|Jaded teenager Pursy hears her mom died, and goes to New Orleans a day late for the funeral from Florida (her boyfriend didn't give her the message in time). She arrives at her mom's house to find Bobby Long and Lawson, living there, squatting, essentially. (Bobby is a former literature professor, and Lawson is his supposed writer protege.) The two men have been living in the dilapidated house for years, and make it clear they don't plan to go; Bobby claims Lorraine (her mom) gave each of them a third of the house. Lawson is slowly writing a novel about Bobby's life. Pursy is also stubborn, and she refuses to leave, to. As they settle into the reality no one is going to leave. They learn she's a high school dropout, and send her to high school to get some learnin' done. There's a secret or two lurking, something with Lawson's girlfriend's friend fell for Bobby, but it seems the schools dean's son was sleeping with Lawson's girlfriend, and everyone but Lawson knew it. Bobby the dean's son because of this, which is how Bobby's broken facial bone came to be; that same name, Bobby's son was killed in an accident, and his wife threw Bobby out, saying she needed a better man. Lawson and Pursy finally get Bobby to go to hospital (he's peeing blood), and Pursy has a date. There, they go to a club, and one of the old guys remembers Pursy -- Tiny is the guy, and he really gave her Shirley Temples (a memory of hers that is real). Her Florida boyfriend Lee shows up suddenly, with a letter that she's the sole owner of the house on the first of July; she sends Lee away. She kicks them out, and puts the house up for sale. She finds a box of letters her mom wrote her but never sent; in them, she learns her father is Bobby, and decides she doesn't want to sell the house. Pursy graduates high school, and they all dress up and go. At the party after, Bobby toasts to his daughter, Pursy, proud that she may be in college in the fall. Bobby dies, Lawson finally finishes the book, and Pursy puts the book, the song Lorraine wrote, and a bit of her namesake flower, purslane, at Bobby's grave, which is to the left of Lorraine's.