I’m back in New Orleans for a short visit, and I brought Brompty along for the ride so we could ride together. On Wednesday, we started from Treme heading Uptown for lunch with L. I stopped in the CBD for coffee and to marvel at all the coffee shops in that neighborhood now. The CBD used to be a dead zone, all boarded-up bathhouses and promises, but now it’s got a fancy grocery store, fancy restaurants, and I can’t believe that happened in the last four years. I continued my ride up Baronne–I’ve made this particular ride hundreds times, and I couldn’t stop smiling from being back. The cow statue was gone but the fork was still in the intersection of MLK. The cab graveyard was gone, those roofs are still falling in on those houses where folks were still sitting outside and saying how you doin’? I took the twists and turns, used my outside voice to remind cars I was there, crossed through the construction on St. Charles. I passed those steps that are all that’s left of that house, the garden at that charter school, the mansions with their porches and outdoor ceiling fans, a different world from the Central City decay a mile or two earlier. I ate a seriously good sandwich and L. and I caught up the last 5 years– we’re both doing great–and then I headed up to the levee.
It’s perfectly flat here, except for a couple of rises that used to be the biggest hills in New Orleans. I just pedaled, smile so big, checking out the river traffic and construction and wondering what’s puffing out of that factory on the other side. I saw egrets and herons and dragonflies, got a face full of gnats, and snapped this picture of old street signs unceremoniously dumped here. So much trash hidden amidst this green out here. I made it to the Huey P. long bridge, wondered what they’ve done with the picnic table that used to be there, and then headed back to meet A. for iced tea.
The ride back downtown took me down Freret–whoa that is all new– and up to Claiborne and back down to LaSalle by way of what used to be the Magnolia hosting projects but now looks like what it looks like where Flag House Courts used to be in Baltimore. LaSalle turned into Simon Bolivar, Chicken Mart’s still there, Planter’s Peanut Park doesn’t say anything about Planter’s anymore, but it’s still shaped like a peanut. I crossed MLK, zipped under the freeway, and was back downtown in yet another bike lane that connected to another bike lane, and then I was on the hunt for the Lafitte Greenway. I turned around on the hard rumblings of thunder and called it a day, time to fold up Brompty and order a drink at that fancy bar across for Louis Armstrong Park. Greatest day in the history of the world.