I know, I know, I’m a broken record, but wow, what a beautiful day for a bike ride in New Orleans. Today’s my last day in the city before heading north to the frozen tundra that is Spring classes, and I spent most of it on N.’s bike. I first rode into the Marigny to meet R. and A. for brunch at the third outpost of that restaurant I think of as where I met D. and M. and S. for the first time~I knew from that first morning that they would all be bosom friends that morning, and I was right; today, same sort of friends, same sort of restaurant, and iit was just a perfect start to a day that then took my to Mid-City to see M.~an unannounced bike-by from the olden days. I pedaled back toward the Quarter along Orleans. I remember when they repaved that street, such a dream, and today it was a respite from the truly awful New Orleans infrastructure. My god, iron your streets! I snapped this picture of an empty building that looks like it used to be a theater. I think the sign is smaller now, but I will have to check the ol’ archive. So much has changed around here~new public housing, new asphalt, newness, but not at this spot and the others where there’s so much blight. It reminds me of Baltimore. A walk through the Quarter for a dog parade and more friends and then I was riding Uptown on the old route to see R. and then S. The fork is still embedded in the street at Baronne and Jackson, the cow’s still there, Muses looks lived-in, and we are still being exhorted to be the change we wish to see in the world. it was a lovely ride, lovely stops, and a perfect vacation. I’m not going to lie, though: I’m looking forward to going home in the morning, if only to get a break from my vacation schedule. Thank you, New Orleans, as always.
Saturday was a perfect bike riding day in New Orleans: sunny, warm, plenty of parades to ride between. I rode from Treme to Uptown on my old route to meet up with C. and P. for our usual parade gawking, only this year they brought their Carnival bait~seven month old A. R. and C. joined with their kid, and wow, things can change in just a couple of years once the sweet babies start rolling in. Then again, it was the same floats, same dancing troupes~looking good, Gold Dusters!~same bands~Xavier Prep Yellow Jackets in the house!~and the same sense of family, and oh it was good to see everybody. Then it was time to roll downtown. I took OC Haley to see the changes there as the stretch tries to become a Main Street. It’s still trying, some blocks more than others, and I hope the new Cafe Reconcile’s as good as it is in my head. After a pit stop, a dog walk over to the Marigny for the parade of tiny floats (insert squeal), and a delicious home cooked meal eaten too fast, we were back on our bikes and headed to Frenchman Street to catch the Krewe of Chewbacchus and its giant nerd parade. I snapped this picture of a bicycle float that just made me so happy. It was the bikes, the detailed helmet on our fighter, the lights, the rest of the crowd, and the pleasure there is in a world where people will do such things to put on a show. We left our bikes, wandered around looking for everybody, saw all the people, and then headed home. It was a perfect day for riding a bike around New Orleans, but I need better walking shoes. As S. would say, my dogs are barking. Carnival’s a marathon, not a sprint, a lesson I have already forgotten. I’m happily heading home Monday, though, so I’m thinking the lesson doesn’t really apply in my particular circumstances.
And then I got on a bike, took a right then a quick right, a left then a right, and I was on Baronne, headed Uptown to meet C. and P. for parades filled with floats and bands and Metairie’s best dance troops. Oh, it’s good to be back home, or in this home, at any rate.
I woke up early this morning, put on an old prom dress and some eye makeup, tossed my tiara in my bike bag, and headed out to see what New Orleans was doing on a Mardi Gras day. I rode up to St. Charles and took a left and happily swerved between the kids throwing their footballs in the streets and parents pushing strollers and people drinking and dancing and laughing while waiting for the last parade of the season. Continue reading
Here’s the thing. I love riding my bike, but Mardi Gras time is really more walking speed. I see things entirely differently when I’m walking–I’m closer to the ground and moving three times more slowly, so I find myself wandering places I don’t normally notice. And there’s a lot to see during the carnival season. As a guy I was chatting with as we paused at a stop sign on our bikes pointed out yesterday, Mardi Gras is all about fantasies (and the only fantasy we saw around us was the dream of finding a place to put the car–take a bike or walk and expand your fantasy life!). So yes, this is another guest post from a pedestrian. Continue reading
It was a five-parade day, which meant I woke up early, read in bed for a couple of hours, and then headed out for an insane number of parades. I made it through the first three, and then headed home for a rest before dinner with S. and B. and then more parades. The crowds were crazy, so I took the bike and headed downtown for a different sort of parade–Eris–where the spectators were the parade. Lovely, lovely. After a long evening of drinks and chats with friends, I was back on the bike, headed Uptown, through this trash at St. Charles and Canal, signs of the fun that dominated early in the day. This is the ugly part, though. So much trash! I dodged the stuff that could turn my front wheel and headed home, another lovely Carnival day in the books. Thank you, New Orleans.
I spent yesterday on foot and was hoping to have a day of riding around town, from the Uptown parades over to Endymion in Mid-City and a night or riding around the Marigny and the Bywater and the Treme looking for pockets of friends doing this or that. If the rains slow, that might still be my night, but I woke up to sprinkles that portended the rain they predicted yesterday. I thought it best to get in an early (for carnival season) bike ride, so I headed out to ride the parade route in front of Tucks. Continue reading