I 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
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 now for a guest post from the world of pedestrians! I stayed off my bike today, and off the wet roads. The sun finally came out in the late afternoon giving the sky an odd glowing feel. I am staying in the Marigny this month, so when S. invited me over for dinner at her place in the Treme I told her to just pick me up on her dog walk, and we would walk back to her place. Dinner was good and the lazy conversation better and then it was time to head home, and I had to walk. Gasp. After assuring S. that I did indeed know how to walk, I headed over to and down Esplanade. I walked by a mass of flowers that smelled downright sultry before stopping in the minimart that had a whole different kind of sultry going on. I picked up a candy bar and a bar of soap and waited on line as a guy bought vodka and mixers while two young men nervously fidgeted behind him, following the guy’s drunken orders, “or I’ll drink that whole bottle by myself, if you can’t carry it.” All kinds of exchanges happening out there tonight. I wandered down Frenchman, listening to the music and smelling the smoke, stopping to take a picture of this tiny post-it note on the pizza place’s door. When I was moving into the neighborhood I looked around–minimart, coffee shoppe, pizza–ok, that’s pretty much everything I need. But no pizza! I’ve ridden by this door dozens of times, but on a bike you are moving way too fast to read it. Apparently, this company still has some rental goods inside there. D’oh! Looks like there’s no pizza for me on this corner any time soon. That walk was short but highly pleasurable–sometimes it’s good to just slow your roll.
I woke up early this morning and did a little reading for pleasure before taking the bike out to the Marigny for blueberry pancakes with V. and a quick tour of her place for my upcoming housesitting/squatting gig. It was bright and hot out, and the streets had that empty feeling they have on Sunday mornings when everybody who’d be up and out on a Sunday is in church and everybody else is still in bed. Continue reading
Today’s bike ride took me down to the Marigny to meet S. for coffee and some work and a slow page-turning trip through the Gambit’s 12,000th restaurant guide. As I made my way through cold drink #2 and the last 20 pages of a section of the never-ending book, V. walked in to grab a cup of coffee before opening up Plan B, our community-run bike shop. Continue reading
Summer school started today–sigh–and I’m teaching a night class, so I worked from home until the late afternoon when I hopped on my bike and headed to campus. Continue reading
I didn’t figure on much of a bike ride today. I was tired and in the mood to hermit away after a long week, which is exactly what I did, reading, cooking, watching Ken Burns tell me stories on the television. Then it was time to head just a mile Uptown for dinner with S., N., and N. The food was great, the wine drinkable, and it was just good to see friends. S. asked for route advice for her ride back downtown to the Marigny, and rather than tell her, I figured it was a good sign that it was time for me to take a ride. Continue reading
Ok, the weather is just ridiculous in New Orleans right now. I got up early, read for a bit, and then took the bike out for a ride. After a couple hours of grading at the coffee shoppe I pedaled out with no destination. I headed toward the Lower 9th but was thwarted by the bridge up at the Industrial Canal. Wait, wait, wait, and then wait a little bit more, and then I was zipping around, trying to trace as many newly-paved roads as possible. Continue reading
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