Between Piety and Desire is both the story of a brother and sister and a conversation about “inside” versus “outside” life in the city of New Orleans. Arlet and Sam Wylie grew up living above a corner store in the Ninth Ward. In this book, they remember a childhood of parents keeping them inside to avoid the struggles of the neighborhood around them even as domestic abuse sometimes disrupted the safety of their own home. They interview the people who hang out on the block, weaving the history of the street through their own history living upstairs. Unusually candid and self-reflective, the Wylies describe their new “inside life,” including Sam’s fatherhood and Arlet’s new home.
Arlet and Sam Wylie returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Sam was in the first public school graduating class after Katrina.