The Coast, No. 4: White House Hotel, July 1987


Photograph by Diana Young.

The hotel was a shambles of renovation when we checked in, but we didn’t care. In fact, it was what we wanted, all that chaos and the anonymity of being the only guests in an unfinished room on the second floor front with french doors onto a balcony overlooking the swimming pool and all that southern charm, the live oaks and palms and swards of lush St. Augustine down to Highway 90 where semis groaned toward Bethlehem. Out beyond that, the dredged-up Emerald Beach. Farther out, the Sound, a stinking bouillabaisse of rotting sea life churned by endless screwing blades of freighters, barges, and shrimp trawlers working the Intercoastal from New Orleans to Mobile.
We ordered a TV for our room. We did not want to miss the Iran-Contra Hearing. We had traveled far for the chance. We waited. Promptly at one, Spider delivered a dusty pink portable Admiral on a metal stand. He also brought a floor fan, saying we were going to die in the heat iffn we didn’t use it. He plugged it in and the lights went out.