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The lady in the purple hat is a mystery, an institution, a ghost at the Palace of Pleasure in New Orleans.  We know this because the fat man at the bar tells us so.  We know he’s seen her killed three times. We know he’s seen her series of young men, who always seem to be the same young man, over a period of decades.  We know the hat is ancient and fascinating, that she always wears the same one, and that it and fashion have no purchase with one another.

We know so much.  But we don’t know if she’s really a ghost because the fat man says at the end he’s going to tell us that tomorrow.

Fun story with lots to talk about.  Is this Welty’s version of the Gothic?  She said didn’t appreciate being called gothic, but she seems to have had some fun with New Orleans style myth-making in this story.

Is the fat man a reliable narrator?  That, children, is a good question.