Authors: Midnight on Julia Street
|Midnight on Julia Street|
|Sourcebooks, Inc. (2011)|
Copyright © 1999, 2011 by Ciji Ware
Cover and internal design © 2011 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover design by Susan Zucker
Cover images © McCory James Photography LLC; ImageDJ/Jupiter Images
Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.
P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410
FAX: (630) 961-2168
Originally published in 1999 by Fawcett Gold Medal, The Ballantine Publishing Group, New York
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Midnight on Julia Street / by Ciji Ware.
1. Women journalists—Fiction. 2. Historic sites—Conservation and restoration—Fiction. 3. New Orleans (La.)—Fiction. I. Title.
This novel is dedicated to
the stalwart band of preservationists who stopped an
elevated six-lane expressway from being built along the
Vieux Carré riverfront in New Orleans, thereby saving
a National Historic Landmark from irreparable harm,
the late Margaret McCullough Clymer and
the late Adela Rogers St. Johns, who, together,
remind me very much of Great-Aunt Marge,
and finally, most gratefully to
the inestimable Dr. John Grenner, who believes
“The secret to life is telling the truth in real time.”
Author’s Note on the 2011 Edition
Midnight on Julia Street
was first published in 1999 and provides a snapshot of New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina smashed into the city on the morning of Monday, August 29, 2005.
Fortunately, the French Quarter and Garden District locales and buildings described in this novel miraculously survived the storm. Perhaps even more surprising, many of the political and societal issues threaded through the story remain the same, rendering the narrative as relevant, and hopefully, as intriguing today as when the novel was first published.
Having owned property in the fabled lower French Quarter on Ursulines Street between Bourbon and Dauphine, the survival of this most unique American city remains close to my heart, as do the legions of friends I’ve made there over the years.
I rededicate this story to them and to their courage, grace under pressure, and amazing ability to
laisser les bons temps rouler—
no matter what!
The trouble with weddings, Corlis McCullough concluded, was that the invited guests could never be sure if they were about to witness the beginning of a wonderful life or the end of everyone’s fond illusions—including the bride’s.
Corlis slammed the door of the news van and stared up at the venerable Saint Louis Cathedral, its three slate-clad spires silhouetted against the New Orleans night sky. Another day in the Big Easy. Another cream puff story. Another chance to blow her cool over the sorry state of television journalism. And a golden opportunity, after twelve years, to run into Kingsbury Duvallon.
For once in your life, McCullough, don’t shoot yourself in the foot!
She glanced quickly around the deserted plaza that fronted the large church. At this pre-dinner hour, Jackson Square was devoid of its usual street performers, chalk artists, and tarot card readers. In the center of the gated park, Old Hickory sat astride his bronze horse, keeping silent vigil over the mighty Mississippi pulsing along its banks two hundred yards distant. The river churned with paddle-wheel sightseeing boats, the Algiers ferry, and freighters riding low in the water as they plied their way toward the Gulf of Mexico, a hundred miles downstream.
That old, familiar feeling had begun to gnaw in the pit of Corlis’s stomach.
Candlelit nuptials. An evening wedding. How chic.
She’d started to hate weddings, and she especially hated attending
one. The situation that faced her this unseasonably sultry December evening was the one she’d been dreading from the moment she’d arrived from Los Angeles two months earlier to go to work at WWEZ-TV in the fabled Crescent City. However, there was no ducking this assignment.
With a sigh she advanced with her news crew across the expanse of stone paving toward the church’s arched entrance, neatly avoiding tripping over the scuffed boots of a wino who was apparently sleeping off the effects of letting the good times roll.
Within minutes Corlis, along with her cameraman and sound operator, was ensconced in the balcony that overlooked the historic structure’s vast interior. The seasoned reporter put her mind to the task of calculating the best way to cover this so-called Wedding of the Season—a marriage ceremony that would join two of New Orleans’s most prominent old-line families.