Emmanuel’s funeral service was held in the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, off Jackson Square where we’d sung Christmas carols back in December. The Thibodeaux family had attended services at the cathedral since it was built, and according to Noel the family had even helped to pay for it to be rebuilt after the original structure burned in the late 1700s.
I had never been inside before. When walking in Jackson Square I had wandered the grounds a bit, which were beautiful and green, but I was never fond of churches. If you love art you need to understand something about religion, as so much art was created for the church and its officials, but no amount of art made me into a religious man.
Willie drove us all into the city, he and Mrs. Bell in the front seat, Noel, Caleb and I in the back. Noel had been quiet all morning; had said little, in fact, since he met with Emmanuel’s lawyer a few days before to plan the funeral and hear the will. I had asked him how it went, and he shrugged, saying, “He left everything to Caleb,” in a neutral tone. He let me know the details later: all of Emmanuel’s property was left to Caleb, and as Caleb’s guardian Noel was to receive a yearly allowance to pay for Caleb’s needs, and was to keep the farm intact until Caleb was of age. According to the lawyer, Emmanuel hadn’t planned to leave much property or money to Simon, either, and had updated his will to focus on Caleb when Caleb was still an infant.
Emmanuel had left small legacies to Mrs. Bell, Willie, and Alex Christie, and to a few other friends and employees. Still, it seemed terribly cold to me, to cut out Noel so completely, but Noel was stoic: even if Emmanuel had left him more than a stipend, he didn’t want it.