Thursday, November 5, 2009
Le Bon Temps
Across the street from the cafe where I'm working these days there's a red brick building, nonremarkable, identical to the buildings that flank it except for the large wooden sign hanging above the door that reads 'Le Bon Temps'. In the four months I've been here I've wondered in idle moments exactly what bon temps they're talking about, since the building's been shuttered and abandoned ever since I've known it.
Today, for the first time, Le Bon Temps opened its doors. Starting this morning and into the dark, rainy afternoon, a crew of demolition guys have been steadily carting debris and wooden planks into a dumpster outside. The room was a jumble of stuff at first, but as they worked they uncovered some of the original fixtures. The sweeping staircase, milk-white columns and huge picture windows are so out of character for Philadelphia architecture and so surprising to find in such a long-abandoned building that I had to take a picture.
Looking at the inside of Le Bon Temps, you start to get the picture that someone really did have good times there. What could this building have been? It looks like an old speakeasy, or ballroom, or hidey hole for vampires.