Kathleen DesHotel | Contributing Writer
In third grade Kathleen’s teacher told her that she had talent after she read a poem Kathleen wrote about clowns. She already thought her teacher was wonderful, but with that compliment she determined that she would be a writer and a teacher. And, so it goes! With a BA in French & English, she taught both subjects in middle school for 11 years. Graduate school in French and English at Tulane, then later graduate school in Curriculum & Instruction with a Reading Specialist degree from Our Lady of Holy Cross College, then she gained her gifted certification from UNO and graduate school at Loyola in photography all led to teaching in college simultaneously with middle school.
Moving to Slidell in 1990 and taking a teaching job at Northshore High enabled her to share her experience in teaching, learning, reading literature, writing, and research with her gifted English and photography students. This move gave the single parent a lovely niche to share and make a difference for others.
All the while Kathleen wrote for personal fulfillment, stories about her life, her parents’ lives, and some she just made up right out of her head. This obsession reinforced her belief that everyone has a story to tell.
Then Hurricane Katrina arrived. Her mother and father moved to her house as their home in New Orleans near the London Avenue Canal breach was destroyed. They read the newspaper to keep up with whatever was going on with FEMA or the Road Home. They found a request for a newspaper art columnist. Her dad circled this and tapped his pencil; she laughed because school just reopened, and she was working hard to catch up for lost classroom time. He reminded her, “In third grade you told me you were a writer. It’s time. People need you.”
She applied, ultimately got the job, and wrote to give something positive to an audience whose every thought was about flooring, sheetrock, or insurance. She taught and wrote with a passion.
Along the way she met Editor Kendra Maness who asked her to write for Slidell Magazine, but the newspaper would not allow this. Years after Kathleen retired from both teaching and writing, in a happenstance meeting during the hanging of art at Slidell City Hall, Kendra asked again if Kathleen would write for the magazine. And, so it goes.