Loui Sushi, Brusselbaan 102c, Brussels 1600.
The name of this sushi restaurant made me think of a story by Louis Sassoie about how merchants on the flee market on Place du Jeu de Balle used to be known only by a nickname, usually consisting of their first name and something related to their trade. Having worked himself as a bookseller, he was known as ‘Louis des Livres’.
Here’s the audio excerpt:
“So this woman who we just talked about, called him: ‘look at the Sarma’. It was like in a village: people had nicknames. Of course I’m talking about the old market. There were several Louis … There was ouis Congo; why Congo ? because his speciality was buying old rags, the most bizarre clothes possible, he made packages out of them and send them to Belgian Congo where they were sold by a helper. He earned massive gold with that .. a bit mean like in Tintin in Congo .. you see the negro king with a high hat with eight mirrors you see ? It was the profession of the gentleman. Instead of calling him mister Verschueren or Verstraeten, he was Louis Congo.
A merchant who was at the same time fireman, that was Louis the Fireman. You see ?
There’s a political tale; there were special agents, undercover, state security who wanted to ask me questions .One day, I arrive at the market and the people say: “Louis, they are looking for you”. A second one: “Louis, they are looking for you”. I arrive in my café and the patron tells me: “Louis, they came, they’re looking.” I am there, I am not going to hide myself. And he told the police: “you know mister, here, we don’t know the people by their names; I know a Louis the Fireman, I know a Louis Congo and I know Louis of the Books.” That was me you see ? And also that, the old market there was an extraordinary solidarity against the police. Really like a small village. The market changed a lot.”