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The Kennedy Center

Artists Featured in Book

Lydia LaBouliere

Photo of Lydia LaBouliere

"I never knew I was a writer, I never tried to be a writer. Now it's a necessary part of my life."

Lydia LaBouliere comes from the rich Cajun heritage of one of the nation's most exotic cities, New Orleans. She is also an imagineer at Disney World. In her spare time, she writes her own swing music.

Where do writers come from? A college student at the time, Lydia was training to write sketch comedy at the University of New Mexico with one of the creators of Laugh-In, Digby Wolf. He insisted that she try her hand at drama. The result was her play, Lagniappe, the rough draft of which she wrote in six hours.

"Writing it was horrific. I'm not the type that writes a little bit then comes back to it, then writes a little bit more. I purge..."

Her play won the VSA arts Playwright Discovery Award for Excellence in Playwriting. It was performed at the Kennedy Center in 1997. She says the play has changed her life, her career, everything. She was able to meet her biggest theatrical idols, Wendy Wasserstein and Fred Zollo. And she credits the award from VSA arts with getting her the job with Disney.

Lagniappe is a play, set in her native New Orleans, about an adopted young woman who seeks her birth family in order to insure her survival of systemic lupus. At 18 Lydia's hair started to fall out. It wasn't until she was 21 that Lydia was diagnosed with the incurable blood disorder, lupus.

"I feel like I'm a baby writer. I have so much to learn. The one thing that I do know is that you have to write what you know...Lagniappe -- that's what I know; that's my reality...I think it's important that people who have the disease speak out about it. That's one of the main reasons I wrote [the play]. So you don't have to explain...."