L’odonyme ne fait pas le boulevard, … mais la rue fait le nom !

Petite chronique du Ramona Boulevard dans Le Dalhia Noir de James Ellroy

« Ramona Sprague forked herself a small mouthful of food, chewed it daintily and said, « Did you know that Ramona Boulevard was named after me, Mr. Bleichert? »

The woman’s out-of-kilter face congealed around the words; she spoke them with a strange dignity. « No, Mrs. Sprague, I didn’t know that. I thought it was named after the Ramona Pageant. »

« I was named after the pageant, » she said. « When Emmett married me for my father’s money he promised my family that he would use his influence with the City Zoning Board to have a street named after me, since all his money was tied up in real estate and he couldn’t afford to buy me a wedding ring. Father assumed it would be a nice residential street, but all Emmett could manage was a dead-end block in a red light district in Lincoln Heights. Are you familiar with the neighborhood, Mr. Bleichert? » Now the doormat’s voice held an edge of fury.

« I grew up there, » I said.

« Then you know that Mexican prostitutes expose themselves out of windows to attract customers. Well, after Emmett succeeded in getting Rosalinda Street changed to Ramona Boulevard he took me for a little tour there. The prostitutes greeted him by name. Some even had anatomical nicknames for him. It made me very sad and very hurt, but I bided my time and got even. When the girls were small I directed my own little pageants, right outside on our front lawn. I used the neighbor’s children as extras and reenacted episodes out of Mr. Sprague’s past that he would rather forget. That he would-« 

pp. 131-132 (Ellroy 1987)

Ou comment faire d’une charmante promesse un enfer… Ramona verra bien son nom attribué à un boulevard en guise d’alliance lors de son mariage avec un promoteur de Los Angeles lié à la commission municipale de planification. Mais ce boulevard, ex Rosetta street, est un bas fonds et Ramona qui ambitionnait un décor à la hauteur de ses rèves de parades, en concevra une frustration et une colère dévastatrices.

Ne jamais oublier la nature du lieu pour réussir sa nomination …

Ellroy, J. 1987. The Black Dalhia. New York: The Mysterious Press.

Crédit photo : Les yeux de J. Ellroy, La demeure du chaos, Thierry Ehrmann, 2012.


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