Balcony in the Treme

Treme BalconyOne of my very, very favorite things about New Orleans–and surely many places are like this–is how many ways there are to sit outside and watch stuff. Last summer I lived in a house with a long porch, and almost every night N. and S. would come over and we’d drink beer and I’d eat M&Ms and N. would smoke and S. would be his usual surly self. We’d say hi to all the folks who’d pass by, even though some people, like that girl who apparently did laps around my block, never said hi back. Most people will stop and chat, though. This is a friendly place. I now live behind someone else’s house, so my private/public space isn’t on the street. I love the quiet, but I miss the people and the views. Fortunately, lots of other people have porches and balconies and places to sit and watch. Tonight I rode Jack over to a bar to see a friend’s photography exhibit and then to another bar to play pool with friends. But the whole time I was looking forward to the last stop, at S. and J.’s balcony at their place in the Treme, where I popped my feet up and rehashed the past several days. I have already logged an impressive number of hours sitting out there, talking, drinking, watching, not smoking, trying to talk sense in to the dog, and just relaxing. Tonight was more of the same, but the kind of same I could do over and over again without ever tiring. When the night was over, I clipped in and turned up Bruce on my headphones and rode as fast as I could through the empty and cool, for tonight, anyways, streets of the Quarter back Uptown. Yeah, this is summertime in New Orleans. And like all things, it’s better with friends you know are your people, drinks you know will get you just tipsy enough, dogs you know are snapping and pawing because they love you, and, of course, your bike.  I get to end every night on my bike, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

3 thoughts on “Balcony in the Treme

  1. Sorry this is so long, but I knew you’d want all the details:

    Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl
    Saturday, May 23, 2009
    Start at Bayou Bicycles, 3530 Toulouse Street
    Meet at 8:30 a.m., depart at 9:00 a.m.
    (Festival starts at 11:00 a.m.)

    1. Finn McCool’s, 3701 Banks Street. The legendary giant named Fionn mac Cumhaill built a bridge out of huge stones across the water connecting Ireland and Scotland, and a remnant of the Giant’s Causeway (40,000 interlocking basalt columns, some as tall as 36 feet) still stands in the County Antrim in Northern Ireland. The Mid-City pub named after this mythical figure celebrated its three-year post-Katrina re-opening on St. Patrick’s Day 2009, and it is the first stop on the Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl.

    2. Mid-City Yacht Club, 440 S. St Patrick Street. This land-locked tavern takes its name from the high Katrina flood waters filling its immediate neighborhood. The MCYC also derives its name from the fact that the New Basin Canal, a shipping channel that operated from the 1830’s through the 1940’s, ran one block from their establishment where the Pontchartrain Expressway now stands. This bar is the proud steward of St. Patrick ball field and is the second stop on the Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl.

    3. Evangeline Lounge, 4501 Toulouse Street. This off-the-beaten-path neighborhood joint gets its name from the 1847 poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about an Acadian girl searching for her lost love, Gabriel, set during the time of Le Grand Dérangement. The Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks make this bar, the third stop on the Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl, most easily accessible from St. Patrick Street rather than Murat Street.

    4. Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, 732 N. Broad Street. The headquarters for the notoriously raucous Mardi gras krewe that just celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009, this meeting place in 1998 was dedicated to the memory of James Russell, one of the organization’s most influential presidents who’s credited with holding things together when membership dipped to just sixteen people in the 1960’s. Now 650 people strong, this philanthropic krewe supports a local grade school (Morris F.X. Jeff Elementary, named after the 1972 King), sponsors an annual scholarship fund program, has helped rebuild a nearby playground and is actively raising funds for NORD, provides Christmas gift baskets and toys for needy families and is a strong supporter of New Orleans’ annual “Night Out Against Crime”. This krewe, long famous for its “Golden Nugget”, is now earning recognition for its gospel choir with numerous appearances at local events and a recently released CD. Members of this benevolent society are making a special effort to open their club’s doors to welcome revelers as the fifth stop on the Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl.

    5. Roosevelt’s Black Pearl, 1001 N. Claiborne Avenue. Serving hot plates to New Orleans residents since the 1960’s, this Tremé hangout dispenses soul food and cold drinks from 8:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. every day but Wednesday. The fifth stop on the Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl is only one block from Tuba Fats Square, a tribute to the legendary sousaphone innovator [9/15/1950-1/11/2004] who helped revive New Orleans’ brass band tradition bringing it to international attention.

    6. Parkway Bakery and Tavern, 538 Hagan Street. The final stop on the Bayou Boogaloo Bicycle Pub Crawl has been family owned and operated since 1912 when it was built as a neighborhood bakery. As with other shops throughout the city, this bakery began serving Po’Boys during the depression era followed by a local street car conductor strike. This business stopped baking its own bread in the 1970’s after a devastating rainwater flood destroyed its ovens, but it continued to offer Po’Boys to employees of the American Can Company and other patrons for many years. Economic forces caused the eatery to close for over two decades, but in its resurrected form it is now famous for its slow-cooked roast beef Po’Boy that appeals to a widely diverse clientele in a historic setting.

    Bayou Bicycles, which has served Mid-City’s bicycle community since 1988, is providing offsite bicycle parking for festival goers this year. Look for the Specialized Bicycles event tent that marks the bicycle parking area, and step inside the shop for a cup of coffee if you’d like. All pub crawlers get one water bottle while supplies last!

    To get a rough head count, please contact Peter Hickman (preferably by e-mail) before 5/23/09:
    Peter J. Hickman
    Chair of the Mid-City Volleyball committee of the MotherShip Foundation
    cell: (504)427-1207
    e-mail: phickm@gmail.com

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