Hip Hop City Urban Wear at Baronne and MLK

Storefront at Baronne and MLKI was out late tonight, sipping whiskey on S.’s Treme balcony, listening to her recount her scary car accident of a couple days ago. I’m glad she’s ok and back home, but sad she won’t be able to ride a bike for awhile. Curses, broken hand! When I finally headed home I was very sleepy and in the mood to just ride. Sometimes when I’m riding I’m thinking about what’s going on in my life. Other times I’m focused outward, on what I’m seeing. Tonight, though, I was just feeling the ride. The air was just a touch cool, especially when I got up some speed. I watched my skirt spit backwards in the shadow cast by the streetlight. I smelled night jasmine and drunk people as I zipped through the Quarter, humming along to the song in my head. I decided to take Baronne all the way home. Usually I get a little anxious once I hit Central City on bike at night, because the streets are empty, folks aren’t out on their porches, the lights are dim. I feel most comfortable where there are people. But tonight I just wanted to keep riding the smooth asphalt and had a wonderful time flying through the empty streets. I stopped at Baronne and Martin Luther King to snap a picture of this store front, advertising Hip Hop City Urban Wear. The building is for rent, so I’m assuming this shop is no more. There are also signs advertising inexpensive oil changes that I presume are done on the premises. This is one of the many spots in the city where I just don’t know what’s happened. Was this a thriving business before Katrina? Or has this corner always been depressed? What businesses have made a go here? Does the community know there’s an oil change business here, or is it invisible because it’s not Jiffy Lube or something? I’ve ridden by this spot during the day, and there are often people milling about. I wonder what business is happening behind the doors, if any. There are so many casualties in this town that it’s impossible to have a handles on all their causes. The bike, though, is an excellent way to bear witness to them all.

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