Thursday, January 9, 2020

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

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

If the French Quarter is mythologized as new-world sophistication, New Orleans East is the encroaching wilderness. The East is less dressed up; it’s where the city’s dysfunctions are laid bare. And wild things do happen there: canebrake rattlesnakes, one of the most poisonous in North America, are routinely discovered slithering around neighborhoods or in the abandoned Jazzland theme park, sometimes measuring over five feet long, which gains them the name “monster.”

The East, in general, especially post-Water, provided good cover for snakes and for people. The large majority of its streetlights had not yet been restored, and this is why men have led cops on wild-goose chases through the East’s marshlands, and why an escaped prisoner from Orleans Parish Prison hid out in the rafters of the abandoned Versailles Arms apartment complex. This is partly why Carl loves living there—because the only people who can find him are the people who can find him are the people he already knows. Living where Carl does requires Maroon-like levels of self-sufficiency and independence. There are, of course, more populous areas of the East, neighborhoods with associations and monthly meetings, neighborhoods where city services are provided regularly, like those subdivisions closer to the brand-new Walmart on Bullard, whose opening was the biggest news the East has had in years—but where Carl lives is not one of them.

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