[Reine Dugas]

An Intimate Porch Chat with Laura Dern and Diane Ladd

11:58 May 24, 2023
By: Reine Dugas

Set against the backdrop of a beautiful Garden Distract home, Laura Dern and Diane Ladd sat with New Orleans' Bryan Batt for a cozy porch chat about their new book, Honey, Baby, Mine.

When Ladd developed a life-threatening illness several years ago as a result of inhaling pesticides, the outlook was not good. She was not given long to live and the only suggestion the doctor gave was long walks to increase her lung capacity. But Ladd was no fan of walking, and so her daughter, Laura Dern, decided the only way she could get her mother walking was to distract her with talking. And sharing stories.

So the two started going on walks and having long conversations. Those conversations and stories became the basis for their book. The book is beautiful with photos, family recipes, mementos, snippets of conversations, and lots of stories. The message of the book is that you should say everything you can to those you love while you can. As Ladd said last night, "I figured I was going to be dead, so I decided to spill the beans."

The two women shared stories of their experience writing the book and dealing with Ladd's illness. When Dern first learned of her mother's diagnosis, she said she didn't accept the first doctor's opinion—she said how important it is do everything you can for your family.

Ladd, who hails from Alabama, seemed decidedly southern still as she made frequent references to growing up in the south. She talked about the importance of family and community several times during the evening. Sharing many of her own stories, Ladd told of her discovery right in New Orleans' own Le Petite Theatre.

The intimate porch conversation ended with Ladd and Dern singing "Honey, Baby, Mine," saying they knew this audience would know enough to sing along—and they did. Ladd reminded everyone of the importance of telling stories but also of listening. She said, "You have to listen with your ear but with the ear of your heart."

Sign Up!