Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sojourners in New Orleans who take their afternoon drive down Esplanade street will notice ... two or three large, old houses - Cable #QotD

2015.11.16-DSC04865Sojourners in New Orleans who take their afternoon drive down Esplanade street will notice, across on the right, between it and that sorry streak once fondly known as Champs Élysées, two or three large, old houses, rising above the general surroundings and displaying architectural features which identify them with an irrevocable past--a past when the faithful and true Creole could, without fear of contradiction, express his religious belief that the antipathy he felt for the Américain invader was an inborn horror laid lengthwise in his ante-natal bones by a discriminating and appreciative Providence. There is, for instance, or was until lately, one house which some hundred and fifteen years ago was the suburban residence of the old sea-captain governor, Kerlerec. It stands up among the oranges as silent and gray as a pelican, and, so far as we know, has never had one cypress plank added or subtracted since its master was called to France and thrown into the Bastile. Another has two dormer windows looking out westward, and, when the setting sun strikes the panes, reminds one of a man with spectacles standing up in an audience, searching for a friend who is not there and will never come back. These houses are the last remaining--if, indeed, they were not pulled down yesterday--of a group that once marked from afar the direction of the old highway between the city's walls and the suburb St. Jean. Here clustered the earlier aristocracy of the colony; all that pretty crew of counts, chevaliers, marquises, colonels, dons, etc., who loved their kings, and especially their kings' moneys, with an abandon which affected the accuracy of nearly all their accounts.

The Grandissimes (1899)by George Washington Cable

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