Whirling Dinner in New Orleans

Monday 10th February 2020

I was whirled to the heart of America, or one of its hearts. At 6.30 it was time to go round to Lanard and Santon’s home, a block or two away. The drawing room is at the side – ancestral oils, rich landscape oils, gilding, panelling, swags, silver, glass, silks, fringing, ormolu. I’ve never seen a private home more sumptuous and elegant. Every vista perfection and that was just the drawing room – or one of them possibly. In fact a Stately would never be so perfect. Other distant rooms I could sense or even glimpse. I thought Santon would enter from one direction but he didn’t. He appeared from another, not feeling well. The nibbles were in silver dishes on a silver tray, with the glasses. Sally Xenarkis Drew was already there. Her son had found her other son’s condoms that morning. His idea was to get them out of their packet and consider their size which he did and the two of them had been amused. Maybe they were huge. This was the cue for Georgia Raymond Barber to arrive. ‘I’m an alcoholic,’ she assured me straight away. But her adventure crossing the border from Saudi to Dubai was something else. It was a cold remedy she’d been given whose impact mimicked intoxication – which wouldn’t do at all to get into the teetotal state. The driver was frantic and somehow agitated her into uprightness in the nick of time. Georgia Raymond Barber looked like a Peruvian Gold Mine heiress – black, black hair, swept up, oval, oval face, black, black eyes. She could have been a Goya or an El Greco. Her dress was tiny, sequinned and by Ramy Brook. Her husband had said she wasn’t to wear such a short frock at her age. But he was in Houston. We got into Lanard’s car and drove to a restaurant. Santon didn’t come because under the weather. We passed a tremendous-looking institution where they’d all been at school. It seemed to be a girls’ school. But with Lanard and someone called Tommy whose teeth were outstanding but otherwise had been uncooperative as far as intimacy was concerned. Lately he’d been seen in one of the other Southern states where he was a big shot. Restaurant freezing cold as usual. Rich older ladies on diets dining in their little nippy fashion anoraks. A woman arrives from New York, direct off the flight, and joins our party. She had only two names, rather that the standard three. But I can’t remember what they were. I think it was Sally who knew her or knew of her. Anyway it was a terrific whoosh round the round table and more vodka cocktails. ‘Is that dress Ramy Brook?’ New York lady fires across the table. ‘I know her!’ Georgia thrilled but also with gunned-down air. Now they’re talking simultaneously about Tommy and how the New York greatness has got her Golden Globe in her walk-on. There’d been trouble about it at the airport. But who could argue with a Golden Globe?  It was too late for me to get the remotest grasp. There was a project. The project had been mentioned, either at Lanard and Santon’s or in the car. That was why the New York woman was to be in a hotel in New Orleans. It was the whole foundation. And her Golden Globe. I seemed to have heard of that. It wasn’t a surprise. She wasn’t an actress though.  In any case she’d seen to it Tommy shaped up in some other part of Louisiana. How did she even know him? She wasn’t at that school for certain. Or maybe she was but her project and her Golden Globe had swept everything else out of the way. But really, she said, she thought it was about time. This announcement unleashed general derangement. Ramy Brook herself came on the New York lady’s WhatsApp; Georgia Raymond Barber was put in a corner and photographed in her Ramy Brook dress. ‘She looks great,’ Ramy Brook herself WhatsApp-ed back. Everybody was great. Everything was great. Another parfait for dessert. By then the restaurant attendance had evaporated. It was way past 9. Only a handful remained to witness the final revelation of the Globe when the walk-on was brought out from the cloakroom.

The Golden Globe

The Golden Globe

The Golden Globe Held by the Maitre d'

The Golden Globe Held by the Maitre d’

Posted Monday, February 10, 2020 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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