Maple Leaf Reading Series

The Maple Leaf reading series is the longest-running poetry reading series in New Orleans as well as the South. In 1979, famed local poet Everette Maddox began the series with sculptor Franz Heldner and poet Nancy Harris. Maddox had moved to New Orleans from Alabama earlier in the decade to teach at Xavier University. Almost immediately after arriving, Maddox became a prominent figure in the local poetry scene. Until his death in 1989, Maddox served as host for the Maple Leaf readings.

In his later years, Maddox had become homeless and mostly jobless, and he spent much of his time sleeping at the Maple Leaf Bar. Following his death in 1989, his ashes were buried in the bar's courtyard, where the weekly reading series continues.

On Sundays at 3 pm in the courtyard, poets of all experience levels are welcome to participate in open microphone readings. The reading runs as long into the afternoon as necessary to allow time for all open mic readers to perform. Those who wish to read can sign up upon arrival with Nancy Harris, master of ceremonies.

Images

Fred Kasten, Everette Maddox, and Maxine Cassin at the Maple Leaf Bar. Photo courtesy of Fred Kasten.

Fred Kasten, Everette Maddox, and Maxine Cassin at the Maple Leaf Bar. Photo courtesy of Fred Kasten.

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Flyer for Tom Dent and Andrei Codrescu reading at the Maple Leaf Bar. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection

Flyer for Tom Dent and Andrei Codrescu reading at the Maple Leaf Bar. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection

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Flyer for Annual Mardi Gras Open Mic Reading at the Maple Leaf Bar. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection

Flyer for Annual Mardi Gras Open Mic Reading at the Maple Leaf Bar. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection

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Flyer for Nancy Harris as Featured Reader at Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection

Flyer for Nancy Harris as Featured Reader at Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series. Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection

After Everette Maddox's death, Nancy Harris took over the running of the Maple Leaf Bar Reading Series. View File Details Page

Audio

Maple Leaf Reading Series, David Kunian, producer

David Kunian interviews Fred Heldner about the start of the Maple Leaf reading series. Audio courtesy of David Kunian and WWOZ. View File Details Page

Video

Ken Fontenot, friend of Everette Maddox

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Thaddeus Conti, poet

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Cite this Page:

Brandon Keene and Lacar Musgrove, “Maple Leaf Reading Series

,” New Orleans Historical, accessed June 24, 2017, http://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/394.
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