Local Observation / NO GO

By Christina Oxenberg

They say New Orleans is abrim with ghosts. I felt them everywhere and some are friendlier than others.
The day I moved into the genteel house in the French Quarter a housekeeper and a gardener offered to unpack my car. No, said I, Who knows how long I’ll stay? I took only a few items and bid them farewell for the evening.
That same night I was informed, “You’re not in Key West anymore,” my friend laughed, “It’s dangerous here. Don’t leave anything in your car!”
Laboriously, due to my feeble back, I transported my objects from the car to the house. One tee-shirt at a time and only immediately inside the front door. That’s all the strength I had. I carefully laid my possessions across the white marble hall table and the cherry red satin covered chairs.
Later that night, while I was in the kitchen where ghosts never stopped cavorting, I heard a thunderous crash. I did not want to go look. I already knew it was not good news and I was tired. Tired of news good or bad.
In the morning I had to inspect what could have made such a clatter only to discover the ceiling above the front door was on the floor. Specifically it was atop all of my stuff. One slice of plaster had tomahawked its way into the wall millimeters from a gouache, stuck in at an angle; it would have as neatly cut off a head.
After the housekeeper and the gardener dusted off my things and moved them out of the way and cleared the front hall and invited workmen to stare at the hole in the ceiling I realized the delicate red satin chairs and the marble table had been protected by my belongings. Plaster dribbled like light rain and entering and exiting by the front door was now Russian roulette.
I’m not afraid of ghosts but I was outnumbered and then I was swept out with the trash.