I had so much fun spending my birthday back in New Orleans last year, I decided to do it again. The house R Man and I lived in on Chartres Street in the French Quarter has a sweet little hotel right across the street (people in the rooms in the front of which had a great view into our living rooms and, believe me, they made the most of it, gawking like we were dioramas.) I wanted to stay in that hotel this time, but I couldn’t remember the name of it. Digging around on Google for it turned up news that units in our old building are for sale as heavily renovated (the term “tarted up” comes to mind) condos.
Staring at these photos vividly reminded me of a long gone afternoon R Man and I lounged in bed in his apartment off the courtyard. We had spent a vigorous time indulging in various forms of physical affection that are probably still illegal in several states and then lay catching our breath, with the french doors open to the patio while the rain hammered down during one of those fierce Gulf Coast storms. The rain had turned the air chilly, the room was all white and cool with crisp white sheets and R Man, who was very hairy, was a cozy redoubt against it all. Sweet, sweet, sweet.
Scene of the crime, downstairs. Although the doors used to be french ones that you could open even when they were “locked” by leaning against them. A cat could break in.
R man’s first apartment in the building was in the slave quarter. That was the term everyone used because these free standing small buildings in the rear of the houses were where the slaves lived. Now I understand the preferred term is “servants’ quarters” as if changing the vernacular could gloss over the horrible existence of slavery. Whatever.
Later he moved into a bigger apartment in the big house up front and I moved into the one across the hall from him. We had the whole top floor to ourselves and shared the big balcony on the street, but still had the option (occasionally illusional) of privacy. It was sort of like warming up to living together. Again, sweet.
So now I see these photos of what the new owners have done to the old place, spiffing it up to the nth degree and swearing in the realtor’s description “everything is new…” cause who would want all that old stuff around anyway?
Isn’t that lovely? The stairs have been added and the upstairs window used to be a much prettier large fan light. It was my bathroom and the people in the hotel around the corner had view into my sitting on the toilet. Fabulous.
My balcony onto Chartres Street. We could stand out there and hear the tourguides wandering along below making up amazing lies about where we lived.
I lived upstairs on the left, R man on the right. Absolute sweet.
I don’t begrudge them any of it, I had my turn there and loved the old place even if it was shabby. We were so lucky to make it in at the very tail end of the raffish, bohemian life that used to be possible in the French Quarter. Now it’s some of the most desirable real estate in the country, then it was a small step up from a bad neighborhood and I could live there on minimum wage. When I had a job, that is. I just hope who ever winds up there enjoys it as much as I did during that rainstorm all those years ago.