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.

Post-It Note At Desperado’s Pizza on Frenchman

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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.

Statue Commemorating World War I at Galvez & Tulane

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

Shopping For Bikes at Plan B at Decatur & Marigny

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

The Stooges On Stage at the Hi-Ho Lounge at St. Claude & Marigny

And sometimes you have nights like these: I got on my bike after the basketball game (I you, Kevin Durant) and headed down to the Marigny to meet S. and friends the check out The Stooges, a fantastic brass band with a standing Thursday night gig at the Hi-Ho Lounge. Continue reading