. I see us in coops, with growing our own food as much as possible. My sister has an immense lot. I suggested she lease part of it to urban gardeners.” – Elyse

IMG_6402“Immediately here, I am pleased that we are making progress in managing water without dykes and levies. One of the wetlands groups that came out of the BP spill has made progress in wetland creation. We have to balance dykes and levees with wetlands. We have the first project underway in Gentilly.” – Roger


About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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2 Responses to Profile Response: Elyse and Roger Hackett, New Orleans, LA

  1. Mary burke says:

    HI Paul, The fact that your are posting responses indicates that you can use one hand at least and are recovering somewhat. How is your recovery actually coming? June Murphy Katz and I regularly note that we are concerned;
    sorry about your accident; wonder where you are; and say we are going to get in touch; but go no further. The road to hell… One problem I have–I hot tripped up by this machine and my own ineptitude and lost your address.
    Sending you wishes that recovery is not testing your patience, and you are in a warm, comfortable spot.
    mary burke of the Paulist Center


    • paulefallon says:

      Mary –

      Nice to hear from you. I am in Cambridge, recuperating. Will be posting an update in a week or so, when I finish publishing my profiles (recent ones from Louisiana, they run out in Mississippi; my accident was in Alabama.). I try to reply to all comments here, but best to find me at I hope all is well with you and with June.


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