Friday, November 28, 2008

The New Digs

My first day-after-Thanksgiving carb-hangover in the new apartment. Feels like home. This is my first apartment in umm...6 years? I've been "the roommate" or "the housesitter" for the past 6 years, most of that time really living on the road. For the past 2 years, I've been settled in New Orleans, renting the big room from Miss Gloria in the Bywater. Now I'm ready to move on to my own apartment.

Day-after-Thanksgiving in my new digs. I'm avoiding the refrigerator. Instead, I walked to Cafe Flora, which is close to my apartment and open, to buy incense and a coffee. Sidewalks are wet from an early morning storm. The few folks outside have the same bleary looks as me. Carb-hangover. Must find coffee.

I moved in 2 weekends ago, but "officially" occupied the place 2 nights ago, when I cooked. I made the oyster dressing for the T Day table, a Southern tradition made with paper-light baguettes. My kitchen is bright with a LOT of counter space and a window that overlooks rooftops.

The whole apartment is called the Camel Back of a Shotgun. A Shotgun house is long and narrow, with no hallways, just one room behind the next. If you open all the doors, you can shoot a shotgun straight through. The Camel Back is a second story that extends only half the length of the Shotgun. A half-story, I guess. The Camel Back was popular in New Orleans because home owners could avoid tax on second stories by only building half a second story. Imagine me in my upper half-story, relaxing on my elevated wooden deck, drinking beer at sunset.

The Mississippi River is only a block away, but except for the sky my view is obstructed by wharf warehouses. I see smoke stacks on passing ships, and the peaks of the Crescent City Bridge lit up at night. My view is rather industrial on the river side. I'm glad the river is there, but prefer the kitchen view and the deck.

I live on Marigny Street, which also lends its name to the entire neighborhood. The Marigny (pronounced merry-knee) is the 3rd oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, directly adjacent to the French Quarter. I walk 3 blocks from my apartment to the Quarter. Named after the Baron de Marigny, who parceled out his estate to pay gambling debts and to house his numerous mistresses, the Faubourg (faux town) Marigny is historic, quaint, quite Gay, relatively middle class, and liberal. Bed-and-breakfast abounds, and KEE-YOOT cottages side-by-side, up and down the blocks, painted bright colors with filigree millwork. Balcony gardens, sweet olive trees, the occasional cobblestone sidewalk, decay.

You could say I moved on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky.

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