The sugar man was an inspiration. In his mid-80s he would walk on the steeply slanted roof of his huge house on Prytania Street to fix stuff.
He and his wife lived next door to me in Uptown New Orleans. They were both skinny and kind.
Since this was the late 1970s, they would have been born in the mid-1890s, the Victorian Age. I moved from Prytania to Canal Street in 1980, and I never saw them again, but I still had his car, a 1965 Cadillac Coup de Ville.
Though he would walk on a steep, high roof, he had reached the point where driving was unwise, or perhaps the police had told him so. He offered me his car for $500. It had some rust spots, but it was in fair shape, so I bought it.
The old couple had spent their working lives in the Caribbean. The man was a retired sugar engineer, the only sugar engineer I’ve ever known or even heard of. He oversaw sugar plantations, I imagine. I never got the details.
They were good people, and he climbed on roofs. I rode the Cadillac for less than two years because serious engine problems developed, more serious than I could afford. I sold it to a mechanic. He knew what he was getting. I did not lie.
The sugar engineer and his wife are long gone now, and so is the Cadillac, which I enjoyed while it lasted. I wonder if I will be walking high, slanted roofs in 20 years. I kind of doubt it. The Hacienda roof is pretty darn flat.