Losing Inge

I knew something was up when I saw the old boxes out on the curb one night.  Inge didn't normally throw anything out that wasn't in her garbage bin.  I looked inside one of the boxes.  In the dim streetlight glare, I could see it was full of old negatives and photos.  Beautiful black and white shots from Mardi Gras 1961.  Photos from a trip to the beach in the 1970s.  Something was definitely wrong.

Sure enough, the next day, a voice called to me through the screen porch as I returned home.  "I'm very sad, Brad."  The lady who is just about to turn 95, the lady who began renting downstairs in 1956, the Jewish lady who fled Nazi Germany, the lady whose family died in the Holocaust was effectively getting kicked out of her home.

The landlord is apparently looking to renovate Inge's apartment in order to get a higher rent.  And Inge can't afford the increase on her limited income.  It's really a shame.

New Orleans, really, has always seemed to radiate out from Inge as she sits in her plant-filled sun porch.  "It's where I live," she said as she told me the bad news, shaking her head, gesturing at the Norfolk pine and the palm trees.  Since the moment she first floated out of her porch in her nightgown, watering can in hand, when I came to view the apartment, she's been the anchor of the neighborhood - always quick to note new developments and the comings and goings of the residents.

But she says there's no time to be sentimental.  She's not going to a home.  She's transitioning to a smaller efficiency apartment down on St. Charles over the course of the next month - "so I can hop right on the streetcar."  We've been helping her move boxes and clean out her garage.

She's a remarkable lady.  And we're going to miss her.