note: if you happen to be a new reader of coffee conversations, please understand that this is internal dialogue. So ‘1’ and ‘2’ and ‘we’ are just me. 🙂
OK, let’s begin. We get off the St. Claude bus at St. Roch as Franklin and St. Roch merge before the river and they and Esplanade and Elysian Fields are only 3 or 4, little, short blocks apart at the river but far apart on St. Claude. It’s a bit further to St. Ann, just like your thumb is further apart than your fingers, looking at your hand with fingers spread wide. St. Ann is as far into the French Quarter as we go most any time because it is the most direct way to Jackson Square and the cathedral from St. Claude. (These streets have bus stops at St Claude)
Anyway, we are walking down St Roch and there is a phone sitting on someone’s front stoop where one could just scoop it up and keep going and the alarm clock going off like crazy so you can’t hardly not notice. It is now 6:06 am. We leave well enough alone because we don’t know if the phone belongs to the house and there is no obvious sign of people being awake (because their phone/alarm clock is on the front stoop???).
And we continue walking toward the river?.
Yes. Near the merging of St Roch and Franklin is a bar called Big Daddy’s. There are almost always people there at this time of day on weekends, drinking and carrying on from the night before. Often they look a bit worse for wear. Anyway, there was this woman who is around the corner on the street where we are walking, she sets her drink down and proceeds to, let’s say this delicately, uh, spit into a trash can while pulling her dress up. She sees us, now about 20 feet away, and says something to the effect that she is acting with propriety because she came around the corner where the 20 or so people outside the bar can’t see her. We agree because what else are we going to say anyway and continue on our journey. Not looking back, thinking privacy would be a good thing.
As we near Peter St. we pass a car with out-of-state plates, engine running and loaded with what looks like drums maybe and personal stuff. The driver looks crashed out but hears us pass by and opens his eyes briefly. So he must know his engine is running, right?
We hang a right onto Peter St. Sometimes theses street change names but I think it is Peter St. all the way.
We decide to enter Crescent Park at the French Market entrance and have a sit-down as our legs are sending those little shocky things like we got bugs, which is a sure sign of needing to take a few days off. We take the elevator to the walkway over the RR tracks because ‘climbing stairs needlessly’ is not anywhere on our bucket list (we don’t have a bucket list).
We take pictures from the walkway.
Yeah yeah, whatever. As we continue on, having descended into the park, we see a guy sitting on the cement (there is a big open area, roofed over and cement floors, first thing. He is writing and looking like he is either writing out his defense statement for court, telling his girlfriend why she should give him one last chance since she has all his possessions locked away including his car keys and bank card, or maybe he is thinking about jumping into the river. We can’t tell which.
We walk over to the benches just past this area and sit for a bit, after taking some photos of a ship at Governor Nichols docks. That dock and warehouse complex separates Crescent Park from the Moon Walk, which most people call the Riverwalk but that is actually a shopping mall at the other end of the Moon Walk. Moon Landreau was a former governor (correction-mayor and HUD secretary) and held other political offices, we think to ourselves.
OK, OK. There is the lower ninth ward where I live, the Industrial Canal of Katrina infamy, Bywater neighborhood where Crescent Park starts along the river and runs for a mile+ through the Marigny neighborhood and ends up at Governor Nichols Warehouse. After that way-long warehouse is the Moon Walk for another mile+ then Riverwalk Mall. I am walking away from my place on this walk, towards the mall. And I regularly walk these neighborhoods, Bywater and Marigny and the French Quarter. The Riverwalk Mall is just past the French Quarter, in the Central Business District, I think. Clear, no?
Anyway, as we walk back to the RR overpass and elevator to exit the park we see the same guy, now staring into the river, pensively, darkly, moodily. He still doesn’t acknowledge that we exist by looking up so we trudge onward.
After crossing over the tracks we walk along what is still Peter Street or maybe something else by now, whatever. We check out the old US Mint Museum for times and cost. Wed-Sun, open at 10:00, and free!
And as we are passing the French Market we stop in a convenience store to get a coffee which we can put in our handy-dandy, ‘spill proof’ coffee mug, conveniently located in our pack. I wish it really was spill proof so we could take coffee along but it is not so and we don’t want to hand carry it the entire time. We are willing to now as we are heading to St Ann and to the bus stop across from Armstrong Park. (a half mile away)
We observe two men with southern accents from somewhere (not New Orleans but maybe Alabama) who cross the street from the French Market, waking up street people who are sleeping on the sidewalk (the same people we have been walking around) and asking them if they are OK because they don’t look so good, or something. We suspect this is just a ruse to get them up and moving as they might be considered bad for business. We get to Jackson Square and turn right on St. Ann, heading for our bus stop.
There is always mounds of trash on the streets near bars in the Quarter and very noticeable on St Ann, along with ‘odors’ which we will not describe but think of the results of excessive drinking multiplied by 2 zillion. Of course it is cleaned and disinfected before the hordes of tourists are out and about. The Cathedral and Jackson Square are cleaned early, maybe 4 or 5 am. Not so Royal and Bourbon and 100 or so feet up any street that crosses them. This area must be last on the list.
Then there was the guy at the bus stop at 7:23 am, drinking a beer and telling someone, so loudly we couldn’t help but know, that his girlfriend is crazy because she gets $280/month in food stamps but expects him to pitch in for groceries and he thinks her latest baby is his, or isn’t his, or something like that. But it’s OK because he always keeps his pack ready with a change of clothes (which he thumps for emphasis) and has extra clothes at his Momma’s house.
So we were walking just before 6:06 and waiting for the bus at 7:23. A pretty short walk and a fair amount of weirdness packed in.
Yes, that is right.
Depending on what we consider ‘NOLA normal’ of course. Well, that covers the high points of Sunday’s walk. We just make sure and stop to admire the flowers because that is likely the best thing we see most any day. (there are almost always flowers blooming in New Orleans)
So do you have anything else to add?
Well, when going camping in bear country, we already know to keep food far from us at night but your minty-fresh toothpaste will do you in. Bears love it. Take baking soda instead.
OMG, I meant something relevant to the discussion.