I currently live in a beautiful little town called Eagle Rock, which is part of the City of Los Angeles ... El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles del Rio Porciuncula (the full name of the city). Some folks say it's "the next Silver Lake", but I don't need it to be the next Silver Lake. I'm happy with it just being Eagle Rock.
I used to live in a delightfully squalid section of Hollywood, a few blocks off La Brea between Sunset and Fountain, but I tried to make it sound less squalid by saying it was "West Hollywood-adjacent". (It didn't work.) In fact, my mail was delivered by the West Hollywood post office, and if you walked half a block from my house, you crossed the West Hollywood city limits. However, as my former housemate was fond of saying, "We don't live in WeHo ... it's just plain old Ho."
As I mentioned before, I'm an expatriate New Orleanian, having moved here in 1982 to go to gradual school at Loyola Marymount University (M.A.,magna cum laude, Communication Arts, 1986).
It took me a while for L.A. to grow on me ("It will, like a fungus," I used to say.) I guess that for the first several years I was living here, I was really homesick for New Orleans, and besides, it was hip to hate L.A.
Several years ago, though, I began to develop a true appreciation for what this 85-suburbs-in-search-of-a-city is. Los Angeles is the definition of urban sprawl in this country, and it is possible to just look at the whole behemoth megalopolis and hate it all. But you have to look beneath and within that, to find all the incredible cool little pockets that are peppered all over L.A. This is what I did, with the able assistance of my good friend and downtown loft dweller Chris Clarke. (Most people don't realize how cool downtown L.A. can be, too).
It was a gradual process. And, of course, part of that process involved getting the hell out of the boring Westside (and mo' boringer Culver City, *gack*) and moving into the West Hollywood area, which I like a lot.
But still, lots of people ask me: "If you love New Orleans so much, and you're always going on and on about how great it is, why did you leave it? Why dont' you just live there?" Good question.
I wanted to go to gradual school, for one. Graduate film school at Loyola Marymount was a fantastic experience, and one that I wouldn't trade for anything, despite the fact that my film industry experience has robbed me of any desire to continue working in it. But I'm eternally grateful for grad school. Mom and Dad had to go through quite a bit of hardship to put me through school, and I'm grateful to them too. Thanks, Mom and Dad! (They got Executive Producer credit on my graduate thesis film too!)
And also ... I really took New Orleans for granted all my life. I rarely left the city, and wasn't very well-travelled outside of New Orleans until I was 20 (until I moved to California I had never been out of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, save for one weekend in Carbondale, Illinois when I was considering attending Southern Illinois University). The wonderful and unique food, culture, music ... it was as normal for me as breathing. I suppose it didn't occur to me that when I left New Orleans I wouldn't have that anymore; I suppose that's a lesson learned by just about everybody who leaves home, but I think it's more intense for a New Orleanian. We're almost as if we were our own country.
Finally, I also needed to leave home and become my own person. It happens to everyone, of course. The baby chicks grow up and leave the nest, and must find their own way. We all tend to get a little sheltered living at home; I just needed to venture out into the world and find out who I was, and I needed to leave Mom and Dad's house in order to do it. Probably a familiar story to most of you, I'd imagine ...
I ended up staying out here because the economy in New Orleans wasn't so hot, and I desired film industry work (an illness from which I am thankful to have recovered). Now, though ... the main thing keeping me out here is that most of my friends are here; they're very important to me, and I'd have a hard time leaving them. Also, I'm now just used to living in Los Angeles and finally rather like it -- you get rooted to a place when you live there nearly 15 years. Boy, am I gonna be depressed on the day when I'll have lived in L.A. for longer than I lived in New Orleans ...
I've been going through a lot of changes in my life of late, though -- both personally and career-wise -- and who knows what could happen or where I could end up. Even the mere possibilities are exciting.
Now, on to a bit about me now, what makes me tick, and the work I do.
chuck's bio | gumbo pages
Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)