The Man Who Saved New Orleans

Playwright Thomas Meloncon’s new play is called The Man Who Saved New Orleans. It’s a misnomer, of course, because we all know nobody saved New Orleans. Meloncon explains the title refers to one of the characters, not the city. “Arthur Prejean is an 86-year-old blind man who heads the family [in the play]. They’ve come to Houston after Hurricane Katrina to save what pieces of their lives they can. It’s his grandson that they call New Orleans.”

Meloncon, who has family roots in the Big Easy, wrote the play because “It was a historical event; I call it an American tragedy. As a playwright, I was compelled to write about this. It’s like I couldn’t escape it,” he says. “I wanted to show the loss, and not simply in terms of property, but in terms of the history, the culture, the family ties, the music, the relationships, the love people left behind. I wanted to show all of that. But it’s not just tragedy for tragedy’s sake. It’s about hope, too. Arthur Prejean is putting his hope in his grandson, hoping that if young people can go back to New Orleans with dreams in their hands and not guns, with the determination to rebuild the city, then everything won’t be lost.”

Amen, brother, amen.

The Man Who Saved New Orleans has its world premiere today at 7:30 p.m. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays. Through February 22. The Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main. For information, call 713-520-0055 or visit $15 to $35.

Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m. Starts: Jan. 24. Continues through Feb. 22, 2009


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