This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The recession and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico hit New Orleans hard, and that was after Katrina. The population has yet to return to pre-hurricane levels. Some houses lie empty, some properties abandoned, and the city continues to suffer from crime and unemployment.
Patricia Volk's mother was beautiful in a way that stopped people on the street. Strangers compared her to Lana Turner and Grace Kelly. She was stylish and vain: Her beauty and its preservation mattered to her. "She had an icy blond beauty, an imperious kind of beauty," Volk tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.