Friday, July 21, 2006

My friend the bull runner

is writing a novel about New Orleans, a murder mystery set in pre-Katrina time. I don't think he'll mind if I give you a couple paragraphs.

The Ciron family’s tall, weathered, ten bedroom Victorian home was shedding layers of white paint that flaked, peeled and dropped to the ground, exposing hard cypress boards that were pulled from a swamp named for a pirate a hundred years ago by the hands of black men who were still slaves by any other name. Claude loved to say that if ever the millions of Formosa termites inhabiting the walls quit holding hands, the house would fall on the heads of the six Ciron siblings who lived there. When Claude read an article in the daily newspaper that reported these tenacious termites had been found not only dining on dead wood, but also devouring live wood, eating the city’s oaks from the inside out, he had laughed, “That’s it. A perfect metaphor. One day the oaks, symbols of New Orleans, are gonna die just like the substance died a long time ago. The place is literally being eaten from the inside out the way you eat a Sunday dinner roll from Leidenheimer’s Bakery.”
At sixty-three, Claudia or Sista was the second-youngest of the Ciron clan. While everyone else called the pine porch just that, a porch, Sista always referred to it as a gallery. She called everything and everyone by proper names. When asked why she insisted on calling the porch a gallery, Sista had said, “Porches are what people have in other parts of town like Gentilly. Where we live, we have galleries. They have yards in other parts of town, we have gardens. It’s not just different words. It’s who we are and who they are.”

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