I interviewed Christopher Rodarte, author of the book “La Llorona: Ghost Stories of the Southwest.” He explains that he has always been very interested in the legend of La Llorona, a popular tale in Mexican and Southwest cultures. Rodarte’s book retells people’s tales of the weeping woman of the Southwest.
I asked Rodarte what drew him to the story of La Llorona. He grew up with the legend living in Albuquerque, and says it was by far the most popular ghost story. He says that while no one has really seen her in the stories retold to him, there are different descriptions of how she looks. Some say she is a very pretty woman. But in other stories she is ugly and has the face of a horse.
I asked Rodarte which one of the stories in the book was his favorite. He explained that he retells the stories he’s heard from other people, but his favorites are probably the first and last stories in the book. They are sort of connected. Rodarte has been working on the book for a long time, about 25 years. He gathered stories in New Mexico and other places.
I was interested in one of the stories where rats were mentioned. I wondered if Rodarte believed La Llorona had some sort of connection to animals. He believes that yes, sometimes there are connections with animals, like horses and rats, or some creatures you could find in a graveyard.
I found the photos in the book, which were taken by the author’s brother Damien, to be very interesting and even eerie. They just went to places were they thought La Llorona would have visited.
Rodarte says that in his experience people get very possessive over whether she is from their hometown, or someone else’s. People have seen her in California, Texas, Mexico and many other places. He couldn’t really say for sure where she is from.
Rodarte says that in addition to being scary, the story is also very sad. She immediately regretted drowning her children. She knows what she is doing is wrong and yet she still cannot stop herself, leading to her endless search for them.
Rodarte is a third grade teacher at Sam Hughes Elementary. He also has his own website www. lalloronaproductions.com where he has merchandise relating to the legend of La llorona.You can find the book at the Arizona Inn, Antigone books, Bookmans and Mostly Books. I found the story a great read with
wonderful pictures included. The stories were very entertaing.