Erin’s Louisville (10/26/2022)

Highlands (previously: Parkway Village)

You know those “______’s Louisville” banners on the sides of buildings throughout the city? Ali and Jennifer Lawrence and Diane Sawyer and more “notable” names. We think the blank should be for all of us. (And who do you think Louisville Magazine should interview about our city? We’d love to know who you’d nominate here.)

Here are answers from Salon editor-in-chief Erin Keane, whose new memoir in essaysRUNAWAY: Notes on the Myths That Made Me, is out now from Belt Publishing. Interview published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022.

Since March 2020, what’s something Louisville has lost?


Since March 2020, what’s something Louisville has gained?

“Atrium Brewing.”

What Louisvillian has died who you really miss?

“Fred Smock, my first college creative-writing professor, who had such a love for making art and teaching us how to make ours.” [Smock, a longtime Bellarmine University professor and former Kentucky poet laureate, died July 17, 2022, at age 68.] 

What should people visit in your neighborhood?

“The walk-in at Morris’ Deli/Karem Deeb, where they keep the big hams and the cold beer.”

Who’s the unofficial mayor of your neighborhood? 

“The wise hound dog whose baying sounds like prophecy drifting off the haunted moors.”

Here’s a magic wand. Wave it and you can change one thing in your neighborhood. What do you change?

“Cars actually stop at crosswalks for pedestrians to cross Bardstown Road.”

Louisville dish you’ve eaten more than any other?

“The smoked halloumi slider at Oskar’s.”

Where are you a regular? 

“Nachbar for Old Fo on the rocks, Smør Nordic Bakeri for skolebrød, Havana Rumba for yucca brava.”

What closed Louisville business do you miss most?

“The closing of the Rudyard Kipling was the end of an era.”

What should be Louisville’s theme song?

“‘Whisky in the Faucet,’ by Brigid Kaelin, because it’s almost true.”

Favorite Louisville building?

“The Barrel of Fun Ice Cream on Smyrna Parkway because buildings shaped like other things are the best.”

Where in town do you always take visitors?


Most memorable show/concert you’ve been to in Louisville? 

“It’s a tie between being in the pit for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s 2016 River Tour at the Yum! Center and this one night like 15 years ago when Ted Leo opened for Death Cab at the Palace and I got to go backstage with friends and say hi, which was pretty cool, and while that was happening, I got a text saying Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings were about to go on at the Pour Haus (!!!) so I’d better get down there, and we did, and that was a pretty magical night.” 

A Louisville law/ordinance/rule/etc. that needs to change?

“Not specific to Louisville, but: qualified immunity.”

If you were elected mayor, what’s the first thing you would do on day one?

“Outlaw asking anyone over 21 where they went to high school.”

Something unexpected you love in Louisville?

“The cast-iron façades downtown.”

One thing Louisville is missing?

“Good bagels.”

Favorite Louisville smell?

“The second your food hits the table at Vietnam Kitchen.”

What does Louisville have that it should be known for but isn’t?

“So many talented writers are doing great work in Louisville. Brilliant writers are way more common here than fast horses, but I guess we all know who looks cooler on the posters.”

Something from Louisville’s past you wish people today could experience?

“Nostalgia is a trap.” 

In one sentence, how do you spend the majority of your weekdays?

“Working from my home office with a snoring Boston terrier by my side.” 

Besides whatever it is you’re currently doing: What’s the best job you’ve ever had? 

“Being the arts reporter for WFPL. We had some good times.”

Who would you shadow for a day?

“Pat Seifert. ‘Walk sign, Eastern Parkway.’ IYKYK.”

Favorite thing hanging on the walls at home?

“My Anessa Arehart paintings.”

TV character most like you? 

“Doll With the Spirit of Deceased Human Nadja Inhabiting It from What We Do in the Shadows. IYKYK.”

Secret talent?

“Pretty good at giving pep talks to everyone but myself.” 

What three people (living or dead) would be on the guest list to your ideal dinner party?

“The actresses Lynda Carter and Pam Grier, and my mom.”

If you could write it yourself, what would your headstone say?

“We had a good run.” 

In one word, what’s your biggest fear for Louisville?


In one word, what’s your biggest hope for Louisville?


Who should Louisville Magazine interview next? Let us know here.