"We lived in the slave quarters, big house was a costume shop"

Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Grace Zabriskie
Real People, Serious Monologue, 56 minutes
Preceded by: Emerald Isle
Followed by: Islands

Home is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1988.

Home (Remix) is Just Hold Me with an edited-down version of Home.


Grace Zabriskie tells (ostensibly true) stories of her childhood, focusing on her father, Roger Thomas 'Tom' Caplinger (Zabriskie was born Grace Caplinger; Zabriskie is her mother's maiden name), who ran Café Lafitte[1] in New Orleans. They lived in the old slave quarters.

1:30: A family friend, Mr George (she's unsure of the name), tells the girls (she and her younger sister Lane) bedtime stories. He complains about the heat, takes off his clothes, puts his hands down the girls' shorts. They tell their parents, so their father busts him.

6:40: She can read when she's 3; her father shows her off to his friends.

9:10: Her father is adored by many.

11:30: The story of Murray, the theatre costumer, and his business. She claims his ex-wife was Madame Spivy. He was Zabriskie's godfather. She says that she thought he was queer, like the rest of us, but he hired prostitutes instead.

14:10: Artists, writers, creative people, frequent the café. The jukebox has French records until the Mafia, which controlled the jukebox business, makes him take them out.

15:50: He tells his sister-in-law, Mildred, his brother's wife, that she needs a gimmick (to shut her up because she's being too 'Texas' in the café), that she make a thing out of wearing purple, so she does.

17:40: When he falls in love with an act he takes his friends to see them night after night; she mentions a stripper Stormy.

19:00: Dwight Fiske, a pioneer in the recording of risqué stories is in town. Because her mother is in labor he comes to their home to do his show.

20:00: Miss Mary, an old lady, a partner in the business, drank a lot. One day she chases her with a butcher knife. After father's death, she holds séances in the café to try to talk with him.

23:20: He had grown up in Lexington, Kentucky, went to the Naval Academy but dropped out in senior year, went to Europe with an older man for several years. Then he moved to New York, was an interior decorator, got involved with a student of Man Ray, was the model for a series of photos depicting a day in the life of a bum during the Depression in New York.[2]

28:40: He came to New Orleans in the '40s, bought this spot for $5,000, opened a restaurant but lost money because 'he gave away the steaks'; by then a lot of famous people (Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Dwight Fiske, William March) were coming.

30:00: After 15 years people successfully contest his title to the property; he loses it. He has a coffin brought to the patio, lies in it, doesn't come out until his wife comes over with a soufflé, which revives him. After that he travels to New York in pursuit of crazy schemes: he's going to buy the Chelsea Hotel, turn it into a brokerage; he's going to become the Pope.

34:00: He visits his parents in Kentucky, who have him subjected to shock treatments, which leave him subdued. Eventually he opens Café Lafitte in Exile. (It's still in business.) He dies on a cot in a back room, has an open coffin funeral. She audibly tears up.

38:50: He gave his shirts away, and encyclopedias.

40:30: She thinks he was disappointed with her.

43:20: They move; her mother drinks too much.

48:30: She meets older men who remembered the café, how they could stay all night long, meet incredible people, that it was never the same after her father.

49:40: She remembers the French Quarter of the '40s and '50s, how it was different: permissive, musical, creative.

54:40: The nuns who run the day care place across the street tell them he had bought their milk for 10 years.

Legacy Synopsis

Home (Remix) is Just Hold Me followed by an edited-down version of the original Home.

We hear from Beth, played by Grace Zabriskie. She tells about:

  • A series of photographs.
  • Her father acquires and loses a cafe; hanging out with artists and writers.
  • His crazy subsequent schemes.
  • His funeral.
  • She reflects on his disappointment in her.
  • Remembering the cafe and the French Quarter in the 40s and 50s.
  • Learning of her father's secret kindnesses after his death.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "With Grace Zabriskie. It was produced in the studios of KCRW Santa Monica, and mixed by Jeff Sykes."


  1. relocated and renamed Café Lafitte in Exile - still in business
  2. I can't find anything about this.