Larger than Life: Keshia Caldwell, the co-founder of Curve the Runway NOLA fashion show has died.

New Orleans artist Keshia “Peaches” Caldwell, 41, died while vacationing in Africa. She was a McMain High School graduate and lover of the arts. She founded a grass roots organization, The Sankofa Speaks Project dedicated to fostering the development and mentoring of young people using the art of spoken word as a teaching tool. An accomplished author, she self-published her first book of poetry, “Silhouettes of the Soul” in 2002 and released her spoken word/music CD, “Fat Girl Fantasies, Skinny Girl Blues” later that year.

If asked her occupation, she would tell you she was an international poet, playwright, author, educator and everyday slayer. That was the confidence in her, but she was loved because she thought of others. She gave many people the opportunity to discover something great about themselves. 

Co-founder of Curve the Runway NOLA, Seton Academy graduate Letreian “Lee” Johns, has been friends with Keshia since high school. Throughout our talk, Letreian said Keisha’s bottom line was always “You gotta think about other people.” Keshia’s empathy has come back to her exponentially with the many condolences posted on social media from strangers, acquaintances, peers, family, and friends.

Letreian continued that Curve the Runway NOLA was not on a calendar for her and Keshia. The event wasn’t a business venture. It was a friend helping a friend. The idea was a stream of consciousness that became real when Letreian convinced Keshia she could do it. In less than 40 days, they had a fashion show.

August 18th, model auditions were held. With models and a venue, Keshia felt she now had a show. She still didn’t have designers, no stylists, no sponsors but no one was worried. September 23rd, Curve the Runway fashion show astounded and inspired. Letreian said simply, “That was because of Peaches.” During the creative process, Letreian felt she found a lane where she created without any restrictions.

Key Stylist for Curve the Runway, Torrence L. Taylor said, “Peaches was living out the song ‘Every Woman.’ She had so many families due to her being multi-talented. She was the sister of your favorite artist no matter the art form. The New Orleans art community has lost a pillar.” Filling out the Curve the Runway team: Strategist, Nia Sivad; Key Make-up Artist, Dana Greenup Dean; and Administrator, Bee Marie.

Trying not to cry while we talked, Letreian said, “She was family. She dyed my hair. Who will dye my hair now?”

Keshia is survived by her mother, Henri Belle Caldwell and her brother, Adrian J. Caldwell. She was preceded by her father, Dr. Joe Louis Caldwell who was the first African-American Chairman of UNO’s History department. Funeral arrangements have yet to be finalized. To read more about this beautiful woman, visit


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