For Your Protection Please Close Gate at Freret & Audubon Place

I have simply been swamped with work this week. It’s finals time, and the students are cramming and pulling all-nighters while their teachers are turning into grading machines. I’ve been snowed under by the flurry of it all, which means I haven’t been getting the bicycle rides in that I’m used to. The great thing about commuting by bike, though, is that I’m guaranteed to get a quick five or six miles in, no matter what. Today I woke up early and hopped on the Surly for an 8am final exam. Four hours later I was back on the bike, taking a shiny new stack of exams out for lunch and grading. On my way back, I stopped to take a picture of this sign on the gate closing Audubon Place off from the students and the riff raff who can wander by, but never in. I think private streets in a public city are bizarre. I mean, how can a group of folks just declare their street off-limits to the rest of us? Do they pay for all their own infrastructure? And what happened to the part where we all live here, together, in the same boat? This sign puts a fancy font on an almost sinister claim: “For Your Protection Please Close Gate.” Your protection? Really? Whose? I am not a danger walking down the streets that belong just as much to me as they do to you. This gate, though, isn’t meant to keep me out–I know that. But I’m out just the same, and none of us should be. Our streets are collective property. All I’ve got today, I guess, is that this sign cannot protect itself from the stickers and somewhat lewd graffiti that it deserves.

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