Friday, December 30, 2011

Dumb shit tourists say....

Quarter Rats are stuck in a dysfunctional relationship. They have to put up with abuse and bullshit to survive. We in the Quarter must tolerate and amuse the ten million or so tourists every year. Tourists are the life giving blood to the French Quarter, and also the most intolerable part of living here.  It doesn't take long of living in the Quarter before you stop seeing them, or even noticing their presence. Like not seeing the flies when you work in a barn until you find one swimming in your cup of coffee.

The other day while walking to work along my usual route of Royal Street on a beautiful morning, one scolded me. I was looking down at my cell phone to see if my employer had called yet to ask where in the hell am I with the keys to the apartment that we were painting, when I heard a shrill annoying voice bark in exasperation "That idiot in the white ruined my shot." Hm, what a coincidence, I'm wearing white I thought.  I half turned to my left to see some chubby housewife from the midwest holding a camera in one hand and a Bloody Mary in the other giving me the stink eye while facing a building that I just walked by.  Fuck you bitch, people live here I mumbled.

Once while having a smoke break on a bench in front of the Upper Pontalba, a tourist stopped, pointed a camera directly at me and snapped a photo. They then walked away without so much as a thank you. How rude I thought. What if I hung out in the parking lot of where you worked and snapped your picture as you were getting out of your car to go inside to work. You probably would find it a little creepy and tell me to go fuck myself.

Today Jackson Square was mobbed. As I tried to carry buckets of paint and ladders from one apartment to another, I had to walk at a snail's pace behind thick packs of tourists. Groups that all of a sudden stop dead in front of you, or park in front of a window blathering about how expensive everything is. Forcing everyone else to walk an additional ten feet around them, only to be obstructed by someone's brat chasing pigeons with a balloon animal.  Daily.  You deal with it, it's part of life here.

On the corner of St Peter and Chartres I passed a loud group of four discussing lunch plans. I couldn't help but to over hear yet another irritating woman with a drink in her hand and a voice that caused dogs to bark. "WHAT do the locals eat?" she loudly questioned. I wanted to retort "Hot dogs and Ramen noodles." I know I would have been met with the look that I have witnessed tens of thousands of times in my life, people sneering at me like I AM the idiot because they failed to grasp my humor. I shuddered at her voice and continued on my way fantasizing about smacking her in the face with  a paint brush still wet with the color "Urban Putty."

 WHERE do the locals eat? would have been a more appropriate question. If the four of you hadn't seemed like total dickwads, I might have taken the time to point you towards a few places where you would have found great food at very reasonable prices by the French Quarter standard. Real Cajun food prepared by real Cajuns while sitting next to locals who might have bought you drinks if they liked you. I kept quiet, I wouldn't do that to my neighbors. You probably would have responded "Coop's Place? I neva heard of it! Where's Bubba Gumps?"  Go. That's all you deserve anyway.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Home Video

Eric, would you post some random pics of your block someday? Every block is cool, and I'd love to see yours.

Ok, Brooks, here is my little corner of the world...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Alaskan Barge Trash

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog of late night ramblings about my life here in the French Quarter. I wouldn't be so presumptuous to think it's about me, it's all about the Quarter. Those who live here, those who have visited know that there is something different about this place from the rest of the Earth. Native Americans camped here hundreds of years ago, Europeans fought over it, tourists make pilgrimages here and a few lucky people can call it home. 

"Something about NOLA completely changed my outlook on life.
Can’t say specifically, but it was profound."  

I am able to check the statistics of web traffic to this blog, and it amazes me. Regular visitors from around the world. Some I have the privilege to actually get to know via Facebook and E-mails. A really cool couple from Australia are regular readers and FB friends, a former resident of my apartment building keeps track of the old neighborhood now that he's up in Canada.  I see by the stats that this blog receives regular visits from folks in Russia, Israel, Germany and the United Kingdom. 

These writings are in no way sponsored by the tourism board, I don't sugar coat the French Quarter. I'll do my best to write about the incredible energy and beauty of this city but at the same time tell the truth about dodging gun fire on Bourbon Street, constant harassment for a spare cigarettes or change and the overwhelming stench sometimes of human excrement, urine and vomit. If you want a white washed version of the French Quarter, visit Disneyworld. If you want to walk on streets that still have traces of pirate DNA in the gutters, we are the real deal.

I just received an E mail from a Quarter Rat fan in Alaska:

You have a totally awesome blog and l look forward to reading it while I’m here at work. I was in NOLA for several days around Halloween and was fortunate to pick up a Quarter Rat at d.b.a. It’s one of the best souvenirs of my trip. I am missing NOLA badly. I want to go back.  Something about NOLA completely changed my outlook on life. Can’t say specifically, but it was profound.  

Totally understand about being away from your family during Christmas. It sucks major. I am currently working on a boat in Alaska this Christmas, and before you ask I have to say, “NO! It’s not like the fucking ‘Deadliest Catch’. There are other maritime related industries up here that have little to do with those meth-addled drama queens!”  Besides, we mainly stick to sniffing paint thinner.

Anyway, here’s a photo of a few of the tugboats in our fleet. I took this several days ago and since it kind of looks Christmas-ey and all that shit, I thought it was kind of cool. And anyways, since most people rarely associate tugboats with Christmas, why the fuck not?

Sincerely and Merry Christmas,
Alaskan Barge Trash

To sum up my response to his correspondence "There's plenty of tugboat action on the Mississippi River."  Read some Mark Twain up there in Alaska, you'll walk down here if you have to. This city only invites or keeps those people who "Get it." Thousands of tourists every week say "Oh, I want to live here." Very few ever do, or deserve to. You sound like you get it.

The "BIG EASY" got it's knickname from the "big easy bend" in the river given to it by riverboat pilots.  Over the years it's just adopted that as a philosophy.  My friend Darren from the bench in front of the Pontalba on the square says "The reason they call New Orleans the Big Easy is because it's so easy to live here. Ya got a smoke?"  Either version of how New Orleans received it's title is correct.

Stories have been written about tugboat men in New Orleans.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas In The Quarter

Issue #25 was released yesterday, not so much released as it escaped. Again we at the Quarter Rat tried to keep in mind what our readers really want. Breasts. Since our Halloween distribution was much appreciated by all of our fans on Bourbon Street in October, we repeated the festivities with a Christmas theme.  Young healthy breasts adorned with paintings of holly and Christmas lights, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, candy canes and a Menorah. All painted by the talented artist Lady Erotos.

Our buddy Xhan again unselfishly volunteered his time and pedi-car to assist the magazine in distribution.  The girls were great, well organized and filled with the holiday spirit, our four angels filed into just about every door on Bourbon Street and lower Decatur with the precision of a SWAT team. Every bar, swanky hotel and five star eatery was brought to a dumbfounded standstill as four topless girls wearing Santa hats entered and dropped dozens of copies on every flat surface.  Now and then some much appreciative patrons would buy them shots.

My favorite moment was when a Fire truck came to a complete stop on Bourbon as a half a dozen grinning NOFD heroes reached out for their copies.  Later on when we discovered Frenchman Street was dead and we decided it wasn't worth the additional time to traverse it, so the girls made a point to go into the fire house on Esplanade and say hello to the much appreciative firemen. I am sure today they are still talking about the visit from the elves. The Quarter Rat salutes you guys. 

 There were only a few who didn't seem too impressed. One of the cheezy gift shops on Bourbon Street had the store owner in the doorway watching our yuletide procession stroll by. The store owner appeared to be of a middle eastern origin. He stood scowling and looking like he had a humbug up his ass. I mean this dude looked pissed. Well if this kind of thing offends your religious sensibilities then perhaps A) You shouldn't have a store front on BOURBON STREET, B) If naked women offend you, then STOP STARING AT THEIR TITS.  I half expected him to start yelling "INFIDELS!!!"  and hurl rocks. I thought perhaps he just isn't familiar with our religious customs. It might be my duty to extend an understanding hand of friendship. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men as it were. I handed him a copy of our magazine just as a blond with a Menorah painted on her breasts walked by and waved to him. I explained "We are celebrating the birth of our Messiah, Merry Christmas."  As I walked away, he hurled a paving stone at me.

The other "negative review" of the night was when I spotted three Asian kids walking by and I went to hand them a copy. I figure "They're Asian, they love cartoons." The one kid got real snotty and snapped "What do I want that fuckin thing for?" and they walked away. I guess he thought I was one of the numerous evangelical Christians that frequent  Bourbon Street handing out "Why you need Jesus" tracts.  I laughed and yelled "ANIME SUCKS!" Three blocks later the same group was milling about and spotted our hotties handing out something. The grinning boys approached one of our ladies. As she started to hand him a copy, I pulled her arm back and snarled at the boy "He doesn't get one..." Profanities were yelled at my back as I and the elf strolled down Bourbon. I half turned and yelled "Go home and watch Speed Racer!" I should work for the U.N.

My personal highlight was when I ran into a former roomate that I hadn't seen in months. Neither one of us could remember the other's name so we called each other "DUDE." We chatted about what we were doing in life. As I started to tell him about my exciting life as a house painter, he became distracted. He was looking over my my shoulder with bulging eyes and a stupid grin as he interrupted me "Dude, look at what's coming..." I glanced behind me to see our posse of beauties skipping towards us waving copies of the Rat. I causally responded "Hmm? Oh yea, they're with me." He sneered "Uh yeaaaaa, Riiiiiight. You wiiiiiish!" As they got closer, one came up and hooked her arm into mine and held up an unlit cigarette "Styles, baby, do you have a light?" "Of course I do, anything for you dollface."  I accommodated her and clicked my Zippo close turning to my buddy "Excuse me, I have to go back to work now. Have a good holiday dude...."  "Uhm, yea, uh, you too Styles."

The artwork was created by local artist Lady Erotos. She has a little business venture going of selling and painting ad space on breasts. Remember, this is the French Quarter. Her husband Domino helps her in her upstart company. What a gracious hubby. Domino joins us on these excursions just to provide an extra bit of security. Xhan, Otis, Domino and myself keep an eye on the girls at all times. Stupid shit can happen on Bourbon Street faster than a stripper can grab a buck. I turned to see Domino chuckling to himself. "What did we miss?" I asked. He told about across the street there was a man guiding a blind kid down the sidewalk through the crowd. Evidently the man who was doing the guiding got distracted by our delivery girls. The guide, not paying attention walked the blind person straight into an iron balcony post. Straight on, middle of the forehead shot. The blind guy hit the cast iron so hard, folks on the balcony looked down to see what caused the shaking.  How do you explain to a blind guy with a concussion "I was staring at boobies with candy canes painted on them...."

We finished our delivery route back on Bourbon Street with out any arrests, dramas or major incidents. Rudolph was hanging onto my arm, apparently one too many free shots and she looked cold. I could tell because Rudolph by this point had pierced ears.  For those of you who don't live in New Orleans, this has been a very violent and deadly year. A lot of murders and shootings, a number of high profile shootings on Bourbon Street in the past few months. Several dead, many injured by stray bullets.  All Quarter Rats are jumpy and nervous from the constant tension of possible gunfire at any given moment. Suddenly from behind us I hear one of our girls yell "YOU MUTHAFUCKA....."

I spun around to see what was going down in time to see a black kid about sixteen or seventeen years old running at full speed. About the time he was a few feet away from me, a handful of a dozen or so magazines flew into the back of his head exploding into the crowd. As he ran at full speed, one of our slightly inebriated girls was hot on his heels waving a fist and threatening deadly violence against him and his testicles.  Before I could grasp what was transpiring, Domino flew past chasing after the girl. As I was trying to decide if I might be needed or not in this unfolding drama four other kids who were evidently friends of the first one ran past following after Domino, who was chasing the girl who was chasing the first kid.

I could see this turning very ugly very fast. By this point of the evening I had feelings towards these girls like they were my daughters, so I joined in the chase. It defied common sense, but then again this is the Quarter and most daily activities defy common sense.  So here are the eight of us at full sprint charging down Bourbon Street weaving in and out of surprised tourists watching a topless chick with pig tails and a school girl skirt screaming like a banshee after a 16 year old, being followed by a four other teens and two hipsters. Otis comes sprinting up next to me "How many?" "At least five." "What happened?" "Fucked if I know..."

At any moment I half expected to see one or more of the group pull a piece and start emptying a clip in our direction. Otis accelerates away from me catching up to the group of four a block away. I start to  realize that I am no longer even in this race when my chest starts to feel like it's being cut open with a chainsaw. I notice a crowd gather around me as I kneel on Bourbon clutching my heart ready to vomit. I hear someone in the crowd mention 911. I pull myself up and jog back to the other girls to make sure they are ok.  I try to listen above the noise of bad Zydeco music and my pounding heart for the sound of gun fire. I didn't hear any.

Back at the starting line Rudolph was a little pissed that I had left her, but Lady Erotos and the other two girls were near by. Catching my breath and swallowing back the bile of my near coronary, I see our troops jogging back all accounted for. The panting girl in pig tails stands in the middle of Bourbon Street pointing to the crowd in a spinning motion. "If any of you other Muthafuckas try to grab my tits, I'LL CUT YOUR DICKS OFF!"

I spent my last three bucks on Cherry Bombs at the Dungeon and walked home, and to all, a goodnight.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lived to see another one..

I posted this melancholy Christmas song last year on my other blog. It was a very low time for me. Missing my daughter, unemployed, hungry and on the verge of being homeless it was a bleak holiday season to say the least.  Well, I stuck it out for my kid's sake in spite of my desire to to cash in my chips off the bridge into the Mississippi.  Glad I did.

A year later, my rent is paid, my belly is full and artistically I am making money at what I love. I'm living in paradise. When I use that term, keep in mind homeless guys crap on my doorstep, gang members murder each other a block from my apartment and I think a rodent stole my Zippo lighter last night. Still I wouldn't want to live anyplace else on Earth. 

I still miss my only child to the point of tears. Especially this time of year. As much as I love New Orleans, I will say that New York City does Christmas just a little bit bigger. So a year later, I'll repost this video, and this year it carries a whole different tune for me. I hope you enjoy.

Issue 25

Coming soon to the top of a cigarette machine near you!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dancing Police horse

I love sharing these kind of YOUTUBE videos with my daughter back in New Jersey.  "Yea, this video was made about 5 blocks from my apartment."

Friday, December 16, 2011

A page from history

The blog posts about the Pontalba Apartments has gotten some great responses. One came from a reader in New York City who shared with me his memories of the building as a child. Here is a photo taken of the reader's parent's wedding reception held in apartment 502B in 1945.

My great aunt lived in a corner Pontalba apartment overlooking Decatur and St. Peter from the late 1920s until the late 1960s. I still have dreams about the interior stairway from the street to the second floor. When I was a kid, something about those wide, curving stairs, the shadows, the smell of the old building — were magic to me.

Since 1970 I've lived in NYC,  Lately, I've been missing NOLA, and thinking about moving home. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What da hell did I do last night?

Otis my editor called last night to meet him over at Molly's to to see the rough draft of December's issue. Some really cool stuff in this issue. A few beers, a shot or two then I went home. Found a half a pint of Seagram's Extra Dry Gin that Cornell had given me. Dry gin and "Rip-it" energy drinks as a mixer can lead to confusion and black outs. I highly recomend them. I went out for something, probably smokes or poppers, I can't remember exactly. Anyways, I woke up this morning and found this in my apartment.

It's a gold painted mannequin torso with plastic "googly-eyes" glued to the breasts. I don't actually recall how it came into my possession, however it will make a nice display for a Mardi Gras bead collection. Boobs that stare back at you. I'm not sure where I got it. Judging by my wallet, it appears that I didn't pay some exorbitant price for it. I might have found it or... If anyone reading this has recently had a gold painted mannequin torso with plastic "googly-eyes" glued to the breasts stolen, I caught the guy who ripped you off and wrestled him to the ground, beat him to a pulp and retrieved your property. He won't be doing that again, I promise. No need to thank me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Right place, right time...

One of my Mother's favorite expressions was "Always a day late and a dollar short." Perhaps I am the one to finally break that family curse by moving here to New Orleans.  I feel like a child who has traveled across the country to find his birth mother, a feeling of being where I belong. For those of you who follow my blog postings (at least 4 or 5 of you) you know for almost two years now I have been boasting, raving and romantically drooling about this city like some sort of travel agent trying to meet a quota. Well, it looks like I am not the only one to do so.

Market Watch with the Wall Street Journal has placed NOLA in the top third. Once ranking very low on their business friendly survey, now it's considered one of the best.  When I first moved down here in March of 2010, the only day labor that I could immediately find was back breaking digging in the hard clay soil of St Bernard Parish. (March 2010) I was hired to work on a strip mall that was finally being renovated after being damaged by Hurricane Katrina. As I took a smoke break in the back of the building looking at a large boat resting on it's side in a vacant lot, I pondered the irony.

Five years earlier New Orleans would have been the last place I or anyone else looking to improve one's opportunities would have dreamed of moving to.  My economic position back in New Jersey was one of erosion, every year earning less and paying more.  Fewer opportunities, more competition for what little was available. Now down here, I have to ask for time off from my day job as a house painter to tend to my part time job as a graphic artist while turning down a few freelance gigs just for the lack of time. 

I remember watching the news during and after the storm, feeling the way rest of our nation did. Hearts heavy with sadness, grief and compassion for what many may have silently considered a lost American city.  Now six years later, many major American cities may be looking down here with envy. A strong economy, lower than national average unemployment and an increasing personal income growth for it's residents. It's the people, strong and resilient, determined to not only just to bounce back but surpass any expectations of them. Perhaps that's why I find New Orleans so inspiring.

A Facebook friend posted the article from the Wall Street Journal's web site with the photo of the Pontalba Apartments accompanying the article. I immediately exclaimed "That's where I work!" And it's where I belong, thank you New Orleans.

(BTW, I didn't even see a New Jersey city mentioned on the top 100 list)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Some more pics

Here are some more photos from some work that I did at the Pontalba. I spent way too much time on this medallion on the ceiling in the living room. More than one usually does on a rental property, but I enjoyed it.

We were the painting crew that started painting the medallion the wall color, property management liked it and decided all of the rooms should have that. Now they insist the other crews do it too. So of course I have to one up them with this. By the end of the day my neck was killing me and my vision blurry from drops of oil paint. I felt like Michelangelo. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A change of pace

 I have been writing about working at the Pontalba on Jackson Square for a while now. I'll admit that I needed a change. This week I am working as a house painter out in the Marigny on a house on North Rampart. A little bit more of a walk in the morning, about 20 minutes instead of 3 minutes to the Square. I love the walk and change of scenery. Some really beautiful homes on North Rampart and in the Marigny. What has made it really fun is that I am working with my buddy Cornell. I first met Cornell over on Jefferson Davis Parkway when I lived there a few months ago. A fellow house painter who lived upstairs from me, it was impossible not to like him.

A native of New Orleans, he is what you would expect from the best of the Crescent City, positive, hard working and fun. We struck it off immediately sitting on a stoop over looking JD parkway, talking about house painting and making each other laugh. After I introduced him to my employer Robert who might need extra help painting, I asked Robert "Did you like Cornell?" "How could you not?" he replied with a grin. Cornell is one of the few people I envy, he can approach almost anyone and win them over with a simple comment.

Cornell got me some work with another painting crew when I needed it earlier this year, so I was happy to bring him in on our crew when we needed reliable help with experience. One trouble Robert keeps running into down here is he will hire someone to do a job, and they never show up.  We brought in one laborer who showed up to work, asked me where the bathroom was and never returned. I think he used the job as an excuse to have someone drop him off in the Quarter to go score some rock.  Cornell thanked me for the work coming his way, I told him "I only got you the first days work, any after that you got on your own." Robert wouldn't have had him back if the man didn't do a good job.

When we left the job site, we faced a long walk down Rampart back to the Quarter. Cornell was catching a bus back to Mid City. We decided that a pint bottle of Gin might take the chill out of the walk, It did. A fun walk, great conversation and we had the bottle killed by the time we hit Armstrong Park. I vaguely remember my walk down Toulouse, and I am blaming all Facebook postings that night on Hackers. Working with Cornell is a lot of fun.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Down in the Marigny...

My coworker Cornell and I knocked out three rooms today of a cottage in the Marigny, and during our smoke breaks on the front stoop we watched the shooting of TREME across the street on Elysian Fields. I thought about my friend Janet in Allentown Pa. who is a fan of the show. She would probably think it was awesome to watch the filming of the HBO show. After a while down here having worked in the industry and seeing film crews busy everyday, a production across the street is just like seeing a Lucky Dog cart. You don't even notice them anymore.

Robert is going after acting roles like a  Pitbull after bacon. I stopped doing the "acting" thing just because it's not my goal in life. I think for all involved, it's best I remain behind the camera. However Robert sent me a casting notice for a 50 something, balding "creepy cashier." He thinks I'm a shoe in. I might audition.

Don't call me a republican...

I've just awoken from a Gin coma to find this message from a good friend back in Jersey:

Good morning . Need your help. Do you by any chance have a copy of H.S.T. 's Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ? I've been researching quotes of his for hours & can't find his description of Hubert H. Humphrey . It's an awesome piece of writing that i believe also accurately describes Newt Gingrich.
Now I'm aware you're an avid republican , something I will never comprehend , but to each his own. Actually you're one of the poorest republicans i have ever known. Not many poor republicans around. Most of my republican friends have boo koo bucks & I understand their point of view. Don't like it , but I understand it. A poor republican i will never understand. What ever you're smoking , I want some. .. 

 Yes I have a tattered and stained copy somewhere in a storage garage back in Jersey. Sorry I can't help you with more than this...
"There is no way to grasp what a shallow, contemptible and hopelessly dishonest old hack Hubert Humphrey is until you've followed him around for a while." HST

To address your confusion over my neo-con views going hand in hand with my destitute poverty, let me clarify. If I were to turn to the Democrats to assist me in my financial morass, I would be condemning my self to a life of slavery. Caught up in an addiction to the government teet, forever seeking more and more hand outs and assistance. I would have given up on believing in myself, sucked into the mindset of that I was an absolute failure and incapable of ever succeeding on my own. I would become a hater of humanity, thinking that others got a bigger slice of the American dream than I. No, I will be a success on my own with out any bail outs, grants, funding or crumbs from the table of manipulative politician who play me for my vote by convincing me that I am some sort of victim of capitalism.

Greed is good. Without it we all would still be living as serfs in some sort of dark age commune. Greed has given us great technologies, modern medicine, mindless distractions and a military industrial complex that tells the world "Keep your hands off of our shit." I may never be wealthy, but at least I know that I have a chance to be. That is the only thing that keeps me going day after day. If all I had to look forward to everyday was the next Government check or food stamp card in my mailbox, I would have no reason to keep going.

It may never happen, that phone call from someone with my big break. I have talent and dreams, now I just need to find some greedy capitalist who sees an opportunity to make bigger bucks off of my abilities.  The far left hate freedom with a passion. They want to tell us all what to eat, what to wear,  how much we can earn, who we must love and to hate those who disagree with them.

Republicans aren't much better. So I never refer to myself as one. I do believe in the philosophy of less Government, less taxes and fewer laws. Let each individual state put issues up for a vote to it's own citizens. Legalize marijuana? If enough residents vote yes, than that state gets the revenue and baggage that goes along with it. Gay marriage? Same thing, that state gets the revenue and talents of the highest income earners. Those who don't like it can move to another state that doesn't recognize the marriage or legal pot smoking. Freedom to choose, freedom to change.

"Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads?" 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ya ain't goin to believe dis...

Ya ain't goin to believe dis... but the other night me, Otis and Richard were standing out front bullshitting.  Richard from the internet cafe was explaining to us how he could put Wi Fi on the moon or something when this dude in a red shirt goes running down Toulouse at full speed. Looked like he had a towel in his pocket so he was service industry. I mean he was booking. Otis yells "YA A-IGHT?!"  Yea is heard as he disappears to the left on Royal.  We immediately looked towards Bourbon to see who or whom or what may be chasing the guy.  If it's dudes with weapons, I'll be going inside now "Good night."

We go back to talking. Less than a minute later, two horse mounted cops come galloping in the same direction. Two mounted cops with hooves making sparks on the pavement is not anything I would want on my ass.  I turned to Otis and boast "Come on, where else in the world do you see that in your front yard."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A peek inside

I recently brought some friends up to tour the unit at the Pontalba Apartments that Robert and I have been working on for a number of weeks now. When the guests entered the first word was "WOW." One visitor said she couldn't believe that such large luxurious apartments were available in the French Quarter. Two large bedrooms with original marble fireplaces, open up to a third floor balcony overlooking the very center of Jackson Square. The statue is directly in front of this center unit. Out of the half dozen or so remodelings that we have done, this one by far has the nicest view of the Square and St Louis Cathedral.

Not to come across as some sort of real estate broker, but this place is beautiful. Wood floors, twelve foot high ceilings with plaster medallions crowning the center.  Ten foot high doors open up into each room, as well as each closet.  The windows to the balcony have folding pocket shutters that still function despite the many layers of paint over the years. The ten foot high window can be closed off if you are shy about getting dressed in front of General Jackson. Everything about the apartment is grand.

Out of all of the units we had worked on, this particular one has needed the most attention. A portion of the plaster ceiling in the living room was in the process of collapse, as well as a lot of surface plaster work needed on the walls. Apparently the previous tenets had lived there for many years and were "hoarders." Having some personal experience with hoarders, I can tell you that by their very nature they are secretive and isolated. Most compulsive disorders can somewhat be hidden from the world. Not so with hoarding. Consequently, when routine repairs or maintenance was needed to the unit, property management was never notified in order to keep the clutter a secret.

I can't imagine being a pack rat while living in a third floor apartment. The tenets had installed multiple shelving units through out the apartment. The first couple days of prep work involved just removing the shelves and repairing the walls from the brackets holding them up. 

If you were a property owner in suburbia who tried to maintain a presentable home, having a hoarder next door with a yard filled with debris would be at best a nuisance. You might think that hoarding in an apartment setting it wouldn't affect the neighbors, but it can.  I have spent the better part of six months in this building and the only signs of rodent or insect infestation has been in this unit. The pest problem has been taken care of. One of the hazards of compulsive hoarding is that it provides a perfect enviroment for pests. Ample hiding spots and often ample food supplies.

The property management people discouraged me from posting "before photos" of this unit, I guess they didn't want the photos to be taken out of context and give the wrong impression of the building over all. Everyone involved with the Pontalba takes a great deal of pride in the preservation of the building, it's not just real estate, it's history.

I'll be posting more photos of the apartment as each room becomes completed.