Sunday, October 16, 2005

Watching houses burn in the distance

Last night was the post-poned birthday party at Andy's place in the French Quarter. There were forty or fifty people there and tons of amazing food, including the lamb. Around ten o'clock everyone gathered at the window and watched an enormous plume of smoke grow in the distance. Then there were flames and an enormous explosion. Then the guessing at what it might be. After a while there seemed to be very little point in trying to decide what it was, and the party continued.

This is the way things are here. Slow motion.

In the Quarter places are beggging for bartenders and cooks. All of the smaller places are opening up with limited menus, and they are packed with people. But when you walk outside the streets are empty. The larger restaurants, owned by people who could afford to open and lose some money in the process, remain stubbornly closed.

Occassionally in the cafes the military stand patiently in line with their machine guns.

And one the way home from the party, as we walked down the stairs, a woman paused on the landing and pointed through a window to the roof, where a dozen violins were laid out to dry.

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