Decrepitude

A mellow day trying to kill a head cold with citrus, honey, hot water and hot soup. The ramen worked well, but the nuclear curry I made might have been a step over the line. It is rare to make something almost too hot to to eat, but yogurt made it palatable and probably a better balanced meal anyway. It did give me the head sweats and diminish the pressure behind the ears a bit.

I walked around a bit, mostly running Christmas errands. it is a fun time of year to be out and about. I’ve been trying to notice the details of some of the buildings around the neighborhood and the Quarter, and have been particularly intrigued by the buildings that seem to be decaying in interesting ways before my eyes. I see beautiful buildings in an apparently desirable locations that just seem to be rotting away, but with some of the old details becoming accentuated as the colors fade. The genesis of the vampire and ghost stories, with some sort of supernatural being inhabiting or protecting these old buildings, is clear.

Yesterday I noticed one of the buildings I had been watching slowly decay on Chartres and Barracks was being cleaned up. The interior was being torn out and thrown into a dumpster outside. The scraps were not worth salvaging, mostly so far gone that any detail was gone, or perhaps they were plain to begin with. Some of the buildings in this neighborhood near the old docks were working class housing right up through the 1970s. It will be interesting to see whatever renovations will happen. In other nearby neighborhoods like the Bywater and Treme, often the facades of houses are beautifully maintained and restored, but looking along the side walls you can see holes or rotted windows, or places where wiring had been pulled from the house, probably by thieves. I should be talking more photographs, as the current state of things is more ephemeral than I had realized.

I see the same thing in some of the people I run into regularly around town. Some folks, like the travelers and gutter punks, are in an advanced stage of decrepitude, morally, physically, and certainly hygiene-wise, despite being relatively young. Others, like the bar flys, are maintaining a good facade, have irreparable damage but seem like they could go on for a long time just the way they are, but a common topic of conversation seems to be “Did you hear who just died?”. Many, especially the tourists coming through, are like a suburban house, over-large, well maintained and functioning, but never had much character or interesting detail to start with.

Figure out who you are, and be that on purpose. I’m trying to be a New Orleanian.

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