Wednesday, January 8, 2020

the last book I ever read (The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom, excerpt fifteen)

from National Book Award winner The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom:

From my balcony, I could look over to the Moonwalk, the promenade that runs along the Mississippi River. Some days I jogged along its banks, past homeless people wrapped in sleeping bags. Just across from this balcony is an apartment that overcharges rent because Tennessee Williams lived there briefly and, some say, wrote half of A Streetcar Named Desire under its eaves. Every day when the tour guides passed by that apartment with their paying customers in mule-drawn carriages, they told the story of how, in 2006, during the Tennessee Williams Festival screaming contest when Stanleys compete to yell “Stella” best and loudest, the winner that year yelled “FEMA!” instead. It was a story that I never tired of hearing.

Behind my apartment, in Pirates Alley, is the house where William Faulkner briefly lived, now a bookstore called Faulkner House. Nothing in this district is without an accompanying story, and there is no shortage or supporting evidence—anecdotal or otherwise. Much of this material is housed in the Historic New Orleans Collection, a few blocks from my flat, where it is possible to find the history of any French Quarter property, going back to the city’s founding, in about the time it takes me to type this sentence.

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