Broken Down Shopping Cart at Governor Nicholls & North Rampart

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Today’s ride took me to the Irish Channel to meet K. for dinner at the place where we’ve been having dinner for three years. I’m spending the month in the Marigny, so the ride was uptown instead of downtown, which it was for most of my time in New Orleans. After dinner I headed to J. and B.’s house for a dinner party–I kept it to dessert. Ordinarily I would take Jeff Davis to get there, but tonight I went Piydras to Galvez to Orleans, following the bike lanes and sharrows. I rode home the same way and then through the Treme. I rolled along Governor Nicholls, but not to stop at S.’s place–she moved over to Barracks. I stopped for traffic at N. Rampart and took a picture of this broke-down shopping cart on the corner. I had no idea their front wheels could go flat. I wonder how many different streets this cart rolled down to end up here, waiting for the bus. I mean, I don’t think there’s a Winn Dixie in the neighborhood. There’s the tiny Rouse’s in the corner, but other than that, the area is pretty much limited to drugstore groceries, and I need more than cereal, peanut butter, and Folger’s coffee. That’s what I miss most about living Uptown–easy access to fresh food. This neighborhood must be starving.

Sour Orange Flavored Raisels and Cinnabon Flavored Cream of Wheat at the Walgreen’s on Baronne & Canal

Advanced warning: in this blog I will sound like a cranky old lady. I grew up on fast food. I prefer a chicken nugget to anything that looks like it could have come from a bird. I ate American “cheese” sandwiches for lunch and dinner for the first two years of college–except for Sunday brunch, when I’d often have two grilled cheese sandwiches and a diet Coke. In short, I’m hardly a food snob. In fact, sometimes I stop by the drug store on a bike ride home to grab a snack. Continue reading

Coke Freestyle Machine at the Wendy’s on Tchoup

Today was my birthday which meant I could do whatever I wanted to do to celebrate being alive, and believe you me, I’m enjoying this whole life thing. I slept in, talked to my sister on the phone forever, and then hopped on the bike and headed out for a massage. Afterward, because it was my birthday, I left my bike on the rack and walked the several blocks to Wendy’s for a spicy chicken sandwich, add cheese, fries, and a drink. She asked me what kind of drink I wanted. I foolishly said I wanted a Diet Coke, but what I didn’t know was that I’d be filling my cup from the crazy new zillion flavor Coke machine newly-installed in the lobby. Continue reading

Lunch & Learn at the Royal St. Charles Hotel at 135 St. Charles

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Sometimes I receive an errant mail–the Tea Party’s e-newsletter, the alumni newsletter from Cal State LA (my dad went there, and we do share a last name, I guess), and earlier this week, an invitation from the Do-WAP Agency to come down to the Royal St. Charles Hotel to learn a thing or two about their conference services. Never one to turn down a free lunch (after all, I was invited), I rode my bike down there after running some morning errands Uptown. I locked my bike to a streetcar sign, took the elevator to the third floor, and discovered instantly that I was in the wrong place. No, I don’t work for a company, no, I don’t have a business card, no, I am not planning any conventions. I got a plate of Asian coleslaw (which was neither), jambalaya, and pasta “primavera” before sitting at a table with some actual conference planning professionals as they exchanged business cards and debated where to throw their company’s Essence Fest parties. “You guys do modeling too, right? Can I get your card?” I didn’t win the raffle, got three servings of bread pudding, did a tour of the rooms, and thought that yeah, I would totally book a block of rooms here, if I ever needed to do such a thing. But they need to get some bike racks. I rode home in spittling rain without slipping on wet streetcar tracks, so I would say, all in all, that ride was a win.

Man Washing Dishes at Felipe’s on Robert & Claiborne

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Today’s bike ride took me to work, and it’s going to take me home, after I finish waiting at this restaurant with this long line of little leaguers and new Tulane students here for orientation so I can grab a burrito. I never really figured out how to properly feed myself during this summer school night school class; 5:45-8:45 interrupts both my early and late night eating schedule, and that 20 minute break where students are asking me this question and that and I’m just trying to take a breath doesn’t leave me much of a chance to heat something up in the microwave and scarf it down. So here I am, another burrito on another Wednesday night. I snapped this picture while waiting in line, of a guy straining black beans and doing dishes. There’s a whole world behind my not being able to make myself dinner tonight, but it is so easy to pretend this food just dropped out of the sky and onto my plate. It didn’t.

Students and Teachers at the Oak Wreath Dinner at Tulane

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I hopped on my bike this evening and headed to campus for tonight’s Oak Wreath dinner, thrown by the Newcomb College Institute in honor of outstanding graduating female students. My dear student M. invited me as her guest, and I was more than happy to attend. Each of the 20 or so students took turns talking about their professor-date, and then each professor talked about the brilliant and sassy student who invited them. I talked about reading M.’s final paper from our class on feminist activism–it was so smart, creative, and brave, it made me cry, and talking about it got me all choked up. (I appear to be a crybaby, at least lately.) And the same thing happened over and over again, and there are so many more stories of teachers and students at all levels all over this place…love, love, love it. And then I got back on my bike and did a loop around the park before heading home. Bittersweet.

Beignets & Coffee at Cafe du Monde

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I spent the day in Lafayette at the Festival Internationale, but to get there I had to ride in a car. Fortunately it was a carpool, so I got to ride my bike down to the Treme to meet up with S., R., and M. The car ride was long, but the day was perfect–sunny, breezy, music and dancing, and fried catfish over rice with etouffe. I was going to treat myself to a funnel cake, but the place called the “Dutch cakes,” and I just couldn’t abide that. Back in New Orleans, I got back on the bike and headed to Cafe du Monde for beignets and a large cafe au lait. Suck it, Dutch cake! And look in the background–that’s my bike. Ain’t she a dream? What a lovely ending to a lovely day.

Super Fresh Meat Market at 2nd & Danneel

Today was the last day of the Patois Film Fest, so I hopped on my bike early and headed to Zeitgeist for a full afternoon of movies. It was a ridiculously pretty day, and it was a bit hard to swallow to go into the dark, but it was totally worth it. My favorite was the last film, Cafeteria Man, a movie about Tony Geraci and his fight to change the Baltimore city school system’s cafeterias. Continue reading

Patrons at the Burrito Juke Joint on Dupre

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The weather was just about perfect today, though the wind would a bit slower and the temps a bit higher, if I had my druthers. It seemed like everybody was out today, and the traffic sure made it seem that way. I sped up St. Charles, beating the drivers headed to a home tour–I just don’t get the appeal of those–and the rest headed to Tulane for Crawfest and its 16,000 pounds of crawfish (or, as J. pointed out, two tons). I was feeling a bit crowd-averse, so I headed to Carrollton for lunch and the bookstore. By the time evening rolled around and I’d had my nap, I was ready for company. I pedaled to Mid-City to meet D., M., and S. We headed to Dupre Street to the new burrito speakeasy, “Burrito Juke Joint,” set up in the chef’s backyard. I snapped this photo of the early line as we waited for our orders. The line got longer and longer as the night progressed; we lingered, chatting with friends who had the same idea. The night ended with some porch sitting and some stoop sitting. I asked S., who is somewhat of an expert, if tonight’s backyard burritos resembled a juke joint in any way. Turns out, no. My curried chickpeas and potatoes with rice, cheese, and sour cream wasn’t really a burrito either, but tonight was just exactly what I needed. I rode home weaving through drunk prom traffic in the Quarter, glad to have a very different idea for the perfect night.

Candy Bars at the Discount Zone on Magazine & Washington

So I took a picture on my ride home tonight, but it wasn’t in my phone when I got home, so let me describe it for you. It was a picture of row after row of candy bars at the Discount Zone on Magazine and Washington, so many choices. I stopped there on my way home from the show, following a whole lot of dancing with students and friends and a couple of slices of pizza. The ride home was perfect–slow, fresh asphalt on Magazine, cool night air, empty streets. I’ve stopped at the Discount Zone so many times after nights just like this one, and sometimes the vast array of choices is dizzying–even if it is all kind of just the same couple things over and over again in different shapes–but tonight I knew just what I wanted: a Kit Kat. Not the white chocolate one or the dark chocolate one, and not the King Size one either, though I hovered over that one for a a hot minute–just give me a regular old Kit Kat. That’s what I wanted. And next time I forget, please remind me that along with Kit Kats and nighttime bicycle rides, I also want to dance. What a lovely evening.