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Laura Madeline Wiseman

writer, teacher, musician, and performer, was born Consuela Marie Moore in Luling, Louisiana, to Frank P. Moore, a bricklayer, and Augustine Boudreaux Moore, a homemaker and musician. Kein and her six sisters and seven brothers were raised in New Orleans's Seventh Ward. She, like her family, spoke Creole until she started school. She was then required to speak bon français, or good French, which resulted in her losing the ability to speak Creole. Kein's ethnic background was an amalgamation of African American, Spanish, Irish, Native American, French, Jewish, German, and Polish, but Kein identified herself as Creole. She explained, “I like to think of [Creole culture] as epitomizing American culture because we are a mosaic of different cultures” (Flint [Michigan] Journal, 7 Nov. 1996).

Kein auditioned for the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra in 1958 as a violist but the ...