I have been out of town, without bicycle, for over a week, and it feels like forever. It turns out I really *do* need to ride to feel right. I have been away for good reasons to good places, but I was happy to get back on Rhoda today, if only for a task ride to the gym and back. I recently moved to a tiny cottage behind a fancy house in the Garden District, and this has changed the complexion of my task rides. Where I used to start out on bumpy roads passing an abandoned playground, I now start out on smooth roads passing fancy mansions. But the thing about this place is that even neighborhoods like the Garden District bear the marks of decay. The iron gates are sticky and missing their doorknobs, the mansion is only two houses away from an abandoned building taken over by vines. This old drug store is a case in point. Prytania in the Garden District is one ritzy street (Nicolas Cage lives on it, it is said), but this building stands empty, an old sign worn away, barely reminding us what used to be here. Now it’s graffiti, stating the obvious, and still the marks of its search almost three years ago. It’s good to be back on my bike, and good to be reminded that though the neighborhoods in New Orleans are very different, none of us are very far from each other.