In 1925 New Orleans, it was called Orleans Alley, more a broad walkway from Chartres Street and Jackson Square to Royal Street. On the east side of the alley was St. Louis Cathderal. On the west side was the Cabildo and then a group of three-story townhouses built on what had been part of the Cabildo’s jail yard. The Cabildo was the government building from which the Spanish (1767-1803) administered the territory of Louisiana (what would later be known as the Louisiana Purchase).
Today, it walkway is known as Pirate’s Alley, renamed not because pirates haunted the area but more because this was the place where pirates, including Jean Lafitte, were often jailed (Cabildo tours include the jail area, but it’s much changed from the original).
It was in one of those townhouses, 624 Pirates Alley, that a young writer from Mississippi lived for six months in 1925. He lived in the first-floor apartment; upstairs was an artist named William Spratling who did work for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The writer lived there only six months, but it was sufficient to launch his literary career.
The writer was William Faulkner; during those six months of 1925, he wrote character sketches for the Times-Picayune; likely some poetry; and the draft of his first novel, Soldier’s Pay.
To Continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
Photograph: Interior of Faulkner House Books, New Orleans.