I’m on spring break right now, and I keep expecting everyone else to be on spring break. I know lots of college kids make New Orleans their spring break destination, so I also keep expecting to see Bourbon Street overflowing with them, even though it’s a Tuesday. I mean, I was up for a nighttime bike ride down to the Quarter, and I’m definitely getting too old for such things. Weekend nights have felt more crowded, but this was the scene on my ride home from the bar, following pool, cheap beer, and dancing with friends from Chapel Hill. Seems the NOPD expects a crowd, too. But no, the streets were pretty much empty. But not of smells. Man, the streets smell like trash, of course, but also that delicate mix of urine, vomit, and light beer. It’s not pretty. Now, I don’t know if this empty Bourbon Street is because it’s Tuesday, or because of the economy, or because kids these days are no longer interested in getting wasted on break. But I wonder where the business is, though I’m perfectly happy to have pools of unknown content to navigate on my rides home (thank god for fenders). When I stopped to snap this photo, though, I could feel the cops tensing up. There were the four in this picture, and another three just out of frame. The one on the far right said something about me taking a picture, and I felt suddenly under surveillance, and a little nervous. So I took just this one picture and then got on my bike to go. I didn’t even make two revolutions before one of the cops walked up, put his hand on my handlebars to stop me, and informed me that it’s against the law to ride a bike on Bourbon Street. Um, ok. Glad these gentlemen are on the case, because I was certainly a danger on my pink cruiser with my flippy dress. I hopped off my bike to comply, and I asked if anyone had a tissue–I scraped my finger catching my bike as it fell over when I was unlocking it. One cop started rooting around in his pocket, but another spoke up and informed me that I could get a napkin at a pizza place up on the corner. Fine. Just trying to make nice and get some public service, people. I walked away, their eyes on my back, reminded of how one of the perks of being the state is a monopoly on the use of violence in all its forms, including this kind of petty surveillance.