Episode 13: Always Keep The Fire Going Somewhere

EIS Radio

B.B. St. Roman in the New Orleans’ French Quarter neighborhood, where she lives.  Photo by Robert Johansson

[Welcome to Everything Is Stories, a podcast essentially, but truthfully an ongoing audio survey of individuals who have experienced transcendence and/or power of the will. Everything Is Stories exists many places and every month Impose will be among those places.]

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The idea for this project came to us in the last months of 2012. At the time, we were bored with audio storytelling. Bored with the irony of public radio. Bored with quirky editing and hosts narrating someone else’s story. We wanted to change the filters. We wanted unconventional stories told by the people who lived them, stories with urgency and resistance, stories with payoff.

Writer Harry Crews once wrote, “Nothing is allowed to die in a society of storytelling people.” Like him, we believe stories shape reality, a tricky thing to express because reality is both harmonious and chaotic. However, a good story captures it all, the rhythm and drone of experience.

Our first episode went live in January of 2014. Since then, we’ve been up and down the highways, finding stories from fight-fixers and outlaw bikers to Peruvian shamans and marijuana farmers. Every episode features a narrative from the first-person perspective. These voices have told of their greatest moments, where death is very close, where peace is only found in seclusion. Sometimes they explore the philosophy of drifters and outsiders. But most importantly, these stories examine what it is to be human. Take a listen. You may find a definition for reality’s highs and lows.

-Garrett Crowe, Mike Martinez, Tyler Wray

Episode 13:

B.B. St. Roman is the only staff member for the New Orleans Police Department Homeless Assistant Unit. Before helping the homeless, she traveled the world, recording sound for documentaries involving shamans, Buddhist monks, and Mother Teresa. And at one point, she became the tour manager for Dr. John, Louisiana musician and legend.

Now, she works full-time with the homeless. She tells her stories of Hurricane Katrina, shelter issues in the city, as well as planning and dreaming of ways to help those living in the streets.

Music by Holy Gallows.

Photos by Robert Johansson.

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“For the police department, I am the homeless assistance unit, so I’ve been out there on my own.” – B.B. St. Roman

Stills from the 1986 documentary Mother Teresa. B.B. traveled with the production as head of the sound department.

Stills from the 1986 documentary Mother Teresa. B.B. traveled with the production as head of the sound department.

B.B. and the documentary crew with Mother Teresa. Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

B.B. and the documentary crew with Mother Teresa.
Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

B.B. labelling her spiritual candles that are sold in various shops around New Orleans.   Photo by Robert Johansson

B.B. labelling her spiritual candles that are sold in various shops around New Orleans.   Photo by Robert Johansson

"We had a couple hundred motorcycles come to the wedding... All the way into the quarter, backed up about 8 blocks long.” - B.B. on her marriage to her late husband, Pops. Photo by Robert Johansson

“We had a couple hundred motorcycles come to the wedding… All the way into the quarter, backed up about 8 blocks long.”
– B.B. on her marriage to her late husband, Pops.
Photo by Robert Johansson

B.B. on the job in New Orleans, 2014.

B.B. on the job in New Orleans, 2014.

Stills from Shamans of the Blind Country,  a 1981 documentary that follows shamanism and the Magar people in Nepal.

Stills from Shamans of the Blind Country,  a 1981 documentary that follows shamanism and the Magar people in Nepal.

Cameraman Jörg Jeshel and B.B. in the middle of a barley field at a Himalayan village, shooting Shamans of the Blind Country. Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

Cameraman Jörg Jeshel and B.B. in the middle of a barley field at a Himalayan village, shooting Shamans of the Blind Country.
Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

"As long as there are people out here who have needs, I know there's no one who can replace me. It's just not going to happen.”

“As long as there are people out here who have needs, I know there’s no one who can replace me. It’s just not going to happen.”

B.B. with Dr. John, a friend and New Orleans music fixture whom she travelled with and managed for close to 10 years. Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

B.B. with Dr. John, a friend and New Orleans music fixture whom she travelled with and managed for close to 10 years.
Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

“Back then 10 years ago, I was about the only person out there on the streets trying to connect with the people.”

“Back then 10 years ago, I was about the only person out there on the streets trying to connect with the people.”

B.B. outside her home in the French Quarter, New Orleans, 2014. Photo by Robert Johansson

B.B. outside her home in the French Quarter, New Orleans, 2014.
Photo by Robert Johansson

B.B. with a head shaman in a remote village of Nepal. Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

B.B. with a head shaman in a remote village of Nepal.
Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

B.B. with Mother Teresa. Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

B.B. with Mother Teresa.
Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

B.B. at a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim. Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

B.B. at a Buddhist monastery in Sikkim.
Photo courtesy of B.B. St. Roman.

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