A piano bar on lower Bourbon Street. The kind of place tourists peek into but then avoid. Brenda Saenz, an elderly woman, holds court at the piano. She is abundantly made up and carries herself with the hauteur of a White Russian exile. In brief chapters, we meet Brenda’s staff and customers. The cleaning lady – a once famous rhythm and blues star. The waitress – a rebellious runaway from the Northeast. A carriage driver, who tries to help promote the bar with tourists. But it is Brenda’s own secret tragedy that this group must deal with or flee from – in the final chapter that gives the book its name.
“Dalt Wonk captures the eccentric heart of New Orleans. Spiritual Gifts is peopled with the quirky, the disillusioned, the good-hearted who are the fabric of our world. Wonk has an unfailing ear for their speech, a presence at their most combustible moments and an extraordinary eye for the sultry, weathered city that shapes their lives. He brilliantly weaves each story into an unforgettable human tapestry.”
— Jim Amoss (Former Editor, The Times Picayune – Former member of the Pulitzer Prize board)