Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Orleans 9.7.1987: Fireworks Displays and River Breezes

On the Fourth, we sat on Don’s upstairs balcony in Bywater and watched the city fireworks display—or what we could see of it, which wasn’t a lot. The balcony is well-appointed with tastefully displayed plants and wicker furniture with comfortable flowered cushions. In the background, Don had on the soundtrack from the movie “The Mission”—that heavenly chorus of Indian children and the eerie native instruments.

There was a wonderful breeze from the river. (This is the coolest summer I ever recall in New Orleans, though some of this may have to do with my illness.) The talk was pleasant if banal. All was enchanting.

Yet I felt curiously detached, curiously alienated, as if looking onto a vista of gay culture that repulses me, because it is so sybaritic and so preoccupied with aesthetic details, with having just the right fabric, with saying just the right mot juste. When we went to our house for watermelon after the fireworks display, that feeling deepened.

Don and Landrum had not seen Steve’s latest renovations. Though both made polite noises about what he had accomplished and about the furnishings we’d picked up here and there, I had the distinct impression that they were straining to be polite about what actually strikes them as tacky in comparison to their own houses and furnishings. And so the evening ended.

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