Barkus Parade Readying to Roll From Louis Armstrong Park

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Everything predicted thunderstorms Sunday, but Brompty and I had things to do, and I mistakenly believed my jacket was waterproof, so we headed out between downpours for a ride to Broadmoor to see M. and D.’s new digs, including–so awesome–the baby’s room. It was an easy ride, retracing old steps on new bike lanes. I remember when the very first bike lane was installed in the city, and now the are everywhere. And there’s a new streetcar line, though that one doesn’t make much sense until you remember the Super Bowl was here. Infrastructure’s improved for industry, not residents (and this certainly isn’t just a NOLA thing), and here the industry is tourism. And I’m a tourist now, enough to get lost crossing under the I10 and just avoiding a dead end to the freeway on ramp. I took the bike lane on MLK and smaked left on Galvez, happy to have friends who moved to a neighborhood I never got to explore much. I overshot my right, dead-ended and turned around, and finally got my muddy no-fenders self to their door for breakfast and catch-up. Afterward, and after another downpour, it was back on the bike to Mid City to see R. and her new digs.all the bike lanes and streetcars in the world can’t help with this coty’s lack of drainage, so it was all avoiding puddles and small lakes there and then after back to the Treme. I meant to head straight back to S.’s house, but then I saw the dogs, so many dogs lined up for Barkus, rolling late due to weather. I remember when this was an upstart, and it still is, I guess, even if Bud Light signs welcomed me to it. And you can’t just join the parade; I watched a volunteer close the gates of Louis Armstrong park on a rather stunned gentleman and his pocket pooch. You need a “marching pass” to join a walking parade? Wow. And then the skies opened up again–my luck had run out. 20 minutes standing in the rain and it was time to thow on the towel. I pedaled “home,” a soggy mess, happy to have seen some old friends–people, pets, and problems.

Krewe of Choctaw Plantation Float at Charles & Louisiana

Krewe of Choctaw Plantation Float at Charles & LouisianaI spent my Friday packing Brompty in her new suitcase and then flying slowly south to New Orleans for the first weekend of Carnival, my annual pilgrimage to this place that used to be home. It was Brompty’s first flight, and I had all the jitters of a new mom dropping her baby at day care as they took my sweet bicycle away with the rest of the checked bags. She came out fine at the other end, and oh, I was glad I brought her along for a Saturday riding all over town. I headed toward Uptown from the Treme, a ride I used to make as often as I now make the ride up the hill from the Inner Harbor. This time I was off to meet P. and C. and the rest of the gang for the day’s Uptown parades. Continue reading

Bicycle Float in Chewbacchus Parade on Frenchman Just Off St. Claude

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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.

Streetcar Stop at Loyola & Julia

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Well, I left those cool Maryland climes for a weekend in New Orleans. N. lent me her bike, and after tonight’s parade I rode up, trying to remember where to take a right, and then I was at the post off, almost there, LaSalle which is Simon Bolivar which is Loyola. Peanut Park is still there~is this how we’re getting parks from now on?~ and so’s the Chicken Mart and so’s the basketball court sponsored by the Hornets~going to have to change that now. It’s the same, but then there’s a bike lane on Loyola and a streetcar stop. There’s a *streetcar* there now? It’s a Super Bowl thing, I think, but it was nice to see that sort of change. The cool thing about leaving a place is you get to come back and visit.

Tree Growing Out of a Building on Williams & Clement

Today’s ride took me down the hill, around the Inner Harbor, and up into Federal Hill to  my favorite overdeveloped mini mall, McHenry Row, for a massage, because I am a decadent little thing. I thought today would be the obligatory “it’s fall, look at the colors!” post, but it’s still in the 80s here, warm and muggy, so instead of looking at leaves I thought about how the air felt warm and heavy around me as I flew down the hill, taking extra special care not to put on the brakes–it’s like flying; nobody told me about the downhills when they were complaining about the uphills. Continue reading

The Gold Dusters at 3636 St. Charles

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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.

Warehouse Door at Laurel & Bordeaux

I spent another hermit-like day inside, watching baseball, reading the Times book review, and fantasizing about my reading lists. I didn’t feel motivated to do anything at all, but I did happily pry myself off my couch to head Uptown for L.‘s birthday party at the cigar bar. Continue reading