This morning I noticed an old white guy standing across the street. He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there looking at the house across the street from ours. I remembered seeing him there yesterday morning too.
When I carried my bike down to the street, I said hi and we talked for a while. He said he was the owner of the house across the street. I had thought John Payne was the owner, since he’s the one I’ve seen tending to the place over years. Now I learned that John managed the property for this guy. He was waiting for him now, as they worked to renovate the house.
“And if he doesn’t show up in a few minutes, he’s gonna get my foot up his ass,” the old man joked.
He also told me about how he used to live in the neighborhood, and all the crazy people who used to live on the block, and how it “used to be a nice neighborhood.” He told me about growing up in the Irish Channel. He said I couldn’t have entered that neighborhood back then, because there was a gang of kids that routinely beat up any strangers. And he was one of the gang.
I told him my wife had planted the garden in front of his property. He said thanks, and “do I owe you anything?”
We talked a little more. He’s 89 years old and living in Metairie. His name is Roy Bodenheimer.
“You may have heard of my son,” he said. “He’s in jail.”
“What? Oh, you mean the judge? Ronald Bodenheimer is your son?”
“That’s him. He helped Copeland and Marcotte and they put him away for a few years. He told me, ‘Daddy, I done wrong.’ He’s served his time, and he’s almost out now.”
We said goodbye and I rode off to work. Jefferson yesterday, Bodenheimer today. What corrupt local political figure will I meet tomorrow?