February 12th, 2005

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Clifford Bronson

Pamela, a great friend and now, happily, our downstairs tenant, told me this story:
So I was talking to this guy I worked with on a movie who's back in town shooting something else. I said, "Where are you staying?"

"Uptown," he said. "Where do you live?"

"In the Bywater."

"Oh, I love that neighborhood!" he said, recollecting being in New Orleans ten years ago when he lived in our part of town. "What part of Bywater?"

"Dauphine St.," said Pamela.

"Oh my god! I lived on Dauphine! Where are you?"

"Big red house near blah-de-blah-de-blah..."
Of course, as it turns out, this fellow used to live at Clifford. Although I think it's funny, I've ceased to be surprised by this. It seems that 75% of my friends know this house well, being friends with the previous owners, and many is the time I've heard, "Oh, you live in Dr. Joe's old house!? DAMN I was stoned there a lot!"

Other friends used to live in the downstairs rental before Ben and I bought the place.

And still more, I've bumped into random people in bars and places who have lived in my house. I am forever amused by these stories, but not surprised any more.

Well, okay, I'm a little surprised at Pamela's friend who more often than not lives in New York, and who occupied not just this house, but the upstairs which is historically the owner's unit.

Then her story continued:
"So I was in the upstairs double parlour one day," he reminisced, "watching this old 70s Charles Bronson flick called 'Hard Times'. Along comes a scene where Charlie is dropped off at Jill Ireland's house — which of course is the house I was living in — and I watched him approach the house, climb the stairs, and come into the parlor where I was watching his movie. Man, it freaked me out. I could almost hear him climbing the stairs as I was watching it."
Well this I gotta see, I said, and Netflix'ed a copy of 'Hard Times'.

Sho 'nuff, muthafuckin' Charlie Bronson comes struttin' up my stairs and knocks on the 'apartment' that is actually the door from my foyer into the double parlour, the latter being turned into the 30s equivalent of a studio apartment. (The film was set in the Depression.)

And I concurred with Pamela's friend. It was creepy to watch Charles Bronson climb your stairs 30 years ago and knock on the door to gain entrance into the room you're watching this happen in. It was a bit "When a Stranger Calls."

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