: Jeremy Youngblood’s Uptown home is much like his office. Classic lines, masculine colors of burgundy, hunter green, and brown leather. Every sofa and chair purchased in the late 1908s, each menacingly inviting clad in lots and lots of handtooled overstuffed leather polished to a high sheen. As if they had never been sat upon. Classic persian rugs from the same era, each regularly cleaned and preserved. Walls of rare books encased in vacuformed polarized plastic rebuking the afternoon sun in its slow descent towards the horizon. The study is filled with an auburn glow. But not the hazy macrocosm that defines a New Orleans home, filled with all the little swirling particles of dust and skin and a hundred other airborne bits. The filtration in the climate control is top of the line.
Almost no unwanted bits of old history floating about.
Youngblood wanders down the ebony paneled walls of the former carriageway of the 1857 home. He bought the house in 1990, beating out a trust that wanted the place on the National Registry. No way that was going to happen, the property was too prime. With the assistance of his architect, patient, and occasional trick he carved out five luxury condos that made it into Architectural Digest. All of which are now empty except for one. He is the only person living in the building.
He’s considered restoring the house but his accountant says “that’s not good business sense. Better to have property you can sell or rent, eventually.” He cannot argue with the logic of the statement. But something still deep inside him keeps saying “take it, make use of it. What about everything you wanted to do when you were young?” He turns the corner and sees the Magritte pencil sketch he bought right before...well, before. Called Fumeur, the sketch was intended to be a gift for--
He cannot bring himself to even think Phil Tupperman’s name. But it is there. Unspoken, always waiting. Taking another glance at the picture his mind flits for the briefest memory of how he thought Phil would react when he saw it. The memory is quelled, buried deeply into the good Doctor’s psyche where it continues to burn with all the other neglected embers.
In Old Metairie, Phil Tupperman goes about his regular routine; dust the living room, vacuum the rugs, sweep, and a good coating of Lysol to finish. He follows the same patterns throughout the house as he has always done since his mother brought him here. He buys the same cleaners, the same laundry soap and fabric softener, everything that his mother used.
But today? Today is somehow...different. Because today, he’s suddenly thinking about Bruce Halloran. He hasn’t seen or heard from Mr. Halloran in weeks. And yet, today...today.
He finds himself in front of the telephone in the living room, holding the receiver and punching in the number on Bruce Halloran’s card. He’s on the next to last digit when his hand stops.
What if he’s busy? What if he’s angry? What if he decides to never come back?
Slolwy, Phil lowers the receiver into the cradle. It’s for the best, he tells himself. Don’t pester the man. Just...be patient. He’ll call again, he’ll come by….when he’s ready. It’s...for the best.
My, how dusty these tables get during the week…
: Luxuriating in the mercifully dehumidified shade of her faithful banana trees, Tunie Dufour takes the time to enjoy the arrival of autumn in the Jewel of the Crescent. At her side, an octagonal plastic throw cup emblazoned in chipped gold lettering "Krewe of Juno & Jupiter 1985" filled with her beloved muscadine wine. Above her, the tattered banana leaves flip and crackle in the breeze, keeping time with the enormous wind chimes installed by Jerry & Patrick. Their sonorous baritones are calming but always remind Tunie of a monastery. Taking a deep breath, she exhales and closes her eyes to listen. The air is clean, not a trace of exhaust. It's nearly perfect. The only thing missing is the hint of Hubig's pies being made just up the street.
There was a time when every neighborhood had it's own morning smells. When the Crystal Preserves plant was still working in Mid-City, you could drive by there around 6am and it would smell like the most wonderful breakfast you could imagine. The same was true for Hubig's.
But now, they're both gone, like so many others. How many times has she seen this old place change? And yet somehow, here in her little courtyard beneath the trees, everything is as it has always been.
Just inside the open door to the laundry room, she hears the shrill pounding ring of the doorbell.
Rushing into the front parlor, Tunie unlocks the French doors to reveal a thin young man snappily dressed in a shirt, tie, and vest and barely taller than Tunie herself. A pleasant little smile emerges across his smooth face and he says cheerfully,
"Good morning. You must be Miss Dufour."
"Yes," she replies, watching his hand reach into the breast pocket of his vest.
"My card," he says, handing her the thick linen vellum card. "My name is Mr. Tschantz. I represent the firm of DiNotto, Tschantz, and Asino."
"How nice for you," Tunie drawls, slipping the card inside her bra. "What brings you to my door, young man?"
Mr. Tschanz grins wider and says,
"I'm looking for your fiancee Mr. Harold Amos. Is he in today?"
Tunie peers at the pale pencil on her stoop. An errant breeze sweeps up between them and for a moment they both smell...pie.“Come in, young man. I’ll see if Harold is around. Can I offer you a muscadine?”...This Is My New Orleans.